Building Alternative Traffic Sources: Why, Where & How

Vinny La Barbera
Written by

Vinny La Barbera

Are all of your online marketing efforts solely focused on getting traffic from Google?

Before you find yourself on the wrong end of an algorithm update or SERP experiment you need to make sure that your traffic sources are diversified across multiple channels.

In this article we are going to show you why, where and how to build alternative traffic sources so that your website is not at risk of losing the majority of its audience from one single source.

Alternative Traffic Sources

Is Your Website Too Reliant on Google?

Before you look at other traffic sources it’s important to understand how your website became so reliant on traffic from one source (usually Google) in the first place.

We’re guessing that, at some point, someone convinced you that your website must be easy to find on Google. As a result you took action and spent either your time or your money to ensure that your website could be found on Google for its most relevant search phrases.

Google is the most widely used search engine and top placement can bring steady streams of relevant traffic so this use of resources has not been wasted – especially if your business has grown from this exposure.

The only problem with this though is that your website has, most likely, become so reliant on traffic from Google that just one algorithm update or change in how Google decides to display search results could cripple your business.

Google Algo Updates (Image courtesy of

Change is Certain

In 2013 alone, Google recorded over 15 updates – some of which turned quite a few online businesses upside down.

You may be saying to yourself…“Well, I don’t have to worry because I, or my agency, only use ‘white hat’ SEO strategies.”

There are actually a few important questions that should follow that – like “Are you sure?” – but, to stay on topic, you need to ask yourself the following question…

What would happen to my business if I lost all of my traffic from Google tomorrow?

This is a very real scenario. Perhaps not all of your traffic would disappear, but a good percentage could as Google is constantly changing / improving the ways that they rank and display search results. All of these changes affect your traffic – whether your SEO is “clean” or not.

Just to be clear, this really applies to any site that you rely on getting traffic from, not just Google. If you rely on traffic from Facebook, then your business is at risk of taking a hit if Facebook ever changes or fizzles away into obscurity.

Our goal with this post is really not to freak you out, but rather to help you diversify your online marketing strategy so that you spend your time servicing your customers and not following Google algorithm updates.

On that note, let’s take a look at some great places and ways to get traffic from many different sources.

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37 Tips to Get Different Types of Website Traffic

Different Sources of Traffic

As mentioned above, it’s important to diversify your traffic sources as you never want to be reliant on just one source – as many websites are with Google.

We have found quite a few alternative sources of traffic that we like to use for ourselves and our clients that accomplish just that and we’d like to share them with you.

Many may be common sense to you, but surprisingly we continue to see businesses miss many of these opportunities – even the obvious ones.

Paid Advertising

Let’s start with the most obvious way to get traffic that doesn’t tie you to one source – paying for it from different sources. If you haven’t already started earning traffic from other websites, then paid advertising is your quickest and best option. As a matter of fact, a smart paid advertising strategy can most definitely be a permanent component of your overall marketing plan if implemented effectively.

How to get [more] paid traffic:

  1. Setup retargeting campaigns to recapture previous visitors with services like AdRoll and Retargeter
  2. Pay for ad space on relevant websites that target a similar audience as yours
  3. Implement advertising campaigns on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Reddit
  4. Consider local business (e.g. Yelp) and vertical focused (e.g. Trulia) websites for paid promotions
  5. Don’t forget about Bing Ads
Want more tips?
Learn about the different online advertising options and how to use them to build a growing stream of traffic.


Email Marketing

There may not be a quicker, more inexpensive way of driving traffic to your website than using email marketing. If you’re not constantly building your email database and sending targeted messages to these lists, then you’re wasting some great opportunities to grow your business and retain your customers.

How to get [more] email traffic:

  1. Include a link to your website in your email signature (common sense, but we continue to see people forget this)
  2. Place a link in your email signature to an “Email Signup” page on your website (like this) so recipients can become opt-in subscribers
  3. Make sure every email communication from your company (confirmations, support emails, etc) has a link to your website
  4. Use a service like Campaign Monitor to send targeted email messages, newsletters and promos to your subscribers
  5. Partner with other companies with similar target audiences to feature a message / promo in their email messages that links to your website
Want more tips?
Read how to grow your email list from scratch and learn 10 simple tips to make your email marketing more effective.


Social Media Marketing

If you’re still avoiding social media, then you’re most likely missing out on some easy sources of traffic. Whether you believe social media marketing works or not there is no denying that some of the top (and even lesser known) social networks can drive good amounts of traffic when used properly.

