What do all marketers and business owners dream of every night? More customers. What do they dream of after reeling in more customers? More traffic to their website. Believe it, or not, 61% of marketers state that their biggest challenge is generating more traffic and leads. There are countless ways you can direct more traffic to your website and I’m going to cover 39 ways you can drive more traffic to your website for free.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free with Content
In case you didn’t know, it’s next to impossible to drive more traffic to your website without content. That being said, if you plan on skipping this section, go for it. However, I’ll bet next month’s paycheck that you’ll return to this section in 10 seconds. Why? I’m banking on you realizing that you simply cannot do any of the other strategies without good, high-quality content.
1.) Build Out a Business Blog
Your business needs a blog. There’s no getting around it. You need a place where you can publish long-form content on your website on a regular basis. This is without question a non-negotiable.
- Companies with well-developed blogs get 97% more links to their website
- Businesses who blog get 55% more website visitors than their counterparts who do not
- Marketers with blogs are 13 times more likely to earn a positive ROI
In general, the more value you provide on your site, the more reasons people have to visit it. Without a blog, it’s going to be an uphill battle to do most of the following strategies.
2.) Focus on Evergreen Topics to Drive More Traffic to Your Website for Free
News and trending topics can give you a short-term boost in traffic, but they’re not worth your time or effort. However, you’re far better suited to generate content around topics that will always be of interest to your readership. These evergreen articles will garner traffic and links over time, especially if you take the time to update them regularly (more on this later).
3.) Write Juicy Headlines
Your headlines are arguably the most important part of your content. In fact, a handful of studies have found that effective headlines drive up to 500% more traffic. The most comprehensive blog posts will go unread if they’re not paired with a marquee headline. You must master the art of writing phenomenal headlines so readers will select your content on the SERP.
4.) Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site
Guest authors are a great way to diversify your content and perspectives. Another perk is that they’ll want to share the article with their network and link to it on their site. This can bring new readers to your site…talk about a win-win! However, you can’t just invite some random blogger to guest post on your site. You need to ensure that they know what they’re talking about and that they’ll produce high-quality, original content without any spammy links. If you allow some hack blogger to share a boatload of spammy links, you’ll likely get hit with a Google penalty and lose lots of potential traffic to your site. It doesn’t hurt to develop a set of guest posting guidelines to prevent any mishaps and ensure that your content stays on brand.
5.) Generate Amazing Visuals
You can use tools such as Canva to illustrate ideas, visualize data, and recreate charts in accordance with your branding scheme. When other sites use your graphics, they’ll link back to your site. Furthermore, Google is showing more and more images in regular Search results, which provides more opportunities to rank and increase the appeal of your content on the SERPs.
6.) Incorporate Video to Drive Traffic to Your Site for Free
Text-based content is fine and dandy, but videos will attract more visitors and keep them engage longer. Here are some ways you can use video to drive more traffic to your website:
- Embed videos directly into your blog posts so they can appear in video search results
- Partake in YouTube SEO to rank higher on YouTube and add links to your website in the video description
- Add CTA buttons directly into your video that take people to your website
7.) Develop a Resource Center
Videos and blog posts aren’t the only form of content you need to create in order to educate your audience and earn their trust. Don’t forget about infographics, downloadable guides, templates, webinars, and more. As you generate these lead magnets and share them across the web, collect them on a resources page. An exhaustive collection of multimedia content is sure to attract visitors who will return to your site time and time again.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free with SEO
So the above strategies are awesome. However, there’s one major problem, They’re not going to drive traffic to your website if nobody can find them. Seeing how the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks, you need a rock-solid SEO strategy. Furthermore, you want to aim to be one of the first five results because Moz found that those coveted spots garner 67.6% of all clicks on the first page.
SEO is the art of optimizing a site for search engines so it is more visible in search results for relevant queries. An SEO strategy is a whole other level of complexity, but here are the SEO basics to get you started.
8.) Employ Target Keywords to Drive More Traffic to Your Site for Free
Keywords are the terms and phrases people type into search engines to form their queries. As you can imagine, some keywords are more popular than others. Through using keyword research tools, you can see that the keyword “how to increase website engagement” only gets about 10 searches per month whereas “how to increase website traffic” gets 590. The cost per click (CPC) in the far right column is also worth noting. Notice how it drastically increases as search volume increases?
While it may seem counterintuitive, the first keyphrase – “how to increase website engagement” – is the better blog post topic if you’re looking to direct traffic to your website.
