27 Web Site Marketing Ideas That Have Nothing to do with Google or SEO

In 2007, Google updated their webmaster tool guidelines to reflect a change in their approach to paid text links. In the past, you could purchase text links to help your website do better in the search engines. But be careful, this practice could now get your site banned from the search engines:

Some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.

Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:

  • Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the tag
  • Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file

As good as it feels to get mad at Google about this, the fact remains that hundreds of web sites’ Page Rank were penalized at the time. Since then it has become clear that you are certain to lose traffic from Google if you don’t comply with Google’s new terms. It may be next week, next month, or further down the road, but let’s just assume that it will happen, because Google is saying it will.

So instead of venting, we all need to make a few choices, either:

Keep the paid links and lose the traffic

Dump the paid links and lose the revenue

Either way, there is one thing that we should all be choosing to do right now:

Decrease the percentage of traffic that Google sends to your site in the first place

Google Too Big!!I don’t mean to purposely decrease traffic from Google, nor do I mean that you should not optimize your site for search engines. If you haven’t done the basics of SEO, you should – because there ARE other search engines besides Google, and it still is one of the best ways to find new visitors to your site.

What I do mean is that we should be actively working on increasing traffic from sources that are not search engines.

27 Web Site Marketing Ideas

So, without further ado, here are 27 ways to increase traffic to your website or blog that have nothing to do with Google, search engines or SEO. But the bonus is that all of these things will indeed help you rank better in the search engines, too.

  1. Social Bookmarking
    (Digg, Mixx, SU, Sk-rt, Sphinn, etc.)
  2. Social Networking
    (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  3. Forum Participation
    (I shouldn’t have to say that you go there to add value, not just get traffic!!)
  4. Blogging
    (If you aren’t doing this already this should be priority #1)
  5. Linking Generously
    (What goes around, comes around – & referral traffic generally sends the best and most qualified visitors to a site)
  6. Advertising
    (Even a small budget of $50 a month can get you started with a company like BlogAds or with PPC)
  7. Email Marketing
    (An art in and of itself, but most email marketing providers can get you started for free & can cost as little as $15/month)
  8. Directory Listings
    (There are lots of free niche directories, and some good paid ones, like BOTW)
  9. Flyers
    (Get local and make flyers to post at local cafes and other community bulletin boards)
  10. Yahoo Groups
    (I’ve had long-term success building communities through email discussion groups – really highly recommended if you have the stomach to be a good moderator)
  11. Listservs
    (Hosting your own email discussion groups is a little more involved, but if you need a branded option to Yahoo groups, it is worth it)
  12. Press Releases
    (Really important to raise the visibility of your site – it’s a new priority for me as well)
  13. Video
    (I can’t go anywhere without hearing how important it is to get into video. ARGH!)
  14. Twitter
    (I haven’t been very active there, but have heard that it can be a huge traffic driver I am now very active on Twitter and it IS a huge traffic driver!)
  15. Conferences
    (A quick search for “Wendy Piersall” and “SOBCon” brings up an astonishing 1200 results. ‘Nuff said.)
  16. Meetups
    (Real-life networking is crucial to your long-term success)
  17. Blog Comments
    (Leave them, respond to them, encourage them – love them!)
  18. Associations
    (Being involved with my local internet advertising community has been critical to my professional success)
  19. Widgets
    (BlogRush kind of fizzled, but MyBlogLog has been the 12th top referrer to this site in 2007)
  20. Memes
    (I find it hard to participate in them much of the time, but long-term they can be a great source of links and traffic)
  21. Blog Carnivals
    (I never had a lot of traffic from carnivals, but I do think they are important, especially for beginners)
  22. Craigslist
    (Some of my potential advertisers have done extremely well on Craigslist – not just getting traffic, but traffic that converts)
  23. AdLandPro
    (I couldn’t handle this place – but it is indeed a forum dedicated exclusively to letting you promote yourself – mostly for free)
  24. Contests
    (Just be careful that you don’t set up the rules so that you get banned by the search engines – unless, of course, you are already banned & don’t care 😉 )
  25. Article Marketing
    (Some people swear by it, others say it’s dead – I think it’s worth mentioning and testing, as different things work in different niches)
  26. Use Email Signatures
    (SOOooooooo important)
  27. Feature RSS feeds prominently
    (Once you get them hooked on your content, keep them coming back by making it easy to subscribe to your feeds! A large, prominent RSS button DOES increase subscriber numbers)

So, what website marketing strategies would you add to the list?

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  1. says

    Excellent post Wendy!

    To add to the list:

    * Giving away freebies (like designs/themes or plugins) with a backlink in the code. Use major distribution sites to get your reputation built up.

    * Participating in prominent “ranking” sites.

