Unfortunately, ranking high in the major search engines takes time. You could wait anywhere from 2 to 12 months to claim the top spots, and if youʼre not on the 1st page of the search results, youʼre going to have a hard time making money.
So what do you do in the meantime? Do you just sit around and wait for Google to send you traffic?
Of course not.
Thatʼs a rough way to build a business. Youʼre an entrepreneur, and if thereʼs one thing entrepreneurs do better than other folks, itʼs taking matters into their own hands and making things happen on their own terms. So instead of sitting around waiting on the search engines to show you some love, you can drive massive amounts of traffic to your site using tried and true “old school” methods traffic sources.
The methods that existed before people relied entirely on search engines. You know. Old school, actual marketing. Something the gurus seem to have issues with these days.
We will guide you some of the best methods for driving traffic to your site and generating sales while youʼre waiting on the search engines to show you some love.
1. Traffic leaks
For those of you new to the game, traffic leaks simply refer to going to a site or a community where people in your target market are hanging out and funneling that traffic source to your own website.
It was the only way to get traffic before major search engines existed. The end goal is to bring more and more traffic to your site each time you “leak” it from another site on the web, creating an onslaught of direct traffic and referral traffic, and actually giving Google the signals that they want to see — that your site is real, and valued by the community around you.
2. Build Your Foundation
There are 2 things you need to think about when youʼre using the principles laid out here. First, leaking traffic works best when the content on your site will actually engage your visitors and make them stick around. You need to have some form of capturing the traffic source, whether itʼs driving them to your social media fan page or your email list.
You want to be able to tap into them again at a later date without working so hard to do it.
This is known as permission-based marketing, and itʼs the foundation of every business thatʼs been around for any length of time. Have a clearly defined goal. Using traffic leaks and driving traffic directly to your homepage is a waste of time and energy.
Here are some of the more common goals people take with their business when theyʼre leaking traffic from the community:
- To generate sales or increase revenue.
- To create remarketing opportunities
- Email newsletters. (ie: email subscribers)
- Growing their audience or community. (ie: forums)
- Growing their brand reach. (ie: social media)
When you go into it with the mindset that youʼre working towards a clearly defined goal, you will be on a level playing field with the big boys in your industry, and actually, be able to compete – even if youʼre on a shoestring budget. Building your business with this foundation means that if you ever happen to lose a traffic source, youʼre still going to have a built-in audience that you can continue growing your revenue from.
You also want to make sure youʼre gaining as much information about your audience as you can. If you find out that theyʼre an 18-year-old female that loves teddy bears, make sure to put them on a list devoted to females in your audience that are fans of teddy bears. Tagging and segmenting your audience will help you focus your marketing, and will help you if you ever decide to sell your business down the road.
What sounds better to an investor? That you have a site with 50,000 subscribers? Or that you have a site with 50,000 girls aged 18-30 that love teddy bears?
The second option is going to appear more lucrative to the investor, and let you fetch top dollar for your efforts — because itʼs already delivering top dollar for your sales and revenue. The second aspect is automating the entire process. Once youʼve figured out a platform, automating driving traffic from it to your own site is going to be critical to scaling your efforts.
For now, go into it with the mindset that you want to make the process as hands-off as possible, and you want to be able to reliably tap into a traffic source when you find one.
3. Generating Sales & Revenue
Every site you own should be able to pay for itself. If youʼre using PBNs in your SEO efforts, you need to properly monetize each of them so theyʼre not a drain on your finances.
They should be able to cover their own hosting and growth — from content to additional backlinks of their own. If youʼre not able to directly monetize them, at least make sure youʼre collecting email addresses so you can remarket them when you do find a way to monetize the traffic source.
Look at it like this.
Letʼs assume you build a network of 30 sites that are supporting your main site. If you can get each of those sites to generate $10 per day in revenue or 10 email subscribers a day on their own, youʼve added $9,000 per month to your income, or 9,000 emails to your list.
