There’s an old saying that goes “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. When it comes to Internet marketing, too many of us ignore that advice. The vast majority of marketers and affiliates who use “free” traffic generation methods (I’m talking about SEO here) put all their eggs in one basket by relying on traffic from Google.
A quick glance at the Affilorama forum, and you’ll see that most people are concerned with getting high rankings on Google. After all, high rankings + lucrative keywords = traffic, right?
This is a great principle, but what if you were to suddenly lose your Google rankings overnight? That would mean an end to your traffic, which would in turn mean an end to your sales and income. And the sad thing is that this has happened time and time again to affiliates and Internet marketers all over the world – on multiple occasions.
Probably the most painful example of this was after the Google Panda update of 2011. So many people lost their search engine rankings, traffic, and incomes because of it.
So now we get to the crux of the matter – is it possible to get free traffic without Google?
Yes, it most certainly is!
Here are some ways that you can get free traffic, without worrying so much about Google rankings, and without having to risk big bucks on PPC:
Blog & forum commenting
Rather than losing sleep over whether your site will suddenly disappear from Google (or how you can actually get it to the front page in the first place) why not just “piggyback” off blogs and forums that already have large and active communities?
In every niche, there will be forums and blogs that attract hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors per day – not through search engine results, but through repeat visits built up by becoming authority or go-to sites. These blogs and forums are sites that people visit from their bookmark bar, or by typing the address into their browser directly.
By leaving insightful and useful comments, and really getting into the heart of the community, you will be able to draw traffic back to your own website. This traffic won’t be reliant on Google rankings either.
Question & answer sites
Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers provide another excellent means of generating free traffic without Google. This traffic can also convert quite highly, because the vast majority of people asking questions on Q&A sites have problems they want the solution to. All you need to do is provide a useful answer that actually solves the person’s problem, and then add your link as a resource for the answer.
Here’s a couple of tips for question & answer sites that will really help you out:
- Don’t spam your links on these types of sites – you will get shut down, fast.
- 50% of your answers should not contain any kind of link to your site (call this the cost of doing business, but it will definitely help your chances of staying unbanned)
- Yahoo Answers requires you to hit “Level 2” on their tiered system before any links you post become clickable; if you answer questions for 30 minutes a day for a week, you should be able to hit Level 2 with ease.
- Other sites to try include answerbag.com, answers.com and Amazon’s Askville.
Although YouTube is now owned by Google, it has its own enormous and self-serving traffic base. There are millions of people who visit YouTube every day and use it like a video search engine. This traffic is independent of Google, for the most part.
By creating videos targeted to long-tail keyword phrases you can generate a lot of views on your videos (as an aside, YouTube videos now tend to rank very highly in Google, which can bring some supplementary traffic)
You can then convert these views through to your website by adding calls to action in your video, as well as a prominent clickable link in your video description.
One thing to remember with YouTube is that people are primarily after entertainment. Outright promotional videos simply won’t do that well, and will likely be relegated to the bottom of the YouTube search rankings.
However, if you can combine either entertainment or quality instructional material with clever promotion of your website, you can profit handsomely with YouTube.
So there are just three of the ways it’s possible to get free traffic without needing high Google rankings (or without having to worry if your Google rankings were to suddenly disappear overnight)
My suggestion is that you try to generate a “base level” of traffic that isn’t reliant on your site ranking well in Google, and that generates enough sales to keep your web business ticking over. Build up high rankings for lucrative keywords in Google on top of this base level, and you will have a profitable affiliate marketing business that has good long-term prospects.
Oh yeah, and you won’t have all your eggs in one basket.
Leave a comment below and let me know your experiences with getting free traffic outside of Google – I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you might have. Also, please share any free traffic methods you know that aren't reliant on Google!