Web TrafficIf I learned anything in 2011, it’s that SEO traffic is the 800-pound gorilla that nobody seems to know how to avoid. It’s everywhere…

My book, Duct Tape SEO, is one example of how SEO-heavy I’ve been in my own business. I build links and optimize my pages for top performance in Google…

BTW: I’m not going to stop link-building or optimizing for top ranks in Google.

But…I’ve been thinking that link building is only going to be part of my marketing, and I’ve talked about it before but haven’t really put my back into it, so to speak.

It’s hard to think of the answer to:

What’s better than link-building?

The SEO “box” I’ve climbed into leaves me wondering, along with many SEO-dependent affiliates: what can you build besides links that are going to make a difference in your traffic?

Just some thoughts:

  • Build a network.
  • Build relationships.
  • Build a brand.
  • Build a name. Er…yeah. A brand. Guess I said that.

Simple, right?

Well maybe not so fast. But hey, it’s not like you and I need to re-invent the wheel here. To “build a network” takes a bit of time, but there are smart ways to go about it.

The Traffic Experts

Kristi Hines, Networking Genius

Not wanting to figure it all out myself, I bought Kristi Hines’ Ultimate Blog Post Promotion Guide (now in version 2), and I read it. Reading it didn’t seem to change my traffic any, though…other than making me realize how little networking I actually do.

(Funny thing about ebooks? They don’t work themselves out…you need to take action. Go figure.)

In the guide, she talks about how to network, which for a chronic link-builder like me, was a solid read and entirely outside of my box.

Ever since I’ve hopped online, it’s been SEO this and link-building that, nothing really “to it” other than finding out where and how to build these links intelligently and efficiently.

But I’m hoping to build a better network in 2012 for my niche sites and this one, especially after reading Kristi’s book (twice), and realizing that Google rewards and skews search results based on your social network….

My friend Leo Dimilo talked at length about “personalized search” so much that the chronic link-building community revolted on many occasions…anyway: Forbes Magazine AND Google seem to ally with Leo and Kristi.

Forbes just listed Kristi as one of the top 50 social media power influencers. So yeah: she has some street cred on how it’s done (and I honestly believe that anyone worried about Google and SEO traffic needs to read this book ASAP).

Speaking of wanting to build a network…

Join My Social Networks

Once you have a network – build relationships. Key relationships. Strategic ones. Even fun ones.

Build relationships with your customers. Give good service and content…

You know: treat people the way you want to be treated – easier said than done, but crucial to build any lasting relationship.

Jonathan Leger, Customer-Oriented

One example of this is how Jonathan Leger, in his forum and blog, takes time out of his schedule to reply to his customers.

Seems like a small enough “payment,” but it’s the simple act of “engagement” that pays dividends.

He goes to great lengths, IMHO, to keep his customers for life. I’m sure there are horror stories out there of less than stellar moments in the guy’s life or how someone was dissatisfied with his products or service: but by and large, he’s got a loyal following.

He has a loyal fanbase – and whether you’re planning on launching your own products or not is irrelevant: treat your customers (readers) well and you’ll keep them to buy from you on the next go-round, the next website you launch, the next email list you build.

Main points from Jonathan (who has some great link-building related software, like The Best Spinner, one of my staples): deliver the goods, keep people satisfied, get feedback.

He’s very customer-oriented and listens (via frequent polls) to what his customers want. Then he builds the software.

Engagement, polling and quality products that satisfy needs: that’s Jonathan.

Pat Flynn, Be Everywhere

Another example of this sort of marketer is Pat Flynn, who gets so much press I hesitate to even link to him (does he need my introduction?).

What’s he doing but building relationships, earning links, and building a formidable brand? You may not like Pat, but it’s pretty difficult not to like the guy.

He knows how to build and maintain a presence that he can leverage to the tune of $40,000 a month in some months.

Pat’s main thing: be everywhere. YouTube, iTunes, Forums, Twitter…where there’s traffic: there’s Pat. He gets more referral traffic from social media than SEO.

Kim Roach, Traffic Diva

Kim Roach is another person in the “traffic experts” status that I’ve really taken a liking to – to get a foretaste of why, you can check out her free report called Underground Traffic Formula.

I did download that (loved it) and went ahead and got her Traffic Dashboard product (now she’s onto a monthly “Marketing Lab” group which I’m sure will continue to benefit her members, but I can’t speak to that since I have what I need currently).

Social Media Examiner, Build Your SMO IQ

I could go on and on with recommendations (I left out Derek Halpern’s Social Triggers, Brankica Underwood’s Blog Like a Star and Ana Hoffman’s Traffic Generation Cafe but they’re not lightweights by any stretch), but here’s a story that struck like lightning.

It also inspired me to add the Pinterest button to my social sharing links from the “GetSocial” bar to the left of my posts (please feel free to Pin my posts!)…

The title says it all:

How an Alaskan Mom Brings Millions to Her Carpentry Blog

Disclaimer: No crude oil was spilled in the making of this post, no polar bears harmed, no whales harpooned…and no Sarah Palin in sight (or on site)…

 

 

 

 

I’ll spoil a bit of the story for you: she gets over 6,000 daily visits from Pinterest alone.