How to get [more] social media traffic:

  1. Include a link to a relevant page on your website from each status update (when applicable of course)
  2. Share your images across multiple social networks outside of just Facebook and Twitter; like Pinterest, Instagram, 500px and Flickr
  3. Submit your infographics and tip-based articles to sites like StumbleUpon
  4. Pay to promote posted content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Reddit
  5. Customize and optimize your social pages and profiles to earn trust, build brand equity and funnel followers to your website
  6. Schedule social updates to be sent at optimal times
Want more tips?
Learn how to build your social following to create an engaged online community that keeps sending traffic to your website.


Local Search Marketing

If your business has physical locations and serves specific geographic locations, then local search marketing is an absolute must for you. Remember that many customers and prospects are constantly on their mobile devices looking for reservations, hours, addresses, available inventory and much more. Your business needs to be very easy to find and even easier to contact throughout the users’ experience. If you accomplish this, then you can expect some nice traffic sources outside of just Google search.

How to get [more] local search traffic:

  1. Make sure that your business is properly listed on the top local business websites.
  2. Put some time into making your local business listings interesting and informative (e.g. add photos, videos, products)
  3. Run creative offers and promote them on your local listings (driving the traffic to a relevant landing page on your site)
  4. Encourage patrons to “check-in” and leave reviews so new customers see activity and feedback
  5. Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly or visitors will bounce quickly and possibly never return
Want more tips?
Achieve local search success with by understanding the most important factors and then following these tips.


Link Building

One of the more challenging methods to attract traffic outside of Google is through link building. By “challenging” we are referring mainly to the requirements for more advanced levels of creativity and persistence to earn and acquire the best links that actually drive traffic.

How to get [more] traffic from backlinks:

  1. Find broken links pointing to competitor’s websites and work to have those replaced with links to your website
  2. Get partners and vendors to link to your website from theirs to cross-promote products and services
  3. Provide quality content to highly trafficked websites with embedded links to earn referral traffic
  4. Enter online contests, marketplaces and portfolios to showcase products and services while attracting referral traffic
  5. Build authoritative web properties (sites, blogs, etc) that refer traffic to your main website (only if it is relevant of course)
Want more tips?
Learn how to get high authority editorial links for influxes of traffic that are tough to match anywhere else.


Online & Offline PR

The old adage of “any type of publicity is good publicity” certainly holds true when it comes to traffic generation. However, since we’re encouraging you to build traffic sources that help grow your business, not hurt it, then we will focus solely on using positive PR to generate visitors to your website. This type of marketing can provide long-term channels of traffic when done correctly.

How to get [more] traffic from PR:

  1. Submit press releases through services like PRWeb, but ONLY when you actually have something interesting and newsworthy to announce
  2. Use a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to get referenced in online publications
  3. Secure speaking gigs at industry conferences and events to generate online mentions and website visitors
  4. Host meetups to build relationships and to attract visits from attendees
  5. Pay to be a sponsor for events made up of attendees within your target audience
  6. Get on TV
Want more tips?
Start with these 25 ways to build your online authority.


Content Marketing

If you’re getting a lot of traffic from Google, then you’re probably already doing a pretty decent job with content marketing. Quality content that is promoted properly can definitely bring organic traffic. If you’re not getting traffic from anywhere else though, then you’re probably missing some important elements to extend the reach and life of your content efforts.

How to get [more] traffic from content marketing:

  1. Turn popular content into other types of content (e.g. turn a successful blog post into a video or infographic)
  2. Revisit effective content pieces and update / add to them to continue making them even more resourceful
  3. Build relationships with other influencers to get your content shared in their networks
  4. Focus more time on developing one or two highly authoritative, resourceful pieces of content (e.g. whitepapers)
  5. Set aside a budget for paid content promotion on sites like Facebook and StumbleUpon to exponentially increase the piece’s exposure
Want more tips?
Learn how to use images, curated content and evergreen content for even better results.

“Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst and Prepare to Be Surprised.”

Diversified Traffic Strategy (image courtesy of Rae Hoffman)

Denis Waitley, an American motivational speaker and author, is responsible for the quote, which heads this section. You’ve most likely heard it before.

Not only does this quote offer great life advice, but it also works extremely well for anyone trying to grow their business through their web presence.

As long as your online marketing strategy is diversified across different channels, then you should have little to worry about when Google (or some other main source of traffic) decides to mix things up on you.

Chances are you’re running a business or you’re helping someone run theirs and are responsible for multiple roles. This being the case, you don’t really have time to stay on top each algorithm update or social network design change. This isn’t the best use of your time nor are you the best person to do it.

Instead, allocate portions of your time and creativity towards attracting visitors to your website and/or work with someone who can help. If you’re creating great products and providing stellar customer service, then your customers will help drive traffic for you as well so don’t lose focus on those key objectives.

At the end of the day, one thing is for sure…your time is limited and things will change with or without you. Make sure your online marketing strategy isn’t affected by either of these things.

Need help coming up with some creative ways to says thanks to your supporters?



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