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Rahil Muzafar
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Rahil Muzafar

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Alternative Sources for Traffic – Breaking Free from Google Obsession

The post is not meant to be an anti-Google rant, and we are not implying that any alternative can take the place of Google as far as traffic generation is concerned, but it still makes for an interesting topic. Looking for the alternatives doesn’t really mean we should start ignoring Google, because that will be suicidal for an online business, however there’s nothing wrong with diversifying your traffic sources.

The number of visitors coming from these alternatives might be insignificant, when compared to the number of unique visitors coming from Google, but it’s not always about the numbers, but the quality of traffic. A channel might be sending significantly fewer visitors as compared to Google or Facebook, but still it’s worth investing your time if some of those visitors are converting into customers? After all, it is the sales or leads that matters.

So, let’s compile a list of some platforms that you should keep in mind while marketing your business online. It can be a platform with huge potential, or a channel that will send only a handful of visitors every once in a while.

Feel free to chip in if you know of some traffic source that is not in the list.

Bing: Google most certainly has more than 65% of search market share, but there are other search engines with the remaining share, especially Bing that also powers Yahoo search engine. Here’s what they recommend for the webmasters looking to optimize their website for Bing http://goo.gl/ofW4NV

Facebook: The biggest social network, having more than 1.23 billion monthly active users. Imagine, if you can channel a very, very small fraction of these users to your website by regularly posting share worthy content and interacting with your target audience (easier said than done, but doable for sure). Add a Facebook share and like button to your blog posts, add your website links in the about section or photo descriptions, and make the most of custom tabs to drive traffic to your website.

Google Plus: Already touted the second largest social network, Google Plus is worth investing your “social media marketing” time. It might send little or no traffic to your website at the moment, but the indexing and ranking of your posts in Google search results can bring some organic visitors to your social profile, which is a big plus, and once you start getting good response at your Google plus page, it shouldn’t be a problem to drive some of these visitors to your website.

Twitter: Google Plus can boost a lot more users than Twitter, but at the moment, Twitter is effectively the second most popular one after Facebook, you can take advantage of hashtags (trending topics), get creative with the text accompanying your website links (that you are about to tweet), and use Twitter marketing apps to get more exposure and traffic from Twitter.

Pinterest: Studies suggest that Pinterest is actually ahead of Twitter or LinkedIn when it comes to referral traffic. With more than 70 million users, you can take advantage of this social media platform, especially if your target market consists of ladies (80% of Pinterest users are women).

Forums & Communities: You can also search for a relevant forum or message board with lots of active members. The number of members at these forums or communities might be nothing as compared to the whopping figures you will find at social media websites, but the quality of traffic will be much better, given that you are regularly making helpful contributions.    

Offline: Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar store, and your business exists entirely on Internet, there’s nothing wrong with using traditional marketing methods, especially if you are targeting a specific city or locality.   

Email: Email marketing can attract a lot of repeat visitors, which is no less than getting unique visitors. In fact it’s better, since a repeat visitor is more likely to buy as compared to some visitors who are visiting your website for the first time.

HelpaReporter.com: Credit goes to +Jason Acidre who has actually credited +Nishank Khanna for the tip, signing up with HARO means that you will be getting emails with queries coming from reporters and media outlets, and in case you can help someone with a story or topic that is related to your niche, you will get quite some exposure, visitors, and sales.

Blogs: Matt Cutts post about guest blogging was actually a blessing in disguise. If you were looking at guest blogging purely as a link building tactic, you were making a mistake. Once you stop searching and assessing blogs from SEO perspective, you will see many blogs which are small, hosted on free blogging platforms, but they have got considerable following, and you can easily reach out to your target market by featuring as a guest author at these blogs.

Q & A Websites: It can be a big platform like quora or Yahoo answers, or a relatively smaller one like a relevant community having a question & answer section (e.g. the Q & A section at Moz if you are offering SEO or Internet Marketing services). Simply find your niche, fill in your user profile with a link to your website, and come up with informative responses whenever possible.  

