I talk a lot about generating website traffic through SEO on this blog. After all, more than half of the traffic for most websites comes from search engines.
But it’s never wise to be wholly reliant on it—instead, just see it as part of the mix.
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, and the traffic you generate from search will fluctuate, sometimes markedly. So you don’t want to be fully dependent on it for the success of your business.
Developing multiple channels of traffic for your website gives you a lot of stability—and opportunities to grow your traffic in new and exciting ways.Don't solely rely on #SEO for traffic. Develop multiple channels of website traffic to both grow your business and reduce risk from algorithm updates.Click To Tweet
Here are five of the most effective ways to generate traffic without reliance on SEO.
1. Paid Ads
Using paid ads to attract traffic gives you a high level of control over the amount (and quality) of traffic you receive, which you don’t get with organic methods.
However, it can take time to optimize your ad campaigns to the point where they become profitable.
For example, you will likely be testing different options, such as different ads, to see what drives the best results.
There are a wide number of variables for paid ads including:
- Who you show ads to.
- Which ad platforms you use for your advertising.
- The format of your ads, such as copy, layout and visuals (depending on the platform).
The success of your campaign also often relies on where you send your traffic to—your landing page—and what happens after visitors arrive.The success of an ad campaign to a large part relies on where you send your traffic to and what happens after visitors arrive. #webtrafficClick To Tweet
All of this needs extensive testing too, constantly testing one option against another with relatively low budgets to start with, driving up results to the point at which your campaign becomes profitable.
The holy grail of using paid ads for traffic is where you know that each visitor arriving on your site is worth more, within a reasonably short time frame, than what you paid to get them there.
For example, let’s say you’re paying $3 per visitor, and one in ten visitors buys a product within the first 30 days that gives you $50 revenue.
That would mean that, while you’re paying $3 for each visitor to arrive, each visitor is worth $5 in revenue—or a profit of $2 for every visitor that arrives.
With such results, you can comfortably scale up your advertising.
To get to that point though can take longer than most people think or allow for.
Initially, you’re largely paying for data to allow you to determine who best responds to your ads, the types of ad they best respond to, and the type of post-click sales funnel that works most effectively on your website.
Some of the most commonly-used platforms for paid ads include:
- Google Ads—including ads on search, their display network and YouTube
- Facebook ads for ads on both Facebook and Instagram
- Twitter ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Pinterest ads
2. Social Media
While it can be challenging on most social media platforms to drive traffic from your posts without promoting them through paid ads (see above), as this graph from GrowthBadger shows, social media still accounts for around 5-15% of non-search traffic on average.
And that only accounts of course for direct, attributable click-throughs.
As your following increases on social media, and more people are seeing reference to your domain via your posts and profile information, a proportion of them will choose to find out more about you by going to your website directly or via a Google search.
Generating website traffic organically via social media means a combination of:
- Growing your followers: check out our guides for growing followers on Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
- Posting regularly and consistently, such as by repurposing blog content in different ways.
- Making your posts as engaging as possible (see this guide).
There’s also another aspect of social media that can be a powerful driver of website traffic long-term, and that involves building relationships with people you meet on social media who can become friends and business partners.
For example, you may develop relationships with people who you might end up working with on a joint venture basis, such as in delivering a sales webinar to their communities, jointly hosting a social live streaming event, or running a promotional campaign of some kind.
Each can deliver a large amount of traffic within a short period of time, as well as a significant number of leads (which provides for long-term traffic generation via email marketing)...
3. Email Marketing
As your email list grows, so does your ability to generate website traffic, largely at will.One of the key determinants of your ability to drive traffic and sales through email marketing is the quality of your relationship with your list. #emailmarketingClick To Tweet
Traffic can result from both one-off campaigns you run to your list, as well as longer running drip campaigns and nurture sequences.
Of course, the real purpose of email marketing (as with any marketing) is to sell—both directly, and more indirectly through relationship building—not to simply drive traffic for traffic’s sake.
But in the course of selling, you will naturally direct subscribers to sales materials on your website, such as landing pages and product pages.