9.) Longtail Keywords
Keywords with high search volume are great, but high search volume doesn’t always equate to higher traffic since a lot of websites are likely targeting these keywords. Many high-volume keywords are also broad and super hard to rank for. For instance, “marketing” has a search volume of 110,000, which is pretty darn high.
Longtail keywords are far easier to rank and will bring in far more relevant traffic to your site.
10.) Place Your Keywords Strategically
Keyword placement is quite possibly the ultimate bread and butter of on-page SEO, which is when you optimize your content so that search engines can understand what it’s about and rank it in relevant searches. Make sure you include your keyword(s) in the following locations:
- Title tag (meta title)
- H1 heading
- At least two H2 headings
- Naturally in the body content
- The first 100 words (aka intro paragraph)
- Image file names and alt text
- Meta description
11.) Optimize Your SERP Presence
Simply including your keyword in your meta description and meta title isn’t going to cut it. You need to optimize these essential snippets of information to improve their appeal and stickiness on the SERPs and generate more organic clicks. Here’s how you can improve your meta description and meta title:
- Meta Description: Limit this to 155-165 characters. Make sure to indicate the value for the reader and make it actionable
- Meta Title: Keep your title under 60 characters. Make sure the keyword is close to the beginning and indicate some form of value and/or benefit for the reader
12.) Link Internally
When you create and publish your content, make sure to add at least 1-3 links to other articles on your site. Doing so will help drive traffic to those pages. It also keeps visitors on your site longer, encourages them to poke around your site, and allows them to get more value out of your site. All three of these benefits can potentially improve your ranking and drive more traffic to your website for free.
13.) Lightning Fast Page Speed Drives More Traffic to Your Website for Free
Do you ever find yourself waiting 30 seconds for a webpage to load? Me neither. Your bounce rate will be through the roof if your site takes forever and a day to load. Speed has always been a ranking factor with Google and the page experience update placed even more value on speed than ever before. Make sure that your pages are as technically optimized as humanly possible. This includes image file sizes, page structure, and the functionality of third-party plugins. In short, the faster your site loads, the better.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool tests your site, scores your site’s performance, and provides suggestions for improving your Core Web Vitals. I highly recommend that you use this tool and apply its recommendations.
14.) Make Your Site Responsive
More traffic occurs on mobile devices than on desktop computers these days. So you need to make sure that your site functions flawlessly on both desktop and mobile versions. If you only have a desktop version, your visitors will need to pinch and scroll their way around your site. This makes for a poor overall user experience and you’re basically telling them to go elsewhere. Even if you have a basic website, you still need to ensure that it is accessible and easy to view on any device, including smartphones.
If you want to optimize every element of your website, you should check out Wordstream’s Ultimate Website Audit Checklist.
15.) Incorporate Schema Markup
Implementing Schema markup – a microdata format – doesn’t directly increase traffic to your website. However, it does make it easier for web crawlers to find and index your pages. Another benefit of implementing Schema for SEO is that it can result in better rich snippets, which can improve click-through rates.
16.) Keep Your Content Fresh to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free
Even the most pristine evergreen content goes stale after a while and content freshness is most definitely a ranking factor. Even if your content is still ranking on the first page of Google a full year after you published it, you’d be surprised at what a content refresh can accomplish. A new publish date on the SERP can drastically increase CTR and bump you up a few spots, which, in turn, can lead to a tidal wave of fresh traffic.
However, you can’t just change a few words and update the publish date on your post. Google won’t fall for any of those shenanigans. Here are a handful of strategies that will help you generate traffic via evergreen content:
- Update and/or add new information, data, and/or stats
- Replace archaic images and/or create new ones to illustrate concepts
- Add new links to more recent (and relevant) resources
- Fix broken links and images
- Add new keywords from the query report in Search Console
- Tweak your meta title and meta description
17.) Develop and Earn Backlinks
One of the most powerful Google ranking factors is the quality and quantity of links on other sites that take users to your site. The more links you have from reliable and respected sites with high domain authority, the more you increase your own domain authority. The higher your domain authority, the higher you will rank and the more inbound traffic you will generate.
More Backlinks = More Traffic
There are a number of link building strategies out there that work, but here are a few of my personal favorites:
- Reach out to credible sites and offer to write a guest post and link your site in the body of the post or your author bio
- Use an SEO tool to find broken links on other websites and offer your content as a replacement
- Generate original, high-quality content that people simply cannot resist linking to
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free Using Social Media
Social media marketing includes several benefits. One of these benefits is referral traffic to your website. Here are a few ways to turn these massive platforms into traffic generators for your site.
