Look, for a moment, at Google Penguin. The update penalizes, among other things, a link profile that looks unnatural. Unnatural, in this case, often refers to too many links coming in from the same source, or using the same unlikely combination of keywords. Diversifying your link profile is thus important.
Organic traffic is likewise incredibly important, and diversifying your organic incoming traffic sources is like building a strong foundation to support your site. If, for example, you rely on Google results for a single set of queries for your profitability, what happens if your site loses ranking for those queries? What if you relied on Facebook for most of your traffic, and your Facebook account is compromised and blocked? It’s like balancing a chair on a single leg. Diversification gives you more legs to stand on, a strong foundation less likely to fall over.
How can you diversify your organic traffic?
Optimize Images for Search
Common advice holds that every blog post should have images, often several per post. Sometimes those images can be a very good source of traffic. You just need to optimize them properly. Be aware of size and composition. Fill out alt text properly. Try to make your images as unique as possible. Make your filenames descriptive, not a basic string of numbers or arbitrary letters. Try to avoid unedited stock photos, as they’re far from unique and won’t get you a ranking for your content. Thankfully, you can automate a lot of this just by paying attention when you create your images.
Contribute to Discussion Boards
Discussion boards, web forums, user groups, Twitter hashtags; they’re all basically the same thing. They’re all a place for like-minded users to gather to discuss topics that interest them. If you want to take advantage of this, the first thing you need to do is identify discussion boards that relate to your business or industry. Once you know what they are, register an account for each of them. Spend time reading and learning about the people there. Participate in discussions in a non-advertorial way. Your goal is to become a respected member of the community who happens to run a website that answers questions.
Submit to Relevant Directories
Directory submission has gone down as a source of traffic and links in the past few years, mostly as an overreaction to the years before, where directory submission was actually useful. Webmasters would scattershot submit to thousands of directories for the links and meager traffic. You can’t get away with such an unfocused approach today. Instead, you need to identify a handful – probably no more than a doze – directories relevant to your niche and submit to them. Always do your research and never submit to a directory that has a negative reputation; you’ll do more harm than good.
Expand Social Prevalence
Many businesses limit themselves to only a few social media sites, and that’s fine. It’s not a bad idea, when you’re first digging into social media, before you learn how to use the sites. Once you’re experienced, however, you can take on a wider array of social networks to expand your audience and area of influence. Believe it or not, there are some people who only use certain social networks, and not Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Go beyond the basic social networks and take up a presence on Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon and others.
Network with Other Bloggers
You’re not alone online. There are other websites in your industry, probably in your niche. You can look upon these others as competition and wall yourself into a fortress of antagonistic SEO, or you can reach out and network with these other bloggers to make them partners and mutually beneficial contributors. It doesn’t take much to put your foot in the door, after all. Comment on their blog, reach out to say hello, follow their profiles and keep an eye out. In the worst case, you can use these channels to keep an eye on their marketing efforts to bolster your own.
Publish More, Share Less
Or, rather, share more exclusively. This tip is two-fold. First, publish more. Expand your horizons, take on a new topic, write more broadly and drill deep into more exotic topics. This helps give you more unique content, among other benefits. Then, start to be more exclusive with what you share. Don’t just post every blog post on every social network and call it good; be selective. Don’t be afraid to share the same post multiple times on the same network, as well. Just make sure you change up your post so it doesn’t look low-effort or outdated.
Build and Utilize a Mailing List
Your mailing list is a powerful resource only you control. It’s stuffed full of leads, but those leads will decay if they’re left unattended. People unsubscribe. People change their email addresses when they leave a job or graduate school. You need to keep your mailing list alive and growing. More, you need to make use of it to grow your presence online, your traffic to your site and your profits. Thankfully, it’s easy to use social media to grow your mailing list, and turn around to use it through social media to advertise.
Encourage RSS Subscriptions and Direct Traffic
There’s nothing better than direct traffic. Encourage users to bookmark your site and keep them checking it whenever you post new content. Of course, it’s easy to lose a bookmark once you have too many, and checking them all can become a chore. Encourage users, then, to follow your RSS feed for notifications whenever you push an update. Don’t use RSS? It’s trivially easy to set up.
Listen for Brand Mentions
Use one of the many social listening tools available to monitor the web for mentions of your brand or your products. These should be treated as opportunities to join a conversation. If the mention is positive, thank them for their kind words. If it’s negative, reach out to try to fix the issue. If it’s constructive feedback, take it under advisement. You can do a lot just by being aware of what users are saying about you without tagging your profiles.
Publish EBooks on Kindle (And Other Innovative Sources)
EBooks are a great way to drive traffic and conversions, but too many people decide pushing it on their blog is the best they can do. Instead, why not publish it for the Kindle? There’s an entire major audience available on Amazon that remains untapped by many businesses. You might not even have competition there, yet.
Refresh and Refurbish Old Content
Nearly any piece of content on your site older than a year is a possible target for refurbishing. Evergreen content is particularly effective to spice up and republish. This helps keep your relevance fresh in the eyes of Google, as well as giving you an easy out when you need to write something new but have no idea where to begin.