    These two are not applicable for everyone. They’re more geared towards designers and programmers, but they can be a solid source of traffic if done right.

  2. says

    I agree with the freebies to a point. You can end up giving too much away!!
    What about podcasts? If they like what they hear they will come between casts for more!
    You can list podcasts on iTunes and others podcast directories! (can you tell I was on the podcasting track at BlogWorld?)

    Write a book?? heheh That has bought me alot of traffic. People come looking for me online after they buy the book!

  3. says

    Very good list – I would add: If pictures are important to your site and you use a service like Flickr, make sure a link to back to your blog appears on every photo (in the description, for example) so that a random surfer can find their way back to your site content!

  4. Amber, www.RuffleButts.com says

    Thank you for sharing this list – it really gave me the kick I need to get plugging away again!

    I have also found that blog networking and cross promotion has worked well for us. I have found super supportive and friendly bloggers out there that have offered to write a blog about our site and product. I often do the same for them in return. What goes around, comes around, and has created good referral traffic for us.

  5. says

    Two more ideas:

    1. Sign up for a PR Service that allows you to receive and respond to PR queries that can land you and your link on top ranked sites.

    2. Add your url to your stationery, business cards, note pads, envelopes and anything else you circulate.

  6. says

    I just received my first page rank less then a month ago, we are less then a year old. When I started reading about bloggers loosing their ranks, I was a wreck wondering if we were finished be fore we started. I’m only now beginning to understand what is right and what is wrong regarding links. Our links come from me going out and blogging and commenting, however someone told me I shouldn’t sign out with my URL as that is usually not allowed. Being so new I make every mistake possible.

    I work all day and blog in the early morning or at night. I have a difficult time getting to read technical information and being dyslexic, doesn’t help. (learning how not to write backwards….) its not an easy thing to overcome. However, I never understood a passion and now I think I have one…too bad it took 61 years…none the less, this information above is wonderful thank you and I will share this with my partner Linda, she is a novice as well and we will learn together. thank you.
    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call your gram


    let me know if I was not suppose to leave my url for future traffic…

  7. Lis Garrett ~ a writer's woolgatherings says

    I have to admit that I don’t get much traffic from search engines. The only time I saw a marked difference in my traffic was when I wrote a post about Sexy Halloween Costumes and one about How To Cook A Thanksgiving Day Turkey. Obviously, I wrote these articles on purpose to drive traffic to my site. I have a small blog. I only get about 200 page views each day. I don’t even know what my page rank is!! I’m not big on writing SEO content on my blog, rather, I use your other suggestions. I notice most of my faithful visitors come over from their feed readers or from the comments section from other blogs. Although I would LOVE to have thousands of hits each day, I have always been a “slow and steady” type person.

    I appreciate your lists; I’ll have to try a few more of those!

  8. says

    Wonderful list. It is very timely! I recently made the decision to hire someone to help with SEO. I’ve never hired anyone before. I’ve also never had the time or knowledge to do it on my own and of course the lack of visitors to our company site is a tell tale sign of that. My blog gets more visitors typically than our company site and I haven’t done any SEO for either. I’m talking with one firm later this week. They have an interesting gaurantee on results.

    #12 – Press release. I have used PR Web (www.prweb.com) before and am actually sending a release out through them tomorrow on a business partnership. You can give as little as $10 up to hundreds of dollars to increase visibility. I think usually people do the $80 level. They have even added an RSS feed/group feature they didn’t have over a year ago.

    #17 – Blog Commenting. I do that as often as I can. Wendy (and others), I would like to “encourage” you to comment on my current blog post. I link to one of your posts in it. :-)

    I’ll be Digging this post!

  9. says

    Great list, I like the way you think Mrs Piersall.

    I would like to add that writing a book, even an e-book would increase your traffic and boost your brand.

    Also a book on Amazon.com would increase revenue and exposure too.

    If Amazon succeeds with their new KINDLE device the rules of the game would change and getting in early would be a definite advantage.

    Again I like how you think and your willingness to share it with your readers.

  10. says

    Thank you for a really good list. There are so many new ideas here that I have not tried yet like video and Twitter or Face Book. Video does scare me a bit though. I don’t think I come off very well in front of a camera if I were to do it myself.

    #1. I really enjoy Stumble Upon for social bookmarking. I feel I can be a bit more myself there and can expand what I am interested in. It can be a nice source of alternative traffic, although somewhat sporadic.

    #6. I have found that it really does pay to shop around for appropriate advertising for your site. If your advertising is not producing results, it is time to move on or your advertising budget will be gone in no time. I am trying a new advertiser right now and after 2 weeks not seeing much for results in terms of traffic to or sales of my products. I think I will be trying another soon.