Thatʼs $108,000 per year, and if you create content that people actually want to see, isnʼt that hard to accomplish. It also gives you another way to drive traffic source to your main site whenever you need it. And thatʼs the end goal here – traffic on demand, instead of waiting on the search engines.
Letʼs say youʼre building email lists on these satellite sites, and all the traffic source youʼre bringing in are moms of newborn and young children. 72,000 emails that you can remarket to opens up a huge amount of possibilities.
From pushing affiliate links for toys to bulk diapers, and more. Mommies need all types of stuff. Make sure youʼre tagging the subscribers as you get them so your list is segmented, and the possibilities are nearly endless.
4. Creating Remarketing Opportunities
When youʼre trying to build a sustainable business, you want to make sure that you control the list. Relying on a platform like Facebook, for instance, can set you up for failure if they ever decide youʼre no longer in line with their Terms of Service and they ban your account — that list is gone.
Being able to communicate in a one to one fashion with your audience is critical. Email is the best way to do that because the list is always yours, and people will always check their email — itʼs not going anywhere any time soon.
You canʼt just build a list and sit on it, though. This is another reason why your sites need to be able to cover their own expenses because part of the content youʼre going to need to use is email marketing content and messages that warm your audience up and make it possible for you to remarket to them later.
Keeping them warm will allow you to tap into the list for revenue at will, as long as you donʼt overdo it. When youʼre learning legitimate marketing strategies, thereʼs a foundation that youʼre going to have to build that most SEOʼrs simply donʼt understand.
There are 4 main aspects you want to understand:
Goals = Youʼre going to have a primary and a secondary goal. Your primary goal should be to generate revenue, while your secondary goal could be increasing your branding. You could also focus on growing your revenue while using growing your subscriber list as your secondary objective, or goal.
Strategy = This is going to be your overarching goal, the one that all your energy is focused on. This is your long-term goal – are you wanting to build and exit? Build and keep the site in your portfolio? Whatʼs your ultimate long-term goal? Your strategy should support that, and always be the prime focus.
Channel = The platform that youʼre actually using to drive traffic source to your site is the channel. A channel could be anything — a forum, Craigslist, YouTube, a social media platform, whatever site youʼre funneling traffic from.
Tactic = This is the actual method youʼre going to be using to reach your goal. It could be anything from creating content, creating controversy, spreading images or videos, interacting with your target audience in some way.
5. Watermarking Images
If you have a short URL thatʼs easy to remember and are already building links to your site, the images on your site are going to rank high in Google Images.
And theyʼre going to get stolen by scrapers and spammers. Why not let those scrapers and spammers help send you traffic source by watermarking your images in a way thatʼs not obnoxious but still helps drive direct (type in) traffic to your site. People re-post, re-blog, and share images all the time. Donʼt let that free traffic escape your grasp.
6. Blog Commenting
A lot of SEOs talk bad about blog commenting because theyʼre generally “nofollow” links. But when you stop and look at legitimate websites and their link profiles, youʼre going to see nofollow links included. So if legitimate sites have nofollow links, donʼt you think Google believes natural link profiles should have them?
But youʼre not going to simply be building them for the links. Youʼre going to be building them for the traffic source . Even though itʼs trickle traffic, what if you had 100 blog comment links pointing to your site, each delivering 15-20 visitors a month.
Thatʼs an extra 2,000 targeted visitors that have already read what youʼve written and loved it enough to click through to your site finding their way to somewhere you can grab their email address.
What if you had 1,000 blog comments pointing at your site? Think itʼs going to matter if Google is even around? The sites that youʼve commented on will still show up in Google and collect search traffic, and that traffic source is still going to find their way onto your site. 1,000 blog comments each sending 20 visits a month is 20,000 visitors a month. Without. Google.
7. Building Videos
Video platforms are huge. More people waste time on YouTube than nearly every other platform online. And most niches are still underserved. Both Facebook and YouTube, along with other video platforms, allow you to leave comments on the videos, so even if you suck at creating video you can still siphon traffic from these platforms and funnel it into your site.
You can either link to your own site, your own email capture page, or your own videos.
