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It's not easy for David to defeat Goliath in the battle for search engine supremacy. Here are other creative ways that you can drive traffic to your website.
I tend to fall in the camp that there are different places you drive traffic for different reasons and you should strategically market your product/service and content accordingly.
For example, you might be trying to get links and attention so you might use an info graphic or some incredibly useful guide to get links and social shares of your work. That helps get attention, but doesn't always get you sales.
If you are trying to get sales, you might focus on customer problems and long tail content to attract people who are looking to solve the problem that you can solve for them.
I try and do both and have them feed each other. Long tail content won't get me a lot of links, but can be great for targeting the right customers. Attention grabbing "link bait" is going to get me attention that ultimately supports that sales driving long tail content.
All of these sites have uses for either part of the equation, but you need to know where your customers are and be smart about what you are doing. Don't do long tail content on YouTube expecting it to get millions of views and don't do a viral post expecting to get a lot of sales. Understand your goals and set the right metrics to measure by.
Also, worth noting that if your product/service offering is terrible, it doesn't matter how much traffic you get.
One trick I use every now and then is I'll pick out the most ridiculously competitive affiliate programs/offers I can find - the most popular stuff off of ClickBank or whatever other programs are insanely popular, and then I Google for the obvious keywords like "product name", "product name review", etc... I then look at the google results to see what is working/ranking best and try and reverse engineer why.
I then take that knowledge and create non-spammy, non-junky content that follows a similar model as what I've seen work. My thinking is if it works for hyper competitive niches, it can work for something far less competitive.
What do people think of this list? Do you agree that these are the 10 best? Either way, I'm happy that a screenshot of GrowthHackers was included.
The channels that matter are extremely dependent on the audience targeted, and on who's doing the selling.
Rather than trying to enumerate all the ways you can use the internet, it's more useful to figure out where your intended customers are and what you could produce that improves on existing resources. Trying to "cover all the bases" is a terrible strategy compared to mastering a few that have high probability of high value. Expand after you hit a wall in your core channels, sure. But spreading yourself thin gives you much worse results, not optimal traffic.
So, counter-argument: wouldn't this sort of article give you some ideas on new things to try? Okay, possibly. However, a much more effective route to finding new channels to work with is to talk to your customers. Preferably your core customers, who are highly activated users of your highest-value services, not the guys barely touching the $25/mo plan that you probably shouldn't even be offering.
What traffic channels are they actively using? How are they using those channels, for what purposes, in what context? What resources do they need that you could produce, and what formats are most effective for their needs while considering the value of the end product as a marketing resource?
Exploit the daylights out of the "make X, better" route. If something is already generating traffic for somebody, improve on it. You already know it's likely to generate traffic, and you can use boot-standard customer development techniques to figure out what needs improving. "Actually doing the work to find what's lacking and improve it" is often the only ingredient that's missing.
Also, remember the golden rule: targeted traffic is worth $$$, raw traffic volume just makes you feel good when you check your Google Analytics dashboard. Go where your customers are, provide value to build trust, provide greater value in exchange for money, then work 10x as hard to retain those customers.
P.S. - Email deserves a waaaay higher rank on any such list. Super effective.
I think the author was just tossing out some ideas for people. The "10 Best" was probably just a way for him to draw in attention with the headline. Which worked, by the way.
You are 100% correct about the importance of knowing your audience, but you can't fault the author for not mentioning that. An article can only explain one concept at a time, and I think it's best to focus it, rather than try to present a few different ideas in one short article. I think this article is targeted at those with limited budgets, and really digging down deep to know your audience can be fairly expensive.
The one thing that I am a bit confused about is the inclusion of social media as one of the top ten, but then Google+ and YouTube are their own suggestions. In my book, they should be under the social media label, and we were ripped off for two ideas.
Again, I think the issues that everyone raises are valid, but this is a brief article and can only contain so much. It's more for a beginner audience, so you have to take it with a grain of salt.
Ok list...but nothing new. Surprised it is getting so much attention and comments. I guess people love lists.
The number one strategy in my experience is audience building and that was not mentioned at all anywhere that I noticed.
Think it's a decent list but wouldn't call it exhaustive. Maybe its my B2B background but I never underestimate the power of a great referral and the viral effect it can have.
I think they missed the most important one in the blog post and could partially because it was a rather generalized list. (+1 Jim).
1. Directories (aka review sites)
For SaaS companies, websites that list SaaS apps like GetApp, G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Moblized, AlternativeTo, SoftwareAdvice can generate not only traffic but high-quality traffic.
In other words, any website that your buyer is going to validate their decision or find similar products/vendors is a good target.
I was surprised to see forum commenting didn't have Quora's screenshot and that was the point I stopped scrolling through the article. ;)
Given the way search algorithms are developing, it is likely that maintaining a consistent presence, with strong core consistent messaging, across many platforms, will have a much greater effect on rankings. Google always wants to improve it's ad revenue but is equally committed to improving the relevance of the overall results.
Maybe we will see Twitter links and retweets having more impact than site SEO on page rankings. This would certainly boost the role of the content aggregators and provide an opportunity for smaller businesses to compete on a more level playing field. Professional social media users are more likely to share content from lesser known sources because it makes them look more connected.
Agree on Shalin. Directories (lots of them) also help to sustain a good ranking with backlinks. Although the best and mature way to generate traffic in b2b is twitter and guest blogging.
Stumbleupon missed in this list. I drove some greate amount traffic from SU in past.
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