Search engines like Google are big, unavoidable, and a must-have in your online marketing strategy as a blogger. Depending on “one” source for traffic, however, can kill.  I’ve always believed in diversification so that you have more options and you’d never have to depend on just one source – be it sources of income, preferred vehicles for financial investment, eligibility for career choices, or methods to market your blog.

With the  recent spate of Google updates, ever-changing algorithms, and fickle behavior when it comes to Internet readers – the results can be just as volatile as the stock markets, if you get the drift?

That’s why, it’s important to diversify your online marketing strategy and not depend on SEO (search engine Optimization) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing) alone. Moreover, I find SEO over-rated, although important.  Here are 5 ways to get traffic without ever having to depend on Google:

Your content determines your success online

I’ll reiterate this point until I beat myself to death, but there’s really nothing more to Internet Marketing than publishing great content. Approach blogging like magazine publishing and focus on publishing your best content that provides value to readers (and not spiders). Don’t stress yourself on number of words, keyword phrases or keywords, keyword density, stuffing your Meta information with keywords and spammy descriptions.

Kissmetrics, SeoMoz, and SEObook, are companies that have been built on content that makes people come back for more.  Time Management Ninja, LifeHacker, ThinkTraffic, and hundreds of other blogs have made it big in their respective niches based on quality content alone. No matter how much of media buying, promoting, PPC campaigning you do, it’ll all be abortive if there’s no value-added content to back your campaigns up.

Content, in the world of Internet marketing, is the product that people should be willing to pay (although you’d give it away for free, initially at least).

Email Subscribers love you, tap into this love faucet

The importance of building a list isn’t a swashbuckling, brand-new secret; it’s, however, severely under-rated.

Permission-based email lists are full of subscribers who took the effort to hear more from you (where they exchange their email in exchange for a well-written, valuable report). These are hyperactive, enthusiastic, action-taking, well-meaning readers who love you. Sending an email to them has high rates of response in terms of click-through rates, open-rates, and calls-to-action from within your emails.

An active list of 500 subscribers, for example, is pure gold when compared to 1 million strangers you try to reach through mass media.

Think about it.

Sweat it out on Q & A sites

A little known secret to get traffic, without ever depending on search engines for traffic, is to contribute on leading Q & A sites. Some of the most popular ones such as LinkedIn Answers, Quora, and Focus bring you best results.

Further, hundreds of Q & A sites exist (there are even niche-based, Q & A sites) such as Minti and Networth IQ (for financial Q & A), (for business), (for kids health and parenting), and the list goes on.

Random and spiritless contribution won’t get you traffic; but intriguing, powerful, opinionated, and knowledgeable participation gets you noticed. You’ll have to work backwards, gain knowledge and expertise yourself, and work your guts out for compiling information or curating messages for others so as to answer their questions (for no fee).

Start contributing real value, go out of your way to help solve others’ problems, and ask for nothing in return. Interestingly, that’s when people waltz through to your website, eager to find out who you are.

Follow the “20 comments per day” rule

What do Pete Cashmore of Mashable and  Danny Iny of FirepoleMarketing have in common? They grew their one-person blogs into publishing powerhouses.

How do you think they did that? Apart from following all of the points mentioned above, they left an incredible number of meaningful comments on others’ blogs. They networked with other bloggers, gained visibility and traffic to their blogs – all of this leading to their own little following of ardent readers who multiplied to form their success stories.

Leaving comments that add value and meaning to conversation following a blog post written by another blogger doesn’t take much of your time, if you think about it. Stick to a “20 comments per day rule” and see how your traffic builds up, over time.

Leverage your social media time

I recently wrote a post on how to use social media to get the most out of your WordPress blog.  The most important, open secret of social media: give, give, and give more; don’t bother asking for anything because it’ll all come back anyway. Think of it as simple reciprocation, mutual respect, or “positively getting even” or even “karma”.

Set aside a fixed amount of time each day and plan to help others. Answer questions, praise someone, congratulate someone, wish someone (if it’s a special day for them); share, like, comment, Retweet generously.

Note: The number of followers on your network is no measure of success on Social Media. As old and clichéd it might be, it’s the quality that counts. 

Which method are you going to choose? Why don’t you showcase your contributions here for us all to be inspired? I’d love to hear from you.

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