It is not sheer coincidence that search engine optimization, or SEO, is the ‘holy cow’ of internet traffic, for it is responsible for more than half of it. Every second, Google alone processes nearly 100,000 search queries. Therefore, content creators do their best to exploit SEO tricks and gimmicks to their advantage—and push their websites to the top of the search. People with deep knowledge of search engine optimization can easily find jobs all around the world. It can’t but spark a thought that such high demand is caused by the urgent need to promote websites via this traditional channel.
However, it would be unwise to ignore the alternatives to SEO—at least because they make up the other half of what drives traffic to websites. As will be seen, not only do they diversify the ways your audience engages with your content but also make it more unique and tailored to what your clients would expect you to publish.
Social Media Engagement
Social media accounts for nearly a quarter of the traffic—including both organic and paid. It helps not only boost your website’s popularity but also establish a meaningful connection with target audiences. For starters, social media make it possible to tailor your message to people’s age, sex, interests, etc. By using this feature, you have every chance to amass a certain number of followers and then practically let the platform do all the work for you.
There are a number of pitfalls to watch out for, of course. First, in order for your social media engagement to be successful, you must keep your eyes peeled for what is trending out there. On Twitter, for instance, there is an easily accessible sidebar with a list of the most popular topics at a given moment; on other platforms, this is less evident—you might try to start conversations on what is currently relevant and just go from there. In any case, social media definitely requires a lot of work to drive your website’s traffic.
If you feel unsure as to how to use social media to your website’s Design advantage, a solid option is turning to influencers. In parlance, they are active on social media and have a certain degree of trust from their audiences—which is an ideal recipe for getting more people interested in your content.
According to some estimates, more than 80 percent of people trust online recommendations as much as personal ones. Therefore, there is every chance of your website’s popularity increasing—given that you hit the bull’s eye with the message. You should check out whether the influencer you’re going to work with endorses your kind of content so that your efforts shouldn’t fall flat. An influencer’s reputation and credibility are another thing to look out for, for you don’t want yourself embroiled in an online scandal.
Whether email is on its last leg or not is up to debate. What is important here is that email marketing remains an important way of communication between businesses and clients, with more than four billion email users and $7.5 billion spent on the industry in 2020. Moreover, for every dollar that you pay for email marketing, you could expect a return of $36 on average. Perhaps the reason is, according to a 2017 report by Adobe, that more than 60 percent of people still prefer email as a form of communication, and an average click-through rate for email is 3.42 percent—more than three times higher than for Facebook Ads.
Creating an email newsletter featuring your key content/products is, therefore, another tried-and-tested alternative to SEO. You should think of what you can offer via this communication channel so that people stay on the hook and are willing to go to your website. Some examples include a personal letter from the CEO; games/lotteries; discounts or other customer-friendly offers; and so on.
Do not completely shy away from paying for traffic. While seemingly an unappealing option, it could be a jumpstart to your website’s popularity: paid traffic, according to Brightedge, accounts for 15 percent of all website traffic. Some options include Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, and contextual ads. The drawback is that all of them, understandably, require money; and, when it comes to advertisements, people are generally reluctant to click on them because they do not seem trustworthy. On the other hand, paying for traffic puts your website in the spotlight and, provided your content and/or products are worth it, helps garner some solid audience to start with.
Last but not least, the overused but not that overrated ‘content is the king’ phrase. Relying on SEO completely rids your content of all the exclusivity and (likely) usefulness—which is why people are actually on the internet in the first place. And, without having something unique to offer, all the above substitutes for SEO will probably result in little audience retention.
While creating original content seems a simple idea, putting it into practice is definitely not. It requires taking into account both what’s popular out there on the web and what you, as a website owner, could propose. Ask yourself: What is your selling point? Why would people want to go to your website and not someone else’s? Spare no effort and time creating content at least at the earlier stages. And, be an active listener when it comes to your audience’s feedback—so that they will be arrested by what they see on your website and will come back again.