18.) Promote Your Content via Social Media
Producing great content and hoping people will find it isn’t the best course of action. You need to promote your content on the major social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) in order to get it in front of your audience. Twitter is ideal for quick-hitter links, whereas Google Business posts can help your site show up in local search results. If you’re a B2C product company, you might find a lot of traction with image-focused social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Promoting via social media will drive traffic to your site and get more eyes on your content. Your social posts will increase your chances of earning backlinks if executed correctly.
19.) Add #Hashtags
When sharing your content on hashtag-friendly sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) you want to include relevant hashtags (#) to improve the reach of your posts. Make sure to keep the hashtags specific to the topic of the post so that people who are likely to read your content can discover you.
20.) Target Amplifiers
In Rand Fishkin’s groundbreaking “Who Will Amplify This? And Why?” post, he points out that marketers need to generate content that is appealing to both potential customers and amplifiers. Such amplifiers include:
- Industry Publications: Trade journals, news sites, big-brand blogs, and social influencers
- External Sources of Influence: Jounaalists in mainstream media and social influencers outside of your field
- Customer Evangelists: People with industry followings who use and recommend you
- Potential Evangelists: Customers with big networks and followings, or well-read publications
21.) Post Native LinkedIn Articles
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network and it is an extremely valuable publishing platform in its own right. This means that you should publish content to LinkedIn on a regular basis. Doing so can drive traffic to your website for free and increase your reputation within your industry. The best part is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Simply write a reflection piece on a recent topic or repurpose content you’ve already written…it’s really that easy.
22.) Interview Industry Thought Leaders
Do you believe that interviews are only for the big players? If so, you’re dead wrong. It’s seriously amazing how many people are willing to talk with you if you ask them. Send out emails requesting interviews with thought leaders in your industry and publish the interviews on your blog. Not only will the name recognition enhance your credibility, but the interviewee will likely also share your content too, which further expands its reach.
23.) Add Social Share Buttons to Your Website
This is a crazy easy way to win some extra traffic. Social share buttons allow readers to share the content they’re reading with their social networks with just a few clicks. Another option is the click-to-Tweet feature. This nifty do-dad provides readers with a pre-written Tweet that they can publish in one click. I highly recommend that you check to see if these plugins are available for your site. If they are, definitely give them a shot!
24.) Research the Competition to Drive More Traffic to Your Website for Free
If you’re not using tools like Ubersuggest to keep tabs on your competition, then you’re at a severe disadvantage. Services such as Ubersugget aggregate the social performance of specific sites. They also provide an at-a-glance view of what topics are clicking with readers. Most importantly, they provide invaluable insight into which posts are making the rounds on social media. These tools help you find out what people are reading (and talking about), allowing you to then emulate that content to bring more free traffic to your website.
25.) Post at the Right Time
If you really want to dive into the weeds here, you can also dig into your social media analytics. Either way, you want to figure out the best time to post to garner the most engagement from your audience and share your blog post links. You can start off with a “general” best time (e.g. Thursday afternoon) and then dig into the data to get more precise (e.g. Thursday at 4:55 pm).
More Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free
26.) Host Webinars
There’s no getting around it – people love to learn. Webinars are a phenomenal way to share your wisdom with your audience. Combined with an efficient social promotional campaign, webinars are a great way to boost traffic to your website. Send out an email a week or so ahead of time and a “last chance to register” reminder the day before the webinar. Make sure to archive the presentation for later viewing, and promote your webinars widely via social media.
27.) Optimize Your Listings
Business directories are a wealth of potential website traffic. However, simply adding your website isn’t going to cut it. It’s critical that you optimize your listings so they can rank on their respective platforms and capture the attention of local searchers.
Here are a few of the best free business listing sites, but the most important one is your Google Business Profile. An optimized Google MyBusiness listing can help you rank on Google maps and Google Search. Facebook is also critical since it’s the second-largest directory globally. Lastly, you cannot forget about popular sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and the sort.
In order to fully optimize your listings, make sure that you:
- Fill out every available section
- Include your business category
- Keep your information as consistent as possible across all listings
- Get reviews and respond to them
- Add photos
- Update your information on a regular basis
A well-optimized Google Business Profile can land your website at the top of the SERPs in no time flat
28.) Start an Online Community to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free
People naturally want to speak their minds and weigh in on topics they’re passionate about, so tap into this human instinct by building an online community on your site to start the conversation and increase inbound traffic. You can implement a robust commenting system via Facebook comments or Disqus, or even create a dedicated forum where visitors can ask questions. Don’t forget to manage your community to ensure that minimum standards of decorum are met.
