As of this month, Google had almost 75% of the search engine market share, which means that far more people are looking for information on Google than on any other search engine.
So, if you have a new website, you should be putting most of your energy into ranking on Google, right?
Well, let’s look at it this way:
If you were traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast, would you only take a single road?
What would you do if there was construction? Or, what if someone built a newer, better, and more direct highway?
Would you insist on staying on the same route?
I bet you wouldn’t.
You’d be willing to switch to a different route, and then maybe you would switch to another one later. You’d keep taking different routes until you finally arrived at your destination.
There’s no question that Google is a great road to take. It’s wide, it’s clear, and it’s direct.
And if you use AdWords, it’s a little like taking a superhighway to your destination – a superhighway with a lot of tolls.
The problem is that Google makes changes to that highway all the time by changing its algorithms (an estimated 500-600 times a year).
Sometimes, those changes can leave you stranded on the side of the road (think Panda 4.1 in 2014).
You may have spent a lot of money on that trip.
If you put all your eggs in the Google basket, you could easily end up with no eggs and an empty wallet.
So, you shouldn’t put all or most of your energy into chasing Google and AdWords when you have a new website.
But how do you get website traffic without relying on Google? Believe it or not, it’s possible.
And you can even do it for free.
I’m going to tell you how.
You can’t ignore Facebook
You might have heard that Facebook organic reach is dead or users are fleeing from Facebook.
But don’t worry. Even if new Facebook sign-ups have leveled off or user number are going down, Facebook still has 1.8 billion monthly users worldwide.
That’s a lot of people.
Even if Facebook loses a couple of million users, it still has a lot of people.
So, if it makes sense for your business to be on Facebook, be there. But be there for more than just the socializing.
Use Facebook and other social media networks as hubs that you can link to your website from.
From Facebook, you can link to a blog, e-book, consultation offer, or somewhere else on your site.
Facebook lists your website right there for everyone to see. And when someone clicks on a post, it takes them directly there.
It’s true: Facebook’s organic reach is down. But it certainly isn’t gone.
Look at it this way: If you have 1,000 followers and a mere 2% of them see your posts, that’s still 20 people. 20 people may not sound like a lot, but any one of them could still buy from you.
The important thing is to remember the social part of social media.
Treat your page followers like you would treat people if you were networking IRL: Respond to concerns, answer questions, and engage on a regular basis.
For example, look at this example from MailChimp:
People like working with people they like.
A good place to start that relationship is on social media.
SlideShare is a hidden gem
The content on the site comprises some 18 million uploads of slide presentations and infographics in 40 content categories.
You can find information about anything that anyone could ever want to know on SlideShare in the format of a PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote, or OpenDocument presentations. And when you make a presentation, you can make it public or private.
Some 80% of SlideShare’s 80 million visitors come through organic search. That’s proof that it can be a useful tool for driving traffic to your website.
The great thing about SlideShare is that you can use your existing content to create killer presentations.
You can take an old blog, update it, and format it for a slideshow. Or, you can break down an e-book you’ve published and create a new presentation.
Search Engine Journal uploads their webinar presentations to SlideShare.
If you’ve recently given a presentation at a conference, upload it to SlideShare and give the content a second life.
Matthew Darby from HubSpot does this, too.
The results might surprise you.
Traffic Generation Café’s Ana Hoffman chronicled how she got 200,000 views, 400 new Facebook fans, and 1,400 clicks to her website by publishing nine presentations over 30 days.
SlideShare, she says, is now her second-largest referral traffic source.
Only 19% of B2B marketers use SlideShare, which presents a big opportunity for you to make use of the network before everyone else is using it.
You must be a LinkedIn member to use SlideShare. If you’re not a member now, you definitely should be. Start by signing up for a free account.
Once you’re a LinkedIn member, you can use SlideShare.
Now, you can upload your own presentations.
Once you’ve uploaded a presentation, be sure to share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog, and everywhere else.
SlideShare includes analytics, so you can look at your stats and see which decks get the best results.
LinkedIn publishing will get you noticed
You know LinkedIn as a valuable business network. But did you know that, by using the publishing tool on LinkedIn, you can drive more traffic to your website?
You’ve probably seen the influencer posts on your LinkedIn feed, but the people like Richard Branson aren’t the only ones who can publish on LinkedIn to get noticed. You can, too.
A lot of people publish on LinkedIn, so it can be hard to get noticed. The key is to post valuable, relevant content.
If people like what you have to say, they’ll want more. That will drive traffic to your website.
Remember: You’re not trying to sell something or promote yourself. You’re trying to provide useful information that will help someone solve a problem.
If you’ve ever posted on a blog, publishing to LinkedIn is pretty intuitive.
Even if you’re publishing for the first time, the process is straightforward.
There’s a space right at the top of your feed where you can post something to your newsfeed.
Or you can choose to write an article.
The interface is simple. There’s a space for a header image and an area where you can start writing.
There are a few important things you’ll want to remember. Write an attractive and enticing headline, include images, and use h1 and h2 heads like you would on a blog.
Just take a look at some of LinkedIn’s key influencers like Bill Gates.
