Google is a fickle beast; she changes drastically from year to year. Some businesses have lost income overnight because of Google’s penalties. If you’ve lost sleep trying to figure out how to keep up with Google’s algorithm changes, you aren’t alone.
One thing that has become abundantly clear as Google has shuffled through numerous animal names such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, is that relying on Google Search as your main income and traffic source is just not a sound strategy.
How to grow beyond Google Search traffics?
To grow as if Google Search never existed does involve a bit of work.
First, follow the below five steps and then work to ensure your traffic stays up even when Google is in one of her moods. That means sticking with the plan and finding new ways to promote your site.
1. Write an epic crowd-sourcing post
Leverage the reach of crowd via crowdsourcing and interview posts. Basically put, reach out to the readers you already have and get their input and feedback.
Invite bloggers, customers or other business owners who could benefit from cross promotion to share their opinion or tips. This will pull in more traffic and encourage those mentioned in the piece to share it as well.
Richard Marriot from Clambr gets thousands of social shares in his crowd-sourcing posts. According to Rank Tactics, his blog has "created a buzz" in social circles by interviewing experts and running SEO case studies.
2. Give out freebies that people actually want
The idea here is to use giveaways to promote your brand and boost traffic - who doesn't like to get something for free? However, when giving away freebies, keep your conversion rates in mind. What do you want out of it? Do you want subscribers to your newsletter, for example?
When you offer freebies, you gave a talking point to other writers. You give the public a reason to talk and link to your blog. If people love your freebie, such as an eBook on a niche topic, they’ll tell others.
Think outside the box when you’re marketing your freebies – promote them where your target audience hangs out. Understand your audience and where they go online and go there yourself. Be careful not to spam, though.
Also, when you release a freebie on your blog, don't just sit and wait for visitors to come to you. Stay active and reach out to influencers and tell them about your free offerings. Ask if they would tell their readers.
3. Create useful content that others do not have
Research what your top competitors are doing, and do something similar but better. Take note of the topic, and for example, instead of writing "20 Myths about Bloggers," write "50 Myths about Blogging."
Maybe you can add value by doing a survey, or an exclusive interview, or an experiment - the bottom line is you must offer something that others do not have. How can you make your site stand out and be unique?
For example, at WHSR, we cover loads of info that others don’t offer, such as an in-depth hosting review of BlueHost. We also aren’t afraid to tackle controversial topics. Because of this, we have some CPU throttling when a feature first gets introduced and it will receive 200 social shares before we even promote the post.
4. Participate or organize events to truly connect with people in your niche
What most people forget: You can market your online business in the offline world. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger created a real world, two-day event last year. You better believe those people are going to visit his site and read his posts.
Be sure to ask your audience to download your slides, visit your blogs, follow your Pinterest boards, and so on when speaking to groups and also when sending out newsletters.
5. Make use of Q&A platforms like Quora, Klout, and Yahoo! Q&A
Join these sites and then help answer members' questions that are in your niche. If it is appropriate, drop a link to your site. Don’t just drop links to drop them, though. Make sure the link truly adds value to the discussion.
Consider building custom content to fit into a hot conversation. For example if someone asked about how to make a beautiful birthday cake, you might want to create a round-up post and showcase 101 recipes for easy homemade cakes.
Winning traffic is only part of the game. You must promote your website and business with an end goal in mind. What do you want your visitors to do when they come to your website? Are you selling something? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter?
If you want to stay a step ahead of Google and her moods that can tank your traffic overnight, you’ll have to think outside the box and get creative in the ways that you reach new readers. However, with some determination, you can find ways to grow without Google Search.