If you’re at all interested in SEO and online marketing, then you would be well aware of Google’s tendency to swallow up more and more of the first page of results with advertising and their own properties. Depending on your screen resolution and what you’re searching for, you may now see 1 or less organic search results. Furthermore, the latest developments with Google Shopping have been seen by many involved in e-commerce as the thin end of the wedge (see the following screenshot for an idea of what the new changes will mean for online businesses).
Diversify or Die
The inevitable conclusion that one should draw from Google’s onward march towards dominating the front page with paid inclusions is that you must diversify your traffic sources. Further changes by Google are inevitable and you should not doubt that they will take every step they can towards taking a bite out of any traffic sources that they can monetize.
So the question then becomes – how do you diversify your traffic sources?
1. Facebook Pages
Social media marketing has been a burgeoning industry, but many online marketers have not really developed a presence other than to setup a Facebook page and purchase a few thousand likes in the interest of gaming Google with so-called “social signals”. A better approach would be to build a proper page for your site and make use of “like-bait”. For example, you could run some sort of contest giveaway in exchange for users liking your page. Don’t forget that on Facebook you can very effectively target niche demographics to find the sorts of users who may be interested in the site you are developing. Once you have these people as fans of your page you can market to them over and over again with page updates. This is great, pre-qualified traffic that converts well.
2. E-mail Marketing
No matter what you are selling – whether you run an online business or local offline business with a web presence – you should have something setup to capture e-mail addresses. Many people will visit your site and not commit to purchasing or picking up the phone – but if you offer them a free report, with some tips on the niche that they are searching for, they may well be inclined to fill out their details and click the shiny “Get my Free Report” button. Once you have their e-mail addresses, you can of course market to them in an on-going fashion until you make a sale. Never underestimate the power of e-mail marketing.
3. Sponsor Niche Forums
In many niches there will be related sites who are not direct competitors of yours. For example, there are often discussion forums in niches, where you can join up and become a sponsoring in exchange for banner advertising in the forum. Sometimes there is even a commercial section where you can advertise your site or services. Pre-qualified traffic, and far cheaper than the Google Adwords equivalent.
4. Niche Bloggers
If you offer some sort of service for your niche, there may be bloggers who write about it without any real commercial interest. Why not offer these bloggers a freebie in exchange for a write-up on your services? Thus receiving some traffic from their readership. Best to check that the blog actually has decent traffic numbers.
5. Sponsored Stories
Similar to 4, except you actually pay for a write-up. Many news blogs do something like this (paid reviews) and similar. if you find the right blogs this can work very very well.