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Alternative ways to drive traffic to your site

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the main way to drive traffic to your site – or is it? Google processes over 66 000 searches every second, so optimising your website for search engines is a must, but it’s not the only way to drive traffic to your site.

Depending on the nature of your business and your target audience, Google might not even be the dominant source of traffic for your site. Social media is a massive provider of traffic for most websites nowadays – sometimes generating over 40% of site visits for websites.

So if you can’t be bothered with SEO or Google rankings, how else can you attract site visitors? Here are a few methods you can implement that will boost the traffic to your website.

Create a YouTube channel

Social media is a vital tool for any website or online business. Facebook and Twitter seem to be the most obvious channels to add to your arsenal, and many companies are taking to Instagram too.

However, YouTube is often overlooked yet it can provide millions of views and even generate revenue for your business if you have a large audience. YouTube has over one billion active users, making it bigger than Twitter and Instagram.

The beauty of YouTube is that you can create your own video content (which is quite easy with smartphones), share it on your other social media channels and embed it on your site. Google displays YouTube videos high up the results pages, so it gives you a chance to reach a wider audience and drive them to your website.

YouTube is highly popular among people aged between 18 and 50, making it a valuable marketing platform if your target audience fits into this age gap. It can even function as a search engine. Many users look for content and answers to problems on YouTube as they’d rather watch a video than read a long, boring article.

If you have a YouTube channel, you need to link back to your website often. Add links to your video descriptions, put one in your profile, embed your videos on your site and encourage viewers to share the content too.

Take advantage of YouTube’s call-to-action options such as end-screen annotations and overlays. These can be used to link directly to your site or product page and appear at the end of your videos. Interested viewers can then check out your offerings quickly and easily.

Engage with your social media followers

Sticking with social media (yes, it’s an important source of traffic), simply posting and linking back to your site is not enough. That method will build a following but it won’t generate sales or site visits.

You need to engage with your followers, have conversations with them, make them feel appreciated. Half of all social media users follow brands too. This means that social media opens up a whole new target audience for your business.

If your social followers like the content you create and share on the platform, they’re highly likely to check out your website. Similarly, if you have meaningful and engaging conversations with your followers, they’re more likely to visit your site and see what else you have to offer.

No matter what social network you choose to use, you need to provide value for your followers, whether it’s through interesting content, entertaining videos or meaningful discussions. What social media users don’t like is being sold something.

Interruptive video adverts and bad sponsored posts are the bain of many users’ experiences on social media. Use social media as a tool to engage with your audience rather than sell them something. Know your audience and share content that they’d like to see.

Tips, advice, hacks and insights are some of the most popular content on social media, attracting likes, comments and shares. Get enough of these and your posts can easily become viral.

Team up with influencers

If you can’t attract an audience or amass a large social media following, then partner with an influencer and leverage their following. Influencers are people with huge audiences – like celebrities of the social media sphere. They have cracked the code and built followings of ten thousand or more people.

Influencers know how to engage with their audiences and in doing so, become trusted ambassadors for brands. If a brand is good enough for your favourite online personality, then it’s good enough for you.

If you need to establish trust with a target market, an influencer can be the key. They can motivate your brand to their followers and generate mass amounts of visitors to your site. This is usually done in return for money or product endorsements.

Nine out of ten people trust the word of an influencer on social media. If you partner with someone who has established trust online, then their recommendation of your brand can be a cost-effective method of marketing to a wide audience.

To partner with an influencer, you can either have them share your content and link directly to your website, or you can have them create their own posts on your behalf. Just make sure that they can promote your product in a subtle way if they create their own posts. As mentioned before, social media users don’t like overt adverts and sponsored posts. The influencer should be able to do it naturally and make it blend into the rest of their normal content.

If you don’t have the budget to invest in influencer partnerships, you can tag them in your content for free. This will drive some of their followers to your account and, hopefully, they will click through to your website if they like what they see.

Utilise forums and provide answers

Many internet users take to forums and question sites to search for answers. Google is great and providing information, but some people want validated answers from experts and professionals. This makes forums a popular space for knowledge-hungry individuals.

Some of these forums, such as Reddit and Quora, have hundreds of millions of users. Unlike Google and social media platforms, visitors to forums generally spend a lot of time on the site once they’re there.

If you are strategic, you can take advantage of these millions of users. Everyone on a forum is either looking for answers or providing answers. If you can offer great advice and provide real solutions to people’s questions, then they will trust you.

You can’t simply spam people on forums with links to your site – that’s the easiest way to get banned. However, if you host an ‘ask me anything’ (AMA) session, you can answer questions and refer people to your site for more information. Give them links to certain articles or videos on your site that may be of use.

Frame your content to fit the needs of the forum users – don’t bombard them with adverts or plugs for your products. Use threads to supply information. Success starts by using a good title; a non-clickbait title that expresses the purpose of the thread.

Tell the users who you are and how you can help. This is where you can provide some information about your business and expertise. Giving users this information is important as you can position yourself as an expert in your field with years of knowledge and experience.

To wrap up, you don’t need to rely on Google to provide all the traffic to your site. Although it is the first port-of-call for most internet users, Google can be tricky to master as their frequently change their algorithms which affect your website rankings.

The next best source of traffic after Google is generally social media. Learn how to use it properly and respect the unwritten rules about spamming followers with sales pitches. Influencers can help you navigate the social sphere to maximise traffic to your site.

Lastly, you can offer professional advice and expertise on forums and question sites to get users to search your website for additional information. This strategy can pay off if you approach questions and threads appropriately.

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Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.

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Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.

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Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.

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Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for the best tips on design, marketing and web development. We also share the latest industry news and fresh content to inspire fellow designers, creatives and marketers.

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