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February 8, 2021

Why SEO Isn’t For Everyone And What Are The Alternatives?

When it comes to online business success, website traffic is the ultimate goal.  But did you know that there are alternatives to Google and other search engines and that SEO may not necessarily be the best option for your business?

Of course, with a daily search tally topping 5.8 billion, Google is by far the most significant search engine and it often makes sense to allocate time and money into SEO to drive website traffic.  However, depending on the nature of your business, who your target audience is and what your competitors are doing, you may find that it makes good business sense to explore alternatives to SEO. This is especially the case if the product or service you offer is something that no-one really knows about and so they don’t search for it online using niche and relevant keywords, if this is the case then it’s better to promote your business in other ways.

Read on to discover more about these alternatives.

Turn email into me-mail

It might be trendy to say that email is old-fashioned and on the decline, but the reality is that it’s trending upwards.  

An Adobe Consumer Report found that 61% of respondents preferred emails and with an average click-through rate of 3.42% which is higher than that of other methods of contact (the average rate for Facebook ads is 0.9%), emails get a big tick of approval.  Plus they’re cost-effective to implement and very versatile.

But to maximise the open rate and really ramp up your ROI, you need to use every opportunity to personalise your emails, including in the body copy, the subject line and in the sender name.  And remember to optimise your emails for mobiles too.

Open your eyes to YouTube opportunities

Video is massive.  Each month, over two billion users actively use YouTube and every day, people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views.   Those numbers are staggering and they show there’s an insatiable appetite for video content.

Sharing videos on YouTube is a great way of reaching your audience, particularly if your target market is the younger generation (18 – 49 years) as that’s the channel’s core demographic.  They use YouTube as a traditional search engine and the more high-quality, interactive and engaging content you post, the greater your opportunity for driving traffic to your site.   

Remember:

  •  Include easy ways for the viewer to move from the video to your product pages (add the page URL in the description on the YouTube video)
  • Add value to the viewer
  • Don’t crowd your video with links
  • Share your videos on social media
  • Embed your videos in your blog posts
  • Include call to action (CTA) overlays
  • Optimise your video for mobiles as over 70% of YouTube watch-time comes from mobile devices

 

Get cosy with social media marketing

Social media is crucial to every marketer and even though the different channels jostle for consumer approval and the landscape is ever-changing, there are plenty of opportunities to be had on every platform. 

Success will depend on how well you match content with the ‘personality’ of the channel.  It’s about creating campaigns that are unique and relevant for each one.  For example LinkedIn is a must for B2B communications, Instagram and Pinterest are about compelling visuals and engaging banter and Twitter is about content that is fast but not necessarily furious (although a bit of passion does attract attention!) 

Remember though, it’s not about plastering your posts with links.  You really want to engage your audience with friendly messages, perhaps a useful tip or two or some newsy chat which includes a link or two, but remember, people are on social media to be social, not to be bombarded by overt sales talk.

Choose a sphere of influence(rs)

There can be merit in establishing relationships with creditable social media influencers who represent your target market.   If they are seen to endorse your brand, product or service, their followers are often persuaded to follow suit, liking and sharing posts (and links) and thereby spreading awareness and driving traffic.  

You can either pay for influencer marketing through sponsored posts or reach out to them via direct message and offer to feature them in your own content (assuming they’re a good fit for your business) and start building up key relationships. 

Online Ads – click and collect (traffic)

An online ad can deliver instant results depending on how well it has been crafted and how effectively it has been targeted.  Your goal should always be to get a positive ROI on your adspend, so you probably need a longer term view if you’re going to use ads to generate traffic and improve conversion rates. The main platforms for online ads are either Google Ads or Facebook Ads, and Facebook Ads are better if you want to build awareness. Remarketing is a great tool that can be utilised on both platforms, this is where you show ads to people who have previously been to your website, to remind them to come back and buy your goods. 

Answer questions and add comments

People are always looking for answers and they don’t necessarily turn to Google to find them.  That’s why it can be a smart move to keep an eye on sites like Reddit (which has over 430 million users) and Quora (300 million active monthly users) and participate in conversations where appropriate.  

This isn’t about trying to push your product (you’ll find that there are strict rules and ‘punishments’ for those who overstep the mark) but rather a way of establishing your credibility, adding value to people and ultimately, encouraging more traffic to your website.  

You can also add comments to posts on social media or on websites that are relevant to your market.  Include a link to your website only when appropriate and keep your comments insightful, thought-provoking and positive.

Host guest bloggers on your site

This is a win-win strategy for you and for the guest blogger as it drives traffic and builds backlinks for both parties.  A tip here is to always look for guest posting opportunities from sites that are complementary to your business, not ones which compete with you! 

You can also look for opportunities to be a guest blogger yourself and share your insights and expertise on podcasts or at webinars.

Tag and release

Another idea is to do a social media post which includes a quote (taken from an official source) from someone who is prominent in your industry or who is highly relevant to your target market and tag them.   Ideally, they’ll sit up and take notice of it (and of you which is great for relationship-building) and retweet it, thereby sharing your content.

In conclusion

While SEO is understandably a priority for digital marketers, it doesn’t have to be the sole focus.  There are a surprising number of alternatives to search engines and businesses should explore these different pathways to diversify their sources of website traffic. I personally don’t believe any business should have all their eggs in one basket, especially the SEO basket where you are at the mercy of the algorithms that can change your ranking overnight if you are really unlucky. 

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