Neil Patel says to follow this method to get 1,000 visitors to a new website without spending any money. But will it work?
38 Ways to Get Traffic Without Google
Website Traffic Diversification Strategies
One strategy we discussed to increase the value of your website is having diversified sources of traffic for greater stability and less negative exposure to sudden changes in any particular source.
Google can be your best friend or your worst enemy as they can make or break a website with their algorithm changes. This kind of unpredictability can drive down the value of your website and threaten ongoing revenue.
If you have a new website, or if you are trying to diversify your traffic sources to not become over-reliant on Google, you need options. Here is a list of 38 ways to get traffic without Google. I will also try to provide analysis and any strategic usage tips and supporting resources to help you get the most out of these methods.
An important note about these strategies: you can probably find claims on the Internet for just about every one of these techniques bringing in massive amounts of traffic. Those claims may or may not be true. Additionally, sometimes it isn't necessarily the technique itself but how it is implemented. There are effective and ineffective ways to use all of these. Sometimes success is due to timing (getting in on a hot trend early, being an early adopter on a social media platform, etc.) and sometimes it is due to factors entirely outside your control.
The best thing to do is pick a few, do some research on ways to strategically implement, and then test on a small scale before devoting a lot of time or other resources to ramp it up as an ongoing traffic strategy.
One of the best ways to get great, targeted traffic is to reach out to those who already have it and are considered thought leaders by their audience. What they say, and who they link to, will hold more weight with their audience and will give you a better shot at exposure to their followers.
Influencer outreach is not easy. Everyone wants exposure to the audience they have worked hard at building. But there are ways to align your interests with theirs and work out win-win partnerships.
#1 – Interview Influencers
Interviewing an influencer can be a great way to get exposure to their audience. You can conduct interviews in a variety of ways – live or recorded in audio or video formats, or via pre-written questions that the interviewee can submit and you then post on your site.
The goal here is to get the influencer to share the interview content with their audience via social media, website, email list, and so on to bring people to your site to listen to or read the interview.
Target influencers that are a near match to your own business but not a competitor. For example, if you are a blogger focusing on parenting advice, interviewing someone in the healthy food, child safety, or education niche could all be good fits. Additionally, think about how your audience may also benefit the influencer. I recommend choosing influencers who you feel absolutely comfortable referring your audience to and recommending their advice, products, or services.
Also, when you ask the interviewee to share the interview, host a version of it on your site and provide a link. If the influencer shares an iTunes or YouTube link, you will only get a small portion of those visitors clicking through to your site.
- The Art of the Podcast Interview: What I've Learned from 700 Episodes – Podcast host Srinivas Rao shares insights into guest selection, getting interviewees to say yes, research he does before the interview, and his question asking process.
#2 – Be Interviewed By Influencers
With the rise of YouTube and podcasting, interviews are now accessible to just about anyone. Interviews are an opportunity for a thought leader or influencer to introduce you to their audience. Since the audience already values the thought leader (host) by committing to listen to their program, as a guest, you will have a type of instant credibility with that audience since the host obviously believes you have something of value to say to his or her listeners.
Why would someone want to interview you?
Interviewers are looking for someone who can provide unique information, insight, or entertainment to their listeners.
- You may be an Internet business success story with an interesting background or journey.
- You may have developed a unique product or approach to serving your industry.
- You may have specialized insight into your particular industry.
- You may have effective marketing or business practices that are working particularly well right now.
There are different reasons why you would want to be interviewed. Getting on some programs will give you mass exposure (Joe Rogan Experience) but may not result in targeted traffic that leads to customers. Others might give you bragging rights and the opportunity to say “I was interviewed by so and so” which can increase your credibility.
Since getting traffic without Google is the focus of this article, target programs whose audience is the best match for your desired target audience and will allow you to offer some sort of incentive for listeners to go to your site to get something they value for free or at a discount. Just because you are on a program doesn't mean people will be interested in visiting your site. They need a compelling reason.
- If you would like more help and advice in getting interviews, check out RadioGuestList.com. They have a booking service to connect you with popular radio programs and podcasts and free tips to help you with the process.
#3 – Influencer Roundup
Instead of interviewing one influencer, what if you interviewed many with just a few questions, or maybe even only one, and then summarized all their answers in one piece of content? This technique is called an “influencer roundup.”
