Hey all! Hope you had a nice weekend. If you know me you know I’m somewhat of a guerrilla marketer, meaning I work hard at finding and leveraging places to promote online through various sites and platforms. When you engage in this type of promoting you have to do it with a rhyme and a reason and not just haphazardly, otherwise it won’t be nearly as effective and you could come across as obnoxious. In fact, most people that try to promote their company or themselves online in this way don’t do it with the right approach. You have to follow some basic rules that will make it actually work for you and not end up a giant waste of time. No one likes seeing anything too self-promotional, like “This is the most amazing thing ever, check it out or you’re a loser.” Make sure everything you post is original content, which of course takes longer, but in the long-run will actually be effective for you as you promote online. Plug Google Analytics into your site so you can see all the referring sources of traffic you are building up. I wanted to cover as many of the free ways to effective promote your company or website online because I get a lot of people asking me this, so it will be nice to refer them to this page! Let me know what you think.
1. Building Out Your Own Site’s Content – first and foremost you should be building out a large site or blog, over time, filled with only original content on whatever theme or topic the site is about. I recommend using WordPress as your content management platform because it tends to index well with Google and index to more pages than you actually have with categories and tagging in the posts. There are also really nice themes you can use for your site that have great plug-ins already in the design. You should post new pages on a frequent basis (1-10 posts a day) to be effective with your on-site SEO/organic strategy. Your posts should vary in length and your post titles should be intuitive as to how people are searching as much as possibly, i.e. “How to find a flower Shop in Miami, Florida.” Then, your post content should also reflect your post title and other related phrases in the copy, but not too heavily, just mention related phrases as you write you post, otherwise it could be perceived as having to many keyword phrases in the copy, i.e. SEO spam. Every time you post a new piece of content to your site or blog it should be “socially shared” and bookmarked. This means taking the page url and sharing it on your Facebook profile, Twitter account, Fan Page…and submitting it to Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Reddit as a bookmark. You can also join LinkedIn Groups related to your site topic and share in up to 50 groups per article, but it should be related to what the group is about or it won’t be well-received. I have a whole process that takes me about 10 minutes of “syndicating” each new post I write. It works well to build the traffic. Over time, your site will have hundreds if not thousands of index pages in Google that will never go away, so make sure to build up your site into a content juggernaut.
2. Posting on 3rd Party Sites and Platforms – posting good content on 3rd party sites that rank well in Google is a great way to gain multiple rankings for a particular phrase or keyword, or rankings at all if its a competitive phrase. Again, you should post a completely original title and article to which ever site you are posting to. Some of the sites you can gain great search engine rankings by posting to are: article directories like ezinearticles.com, blogs that let you post guest post, and forums that have a blog feature for members. Even forum topics can get you great search rankings for certain topics of interest people are searching for. So you have to seek out these types of sites, related to your niche or topic, so you can post to them and leverage their organic rankings. Another amazing way to post content to other sites is through online press releases (I recommend ereleases.com – Coupon code: EXP75). Even though your release isn’t original every time it posts to a site in the distribution network, some of the sites that host the release rank well so it will bring in traffic and get some rankings. The other nice thing is you can embed some hyperlinks in your content on your top keywords, which can help your site rank better and get more inbound links from quality sites. Online press release are not free but very a cost-effective form of online promoting and work well which is why I’ve mentioned it here. So you have to go out and find sites, blogs, and forums that you can post unique articles and topics on that will link to your site. This is a great way to gain multiple organic rankings under certain phrases you are going after and gain new traffic sources. Obviously, the more you do this the more traffic will result. Make sure to include your website url, phone number, and other pertinent contact information when at all possible to maximize the effect.