Larry Kim is also a great example.
Follow in the footsteps of influencers like these to gain a following with LinkedIn.
Join the conversation in Facebook groups
Relevant groups on Facebook give you a chance to contribute to conversations in your area of expertise.
Think of it as networking online.
Do it naturally like you would at a dinner party: politely join in when you have something relevant to add.
Don’t talk only about yourself and don’t try to sell.
Groups are for people with similar interests who want to share ideas and information.
Genuinely engaging in this way will give you more visibility. You’ll build relationships and drive traffic to your website.
If you’re going to engage with groups, follow the rules of polite discussion: Be kind, don’t be disagreeable, and use common sense before hitting “send.”
You can find Facebook groups on your Facebook page by clicking on the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner.
You’ll find several categories where you can start your search:
Browse the categories, then click on a category you like to get some suggestions.
Choose a group and click “+ Join.”
Some groups will allow you to simply click to join. Others may ask you some questions before allowing you to join.
There are public and closed groups.
But people share more than just Snapchat tips. They also discuss Snapchat-related issues and marketing.
This is an example of a place where you could lend your expertise.
Be sure the groups you choose are the ones that are relevant to you before you ask to join. And be sure to read the group’s rules.
LinkedIn groups attract industry professionals
And LinkedIn users are there for one reason: business.
LinkedIn groups are an ideal place for you to keep up with relevant information in your industry, share information, network, and build brand awareness.
To find LinkedIn groups, go to your homepage, click on the grid in the upper right-hand corner, then select “Groups.”
You can either search for a specific group in the search bar or click on “Discover” for recommendations from LinkedIn.
Social Media Marketing is one of the largest social media marketing groups on LinkedIn with over 1,800,000 members.
It’s a forum for advertising and marketing professionals who are actively engaged in social media.
By posting to a group or adding to the conversation, you can build brand awareness and increase traffic to your website.
Again, engage in relevant conversation and don’t spam with promotion.
And, once again, be sure to read the rules.
Twitter chats drive traffic
Go to Google and search for “Twitter chats [the category you are interested in]” and find lists of relevant chats.
You can find chats for marketers that meet almost every day of the week, so there’s bound to be one that fits your schedule.
The chat #sproutchat meets on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. CST.
— SproutChat (@SproutChat) April 4, 2018
Generally, users ask questions one at a time (Q1, Q2, Q3, and so forth). After each question, visitors respond.
You can join in and answer, too. You may also be able to pick up some useful tips or just have a little fun.
Believe me: that last one is really helpful. Twitter chats can move fast, and it’s easy to forget to include the hashtag when you respond.
By automatically including the hashtag, you ensure that your responses stay and that other users can see it in the chat stream.
That way, if people like what you have to say or want to learn more, they’ll look at your profile and go to your website. Of course, you want to make sure that you have your website URL in your profile so that users can easily navigate to your site.
Get traffic with knowledge through Quora
Quora is a social Q&A website with more than 190 million monthly users. On Alexa, it ranks 128th in the world and 67th in the U.S.
People ask questions, and other people provide answers. That’s it!
There are hundreds of thousands of topics on Quora, so you’re sure to find something in your wheelhouse.
To join, you can use your Google account or your Facebook account. Or, you can create a login using your email and a password.
Quora will ask you for topics you want to follow and areas in which you have expertise, but you can fill that out later if you want. Pick at least ten topics.
By participating on Quora and providing useful answers to users’ questions, you can drive referral traffic – traffic that comes to your website from another site.
The more referral sources you have, the more you’ll drive a steady stream of traffic to your website.
These are visitors who specifically go to your site because they want to learn what you have to say.
That’s the best kind of traffic there is.
Give help, get traffic on HARO
HARO is shorthand for Help a Reporter Out. It’s a service that journalists use to crowdsource information for news articles.
According to the HARO site, there are 50,000 journalist queries each year. The service reaches some 800,000 sources and 55,00 journalists and bloggers.
The premise is simple: a journalist needs information for an article and reaches out to find experts in the field who can provide information (and get free media coverage).
These journalists work for some major news outlets like Time, the New York Times, Mashable, and Reuters. It’s pretty sweet to get coverage from those outlets.
The service is free for sources. You simply register, monitor, and pitch.
There’s an option to sign up for free, but you can also pay for subscriptions that have more bells and whistles.
Make the most of your email
Most of us use email as our main mode of business communication. If you’re like me, you’re receiving, sending, deleting, and responding to email all day long.
Think of all the emails you send. Are you wasting the valuable real estate at the bottom of the screen?
All you have to do is add the URL to your website (with a link) below your name, and voila! You’re promoting your website and driving traffic there.
Or, you can promote a blog post that will drive traffic to your site.
It couldn’t be any easier for people to find your site. All they have to do is click.
The average number of emails one person sends for business each day is 40.
If you have ten people in your office, and they all include the company website in their signatures, you’ll be promoting your website 400 times each day.
And you’re doing it for free!
But that’s not the only way to put your email signature to good use. I offer some other suggestions:
Blog longer and less frequently
To blog or not to blog? That’s the question in 2018 as content reaches a saturation point and it’s harder to set yourself apart from the pack when it comes to content.