The influencer roundup is a great content marketing technique because it gives you access to a number of influencers who can then promote the finished work to their audience. Additionally, it gives your readers perspective on a topic from a variety of thought leaders.
- Attract influencers that are the best match for your target audience and those you want to create longer term relationships with to get the most out of your outreach.
- Go the extra mile to feature the expertise of the influencers who participate in your round up. Let your audience know exactly who they are, why they are considered experts or thought leaders, and link freely to their sites and services. This honors their time for participating in your round up and will also incentivize them to share your work to their own network.
- Examples of Roundups – 82 Experts Share Their Favorite Influencer Marketing Tips to Increase Exposure, 80 Productivity Tips From Incredibly Busy Experts
- HubSpot has a nice resource called “A Simple Guide to Creating an Expert Roundup Post” which should help you if you haven't done one of these before.
- Smart Blogger – The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Expert Roundup Post That Gets 1000s of Shares
#4 – Influencer Citation and Outreach
Another way to get the attention of influencers and possibly get them to share your content is to cite them in your work whether it is mentioning their handles in your tweets, including a quote or idea and linking to them in a post, or including them in a numbered list.
Once you do, contact them via email or social media and let them know you have cited them. You can either ask them to share your content with their audience or take a less direct route and not ask for a favor in return.
#5 – Influencer Guest Writing
One other strategy you can use to get access to an influencer's audience is to host their content on your site – either in the form of a new guest post or something they have already written – if they agree to share it via email, on their social networks, etc.
Depending on the influencer, this might be a challenge if you don't have much traffic and an audience that the influencer wants access to. Here are some ways around that:
- Offer to promote their post via free and/or paid advertising if they agree to promote it also to their social network.
- Offer to produce a content upgrade for the work and then share any email addresses or survey content you capture (make sure to indicate any of this sharing when you capture the information to avoid privacy violations).
This next set of tips centers around enhancing your existing website content to get more exposure to new traffic channels.
#6 – Translating Into Other Languages
Translating your existing content into other languages can have a large potential upside but it can also be very expensive. Last time I checked, some of the major translation services were charging around .10 cents a word to translate from English into some of the larger language groups like Hindi or Mandarin. Pricing will of course fluctuate depending on quality, how fast you need the translation, and competition but be aware if you are writing long form content, translating it can be costly. After all, if you pay for a cheap service, how do you know if the translation is accurate?
However, if you are trying to break into international markets, translation may be a very strategic way to do it. It may also provide access to journalists, bloggers, and foreign language search engines – all of which could bring quite a bit of traffic. But realize that if you attract people through a foreign language, you may have to follow up and service them in that language as well.
#7 – Inline Social Sharing
Social sharing buttons on your web pages don't always get clicked. One way to encourage more social sharing is by adding prompts within the body content itself. When people read or see something they like, social sharing buttons facilitate the easy sharing of an image, a quote, and so on.
Here are a few tools that help facilitate inline social sharing:
- Inline Tweet Sharer – create click to tweet text within the body of your writing.
- Easy Social Share – If you want a tool that offers inline click to tweet for Twitter, buttons for Pinterest pinning near your images, and a lot more for only $20, this is definitely worth a look. It gets very good reviews over at Code Canyon.
Your Content On Other Sites
These techniques involve the placement of your content (posts, images, audio, video, etc.) on sites you do not own for the purpose of getting in front of their existing audience who will view your content and click through any links to your site.
#8 – Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has been around for a long time but still remains a viable means of traffic generation and link building.
The technique is simple: find sites that are looking for guest writers, submit content with links to your site either in the body of the content or author profile, and hope people click through to your site.
- If you are going to place unique, quality content on other sites rather than yours, choose the site carefully. Go for higher traffic sites that cater to your target audience.
- When evaluating a site to write for, look at other posts by guest writers to see if they have many social shares. If so, it is likely the site owner is promoting the content. If you aren't sure if they do, ask before submitting your content.
- Offer a bonus on your own site for readers of the post. Make it a content upgrade (something you offer of value that is related to what you wrote) so it is relevant to readers and incentivizes them to click through.