8. Distributing Content
Handing out links to your content, and being “helpful” is something thatʼs expected from people that are interested in a niche. Where most people get this wrong, though, is they do it as themselves. Thatʼs seen as spam. When a webmaster starts sharing their own content, people get up in arms and want to get it removed.
However, when “someone else” posts your content, they get all the praise and thanks for it. So why not be “someone else” and spread your content around the internet?
Remember, the internet is anonymous. Nobody has to know who you are. Nobody has to know that itʼs actually you behind the keyboard sharing your own content. Start nurturing alternate accounts on the biggest platforms where your niche hangs out, and share content from all around the niche while sprinkling yours in. Keep it natural and nobody will be the wiser.
9. Giveaways & Contests
People canʼt help but spreading a good contest or giveaway while itʼs happening. You can literally explode your mailing list when you start pushing a contest to your niche. It doesnʼt have to be anything outrageous, either. Just get people to start talking about it, and it will spread. Make sure you stand behind the contest, though, and actually let someone win so that future contests go viral even quicker.
Get them to take a picture with the prize theyʼve won, or leave a testimonial about winning the contest.
10. Reverse Marketing
This is a technique that needs to be approached with caution. When itʼs done right, you can have the entire internet talking about you. Done wrong, though, and youʼre going to do long-term damage to your brand.
If you want to get people talking about you, create some controversy in your niche. Go against the grain, and do something that people wouldnʼt expect, or that people think is “against the rules”. People love drama, and they wonʼt be able to help themselves. Theyʼll have to share it.
11. Trading Traffic With Your Peers
Note the keyword here: peers.
Not people above your league that have been in the game 10 years longer than you, or people who are just getting started with zero traffic to send your way or zero data on their subscribers. You want to reach out to people who are your peers — they have the same traffic levels, same subscriber levels, been in the industry the same length of time as you.
But youʼre going to want to avoid your direct competition. People that youʼre competing against for traffic arenʼt going to be very receptive to trading that traffic with you. People that are sideways from your niche, though, are going to be more than happy to team up with you to help dominate the niche youʼre in.
Now, this isnʼt exchanging links for the sake of exchanging links or ranking higher in the search results — thatʼs a practice that could get you in trouble if you overdo it.
Instead of getting links just to rank higher in the search results, get links because they can send you traffic source on your own. These are actually the types of links Google wants to see and will help you rank substantially better than what a straight up link exchange for link exchange will do.
If you want to take this to the next level, send out a weekly or monthly report to your traffic partners, letting them know exactly how much traffic youʼve sent their way. This will help keep the relationship honest and it keeps your website from in their mind.
12. Niche Forums
If youʼre operating in a niche with forums, you can tap into a literal gold mine. It doesnʼt matter whether those forums are even active, or not. Major search engines love forums, and that makes them perfect for leaking traffic to your own site.
Most forum members are friendly and receptive to you dropping your own content, even if itʼs copied and pasted directly from your site with a link pointing back to your site.
When you get out of the “internet marketing” bubble, the world is entirely different. Find places where people are congregating that are either directly related to your niche or you may be able to persuade them to be interested in your niche.
Then, if the forums allow you to use a signature, put up a link to your site. Spend some time getting familiar with the platform before you start posting links, though. Your stay will last a lot longer. Get your post count up, get a feel for how people interact with the platform, and then start “giving back” to the community.
This is another strategy that functions like commenting on other blogs. Sure, you may get a forum post here or there that delivers thousands of visitors to your site, but the majority of the posts you make are going to deliver trickle traffic. That means you need to get your post count up.
13. Community Groups
If you can be subtle in your social structure, you can easily tap into existing pockets of communities that are either interested or may end up being interested in your niche and what you have to offer. Any time you enter into a new social structure, though, youʼre going to quickly realize that thereʼs is an established pecking order. Most likely, someone is already exploiting this to their full advantage.
If they see you trying to step on their turf, theyʼre going to turn on you and you could have a hard time gaining any traction in it. However, if youʼre watching how theyʼre leaking and engaging with community members, you can repeat the same process theyʼve used to become an authority.
