I LOVE free traffic. Finding ways to get traffic to my websites without having to pay for it has been a pet project of mine since the first day Google rudely slapped my first website off their search engine.
The top things I can share with you from my experience of getting free traffic are:
1. What works today most likely won’t be working as well next month.
2. Anything black hat will come back to haunt you (although there are positive outcomes using the digital dark arts – if you do it right)
3. Paid traffic is much more reliable and faster.
Places to Get Free Traffic
Broken down into its simplest form, the way to get free online traffic to your website is to either have organic listings for your website, OR have organic listings for something that will direct people to your website.
Your job is to supply the search engines with good information that they want to show people, or to hijack the traffic from the sources that are getting the traffic.
The term free traffic is really a misnomer. The traffic isn’t free. At the very least it costs time. Generating free traffic costs more time than the money it would cost to get someone to do the work for you. The good news is that; every link, every article, every thing you do will remain on the internet forever. Someday down the road, after the time has been spent, you will continue to profit, or be punished, from your labour. Think of every effort you do to drive traffic as a brick in your store. You don’t want to use bricks made of sand or poop!
As an example; I still get a sale or two a month from a video I did 2 years ago. It took me a few hours to make it and post it, but it has paid for the labour and time and continues to do so.
Back to how to get free traffic!
Free Traffic to Your Website
First a WARNING! Any free traffic offer that has the word “Exchange” in it would be a good traffic source to avoid!
– Link exchanges aren’t worth anything and could actually be harmful.
– Traffic from places where you click theirs in exchange for them clicking yours is also junk traffic.
Rule #1 when generating free traffic is to PROTECT YOUR DIGITAL PROPERTY at all times.
Your website is your business representative and you don’t want it swamped by bad company.
Places to get Free Traffic to Your Blog
Top two strategies are SEO and links (which is also a part of SEO)!
Whether it is your blog that is getting traffic directly or indirectly you have to understand the nature of SEO.
#1 Keyword Research
You cannot skip this step and succeed in SEO. You cannot get quality free traffic if you do not apply SEO.
Finding out the keywords relevant to what you are selling involve knowing two important metrics.
ONE – the
TWO – how badly do they
You want to find the people who are in your market and want to give you money in exchange for your product or service.
Google’s tools are great for starting out. There are more powerful tools but the basic’s can be accomplished using mostly free tools.
Here is a detailed post on how to do keyword research for your small business.
If you are new to the idea of SEO it can be overwhelming. Keep at it because it is probably the most powerful thing you can do for your business. After awhile it will make a lot of sense to you.
Doing your keyword research will give you a great overview of how much traffic is available for each of your keywords as well as make suggestions for additional keywords that you can use to “build out” your marketing network.
Seeing the total numbers of people searching for your keyword terms will give you a traffic goal to work towards.
The value in Long Tail Keywords
One very smart thing you can do is to start with the long-tail keywords and network your link-building SEO strategies there first. Then build out to more and more competitive terms. Let the big dog’s have the highly competitive terms to start. If you learn to dominate on smaller terms (less traffic) it won’t be long until you are a real contender for the more coveted keywords.
#2 Borrowing From the Neighbours
Part of researching keywords is actually taking them out for a test drive. Collect all your relevant terms and plug them into Google Search. Who comes up?
BTW… there are some
( *hint* keep reading )
See who the top listings are on the first three pages of each keyword combination. Make note of the sites and their rankings.
Next find out who is linked to them. You can find out their backlinks using different free and paid tools on the internet. After that you really do need to look at some quality paid keyword research tools.
Generally speaking the more backlinks a webpage (page being the focus word here), the more popular it is.
Be cautious about trying to repeat everything they do because MANY websites do have live links that are from link farms and links that were put in place by malicious competitors. Use your information wisely to pick the best building ideas.
The quality of the link will always be worth more than the quantity. With a little bit of research and applied SEO techniques – you have a good change of becoming VERY competitive.
#3 External Sources of Traffic
After you have learned the basic SEO techniques and know the keywords you want to get traffic for. You can broaden the area your target market will be able to find you by using your SEO wizardry on highly trafficked and high ranking websites and networks.
Top 10 Free Traffic Sources
3a. Article Marketing
This is an oldie but a goodie. Not as powerful as it once was but still good if you are taking the pains to make sure you are providing quality information and useful content.
The top two big no no’s are NO DUPLICATE CONTENT and NO BAD SPINNING CONTENT. Be lazy and you will get lazy results. At least don’t be lazy on the front end. The goal is to do good work on the front so you can be lazy on the back end.
It is challenging to come up with many ways to write one article. A couple of things you can do is hire someone to write on a particular topic for you or to write “related” articles that can still link using the same relevant keyword family or group.
3b. Classified Ad and Directory Networks
There are a tonne of FREE places to advertise your stuff. Make a detailed and well written copy to go with your [get it here] link to give your content a boost.
3c. Press Releases From a “Quality” Source
This one needs to be handled with caution. Just like the old link farms there are some really bad places pretending they handle a true Press Release. The top ones cost money. Alternatively there are ways to get a free press release from a reputable press company. One way is to do something newsworthy in your town and then talk your local newspaper reporter to put the news “on the wire” for you. It might get picked up provincially/state-wide or nationally.
3d. Slide Submission
Places like SlideShare and Scribd will take your content on their sites. Make some really helpful slides targeted to your audience.
3e. Forum Participation
Done right this can be a powerful source of free traffic and buyers.
There are RULES to forums and rule one in all of them is – DO NOT SPAM
When you interact, provide useful information, people become familiar with you. They will click your links, follow your recommendations, and investigate your profile. One very powerful thing is to realize that every post and comment you make also carries your signature and in most forums you are allowed a link in your signature.
A drawback to this is there are some loud trolls who make it their mission to be negative all the time which can have poor results for you. Even if they are just trolls people may accept their viewpoint. There are particular strategies that should be adopted when working forums for traffic.
3f. Social Media
This is a big one and continues to evolve and grow. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter etc. All of them have different ways to drive free and paid traffic to your website.
3g. Video Share Sites
Another HUGE resource for targeted free and paid traffic are video share sites. By submitting your video and optimizing it for the search engines you can get a lot of traffic to your site.
A couple of hints you can do is to make sure you have a clickable link embedded in your video (if available) that goes to your site. At least ensure your website address is at the bottom of the video screen so people will be able to find you.
Also in the video description, use basic SEO rules when writing it and make sure there is a clickable link to your webpage.
3h. Free Blog Sites
Using free blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress etc. correctly can bring targeted free traffic.
Expand on your main websites information on the larger free blogging platforms. This is similar to article marketing where you write related articles to the main page you want people to find. Don’t be too dramatic when using links and be sure you don’t violate the terms of service on the blogging network.
3i. Using Web 2.0
Sites like Hubpages will let you write on a niche topic. Similar to the blogging platforms. The free blogging platforms can also be considered Web 2.0. Some Web 2.0 properties carry a lot of juice and can rank quickly and high in the search engines. But – the “status” of the new post will fade in time. The SE’s love new news.
Here is a lazy trick for anyone who is bothering to read this far. In your search for your keyword, find a long-tail hub that is ranking high and then contact the owner of that hub to see if they might put in a link for a couple of bucks.
Something as simple as “you can read more about this stuff here” will send traffic your way.
3j. Write a Book
Write a book and upload it to kindle. Give it away for free and make sure the title and description are optimized for search.
That list above was just a small drop in the bucket of all the traffic sources available on the internet. Podcasts, videos, articles, interviews, webinars, guest posting, commenting, RSS feeds, and on and on.
And don’t forget to build your list!