What I love about the story: she’s not an internet marketer…she gives her content away for free. Silly gal…and yet..I think she knows perfectly what she’s doing.

Build Relationships, They’re Better Than Links

Newsflash: Google Can’t Stop a Brand

(OK, before you hit me with examples of small brands that have got Panda-lized by Google…remember JC Penney? Remember EzineArticles? Yeah: still around…)

If the Alaskan mom (Ana White, no relation to Walter or Skyler) can get millions of views from social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest – i.e. without Google – why are internet marketers so worried about Google’s next big move?

Answer: Because we’re lazy, that’s why.

When I wrote Duct Tape SEO, I also wrote “why” I wrote the book. One of the reasons is that it’s “too hard” to build a presence on Twitter, Facebook and G+ (right?)…

It’s easier to mash out links (believe me: I’m still mashing out links)…

And so here’s the question for you, then:

If you want to depend on Google for traffic, and miss the boat of actually building a brand, a network, and traffic from other non-Google sources: stop complaining about the algo changes.

Really now. It’s their index: Google is going to make your life miserable when rankings are down – they don’t promise you good rankings tomorrow, even if you’re #1 today.

But hey: I’m not against SEO – just writing a note to myself that I, too, need to get serious about networking.

I need to take my own advice.

Speaking of which – funny thing happened thanks to a relationship I built on Google Plus with one +Vernessa Taylor

Google Plus Rocks at Networking

Vernessa Taylor (who blogs at various places, check out her list here) did something pretty awesome – out of the blue, for no other reason than she’s awesome peeps:

Um…actually she did TWO cool things…

1. Nominated Me For the Versatile Blogger Award

(I’m going to officially follow up later, but that’s pretty cool!)

2. Nominated Duct Tape SEO for the Small Business Book Award (THAT is beyond cool). The details:

The book “Duct Tape SEO” has been accepted for nomination. Here is a link to the book nomination: http://bookawards.smallbiztrends.com/story/27854

Be sure to share this link on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social networks where you participate. If you like, grab a nomination badge and a press release template to tell the world about this nomination honor:

http://bookawards.smallbiztrends.com/promote

Voting commences February 1, 2012. Remember, you and your fans can vote once every day through February 16, 2012.

How cool is that?!

If you all would be so kind: please vote for the book from February 1st-16th, once a day or something like it (even once period would be awesome of you).

You can Re-Tweet this:

RT @CoachNotesBlog Pls vote for “Duct Tape SEO: WordPress SEO Done Dirt Cheap” in the #BizBookAwards => http://bit.ly/z1KBAN @TheAvgGenius

To help me out, just click here. Presto, baby.

To Vernessa Taylor: wow! That was humbling, to say the least. Thanks!

And to my readers: it’s not like I have a billion dollars to throw at advertising…but being a friend on social media? Count me in. It pays in spades, even if link-building seems 1000 times easier.

‘Nuff Said: What Now?

Well unlike many in my shoes, I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. I’m going to be applying what I’ve learned from the Traffic Dashboard and Kim Roach’s free report, Underground Traffic Formula (in addition to Kristi’s UBPP guide).

The truth is, I’ve depended on SEO for my traffic and built nothing but links. Granted, I’ve made some nice coin and it’s passive income: but I don’t trust Google to stay the same “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” I fully expect them to keep changing…

Doing business of any sort means diversifying to lower your risk, especially with traffic online.

So what’s better than building links?

How about building relationships and a brand?

Building traffic NOT dependent on any one (potentially adversarial) traffic source?

I don’t want to steer anyone away from Google traffic: it’s still my “first base” on a traffic home run – but home runs require 3 other bases to score.

That’s all I’m sayin’.

So what about you? Any thoughts on traffic successes? Plans?

Book Launch and Life in a Cave

90% done with the preliminary stages of launching my book…if you want a sneak peak (don’t buy it yet though!):

Visit here.

Don’t buy it yet since I have a kick-off price that’s nuts…it’s going to save anyone interested a load of money.

Meanwhile:

…YES I’m still blogging here.

…YES I love my readers (srrsly).

…YES I’m playing too much Modern Warfare 3, learning how much of a NOOB I am for some reason (even though I still recall DUCK HUNT for goodness sakes, and Golgo 13, and James Bond 007: Goldeneye from Rare on N64…I am an OG: Original Gamer, thanks)…

But my newest book is taking the lion’s share of my brain-power.

Other than that: catching up on downtime with my kids (like watching The Woman in Black with my 17 y/o daughter and SCREAMING like a GIRL…and I should know: she almost deafened me…we were synchro-screaming).

And yes…that’s a full-on endorsement for one of the best horror/ghost movies EVAH.

I have a lot of catching up to do (Google’s page layout algorithm, which Leo Dimilo told me about before it was official somehow, and playing with my new toys like premium SEO Powersuite, Magic Rank Tracker and SERPAttacks – all to see which I’ll use to replace Market Samurai, which I’m retiring from)…

Hang in there and I will catch up: lots to say. But for now, I wanted to weigh in on non-Google traffic, and will return when this book’s launched.

See? I still live here. See you around, and thanks for bearing with me.

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