If you want to sidestep the “head honcho”, you can act as a simple pleb thatʼs found themselves a part of the masses and start sharing content. Every 5th or 10th article you share may be one of your own. The rest of the world may never know if you manage your personal
Over time, you can show people that youʼre interesting, and you will climb to the top of the ranks naturally, without ever landing on the radar of the “head honcho”. You can find a ton of these communities on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Facebook Groups is also another one thatʼs quickly moved up the ranks over the last couple of years.
With Facebook Groups, the admins tend to get bored of the group after a year, or two, and the group begins to die off. If you can find yourself in the middle as the group begins to die, you could siphon all the remaining traffic source off into your own community without anyone batting an eyelid.
14. Be THE Resource
Letʼs assume for a second that you sell paintings and artwork. Your primary target market is interior designers that focus on office furniture and home decor. They love what youʼre doing, but you canʼt get them to talk about you.
Why not become THE resource?
15. Reverse Guest Post
Writing a reverse guest post about them on your site, then let them know what youʼve written?
People love having their egos stroked, and nobody is immune to it. And when you get out of the internet marketing industry, most people have no idea what youʼre actually doing.
16. Photo Repository
You could create a huge repository of photos in your industry, watermark them all, and then start reaching out to interior designers letting them know that they are free to use your images as long as they link back to your site.
Some people may crop out the watermark, and others may refuse to link to you, but you donʼt necessarily need to worry about those people. Donʼt waste time or energy on them. Instead, focus on getting more people using your images and the number of people linking to you will go up.
Again, like blog commenting, this may not drive a huge amount of traffic source to your site, but youʼre going to be leaking traffic from your target marketʼs site into yours, and have the opportunity to collect their email to remarket to them later.
17. Create An Affiliate Program
Tie your affiliate program to the images that people are already getting from your repository. Then, every time they send a visitor to your store and that visitor makes a purchase, they get paid for it. Itʼs a win-win for everyone involved, and that blogger is going to work harder to drive traffic source to your site than they would if they were simply swiping images.
They also have to link to your site in order to get credit for the sale, and those links are picked up by the search engines and counted to help you rank higher.
18. Fake Negative PR
Weʼre living in an era of fake news. And you know why people create fake news right? Because it gets eyeballs, and people canʼt help but get emotional about it — one way or another. When people get emotional about something, theyʼre going to share it.
You donʼt necessarily have to push the boundaries, either. You can use one of your alternate personas to start asking questions about your site, and people are going to want to know what youʼre talking about.
For instance, you could say something as innocent as “Is XYZʼs login page down for anyone else”? And people are going to go check for you. Itʼs just what they do. You could start talking trash about a top 10 list youʼve created, and people are going to go look at the top 10 list to see what all the fuss is about, then take one side or the other – and a conversation about your site is going to go on for days.
People are going to link to your top 10 list as the controversy starts spreading, and even though theyʼre all up in arms about the content, theyʼre helping you in the long run by generating a fresh stack of links to your content.
19. Bury Your Competition
Your competition, especially when theyʼve been in the industry longer than you, can guide your way to tapping into huge pockets of traffic. Set up Google Alerts so youʼve always got your finger on the competitionʼs pulse. When you see them getting bashed, donʼt hesitate to jump in and provide your own content as the new solution to peopleʼs problems.
Since your competition isnʼt living up to the marketʼs expectations, theyʼre going to be looking for somewhere else to go. The key here is to figure out where your competition is coming up most often, and then start spending time in those communities or on those sites.
You donʼt even necessarily need to wait until theyʼre getting bashed, either. You can uncover new opportunities that your competition hasnʼt discovered and been the first to tap into them.
Alexa is a site that gives you the highest-trafficked sites on the internet and if you know who your target prospect or avatar is, you can start finding them in places your competition never thought of. Spend some time going through Alexa and find the top 100, 1,000, 10,000 or even 100,000 sites and find the places where you believe your potential visitors are hanging out. Then get in front of them.
