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3 Ways To Grow Your Traffic Without Google Search

Blogging can be cathartic for the soul, but if you’re in it for the business, that blog isn’t going to do you much good if people can’t find it.

Growing Your Blog Traffic Without Google Search

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an industry standby – however, given Google’s frequently changing algorithms and updates, it’s far from a reliable science.

In fact, those algorithm changes can happen quickly, causing your blog to quite literally lose nearly all its traffic overnight… trust, me I know.

Penguin ate my own blog, WebHostingSecretRevealed.com, during the 2012 major update.

Sure, my blog was still there and intact – but my traffic wasn’t.

Because the algorithm shifts were so sever, I lost my search ranking and the traffic that went with it – so, I had a choice: let it go or reinvent. I chose the latter, reworking my blog from scratch and moving it to a new domain. WebHostingSecretRevealed.net.

Since launching the rework, I have consistently found and experimented with new ways to pull targeted web traffic – without relying on external search engine traffic.

It was a lesson that was hard to stomach, but in the end, it had to come sometime: relying on Google organic search for website traffic was not and simply is not a good business model.

I urge you to learn from my mistake – and again from my lessons learned.

There are, after all, plenty of ways to grow your blog traffic without relying on help from Google’s organic search results.

1. Passive Forum Marketing

With the exception of Internet marketing forum, forum members in other industries and niches are generally very friendly and receptive to receiving quality, helpful content.

So long as you’ve earned your spot on the forum, moderators are usually okay with senior members dropping a link in their contributions every once in a while.

As with anything, the rule applies: too much of anything is not good – so make sure not to spam the forum.

I’ve dubbed this tactic PASSIVE forum marketing for a reason – the idea is to provide useful tips, links, and content to the community only when it makes sense; typically, either when it of direct value to the conversation thread or when a member asks for it.

For example, if you are a mommy blogger, you might check out some cooking or childcare forums. In the process of perusing the forums, you see a discussion on breastfeeding troubles – conveniently, you recently wrote a blog about the benefits of breastfeeding. Although your blog isn’t specifically about do’s and don’ts or how to overcome difficulties, everyone needs a bit of encouragement from time to time and remembering why they’re going through all the trouble could do just the trick.

So, you comment in the forum, linking back to your blog post about the benefits of breastfeeding, making sure to offer your own unique words of sympathy and encouragement.

This is just an example, of course, but the best practices are key.

First of all, you need to find a way to make your content directly relevant – don’t make it too far of a stretch or you’ll just be annoying and risk getting flagged or banned.

Also, make sure to include unique relevant content to the actual forum – don’t just post your link.

You can use this same technique to promote infographics or even products that you are selling – just remember the best practices.

As for finding active forum threads, make use of the “inurl” search tool. For example, if you are looking for active threads on breastfeeding, you might search “inurl:/forum + breastfeeding”, “inurl:/vbulletin/ + breastfeeding.” Of course, you can substitute that end key term for the term you’re looking for.

2. Freebies Marketing

Who doesn’t love a freebie?

Better yet, who doesn’t love a really useful freebie?

Freebies are a great way to draw people’s attention – and traffic to your site. Not to mention that people are likely to share the opportunity with friends and their own readers, so you’ll get that added traffic, too… not to mention traffic from people looking for the winner announcement.

You get the point.

The freebie is really just the “something sparkly” to get peoples’ attention – you’re really doing it to draw traffic and grow your readership… that said, promoting your freebies actively where your target audience is likely to be is key.

Make use of that social share component by promoting your freebies via social media which has an easy pass-through, as well as via guest posting on other blogs – it’s all about making the most of an opportunity.

As for coming up with your freebie, think outside the box – it doesn’t have to be a free branded t-shirt or giftcard; it can be anything.

The freebie is really just the “something sparkly” to get peoples’ attention – you’re really doing it to draw traffic and grow your readership… that said, promoting your freebies actively where your target audience is likely to be is key.

For example, if you blog for an outdoor equipment e-commerce site, you are going after a relevant audience. Say you’re giving away a boat – not a speedboat, but a fishing boat – you’ll likely want to stay active on well-developed fishing blogs; you’re more likely to find your target audience there than a general stay active site.

Personally, my core business at WHSR is promoting hosting services. Rather than squeezing into the crowded Google SERP, I choose to target web designers and bloggers who might be interested in ready my hosting advice… simply put, it just gives me better odds of success.

Looking at how to reach that audience, I have, on occasion, gone the way of the freebie.

For example, I have created and given away tons of free icons via WHSR (see the library here).

I’ve also worked to educate and assist beginner and intermediate bloggers by giving numerous free tips (such as those found here).

While, of course, it is rewarding to help others, I don’t give these things away selflessly. The free icon sets earned me substantial attention from other bloggers which, in turn, resulted in new visitors and social followers, including TwelveSkip.

Be creative, be strategic, and be sure to take advantage of every way possible to promote that freebie and its results. This isn’t the time to be coy.

3. Guest Posting Done Right

Guest blogging is far from a hidden gem, but – guess what – it’s still the best way to build sustainable blog traffic.

Of course, anything worth doing isn’t easy…

The trick is to guest post on the right venues for your business – personally, Google PageRank or Domain Authority have never been my main concerns.

Instead, what I focus on is guest posting to build web traffic and my personal brands by working with influential blogs that have real, loyal readers that will read and engage with my content.

I’ve done guest posting for my own site, Web Hosting Secret Revealed, and have had tremendous success.

For example, this guest post on Blogging Wizard from April somehow got popular – in fact, Mari Smith tweeted about the post, bringing me new traffic and Twitter followers, not to mention helping to bolster and build my reputation in that particular niche.

Mari Smith Tweet

Of course, anything worth doing isn’t easy…

First, you need to select appropriate blogs.

A good way to start is by checking the existing blog posts – obviously, you want to know that they have a solid readership, so check to see if there are comments on their posts.

Also, check out social metrics – is anyone sharing their content? For that matter, does the blogger have active social media accounts with a sufficient amount of followers and activity? All of these are good initial gauges as to whether the blog is a potential fit.

Beyond finding the actual blogs, you’ll need to be able to provide value to those blogs. You’ll need to be able to write an exceptionally good post – and, of course, have a great understanding of your topic in order to provide a new view and content, in addition to answering questions and interacting with readers via the comments.

Not interacting is just lost opportunity – make the most of it.

What’s next?

In blogging, securing web traffic is only part of the game – you’ll also need to focus on conversions and creating opportunities to remarket your services and content.

In the conversion arena, look at ways to easily convert readers to clients or followers. Landing pages are square one – make sure that they’re easy to navigate, clear about the opportunity and benefit to the reader, and that they aren’t cumbersome to complete.

As for remarketing, focus on collecting email addresses so that you can continue the dialogue with that reader and grow your brand. Again, those landing pages and opt-ins are key.

I personally have used all of these tactics to grow my own blog traffic – without relying on Google’s organic search results. Sure, there are other ways out there and I continue to find and explore additional options – after all, the work of a blogger is never done.

How about you? Are you relying mostly on Google or are there tactics you’ve used to successfully grow your own traffic?

Share your tips and thoughts below.

Jerry Low
About Jerry Low

Jerry Low is a geek dad who is passionate about SEO and blogging. His site Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR) features tons of helpful blogging guides and hosting reviews written based on real test accounts. You can get more from him on Google+.

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