Reddit: In the year 2013, Reddit got 731 million unique visitors, and a whopping 56 billion page views, now those are some numbers. To make the most of Reddit, start from knowing your audience, talk to these people, and don’t try to spam. Some of your submissions will fail to make a mark, but every once in a while a link will do the job, and you will see some short-lived, but heartening spikes in your traffic. 
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Because Google+ link shares are "followed" which means they have an SEO benefit. The problem is, these low quality low cost SEO firms are actually inadvertently doing a company harm by trying to game the system via spam from fake profiles. 

The point is, Google wants to be able to see how many REAL people are sharing a link, to understand how influential the original writer is.

If garbage profiles like this are sharing your company's links, it will drag your business down in the long run, as Google gets more and more accurate.
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From athletes to showbiz stars, and politicians to artists, you will find people from all walks of life having certain beliefs or habits, which are hard to explain. You can call them superstitions, OCD, or a simple habit that has become natural after many years of repetitions.

So are there some superstitions or habits prevalent in the SEO or Online Marketers community? Please share if you’ve got an interesting one that is hard to explain but you cannot skip doing that?
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#GooglePlusTips - Using Hashtags for business marketing

  #GooglePlusGuides #Marketing

Hashtags are pretty much like keywords, and the main purpose of using hashtags at social networks is to group posts and messages, while allowing the users to search for posts on a particular topic. And while they were around for many years, they were made popular by the discussions and trends taking place at Twitter about a specific event, or topic.

Hashtags allow the users at social networks to find posts on a specific topic, or share their own opinion by using a hashtag, which is trending. All you need is to place # before the keywords like #googleglass Or #googleplustips .

Hashtags are clickable, so anybody can click on a hashtag and find all recent posts made with that hashtag. In fact, you can now search while using hashtags at Google search, and it will produce real time results from posts made at Google Plus. You can also filter the hashtag search results to see posts only from the people in your circle.

You can either use these hashtags to organize posts for your own use, or opt for the more common or trending topics to take part in some ongoing discussion at social media. Here’s how you can use the hashtags for business or content marketing.

Using Hashtags for business marketing

Many companies have successfully used brand related hashtags in the recent past. You can try doing the same. You can come up with an interesting idea e.g. using your business tagline as a hashtag.

The idea is to entice your target market into posting while using the hashtag; you can do that by asking for feedback, coming up with some kind of a contest with a reward for the best post containing the hashtag, and the likes  

Avoid stuffing your posts with hashtags, usually 2 – 3 hashtags are more than enough.

Think of hashtags as the keywords, and use them to optimize your G plus posts. Many techniques or theories, which are applied to keyword optimization, are also applicable for hashtags, for example geo centric hashtags?

Keep it short and readable, while keeping your target audience in mind, try to come up with a hashtag that relates, a topic that your target users will find it hard to avoid

Make sure you are responding to the posts made by people while using your brand related hashtag

When you are searching for hashtagged posts from your circles, you will also find posts shared by people who are not in your circles. The reason that they appear in filtered results is because these posts were actually made by people in your circle. You can use this feature just like ripples, to see who’s into sharing the type of content that you are looking to promote.   

GIFs are probably the most shared type of content at Google Plus. If you are looking to take advantage of this feature, use hashtags while posting an image or GIF, especially when you are posting an image related to a trending topic, because when someone searches for that hashtag, your post with the image or GIF will be able to stand out from the crowd

When someone searches for hashtags at Google Plus, they will either get the real time results, or the best ones (most probably ranked on the basis of the shares or popularity for those posts). Needless to say, the more followers you’ve got in your circles, the more shares and plus ones you will get, resulting in more exposure in the hashtag search results. 

Remember that timing can make a huge difference. So, make the post at the right time, keeping tabs on trending topics, ripples, and other features can help you get an idea as to what’s the right time for posting

You might get away with spam at some other platforms, but not at social media, so don’t try to spam the hashtags. Ideally, you should be commenting on topics, which are somewhat relevant to your business, and you should refrain from posting gibberish for all sorts of trending topics just for the sake of exposure, because that will only make your profile look bad

You can also make use of online tools like hashtags.org to see the declining, or constantly trending topics
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Rahil Muzafar

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You already know some of them, you might not have heard of the others, let's see if you can add one that is not already in the list ... Share the post with your contacts at Google Plus, together we can make it an all inclusive list
 
Alternative Sources for Traffic – Breaking Free from Google Obsession

The post is not meant to be an anti-Google rant, and we are not implying that any alternative can take the place of Google as far as traffic generation is concerned, but it still makes for an interesting topic. Looking for the alternatives doesn’t really mean we should start ignoring Google, because that will be suicidal for an online business, but there’s nothing wrong with diversifying your traffic sources.