- Backlinko: The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging – Brian Dean is a smart guy and he doesn't waste your time with his content. This is a guide worth reading.
#9 – Content Swap
Related to guest blogging is the content swap. Here each site owner agrees to write for, or provide previously written content to, the other and then promote it.
Content swaps might be a good follow up offer if a person is hesitant to allow you to write for them or doesn't want to write for you. This method ensures each party gets content for their site and subsequent promotion.
#10 – Content Syndication
If you have great content written that you don't mind posting on other sites, content syndication is the strategy for you. Yes, you will be posting the same content in multiple places but it is still a viable strategy to get some extra traffic without any extra work.
Remember to always give readers a reason to click through to your site rather than just reading your content for free and not doing anything to benefit you. Links within the content to other pages on your site and free bonuses or content upgrades for readers are both options to try.
After you publish your content on your site, try waiting two weeks before syndicating it elsewhere. This will give Google plenty of time to see your content first on your site (provided you are getting crawled regularly and/or using XML site maps connected to Google Search Console). If you can also submit a canonical URL to the site you are syndicating to, that will also identify the content on your site as original. If that isn't possible, you can include the text, “This article was originally published at [Mysite.com]” with a link to your original article.
Here are some places you can syndicate your content:
#11 – Infographic Marketing
Infographics are a way to visually represent data or concepts in pictures rather than only writing. They are typically distributed through embed codes that other site owners can easily add to their web pages which often include a link back to your site.
Since infographics typically contain all the necessary information on them, viewers need a reason to actually click through to your site. To encourage click-throughs to your site, offer a solution to a problem raised in the infographic.
For example, if the infographic is about how much the average American family's debt has increased over the last 50 years, include a link in the infographic embed code to a post about “10 Strategies From Financial Experts to Reduce Your Debt the Quickest.” (Property of SoloIntel.com – All Rights Reserved)
Infographic templates you can use to build your own infographic:
#12 – Podcasting
With inexpensive recording and editing equipment and free distribution platforms like Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and Google Podcasts, podcasting might be a good way to build an audience and get some traffic.
Podcasting isn't easy. It is going to take time and promotion to build an audience large enough to drive meaningful traffic to your site.
Always give listeners a reason to type in your URL to go to your site with freebies, content upgrades, or other ways to engage in a deeper way with subject matter related to your podcast.
- Podcast Insights: How to Start a Podcast – an in-depth tutorial on how to get set up, what equipment you will need, recording, editing, and promotion.
- Fire Nation – How to Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting
#13 – Instagram
Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media powerhouse, especially with the age 18-29 demographic. Statista reports that its June 2018 active monthly users hit one billion (source).
Elise Darma has an interesting technique to leverage Instagram's “stories” feature to drive traffic to your site. This technique is designed to get traffic from your existing Instagram followers.
But what do you do if you don't have any Instagram followers?
You can find others who do and offer to implement this technique for them. Explain that you can help them get more traffic from their existing Instagram audience. Offer to do it once for them in exchange for including a link to your site somewhere. If it works out well, you may be able to continue this exchange on an ongoing basis for them and for other sites as well.
#14 – Slideshare
Slideshare is a presentation, infographic, and document sharing site owned by LinkedIn. It has been a popular distribution channel for conference speakers who want to share their slide decks but has grown into an even broader sharing tool.
- Take some of your most popular blog posts and turn the main points into a slide presentation with supporting visuals, stats, etc. Provide a link to the original article for readers to click through.
- Neil Patel – A Step-by-Step Guide to Driving Qualified Traffic From SlideShare Presentations
- SmartBlogger – How to Get Insane Amounts of Traffic and Subscribers from SlideShare
#15 – YouTube
YouTube is the second largest search engine and reports over 2 billion logged in users every month. Be aware that 70% of the total viewing time comes from mobile devices (source). Needless to say, there is a massive opportunity to build an audience for most website owners.
Unlike Google search whose purpose is to lead visitors to sites they are looking for, YouTube's goal is to keep as many people on their site and continually viewing as possible to maximize ad revenue. Therefore, it takes a different kind of strategy to get high view counts and send traffic to your site.
Take a look at how the guys at Income School do it:
Social media can be hit or miss with sending traffic to a site. For every outstanding success story there are thousands of efforts that go nowhere. However, social media is still worth testing and we will provide some resources on how to maximize effectiveness on each platform.