20. Coattail Your Competition
Whether or not youʼve realized it, your competition is actually a source of traffic leaks, too. You can get them talking about you, and they wonʼt be able to control themselves.
If youʼre not currently getting attention from your competition, youʼre not trying hard enough and showing up in enough of the same places. Once youʼre on their radar, itʼs going to be impossible for them to ignore you, and eventually, youʼre going to irritate them enough that they will start spreading the word about your site without realizing that theyʼre doing it.
You can do this by utilizing Google Alerts. Any time your competition gets mentioned, show up with an alternate persona and drop something like “Sure, this is great, but have you heard about YOUR BRAND, itʼs supposed to be a better alternative — does anyone have experience with it?”
Just make sure you arenʼt saying the same thing over and over again, and your competition wonʼt know that itʼs actually you doing it, but you will get their attention.
Then, eventually, theyʼre going to talk smack about you and when people start researching your brand theyʼre going to see “other people” saying youʼre a better alternative and youʼre going to end up pushing the competition out of the market. You can take it one step further and even step in to answer those “hard questions” that “people” are asking about your brand.
When the competition refuses to show up to the hard questions, youʼre answering them with enthusiasm. Use this to advantage by garnering new support for your business as the competition is drowning under the tidal wave youʼve just created.
If you do this wrong, you could face some consequences, but if you do it right, nobody is going to know what youʼre up to. They may suspect something, but itʼs nearly impossible to prove and the damage will already be done. Donʼt get gun shy when youʼre in the middle of using this strategy, though. Itʼs not for the faint of heart, but if youʼve got the means to pull it off, you can instantly push yourself to the front of the pack.
21. Cleaning Cheap Traffic
Youʼre missing out on a huge opportunity if youʼre not tapping into those cheap traffic sources like AdF.ly, especially when youʼre in mass accepted niches — like weight loss, make money online, personal development, and others.
Even though this traffic is generally low quality and wonʼt convert very well, theyʼre still real people and they have an email. Itʼs a way to get in front of millions of people and siphon off the true followers for yourself. The goal here, again, is to start tagging the emails as you get them. Send out automated surveys that help you identify who is interested in what, and then migrate those emails to specific parts of your list — where you can remarket them later.
For instance, letʼs say youʼre driving traffic to a site and you end up with 1,000,000 hits. Of those 1 million hits, you collect 5% of their emails or 50,000 emails. And of those 50,000 emails, you have 5% that are interested in or own a pet. Think you could send them pet offers down the road and make more money than you spent on the traffic in the first place?
If youʼre tagging your email lists and managing the subscribers you could. And as you learn more and more about your subscribers, begin tagging them to other lists, and start tightening down the data that youʼve collected on them, youʼre going to end up making even more off the list.
22. Q&A Sites
Right now, there are more than 40 different question & answer sites that you can spend time on. With Yahoo! Answers and Quora currently being the biggest, youʼd have to be in a pretty obscure niche to not find your target market hanging out on the sites.
You can spend time commenting and interacting with your target market, answer questions, and even come in with alternate personalities to ask questions, only to answer them yourself and then select yourself as the best answer.
If you work in a niche in a language other than English, you can even start your own niche focused Q&A site that you manage yourself. Take relevant questions on the English Quora Answers site and then convert them into your own language using WordAi.com or something similar, and answer the questions yourself.
With this much content, the site will get picked up by Google and start showing up for thousands of different long tail keywords — giving you the opportunity to drive all that traffic over to your site and position yourself as the true authority in the niche.
23. Incentivize Your Channel
One of the best ways to make sure youʼre actually collecting email addresses and subscribers is to give people an incentive for subscribing. It sounds like a no-brainer, but a ton of marketers still donʼt understand the theory.Instead, they just ask for people to subscribe or say “to get the latest posts” — like it actually matters to the person on your site.
When youʼre marketing to them you need to figure out what it is that they want, and then start thinking like a copywriter. Theyʼre driven by emotion, so provide something that fulfills the emotional need theyʼve got. For instance, if youʼre working in the weight loss industry, give them a free guide that helps them “lose 10 pounds in 10 days quickly and easily”.