The number of visitors coming from these alternatives might be insignificant, when compared to the number of unique visitors coming from Google, but it’s not always about the numbers, but the quality of traffic. A channel might be sending significantly fewer visitors as compared to Google or Facebook, but still it’s worth investing your time if some of those visitors are converting into customers? After all, it is the sales or leads that matters.

So, let’s compile a list of some platforms that you should keep in mind while marketing your business online. It can be a platform with huge potential, or a channel that will send only a handful of visitors every once in a while.

Feel free to chip in if you know of some traffic source that is not in the list.

Bing: Google most certainly has more than 65% of search market share, but there are other search engines with the remaining share, especially Bing that also powers Yahoo search engine.

Facebook: The biggest social network, having more than 1.23 billion monthly active users. And you can channel some traffic to your website by regularly posting share worthy content (easier said than done, but doable for sure), add a Facebook share and like button under your blog posts, add your website links in the about section or photo descriptions, and make the most of custom tabs to drive traffic to your website.

Google Plus: Already touted the second largest social network, Google Plus is worth investing your “social media marketing” time. It might be sending little or no traffic to your website, but the indexing and ranking of your posts itself can get some organic visitors to your social profile, which is a big plus, and once you start getting good response at your Google plus page, it shouldn’t be a problem to drive some of these users to your website.

Twitter: Google Plus can boost a lot more users than Twitter, but at the moment, Twitter is effectively the second most popular one after Facebook, you can take advantage of hashtags (trending topics), get creative with the text accompanying your website links (that you are about to tweet), and use Twitter marketing to get more exposure and traffic from Twitter.

Pinterest: Studies suggest that Pinterest is actually ahead of Twitter or LinkedIn when it comes to referral traffic coming from Pinterest. With more than 70 million users, you can easily tap into this social media platform, especially if your target market consists of ladies (80% of Pinterest users are women).

Forums & Communities: You can also search for a relevant forum or message board with lots of active members. The number of users might be nothing as compared to the whopping numbers you will see at social media websites, but the quality of traffic will be much better, given that you are regularly making impressive contributions.    

Offline: Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar store, and your business exists entirely on Internet, there’s nothing wrong with using traditional marketing methods, especially if you are targeting a specific city or locality.   

Email: Email marketing can attract a lot of repeat visitors, which is no less than getting a unique visitor; in fact it’s better, since a repeat visitor is more likely to buy as compared to the visitors who are visiting your website for the first time.

HelpaReporter.com: Credit goes to +Jason Acidre who has actually credited +Nishank Khanna for the tip, signing up with HARO means that you will be getting emails with queries coming from reporters and media outlets, and in case you can help someone with a story or topic that is related to your niche, you will get quite some exposure, visitors, and sales.

Blogs: Matt Cutts post about guest blogging was actually a blessing in disguise, if you were looking at guest blogging as a link building tactic, you were making a mistake. Once you stop searching and assessing blogs from SEO perspective, you will see many blogs which are small, hosted on free blogging platforms, but they have some following, and you can reach out to your target market by featuring as a guest author at these blogs.

Q & A Websites: It can be a big platform like quora or Yahoo answers, or a relatively small relevant community with a question & answer section (e.g. the Q & A section at Moz if you are offering SEO or Internet Marketing services or seodumbquestions), simply find your niche, fill in your user profile with a link to your website, and come up with informative response.  

Reddit: In the year 2013, Reddit got 731 million unique visitors, and a whopping 56 billion page views, now those are some numbers. Know your audience, talk to people, and don’t try to spam. Some of your submissions will fail, but every once in a while a link will do the job, and you will see some short-lived but heartening spikes in your traffic. 
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