3. Forums and Blogs – one of the best ways to get free traffic to your site is by joining online forums (like this one) that allow you to put a signature link in your profile. That way every time you post a new comment or topics on the forum you are showing a link to your website or blog. The more you post to the forum, the more people will see your signature links and possibly click through. These links can also benefit your SEO by creating more inbound links. The key to forum posting is to really get into the community and not post self-promotional content, but really contribute well to the forum. The sheer amount of posting you do will determine how many clicks per month you can get through your signature links. Similarly, you can search for all types of blogs related to what your website is about and leave blog comments on the posts you have something intelligent to say something about (use Google Blog search to find posts related to your site). Don’t just comment to comment without actually contributing to the dialogue otherwise the comment won’t get approved by the blog owner. You can also make friends with the blog owner in this way and your comments will be approved quicker, not to mention make a friend. You may even be able to get them to put a link to your site in their “blog roll” which is great for your site’s SEO, or exchange blog roll links. This is something you have to do on a daily basis and make it part of your routine.
4. Sharing Buttons – every page of your site or blog should have social sharing buttons like the Facebook Like button, Tweet button, Google +1 button, and the AddThis.com button which allows people to share and bookmark your content easily. Not having these buttons in the article’s layout is completely missing the opportunity for people to share your content with their friends. Facebook recently rolled out the Send button and the Facebook comment box which allows people to comment on your posts and it also posts it to their Facebook Wall. Connecting your sites as much as possible to Facebook IS the thing to do. Make sure to interact with and share your Facebook and Twitter friends’ content so they will return the favor as well.
5. Classified Sites – posting to classified sites is another great way to expand your organic reach by posting to well-ranking sites. Again, original content and titles wins the day, otherwise you are wasting your time posting the same content to multiple places. Some of the ones I like are: eBay classifies, Craigslist, Backpage, and Oodle (here is a longer list). But you should seek out as many free classified sites to post to as you can by checking in the Google search results and seeing what sites ranking organically under popular search (and obscure) search phrases. Over time, if you post to all of them, you will gain traffic from their organic rankings. I like the idea of posting your phone number on these types of ads to increase phone calls if you are a business and want calls.
6. Social Interaction – I’m a big proponent of pro-active social interaction on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think people spend nearly enough time interacting with their friends and followers content and posts. But if you really ramp up your interactions with your friend’s content, they will return the favor and interact with yours. When you Like, comment, or share a friends post or status update, they will likely return the favor and interact with your postings, which all of their friends will see and get you more traffic. Imagine posting an affiliate coupon code and link to your affiliate site, a friend Likes it, and then their friends could go get that coupon and buy from the merchant, earning you the affiliate commission. That’s what it’s about.
7. Videos – making little videos, with your target keywords in the titles, is a great way to leverage free traffic and search rankings. Google makes a practice of ranking videos in their search results and half the Internet traffic is going to Youtube, so making little vignette videos and submitting them to a few video sites can be a good way to gain additional traffic and business inquiries. You should add your site url and phone number in the video so people can contact you, but it’s another great, free way to get people to your content and then traffic to your site. Check out Fiverr.com to find people that can make you videos for $5 bucks!
8. Maximizing your Traffic – I would be remiss if I didn’t address how to maximize your visitors once their reach your site or blog since you are going to be working so hard to get them there. You can do several things to capitalize on your traffic such as:
– Pop-up window to join your mailing list (it works although it can be annoying if it pops too quickly).
– Adding a sweepstakes or contest to your site with woobox.com, which will allow you to capture visitors information so you can contact them later, not to mention it shares it to their Facebook Wall when they enter your sweepstakes.
– Having social sharing buttons in the layout, as well as the Facebook Fan page widget so they can Like your Fan Page right from any page of the site.
– Making sure to respond to all blog comments so people will comment again.
These are some ideas to gain more free traffic from the search engines and other Internet platforms to your website. People are still searching more than they are doing anything else when looking to buy products and services, so make sure you are EVERYWHERE. Of course it’s a work in progress and will get bigger and better over time as you flood the Internet with your wonderful, original content, articles, and videos. Now go out and make it happen! Thanks for reading and please leave a comment. Thanks!