#16 – Blog Commenting
One of the features that makes a blog a blog is the ability to interact with the author and other readers in the comments section.
Obviously blog comments have a long history of being incredibly spammy with many publishers (including myself) opting not to deal with the headache of trying to moderate them. However, there are still plenty of places where you can join the discussion and possible include a link to your content if you are smart about it. Still, it probably won't bring you a ton of traffic but might be worth testing on high traffic and targeted blogs.
Search for popular blogs that have written on topics related to some of your existing content. Check the comment policy first to see if links are allowed. If not, move on. Where relevant, in the comments section, offer a shortened summary of one of your blog posts and provide a link for other viewers to read the long version. The trick is to make sure your summary is in line with the flow of discussion. If it sticks out and looks like a blatant promotion, it will probably get deleted.
It is also helpful to get your comments as close to the top of the comments section as possible rather than buried under very long discussions.
- RankXL – How to Write Blog Comments That Actually Drive Traffic
- SmartBlogger – How to Write Good Comments That Stand Out
#17 – Forum Commenting
Forum commenting is like blog commenting. It takes a lot of care and strategy to avoid angering the community and getting kicked for spam. Forums can drive good, targeted traffic but it often takes time to nurture your reputation in the community and to actually post some really good information along with an incentive for readers to click through.
- Look for forums that allow signature links. Some still do and these will give you much more exposure every single time you contribute.
- Look for targeted communities where you can contribute your expertise in short form and then link to places on your website where members can read longer explanations. Most forums appreciate shorter and more concise versions of longer works.
- If possible, try to develop relationships with forum owners so you can provide discounts or other extras to forum members or even special advertising rates.
- Take a long term approach with strong forums that contain your target audience. Earn trust over time. Good forums are getting more rare over time and blowing your reputation early is foolish.
#18 – Facebook Groups
Facebook groups have supplanted forums in many ways as the top communities on the Internet. As with forums, its best to take a long term approach and become a valued, contributing member of the community and not burn trust by dropping promotional links right away.
#19 – Slack Communities
Slack is a group chat/messaging software program that has exploded in popularity. Its become a great way to start and grow private communities of all types and is similar to Facebook groups.
Like most communities, you will need to prove yourself a faithful contributor and not a mere drive-by spammer. By contributing your knowledge and expertise, opportunities will arise to link to your existing content.
- Slofile – provides a way to discover Slack communities to join.
#20 – Reddit
Whereas Yahoo hasn't done well keeping up on the social front and their groups have all but died, Reddit is as popular as ever. In fact, Amazon's Alexa reports that Reddit is right behind Facebook and ahead of Wikipedia in traffic count in the United States (source).
Reddit is friendly toward links but very unfriendly toward self-promotion and marketing. Therefore, its a community that takes a long-term commitment to earn trust through valuable contribution. Every comment can be voted on, either up or down, by other Reddit users to indicated whether they think it was valuable or not. That's a high level of accountability from the community.
#21 – Q&A Sites (Quora, Stack Exchange and others)
I'll admit right away I am not a big fan of Q&A sites. Even though Quora often shows up in Google search results at the time of this writing (October 2019), the content is often spammy and not that helpful. Additionally, I feel that answering questions to the quality needed to do well on these sites is best done on your own site or on the sites of influencers.
That being said, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of people getting good traffic from these sites so I want to include them as an option.
Popular Q&A Sites:
#22 – Twitter Chats
The problem with getting traffic from Twitter is that most tweets don't live very long in someone's feed. That makes it harder for links to get noticed and clicked to generate meaningful traffic.
One way around this are Twitter chats. These are set times where a host gathers a group of people for a live discussion. Participating gives you an opportunity to share a link to one of your helpful pages.
- Tweet Reports – Twitter Chat Schedule – Claims to be the world's largest list of Twitter chats.
- Raven Tools – Understanding Twitter Chats: A Guide to Start & Join the Conversation
#23 – LinkedIn Groups
Just like Facebook, LikedIn, the world's largest business focused social networking site, has its own groups to join and participate in. You can find groups through the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn page.