29.) Participate in Online Forums
Starting an online community can take some time to set up and establish. So if you’re in a pinch, or are just too lazy to set it up, you can join forums and social media groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit. All three are great places to share your knowledge. Make sure that you only include links when doing so is permitted and appropriate. If you do include links, don’t post just a link, and make darn sure that you don’t include a link in every post. Most importantly, make sure that the link you provide is to a specific blog post on a relevant topic. The primary goal here is to generate value and build brand awareness – not drive traffic to your site. People who are interested will search for your site of their own volition or go to your profile where they can find your site.
30.) Attend Conferences
Regardless of your industry, chances are at least one or two major conventions and conferences relevant to your business. Attending these events is a great idea – speaking at them is an even better idea! Even a halfway respectable speaking engagement is an excellent way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and gain significant exposure for your website.
31.) Submit Your Content to Aggregator Sites
If you have a blog, it likely has an RSS feed that allows aggregator sites to display your latest content on a particular topic. People use these sites to follow their favorite blogs, news sites, and more. Some RSS services even provide an email address to which users can use to ‘subscribe’ to blogs and such. Most aggregators will find your feed on their own, but some are pay-to-play. Here’s a list of aggregators that Hubspot has compiled to help you get started.
32.) Start an Email Newsletter to Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free
A newsletter does not have to be complicated. It’s really as simple as developing a solid email list and sending out updates. Pretty easy, ‘eh?
However, you need to be mindful of how often you update your email list. The last thing you want to do is totally bombard them with a neverending slew of emails, or even too many links in a single email update. You’ll do just fine if you follow these email marketing tips and do your testing to figure out what content and at what frequency is best.
33.) Reach Out to Email Newsletters
There are newsletters out there for just about every topic out there under the sun. Most of them accept pitches and contributions…all you have to do is ask in most cases. Do your research, find the ones in your niche looking for great content, and proceed to supply it. If you get featured, you’ll not only get a spike in traffic, but you might find more regular readers who return to your site on a regular basis…or better yet, sign up for your newsletter.
34.) Create a Free Tool
What’s better than free and useful content? Well, free and useful tool(s), of course! Idea generators, assessments, quizzes, calculators, etc. Optimize the landing page with long-form content and your free tool could end up ranking organically! Make it something your visitors can use over and over again, and you’ll have an endless flood of traffic coming your way…aka blogger’s bliss!
Okay, so this one isn’t technically free, but it’ll pay for itself if you play your cards right!
SEO is fine and dandy, but it takes a while to accumulate traffic, build links, and even earn Google’s blessing. In the meantime, you may want to explore the option of a paid advertising campaign. Search, display, and social ads are all excellent ways of attracting highly targeted visitors to your site. Each paid media channel has its pros and cons, so carefully consider your objectives before you enter your credit card info for payment.
Google Ads is a great place to start. If you hoping that more traffic to your site will yield more sales, you’ll need to hone in on high commercial intent keywords as part of your paid search strategies. Yes, competition for these search terms can be both fierce and expensive, but the payoffs are often worth their weight in gold. In fact, PPC is said to return $2 for every $1 spent – Google even claims that the return is closer to $8 for every dollar spent!
Tools to Help Drive Traffic to Your Website for Free
Aside from the all-in-one SEO tools discussed in this list, all of these are…you guessed it…free!
36.) Track SEO Metrics in Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a vast wealth of data on just about every possible aspect of your site. Whether you’re curious to see which posts are your top performers or want to better understand the demographics of your visitors…Google Analytics is your golden ticket. Make sure to keep a close eye on your SEO metrics, and apply this information to better inform your promotional and content strategies. Find out which topics are trending among your visitors, the demographic makeup of your visitors, the channels from where they’re coming, and more – then harness and scale up what’s working for you!
37.) View Your Queries in Google Search Console
Google Search Console is extremely helpful in finding the queries that are leading people to your site via the SERPs. This can help you make sure that your pages are ranking for what you’re targeting, find new keywords to add to an existing page, and new keywords to target altogether. You can also view your organic click-through rate in Google Search Console and troubleshoot any potential indexing issues.
38.) Analyze the SERP with SEO Tools
All-in-one SEO tools like Semrush and Ahrefs provide you with the means to conduct keyword research, backlink analysis, SERP analysis, identify content gaps, crush potential ranking opportunities, and more. You can even use them to analyze pages on your competitors’ sites!
39.) Audit Your Site with Website Graders
These tools will audit your website and find opportunities to improve your ranking and traffic. If that isn’t enough, they’re a little more user-friendly than all-in-one SEO tools. The reports are easy to read and offer in-depth insights and actionable guidance on how to improve your score. Some also look at other elements of your website such as accessibility and content readability.