    I would also like to expand on Helene’s idea of adding your URL to printed matter. I also have glossy printed product brochures that list all of my products and I include one in each order I ship. I figure that the person that placed the order could not have possibly seen all of the items for sale and hopefully it may promote repeat business or they may pass it along to a friend.

  11. says


    Fantastic article. You could have easily broken this information up into three parts with nine bullets each and I would have read every part without question.

    To the list I would add podcasting, and specifically listing the feed on iTunes and Yahoo’s Podcast directory. There are a number of “smaller” directories that you could submit to as well, but for the most part they will pick up your feed on their own in an attempt to add content to their own listings.

    I would also recommend generating good content for a number of Web2.0 properties as well like Scribd.com, Squidoo.com, Hubpages.com, etc. I know some might argue the pros and cons of this type of activity, but if it works for your niche/market then use it. Creating content for these sites takes little effort for someone who already knows their topic and method costs nothing to test.

    Thanks for the great ideas.

    Charles McKeever

  12. says

    Awesome list Wendy! I’m definitely sending more traffic your way and referring to your post for excellent advice. #13 Video is something I’m looking into for my site and the link you provided was very useful. Another good resource of information is a book titled Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch for those folks who are novice marketers. Thanks!!

  13. Amber says

    Hi Wendy,

    I’m new to your blog, but this post certainly caught my attention. I am a huge fan of Seth Godin, and so I must recommend checking out Squidoo.com. Creating a lens about your business or products you like or your ebay auction site or any other topic related to your business is one more great promotion idea. It’s FREE, easy and a fun way to promote your site to the Squidoo community.

    If you get a moment, please be sure to visit and check out our list of Essential 9 Promotional Strategies to boost quality traffic…many of these ideas can be implemented for free or at a low cost.



  14. Lorne Campbell says

    Thanks Wendy
    Digg is really good constantly spidered by google, I put an article on it and Google found it 10 mins later.
    I had forgotten about craigslist, so thanks for that.

  15. says

    Thanks for the great tips, Wendy! I especially like the emphasis on social bookmarking and networking.

    As time marches on, video creation may become more important. Some Internet marketing experts assert that videos may get more “juice” from search engines than even articles.

    Of course, the premise of your blog entry is to use marketing strategies that are not dependent on search engines. But wouldn’t it be nice to enhance our visibility and still gain optimization points? :)

    Best Regards,
    Andy Lax

  16. says

    I find this article to be very helpful. Places I never thought of to drive traffic, like Craigslist. I have been tweetering on getting twitter and it looks as though when I start my social blogging that is a must. Thanks again for the information!

    Kims last blog post..Oh My!

  17. Jennica Maxfield says

    Fantastic post, very helpful! It also makes me realize I have soooo much to learn!

    Jennica Maxfields last blog post..

  18. says

    Great post!! i’ve been looking for a good list of what’s out there and this sums it up!! i’ve tried out a few of these ideas and i’ve had success! twitter and digg have proven to be amazing!! i’ll be certainly trying out of the other things on the list!…. and i have to agree with some of the previous posts that video is a bit intimidating but since i’m used to working with the media for my “day job” it couldn’t hurt to put those skills to use for my own business!

    jamies last blog post.."Christmas Truck Card" is item of the hour!

  19. says

    Simple but highly effective and straight to the point. I used some of them for my education leads, and there’s one thing I’ve discovered, though. Not all of them may actually work. It really depends on your target market. Some can be found through article marketing, others e-mail marketing. What is important for a marketer to do is to learn how to analyze the sources of their traffic.

  20. Dax Turner says

    Hi Wendy.. This was a superb informative post. You have listed out all the options which all SEO or Search Marketing experts speaks about. Nice to see them all at one place! :)

    We follow most of these techniques and is getting very good results from this.

    Dax Turners last blog post..Search Marketing Solutions | Search Engine Optimization & PPC Services Company USA

  21. says

    All in all, these are great tips on marketing your site. Apart from that you can also comment/ participate in prominent sites just like what JMorris has commented but try to comment relevantly or else they will mark the comment as spam. You can also participate in different campaigns or even advertise through brochures or newspapers if you have the money.

    Ecommerce Help – Tyrone Shums last blog post..How Can I Help Your E-commerce Business?

  22. says

    Great list! I think it’s important to have a diverse strategy when it comes to marketing your website. Too any people depend on one method only which can be problematic.

    My favorite method? I’d have to say article marketing!


  23. online oyun says

    Use the back window of your car as a banner. Put your URL there where it’s big enough for people to see.

  24. says

    All great tips, although in the end SEO, when done properly and efficiently, does provide the best traffic and value for money. Diversity is important, however, and people shouldn’t rely SOLELY on search engines.


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