“Harder” doesn’t mean “impossible,” however. You can still effectively use a blog to drive traffic to your website.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Isn’t blogging all about SEO and driving traffic from organic searches?”
It’s true: A huge benefit of blogging is that you’ll drive more traffic from the SERPs. But that’s not the only way that blogging can bring visitors to your site.
In addition to improving SEO, long-form blog content also results in more social media shares and greater visibility for your company.
If you want to thrive on social media, you need to give users something worth sharing.
You can’t expect users to keep sharing your short tweets, status updates, and pictures of your company and employees.
That’s all great as supplemental content. But what users really want to share is high-quality content that’s genuinely useful.
So here’s the takeaway: write and post quality blogs that provide value. You have to help readers solve a problem, educate them, or entertain them.
Publish longer posts, but publish less frequently. Rather than three or four so-so posts a week, write and post one detailed, quality post that’s 1,500 to 3,000 words in length.
In its annual blogger survey, Orbit Media discovered that there was a direct correlation between longer posts and bloggers reporting “strong results.”
So, take the time to do the research and put out blogs that are chock-full of useful and compelling information.
By publishing only when you have something substantial to say, you’re like the person who never raises their voice: When they finally do yell, everyone notices.
Just make sure that your blogs are attractive, reader-friendly, and have lots of images. Users love visual content like pictures, graphics, and videos.
Be sure to include recent (and accurate!) data to support your topic.
And, for goodness sake, make sure your spelling and grammar are spot-on. You don’t want to lose a reader for good because of poor mechanics and sloppy writing.
Try guest blogging
It may sound counter-intuitive, but spending your precious time writing a blog for another site – and for free – really can pay off.
The biggest benefit is that you can include links on a guest blog and drive traffic to your website.
And if you can drive traffic to a specific landing page where you gather valuable email information from visitors, then you can capture leads and add them to your subscriber base.
Then, you can use good, old-fashioned email marketing to drive more business.
If you do it right, guest blogging can be a powerful way to position you as an expert and earn your site valuable backlinks.
You should only guest blog on quality sites, and you should make sure that your guest posts are detailed, actionable, and engaging.
Don’t guest blog just for the sake of guest blogging.
Be strategic about who you associate yourself with. You’re aiming for authority and reputation, not volume.
And it’s not a matter of asking every blogger you find if you can write a guest post for them. You need to look for guest blogging opportunities, which can take some time.
Keep in mind that it’s easier to get other bloggers to accept a post from you if you provide them a little taste up front.
So find the best opportunities, focus on the right topics, and write amazing copy that provides value for readers.
Readers aren’t going to follow a link to your site – and ultimately part with their email information – unless you give them something they like or need.
And that means providing long-form, helpful, valuable content.
Just because you’re writing for someone else, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take as much care with what you write as you would on your own site.
Play nice with others, and they’ll play nice with you.
Offer a webinar to drive traffic
Too often, business people forget that they have something other people don’t have: knowledge about their own industry or niche.
You might take it for granted, but other people don’t.
Consider holding a webinar. You can help others out by sharing some of your knowledge while driving more traffic to your website.
Webinars drive web traffic in several ways.
First, by promoting the webinar, you’ll draw people to your website even if they don’t sign up.
You’ll draw people back to your website – and attract some new viewers – when you post the webinar recording to your website and promote it on social media.
You can turn the webinar into a SlideShare presentation and get even more traffic from people who go to your site after viewing the SlideShare.
And, if you’ve done a good job, attendees will tell other people about their experience, and you’ll get more traffic from word of mouth.
According to ConvertKit, the numbers are compelling.
Let’s look at that by the numbers:
That’s not bad for an hour of your time.
If you have the right topic and target the right people, your product will provide the solution to a problem they have.
Why not give them what they need while driving traffic to your site and making money at the same time?
Of course, webinars aren’t seat-of-your-pants, off-the-cuff affairs.
Webinars require planning, practice, and lots of promotion.
You’ll have to promote your webinar like crazy. It’s harder to do without paid ads, but there are ways to do it.
You can tell your subscribers about it with an email blast. But be sure to include personalization, and be warm and friendly so the recipient feels like it’s a private invitation.
Post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other appropriate networks you use and include a link that goes to a sign-up page.
Let any groups you belong to know about it if it’s relevant to them and if you’ve already built relationships. But don’t go in cold.
Yes, it will take a lot of time and effort. But the time and effort are well worth it when you consider the possibility of new business, visibility, and, of course, web traffic.
There’s no doubt that Google is a big player when it comes to generating web traffic and that AdWords can help you get where you want to go – fast.
But not everyone who is just starting out can afford to go all in on AdWords.
Algorithm changes sometimes have effects on website traffic that should prevent you from spending all of your time and resources chasing Google rankings.
I’ve given you more than ten tactics that will help you drive traffic to your new website without relying on Google. And the best thing is that all of the tactics I’ve shared with you are completely free.
Follow them, and your website visits will steadily increase. You’ll be well on the way to making your brand visible and attracting leads.
What other ways have you found to generate web traffic without Google?
About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.