If you think that the only way to get website traffic is paying for it – think again!
While it may be true that some of the “good old” free traffic methods in the SEO of the past are getting more difficult and unpredictable all the time, new methods are constantly popping up to replace them. There are still powerful free traffic methods that are still working today.
Many free traffic strategies revolve around creating and publishing engaging content. Whether the content is published on your own website or on someone else’s (for example through guest blogging, which is covered in a later chapter), it can help establish your site as an authority in your niche, and draw lots of targeted traffic to it over time.
The benefits of blogging
There is a reason you see so many websites incorporating a blog – it’s one of the best ways to gain free traffic to a site. Many commercial websites actually get the vast majority of their visitors directly or indirectly through their blogging efforts, but it does require a real commitment to see great results.
Here’s what regular blogging and content creation can do for you:
- Establish yourself/your site as an authority, and a part of the community in your niche. If your content is informative and engaging, it won’t be long until your readers see you as an expert in your niche, at which point you’ll find other related blogs and sites linking out to you regularly and sending you free visitors.
- Get better (and more) search engine rankings. Every post you publish will serve to increase your visibility in search engines. Even if you’re not doing anything else when it comes to SEO, just the act of regularly posting valuable content will increase your organic traffic over time.
- Power your other marketing efforts. Creating and publishing valuable content can be a great foundation for the other types of marketing you do. For example, every time you post an article on your blog, you can take out a few especially insightful quotes and post them on Twitter. Or, you can take a concept from one of your articles and turn into a useful “how to” video, which you can post on Youtube to draw even more traffic. You’ve seen me doing that in my blog posts.
What kind of content draws the most website traffic?
There are a few different types of content that is often referred to when discussing ways to generate traffic.
If you’re in a niche that lends itself well to long, in-depth “how to” posts, those can be one of the best types of content to create in order to draw free traffic to your site. Of course these articles take much time and effort to produce, but if they gain some recognition in your niche they can produce traffic for years to come. Just make sure you’re writing about something relatively timeless, or that you have the ability to go back and update it when needed.
The trick to make the most of this technique is to write posts that are better, more informative and of higher value than anybody else’s content. If your competitors are posting 2,000 word guides, shoot for 5,000 and include lots of pictures. That’s how you become a leader in your niche.
If you regularly visit Facebook, or read a lot of blogs, you probably come across one of these articles at least once a week. Typical titles would be things like “The top 8 methods to lose weight”, or “5 signs you may be in a bad relationship”.
The reason these posts are so popular is because they draw traffic, and require little effort to produce. People like them because they’re easy to digest – usually one of these articles can be read in just a couple of minutes. They’re also very “click friendly” because the titles make people curious, and they work great when producing content designed to generate shares and likes on social networks.
List articles may have click friendly titles, but the real kings of enticing titles are the so-called “clickbait” articles. As the name suggests, the whole point of these articles is to get clicks and visitors to a website. They’re usually low on real content, but much effort is spent on producing sensational titles that promise something real juicy. Examples would be “The shocking secret of <celebrity>”, or “Revealed: How drinking coffee can kill you”. This type of article doesn’t suit every website, but if your audience is one that also enjoys tabloid style magazines, they will most likely work quite well.
Other content creation strategies
Creating content doesn’t just mean writing and publishing articles on a blog. There are many other types of content that can be just as useful to your target demographic, and help draw more free traffic to your website.
In recent years, one of the most popular content creation strategies has been to create “infographics” and try to make them go viral. This can have positive effects on both search engine rankings (due to all the people who are linking to it) and direct traffic.
Usually, an infographic is a neatly designed graphic that offers some easily digested and interesting/entertaining facts in a niche. For example, a website that sells cat food could make a cool-looking branded infographic detailing the origins of every known cat breed, which would then be shared among cat lovers worldwide.
Another powerful content creation strategy is creating and giving away e-books and short reports. By including strategic links to your website in the e-book, you’ll gain more free traffic for every new reader. You should be careful so you’re not making it too promotional though, so don’t go overboard with links to your site.
The goal, as always, is to create something that’s so valuable and useful that people share it by their own free will. Just like all forms of content creation, it will also serve to establish credibility and position yourself (and your site) as an expert in the niche.
The alternative to giving away your e-books is writing longer, more in-depth books and charging for them. This can be a great way to make some extra cash, but it will severely limit the traffic you can get from the effort. For traffic generation, stick to giving them away and encouraging people to share them with their friends.
A newsletter can really be thought of as just another form of “blogging”, but it’s not recommended that you simply send out your blog posts as-is to your newsletter readers. Much better is treating it as a separate channel, and providing them with unique content that you’re not publishing anywhere else.
To get subscribers to your newsletter, you can actually use the e-book technique. Simply give away the e-book for free in exchange for a free newsletter registration. If your e-book is valuable enough, you can build your newsletter very quickly with this technique.
A few years ago, one of the most popular SEO methods was to submit articles to article directories. The same article could be posted on hundreds of different sites, each providing a link back as well as providing SEO benefits. Today, this method is no longer viable as a way to gain search engine rankings, but it can still provide some branding and traffic if done right.
What you would do is submit high-quality articles to the largest article directories (like Ezinearticles), and hope that people in your niche pick them up and publish them on their site or in their newsletter, providing a link back to you.Unfortunately, few people dare posting “duplicate content” (an article that’s also posted elsewhere on the web) on their websites these days, but many still use article directories to get content for their newsletters.
• Blogging is important for almost all websites and businesses in order to provide fresh content to your readers and the search engines. Having said that, it does require commitment in order to see good results so set a goal you can stay with be it one post per week, every other week, etc.
• Different types of posts/articles produce different results in terms of clicks and visitors – choose what suits your own niche and website.
• Content creation isn’t limited to just articles. Content can be images, infographics, videos, etc in addition to e-books, and newsletters which can also provide lots of value to your audience and help increase traffic.
• Article syndication is an old method that’s still somewhat viable today, as long as you don’t expect any SEO benefits from it