The strategy for LinkedIn groups is the same as any other community. Contribute regularly and build trust. When it makes sense, post shorter summaries and then link out to longer versions that people can read on your site. Some groups may allow you to promote your content directly by starting a conversation (read the posting rules). Pay attention to what the group tends to interact with so the content you post is targeted and actually gets a response.
Additionally, you may want to try and start your own group designed to attract your target audience.
Sometimes creating a product can not only help you generate revenue, but it can give you access to traffic channels that weren't available to you before. Here are some ideas.
#24 – Create a Kindle eBook
If you are blogger, you may have already written enough content to put into an ebook. This gives you an opportunity to get your content into the world's largest marketplace – Amazon.
eBook creation can do several things for you. It can:
- Help position you as an expert or thought leader in your industry.
- Provide a new revenue stream.
- Get you access to the Kindle marketplace
- Provide some traffic when you include links to your site throughout the book.
Don't expect large traffic volumes with this technique. The percentage of people that will actually click the links in the ebook will be much lower than those who download or purchase the book.
- Always give readers an incentive to click through to your site. At the very beginning of the book, you can tell them to download any free supporting material at your site as a gift for purchasing the book.
#25 – eBook Giveaways
Getting enough sales of an ebook to drive traffic may not be viable. If that isn't working, give the ebook away. Amazon will allow you to offer an ebook for free.
If you had previously sold the ebook (or listed it for sale), make sure you include the original price in your giveaway promotion. The higher the original price, the more people will value getting it for free.
- Promote your free ebook giveaway through blogs that already have access to your target audience. Provide a link to a free content upgrade for any blog that promotes your ebook. Or work out some other kind of trade with the site owner in exchange for promoting your giveaway.
#26 – Create a Udemy Course
Course creation can be very profitable in and of itself. You can also promote your website and supporting material through any course you create.
Udemy is a very large course marketplace with a massive audience. It costs you nothing to create, host, and promote a course through their system but they will take a large percentage of the sale (see the cost to create a course on Udemy for details).
However, once you create a course on Udemy, you can upload it and sell it on other course marketplaces (see 10 places to sell your course online for a list).
- Once again, always give your viewers a compelling reason to go to your site. Provide essential course materials, case studies, or anything else of vital interest to your students on your site.
This approach is time consuming and may not bring you a high volume of traffic but it will be very targeted and you will have already created a great relationship with your audience as their instructor. It may be a great way to build long term followers and customers.
Getting traffic from email lists can be very targeted and high quality since subscribers tend to be much more committed to a site than your typical visitor. Here are some ways to leverage email for traffic.
#27 – Email List Swap
If you have an email list already built up, you can offer to swap promotion with another site and their list. If you have a very unequal number of subscribers, offer to promote multiple times to make up for the difference.
- Create a special offer, bonus, or content upgrade for the email list audience you are attracting to incentivize click throughs. Seeing a link is not enough. People always need a reason to click.
- epolitics – Email List Swaps: How to Be Happy After the Fact
#28 – Other People's Email Lists
If you don't have an email list yet, or it isn't large enough to do a swap, you can still try to get exposure on other people's lists.
You can always pay for advertising on a list but paying is no guarantee of a good return on investment.
Instead, get creative. Offer something else in exchange like:
- Writing an article for their blog
- Hosting one of their articles
- Promoting their site or content for them on one of the platforms mentioned in this list (LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, Quora, etc.)
If you find methods on this list that work well for you, you can always use that knowledge as barter to help promote other sites in exchange for promoting your content.
#29 – Link From Your Email Profile
This isn't going to get you a lot of traffic but if you haven't yet, link to your website via your email signature. Make all those emails you send work for you!
For lack of a better label, I am calling these techniques “free citations.” What you are trying to do is get your links in places without having to provide a whole lot of content (or any at all).
#30 – Broken Link Building
As a tactic, broken link building has traditionally been done for the SEO benefit. But also think of it in terms of traffic generation.
Broken link building involves identifying links that no longer work on other sites, notifying the site owner, and asking if they would link to one of your resources instead.
ahrefs has a great method of leveraging broken link building. Here is a video:
Broken link building is effective but time consuming. I suggest outsourcing the process.
#31 – Get Listed in a Post Roundup
A post round up is a curated list of posts that some bloggers like to share with their audience. They are basically looking for great content to send their readers. This is a perfect win-win opportunity.
