Building traffic for your startup can be a desperate struggle for visibility. We all know that time and consistency are the only real ways to make lasting progress, but it is so exhausting. Surely, there has to be some other way to get things going and improve your results in the process?
Well, most of those are the good old fashioned SEO and marketing tactics you have come to know and loathe. The reason they are still around is because they work, even if they have changed a bit over time to be less spam-friendly. Enriching content with keywords, exploiting meta data, providing valuable content, taking care of the usability and page load time… these are all things you have to do if you want to get ahead.
That doesn’t mean you can’t slip a few other tricks in there to give you a leg up. These are ways that you may not have tried yet, but should be incorporating into your overall strategy. Nothing shady, and no “miracles”. Just a few tactics that could help, in addition to what you are already doing.
Get on Social Media
Exposure is everything, and social media is an easy to use, free way to gain it. Of course, with the over saturation of social media use, it can be an uphill battle to be seen. But the sooner you get started, the sooner you are going to see results slowly building over time.
A few ways to make your social media campaign successful:
- Be consistent. Post daily, or at least several times a week.
- Know what platform to use, and how often to post there.
- For Facebook, post daily or a minimum of three times per week, posting content, updates, and interacting with fans.
- For Twitter, post multiple times a day, and connect one on one with influencers, hashtags and related companies.
- For LinkedIn, post on a personal level as the founder of your company, up to several times per week.
- For Google Plus, take advantage of content, and the ability to form close attachments to others in your particular industry.
- For Pinterest, push your content and plenty of visuals, creating lookbooks and pinboards that show off your product.
- Re-package content in new media forms. Have a blog post? Create an infographic, podcast and video out of it. Make sure it is all high quality, but multiple media forms give your audience different ways to enjoy it. Plus, it gives you a presence on different social platforms, such as YouTube and Vimeo.
- Be genuine. Don’t just post up links. You want your engagement to be personalized and valuable, giving followers a reason to stay up to date. While it is a place to tell about products and service updates, it is also an opportunity to develop a relationship.
Build Those Relationships
This is usually something that people relate to social exposure, more than traffic building. But having an idea of what it is your customer/visitor base is interested in will go a long way to allowing you to target that niche. That means in both products and content. You may find yourself going in a totally different direction.
Of course, the aforementioned social element is important, as well. If you build relationships on Twitter, Facebook, etc, you are potentially bringing more people to your links, or to your site as regulars. Not to mention the ability to target influencers that can further spread the word.
Case study: I’ve seen this startup grow with my own eye: Moz (at that time SEOmoz) growth has always been 100% community focused.
They started by building the community and came up with the product later. I remember the time their PRO users couldn’t even clearly explain why they were paying (They subscribed mostly because they loved Moz).
I am not really sure if Rand would agree with me but I think building relationships with their users accounted for 90% of their success (my own estimate :)).
Further reading: I was talking here about links but you can safely use “traffic building” instead of “link building” here.
Get Crazy Specific
Niche targeting is a great way to avoid the crowd and potentially reach new people you wouldn’t have before. Though many people make a mistake here in still casting their net too wide. They aren’t getting specific enough.
If you can find a related topic that makes for valuable content, and it is in an area that not a lot of people have ventured thanks to its insane level of detail, jump on it. Sure, it won’t improve your traffic in the wider category it came from, necessarily. But it will bring in an audience that wants something only you are providing.
Plus, it gives you a new set of long tail keywords that might not be as overly used as others.
Case study: There are lots of case studies that can be summed up with one straightforward phrase: “Your start up needs to solve ONE specific problem”. Some of the examples that took off just because they were focusing on a specific problem include Bidsketch, Airbnb, Uber, etc.
Write LOTS of Quality Content… Seriously
Ok, if you were looking for ways to build traffic, you may be seriously sick and tired of “write good content” advice by now.
The problem is: No “traffic building” article would be complete without that advice.
Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, it’s easier said than done.
But the hard truth is: It WORKS
Case study: TreeHouse, an incredibly successful start-up that explains it’s success with huge effort they put into their blog. They have put lots of team effort into building it up and
Keep Up To Date With Rich Snippets
While basic on-page SEO is a must and pro-active “off-site” (I don’t like the word) SEO may be risky, rich snippets remain one of the best SERPs competitor advantage methods (not many people are utilizing them yet).
Rich snippets are those little bits of data that show up with Google and Bing search results, and are created using schema.org. When you search out a movie, its rating by users is shown. When looking for a recipe, you can see how people found the end result. YouTube videos have screencaps, articles have author photos, and so on.
When you are competing against a number of people on the same keywords, you won’t always come out on top. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice traffic because of it.
Using rich snippets makes your content look more dynamic and interesting. It gives a bit of information that will make others want to follow the link to your actual page. Plus, it stands out against other people’s links that might be higher than your own.
Just make sure you know what rich snippets are being shown, and keep up to date. That changes a lot, such as with the recent news about Google ending their Authorship program. Such project shifts can really impact how rich snippets are used.
Further reading: The rich snippets algorithm
Get Traffic, For Real
These are a great way to add a bit of a boost to your already extensive efforts. No, none of them are the magic pill you might have been hoping for. But the sad truth is there is no magic pill. If you want to build traffic, just keep chugging away. You will get there.