The ability to drive traffic through email marketing depends on factors such as these.
Improving your email deliverability means doing things like maximizing your open rate and improving click-through rates, such as by using:
- Effective subject lines (here are over 200 examples of some of the best ones)
- Effective call to action phrases.
These types of engagement help indicate the relevancy of your emails to subscribers, which can help increase the prominence of your emails in often overcrowded email inboxes and keep them out of spam.
Your Relationship with Your List
When someone first subscribes, they often have little idea who you are or how your information is going to help them.
Creating effective email nurture sequences and drip campaign emails that build authority, credibility and a sense of relationship with your list is vital to help ensure subscribers continue to pay attention to the emails you send them.
Using a Quality Email Campaign Service
It’s important to use an email service that pays attention to deliverability and ensuring your emails arrive when they are supposed to.
If you’re not sure which one to use, here’s an overview of some of the best email campaign services currently available.
4. Content Marketing
Alongside paid advertising, content marketing is one of the most powerful strategies you can use for generating website traffic.
Of course, a proportion of that traffic arrives as a result of SEO. Your content gets found on search, someone clicks and, directly or indirectly, arrives on your website.
But that’s just part of the story.
For one, even if you do no specific work in terms of search engine optimization, by creating content on a particular topic of relevance to your market, you’ll still turn up on search and attract traffic.
But content marketing also means your content is discoverable in multiple ways.
Let’s say you create a blog post. Links to it from other websites will naturally build over time, attracting click-throughs, or you might pursue more active link building (see Inbound Links below).
People share the content on social media. You do the same. That’s more traffic.
You then start repurposing your blog content in multiple ways, such as:
- Adapting it into a story on Medium (here’s a guide on how to blog on Medium).
- Similarly, publishing a version of it as a LinkedIn article and/or an Instant Article on Facebook.
- Using it as the basis for answers on Quora (here’s the lowdown on using Quora for marketing in the right way).
- Adapting it into a video with tools like these, after which you can put it on YouTube and share parts of it natively on social media while advertising your URL.
That’s just a few ideas.
In brief, for each piece of new, original content you develop, you can then reuse and repurpose that content in multiple ways to multiply the amount of traffic it generates for you over time.For each piece of new, original content you develop, reuse and repurpose it in multiple ways to multiply the amount of traffic it generates. #contentstrategyClick To Tweet
5. Inbound Links
Businesses often pursue inbound link-building for reasons of SEO, but don’t forget the power of links to also drive referral traffic.
SEO aside, a powerful strategy for encouraging other sites to both link to you and encourage visitors to click on those links is to offer an affiliate program.
In other words, if someone links to your site with an affiliate link that you’ve provided to them, you agree to share a proportion of the proceeds with them from resulting sales.
The cost to you for acquiring a customer who arrives via an affiliate link is generally comparable to the cost of advertising, but can be significantly less.
For example, a successful advertising campaign may involve breaking even or going negative on the customer’s first purchase, but then profiting on what you sell to them afterwards through upsells and follow-up offers.
In contrast, you might offer a 50% commission to affiliates for a customer’s first purchase, meaning you profit from the very first sale. Plus, you’ll generally benefit from the immediate cash flow, with payouts to affiliates up to a few weeks afterwards.
Another relatively passive means of attracting inbound links is as discussed in (4) above—content marketing.
Create great content via a blog on your website, and people will naturally link to you as they look to point their own audiences to useful resources.
More active link building strategies include:
- Guest posting on other websites (another form of content marketing).
- Reaching out to relevant blogs, suggesting your own content as a useful resource they might like to link to.
- Reaching out to podcast hosts, offering to become a guest they can interview—in return, they will often link back to your website from the show notes as well as a blog where the interview may be transcribed.
- Joint venturing with other businesses, where you both link to each other's product or service as a recommended resource for your audience.
That’s five of the best ways for generating website traffic without SEO—paid advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and inbound links.
Pick one that you’re not currently using, start putting it into action, and enjoy the resultant increase in traffic.
And even if you’re not focused on SEO, the good news is that most of them will help your search visibility too, whether directly or indirectly.