Get free web traffic using white hat and black hat techniques

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing, via un-paid search results [1]. Yet, it means a bit more than that. For example, a frequent problem associated to SEO techniques is that you can't get traffic once and then have its benefits forever. Getting traffic is an unending task that requires your constant attention in order to keep it. Besides that, relying too heavily on some source of traffic leaves your business vulnerable to their whims and dramatic shifts of costs. Some techniques to obtain and maintain free traffic are listed below:

  • Optimize your site for search engines. Search engines have always been a major way to get good traffic for free. That is why you really need to learn how they work, and optimize the website to rank well for the keywords you target. Besides that, you should also facilitate all indexing activities of search engines (e.g. creation of sitemap.xml). For more details about these optimizations read the extensive literature available on the internet (e.g. Build your Site Map online).

  • Update your web page content frequently. One of the first steps in getting traffic for free is trivial but vital – get great content and frequently update it. In terms of SEO, content is king. If your content is good and frequently updated you will not only build a loyal audience of recurring visitors, who will often come to see what is new, but search engines will also love your site [2]. Black hat techniques exist to exploit this concept. The most famous one goes through the use of scripts that rotates articles in order to exploit some specific keywords. However I strongly discourage it.

  • Take advantage of social bookmarking sites. Social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Delicious or Google bookmarks are another powerful and easy way to get traffic for free.

  • Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Social networks are excellent to improve your website traffic. If you are popular on networks, such as Twitter or Facebook, the traffic you get from there can easily surpass the traffic from Google or any other search engine. It is true that building a large network of targeted followers on Twitter and supporters on Facebook takes a lot of time and effort but generally the result is worth [2].

  • Use any chance to promote your site for free. Free promotion is always welcome, so don't neglect it. There are many ways to promote your site for free and some of the most popular ones include free classified ads, submissions to directories, inclusion in various listings, etc. It is true that not all free ways to promote your site work well but if you select the right places to promote your site for free, this can also result in tons of traffic [2].

  • Create a free product or service. Content drives most traffic when you offer something useful. There are many types of useful content you can create and they largely depend on the niche of your site. You can have articles with tons of advice, or short tips but one of the most powerful ways to get traffic is to create a free product or service. When this product or service gets popular and people start visiting your site, chances are that they will visit the other sections of the site as well.

  • Use viral content. Free products and services are great for getting free traffic to your site and one of the best varieties in this aspect is viral content. Viral content is called so because it distributes like a virus – i.e. when users like your content, they send it to their friends, post it on various sites, and promote it for free in many different ways. Viral content distributes on its own and your only task is to create it and submit it to a couple of popular sites. After that users pick it and distribute it for you. Viral content can be a hot video or a presentation but it can also be a good old article or an image.

  • Use offline promotion. Offline promotion is frequently forgotten but it is also a way to get traffic for free. Yes, computers are everywhere and many people spend more time online than offline but still life hasn't moved completely on the Web. Offline promotion is also very powerful and if you know how to use it, this can also bring you many visitors. Some of the traditional offline ways to promote your site include printing its URL on your company's business cards and souvenirs or sticking it on your company vehicles. You can also start selling T-shirts and other merchandise with your logo and this way make your brand more popular [2].

  • Include your URL in your signature. URLs in forum signatures are also a way to get traffic for free. There are forums, which get lots of visitors a day and if you are a popular user on such a forum, you can use it for your benefit. When you post on forums and people like your posts, they tend to click the link to your site on your signature to learn more about you. In rare cases you might be able to post a deep link (i.e. a link to an internal page of the site) rather than a link to your homepage and this is also a way to focus attention to a particular page. Unfortunately, deep links are rarely allowed.

  • Use comments to promote your website. Forums and blogs can be excellent places to promote your website. The promotion remains subtle and is part of other useful content that you’ve added to the conversation. If you simply bombard a random forum with your URLs you will be banned. Similarly, if you post pointless comments as badly disguised self-promotion your posts will likely be ignored or deleted.

    The best method is to find a few high traffic blogs and forums in your market and spend some time there reading and familiarizing yourself with the discussion. Start replying to posts with useful remarks so that you gradually build a reputation as a genuine and helpful contributor. Once you have established yourself as a valuable member, people will be much more interested in seeing what else you have to say in your website (even if it's not related with your website).

  • Submit articles to articles directories. Article directory are places where people can submit their articles. Then articles are then free for anyone to download or reproduce, provided that the author information and any link the author has inserted into the article remain intact. Directories benefit both parts: the author gets the article distributed around the internet for free, earning backlinks and traffic in the process while the person using the article gets free content for their website [3].

  • Get links with other sites in your niche. Another way to get traffic for free is from other sites in your niche. Getting links with other sites in your niche is also good for SEO, especially if you manage to get links without the famous nofollow attribute. But even if the links are nofollow (i.e. they are useless for SEO), they still help to get traffic to your site. If you manage to put your link in a visible place on a site with high volumes of traffic, you can get thousands of hits from this link alone. However, be careful while exchanging links, because linking to bad neighbors or building backlinks to quickly, may get you penalized.

  • Exploit website’s top referrers list. Frequently, webmasters exploit PTR (Paid To Read) and PTC (Paid To Click) services as an intermediary technique to archive traffic. In most cases they expose their websites to these services, and users are then paid to read it. However, it’s a fast way to expose your website to a large audience, it may not target your niche. Thus, they will read it because they are paid to do it, but the conversion ratio will be low. Consequently, some webmasters use these services as an illegal way to do referrer spoofing attacks on website’s top referrers list, which may be extremely difficult to detect.

    Note that, the word “pay” means the fast way to use these services, since they usually offer the free option: you read or click in other sites to earn credits, and then you can use them to get traffic.

After this short introduction, we learned that getting traffic for free is a vast topic and it is not possible to list all the ways to do it. However, if you know the most important ways – i.e. the ways we discussed in this article and you apply them properly, it is guaranteed that you will be able to get lots of traffic for free. On my next post I will explain how some black hat techniques work in detail, and what you can do to protect your website from it. So stay tuned.


[1] Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Wikipedia.

[2] 10 Ways to Get Traffic for Free. - Seo tools and webmaster utilities.

[3] How to get traffic to your website using alternative methods.


chij gurung said...

great tips for web traffic and promotion thanks for sharing