It speaks to what they want to lose weight and to do it quickly without much work. Or if youʼre targeting people with acne. Give them a guide that shows them “10 ways your daily habits are creating your acne, and how to fix the problem once and for all”.
It, again, speaks to their problem — they want to get rid of their acne and are going to gladly exchange an email address for information on how their daily habits could be causing the condition. This works for every marketing channel, not just your email list. You can incentivize YouTube videos — when someone leaves a comment, they could be entered to win. Or on Facebook. When someone shares your post, they could be entered to win.
Craigslist Ads are perfect for free stuff. You could create an ad that shows whatʼs wrong with your biggest competitor, and then lead people to watch the video on YouTube. At the end of the video, you can give them a link that says “click here to learn how weʼre different”. People are going to be so curious to learn how youʼre actually different that theyʼll hand over an email address in exchange for the information.
Craigslist is a literal goldmine that people have been tapping into for years — for one main reason: it works. If you find someone complaining about one of your competitors on Craigslist, why wouldnʼt you reach out to them and let them know about an alternative solution?
On a bigger scale, take a look at what AirBnB has done. Theyʼve been traffic leaking Craigslist non-stop, to the tune of building a $1 billion dollar business. All they did was farm Craigslist listings and repost the same information to their own site.
You can use the same strategy on your own site. Post Craigslist ads that lead people to a landing page where youʼre collecting their email address and any other information. Then, use an autoresponder email series to warm them up and deliver on what youʼve promised. Work into making a sale and youʼll have another automated revenue stream.
You can post ads in different cities around the United States since youʼre focused online only and are location independent. One critical rule you need to follow, though, is to avoid spamming Craigslist hundreds of times per day. Your IP address will get “ghosted” and people will never see the ads you put up.
You can get away with posting once or twice per city per day without facing too many issues. However, when you start pushing those boundaries youʼre going to end up wasting your time. And Craigslist isnʼt the only classifieds site.
Depending on your niche, there could be thousands of classifieds sites that you can tap into. All of these sites get massive amounts of traffic — traffic that could be in your target market.
When you find them, pay attention to the ecosystem and see whatʼs working for other marketers. Chances are high that if itʼs working for them itʼs going to work for you, too.
25. Social Media Platforms
Nearly every social media platform, from Twitter to Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, and others can be tapped into when you use the tactics that have already been laid out here.
Use alternate personas, study the landscape, find out what people want, and then give it to them. Most wonʼt put up with self-promotion, so you canʼt just jump in both feet first and start posting your links. Youʼre going to need to “season” your alternate accounts so they blend in with the community, and post content other than your own.
Maintain a 10:1 ratio of other peopleʼs content to one of your own pages, and you should stay under the radar.
Thereʼs no denying that the search engines can deliver some of the most profitable traffic sources you can tap into. But it takes months to start seeing those results.
Instead of sitting around, waiting for the search engines to show you love and then pray that you stay in their good graces, take some of the strategies that have been laid out here and start driving traffic to your site from day 1.
“Random” traffic isnʼt useless when youʼre thinking like a marketer. Stop, sit back, and think about who it is you want on your site. All that traffic is real people – unless youʼre buying bot traffic – and those real people could be interested in what youʼre offering.
Before Google existed, real marketers ruled the landscape. They relied on their traffic logs to figure out where their visitors were coming from, and which sources they needed to tap into.
They didnʼt rely on Google to give them the data they need and then change the game up and turn that data into (not provided). Nobody teaches this stuff any more, though, because itʼs not “hip”. Itʼs not what the guru bandwagon riders want to hear. They donʼt want to hear about being creative. They want simple, push-button solutions that are going to give them overnight riches.
Not you, though. You now know better. You have the internet at your fingertips and are ready to get creative and drive your weak competition directly out of the market. While theyʼre left wondering where the hell you came from, youʼre going to be conquering the market and then pushing them out of the top spots in the search results at the same time.
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