Don't get burned by Google — how to diversify your website traffic

Overreliance on any one source for online traffic is never a good thing for website operators, but a dependence on Google search results can be particularly damning. SEO experts offer best practices to help make sure your business isn't at risk of being sunk by a change in Google's search algorithm.

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7 tips to diversify your website's organic traffic

1) Increase public relations efforts

Getting journalists and bloggers from authoritative websites to write about your company, product or service is an excellent way to earn quality links for your website. Google tends to give high rankings to media sites, because they're typically considered credible sources and are frequently updated, well-categorized and long-established, according to Sharon Geltner, business analyst at Palm Beach State College's Small Business Development Center.

[Related: SEO and SEM predictions and tips for 2015 ]

"A strong PR initiative also increases social signals from a variety of sources, which can amplify your messages 10-fold," says Matthew Stumm, principal of creative and media strategy, BBK Worldwide.

2) Use email newsletters to draw people to your website

Several SEO experts extol the virtues of good email newsletters and say they provide another valuable source of organic traffic. "Email marketing should always come before social media, as the out-of-pocket cost (for email marketing) is close to zero, it can be easily automated and most companies do it poorly, so being even moderately good at it means you'll stand out," says Brendan Tully, principal consultant, The Search Engine Shop. "Generally, there are still more eyeballs and time spent on inboxes than on social media."

3) Write guest blog posts

Google's Matt Cutts famously dissed the practice of guest blogging for SEO. However, many SEO experts still believe that, when done right, contributing a guest post to a relevant, well-read blog is a great way to increase exposure and draw targeted, motivated traffic to your site, according to JotForm's Reid. "That's been the case with my company. There are a few long-standing guest posts written years ago that today are still our top referrers." 

4) Become a subject matter expert on Q&A sites

Nova Legal Funding's Sinai suggests posting long, detailed, and thorough answers to user questions on advice websites such as Quora, Ask.com, and Yahoo Answers. "This sets you up as an expert and gives you a big boost credibility-wise," he says. "Not to mention these sites are really popular, and posting a link inside your answer is a quick and easy way to drive more traffic to your site."

5) Write useful, practical blog posts on LinkedIn

Leveraging LinkedIn's blog platform can helpincrease exposure within your network and with others who may not know you, according to Sinai. However, if you're going to be successful blogging on LinkedIn, your content must be "amazing" and worthy of sharing, he says.

6) Get reviews on sites such as Yelp

Online reviews can be just as important as good SEO. "Even if your SEO is air-tight and people can find you, that doesn't mean they will hire you, buy from you, or request your services," says Miné Salkin, senior digital strategist, Absolute Mobile Solutions. "Reviews coupled with search engine visibility give you credibility to grow quality traffic."





7) Get to know the major social channels and use them appropriately

The effective use of social media is also a key component to an effective diversification strategy.As such, you should"understand each platform and invest your time creating content that's native to that platform," says Salman Aslam, CEO, Omnicore Healthcare Marketing Agency.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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