How do you find link roundups to be a part of? Quicksprout suggests the following search operators:
- “keyword” + “link roundup”
- “keyword” + “weekly roundup”
- “keyword” + “weekly link”
- “keyword” + inurl:roundup
- “keyword” + intitle:roundup
- “keyword” + best posts of the week
- “keyword” + best blogs of the week
- Quicksprout – How to Build Links and Traffic from Link Roundups
#32 – Get Listed With Content Aggregators
Content aggregators look for great content written by other sources, sift through it, and then present it in a new way to their audience. A link roundup is basically content aggregation on a smaller, more focused scale.
If you think about it, a search engine is merely a content aggregator that sorts content based on search and quality criteria and then presents it to its audience via a search results page. Other content aggregators include RealClearPolitics, Drudge Report, and AllTop.
Content aggregators that both have a strong audience that will actually click on links and allow submissions are hard to find. The best content aggregators typically have their own system of finding and displaying content. Those that accept submissions are often spammy.
To find good aggregators, use search operators like:
“my industry” + aggregator
Helpful Resources (Aggregators):
Free stuff = people.
#33 – Giveaways
Everybody likes free stuff. Giveaways can bring in the traffic if the offer is of a high perceived value and the giveaway is properly promoted. It can also be a great way to quickly build an email list.
- Make sure your giveaway is properly matched to your target audience. A church can fill seats with a free beer giveaway but is that really going to meet long term goals? (maybe if you are starting a new kind of church-pub…)
- Contact blog owners that are related to your industry who frequently advertise giveaways to get free exposure to their audience.
- Giveaways can also be announced in just about any social media platform or community we have discussed in this post.
#34 – Contests
Not much difference between contests and giveaways other than criteria for entry and how many people get the freebie.
Contests are great ways to offer higher value prizes to drive more interest. Additionally, you can get something in return from entrants like survey info, email addresses, social media shares, etc. Promote your contest on blogs, social media, and in online communities.
These ideas don't neatly fit in other categories but a couple are really powerful.
#35 – Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a free service where you signup to be a potential source of information for a reporter. If a reporter is interested in you as a source, they will contact you and you can receive free media mentions.
Since getting contacted is outside your control, it is hard to predict what kind of traffic you can receive. However, the effort is so minimal, it is worth signing up as a source.
#36 – Blog Co-Promotion Services
What if you could connect with other site owners and agree to promote each other's work on social media?
It sounds like a great idea in theory and sometimes it works. Typically you need to have a pretty decent social media following for these to be effective.
Here are a few sites that facilitate this mutual sharing:
- Traffic Generation Cafe – Triberr: Your Step By Step Guide to Being Heard
#37 – Local Business Directories
If you have a local business presence, getting listed in the major local business directories is a must. Here are the most important:
- Local SEO Guide – The Best Online Local Business Directories for SEO
#38 – Launch an Affiliate Program
If you have your own product or service, launching an affiliate program might be the most effective tactic on this list if its done right.
When you offer an affiliate program, you pay a commission to any approved affiliate who promotes your product and brings in a sale. Not only do you get traffic, you get customers which is what getting traffic is all about.
An affiliate program is not a silver bullet. You need good tracking software, smart policies, and need to guard your program against fraudulent tactics. You need talented affiliates who won't waste your time and actually bring in sales.
Fortunately, all those headaches can be dealt with if you are committed to the long term success of your affiliate program.
- Consider testing an affiliate program through a service like ClickBank that is already set up to provide tracking, payment, fraud prevention and has lots of affiliates ready to go.
- Only approve affiliates who already have access to your target audience. Fewer, high quality affiliates are much better than those who won't produce results.
So Which of These Techniques is the Best?
This is a large list filled with ideas, many of which are very time consuming.
So which should you choose?
I recommend picking out 4 or 5 that you think will give you the best return on your efforts.
Try picking 1 or 2 that might be quick wins (low effort, decent-high return). Then, focus on those that are most likely to bring you customers and not just traffic.
Where possible, test these methods on a small scale before devoting lots of time and resources chasing a technique that might not pay off for you.
Here's to your success diversifying your website traffic and reducing your reliance on Google!