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15 Easy (And Free) Ways to Promote Your Website in 2022

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15 Easy (And Free) Ways to Promote Your Website in 2022

Free and effective promotion tactics? Yeah, right.

At the risk of sounding like a salesman, let me tell you that not only do these marketing tactics exist, but they’re also actually some of the most effective ones. We’ve been using them, other marketers use them, and most of the big websites I’ve seen to date use them. 

But that’s not all. You don’t need a degree in marketing or to be a marketing pro to start promoting your website for free and get results. Here are 15 ideas that go into the free, easy, and effective basket.

1. Prioritize easy keywords for SEO

If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, it stands for search engine optimization, and it allows you to get free traffic from search engines like Google

Overview of our beginner's guide to affiliate marketing
For example, our beginner’s guide on affiliate marketing gets an estimated 24.4K visits from search engines every month.

One of the fundaments of the SEO process is to choose the right keywords to create content for. Now, a tried and tested tactic for new websites and websites without a strong backlink profile is to choose keywords with low ranking difficulty. 

You can spot those keywords by mainly looking at two things: 

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  • How many backlinks from unique domains do the top-ranking pages have? 
  • Do the top-ranking pages belong to a domain with high topical authority? 

Here’s how you can do it using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. You can:

  1. Enter a seed keyword (or multiple seed keywords).
  2. Go to the Matching terms report and filter the KD (Keyword Difficulty) metric to show keywords with up to 20 KD. This will show you easy keywords based on backlink profile. 
  3. Pick a relevant keyword and open the SERP panel to see what kinds of pages rank. If you see popular brands dominating, those keywords may be hard to rank despite the low KD. SERPs without brands like that should be easier to target. 
  4. Repeat step #3 for every relevant keyword on the list. 
Keywords with KD lower than 20 based on "matcha" seed keyword
Keywords with KD lower than 20 based on the “matcha” seed keyword.
Example of a keyword with low KD and no "very strong" brands
Example of a keyword with low KD and no “very strong” brands.

Single low-competition keywords may not offer as much traffic potential. But if you pile up a number of pages targeting these keywords, you can end up with serious organic search traffic. 

Also, low-competition keywords may convert better than their more generic counterparts if they are specific enough. One of the neat tricks to find keywords that can possibly convert to sales is to check the CPC ad cost to see if people bid for those keywords. 

Keyword ideas sorted by CPC

So what to do with difficult keywords? Of course, you may target them any time you wish, but note that they will probably take more time (and backlinks) to rank. 

Position history chart for our article on keyword research
Despite many factors in favor of our article on keyword research, it reached #1 in the U.S. only after some four years of content updates and earning backlinks. Even then, it could not hold that position. KD 87 out of 100. Strong brands competing on the same keyword. Data via Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

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You may also want to try out zero–search volume keywords, as they are usually low-competition too. This article will introduce you to the subject and show you the steps. Do note that this tactic doesn’t always bring results and can be a bit more complicated than what you’ve read above. Also, it may be more suitable for some areas (B2B, emerging technologies) than others.

2. Do SEO for your existing pages 

Sometimes, you don’t need to create new content to get more traffic. Your old content may just need some SEO work, including:

  • More precise alignment with search intent to better serve the meaning of the search query.
  • Refreshing the content, making it more up to date. 
  • Introducing a unique value to show Google and searchers that you have something new to add to the table (to Google, unique content is quality content). 
  • Optimizing your title tag to get more clicks from the SERPs (search engine results pages). 
  • Filling content gaps for more topical relevancy. 
  • Adding internal links to distribute link equity. 

At Ahrefs, we do these things to get more traffic regularly. With multiple successes. 

Nailed search intent (before and after results shown in line graph)
Here’s how organic traffic to one of our articles grew after we aligned with the search intent.

You can follow our step-by-step process with this guide: Republishing Content: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO 

3. Create a free resource 

This tactic is all about creating valuable, unique content that’s ideally centered around your brand or product—then offering free access to the content.

Whether it’s a printable PDF guide or a tutorial series on YouTube, focus on adding value for your audience. You’ll then start seeing the magic of word of mouth at work.

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Actual user feedback for “Blogging for business”
Actual user feedback for “Blogging for business,” our free video tutorial course on how to grow your blog past 100K monthly visitors.

But first, you need a proven topic for your free resource. 

You can find inspiration for topics manually by visiting social media profiles of authors and magazines in your niche and looking at the engagement signals: likes, retweets, comments, etc. Additionally, you can browse through online communities and see what resonates with your target audience. 

Sample content idea from Reddit

But there are also tools that can help you with this job. 

One tool we recommend quite often for any kind of audience research is SparkToro. Just plug in topics your target audience frequently talks about to discover related topics and hashtags (among many other things).

SparkToro search tool

And with an all-in-one SEO toolset like Ahrefs, you can broaden your options with keyword research. 

Matching terms report with applied filters

And on top of that, you can reverse engineer what worked for your competitors. 

Top pages report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer
Top pages report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer will uncover pages with the most organic traffic. You can also filter the results, as in the example above.

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Consider creating content tailored to platforms with native distribution mechanisms. For example, you can create a course on a site like Udemy on how to, say, paint Warhammer miniatures and mention that you own a website on the topic with more cool resources.

4. Partner up for a joint course or webinar 

Look for other businesses that target a similar audience but do not compete with you directly.

Then see if they are up for a content collaboration with you. This way, you can pitch to their audience, and they get to pitch to yours.

Here’s an example: In 2018, we worked with Buffer, a social media scheduling tool, to create a webinar titled “How to Get Website Traffic With Evergreen Content and Social Media Marketing.”

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Buffer + Ahrefs joint webinar

While the audience was comprised of digital marketers, our products are different enough and do not compete with each other. 

5. Repurpose your content for other marketing channels 

Repurposing content is about using existing content and “repacking” it for other marketing channels. 

For example, you can chop a larger article into smaller pieces and use them to promote the original piece via guest blogging. Actually, it’s such a common technique that it has its own name: the “Splintering Technique.” 

Splintering technique for content repurposing

Or you can turn an article into a video and take advantage of YouTube’s search engine and content recommendation algorithms. 

Article repurposed into a video
Our article on influencer marketing was repurposed into a video and published on YouTube to reach even more people. Of course, it can work the other way around too.

Or you can take an entire post, strip it down to a tl;dr version, and publish it on Reddit. 

Article repurposed into a tl;dr version posted on Reddit
This is something we did with our guide on keyword research.

There are other ways to take advantage of this tactic. Check out our complete guide to content repurposing, where we share nine ideas for that. 

6. Find guest blogging opportunities 

How can you promote your website while writing for others? 

When you publish content for other websites, a number of things happen: 

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  • You get a boost to your website traffic (although it’s not the best method for consistent traffic).
  • You expose your brand to a new audience. 
  • The earned link contributes to your backlink profile. 
  • You can make new connections in the industry. 

Apart from preparing a pitch that stands out from the crowd, the key is to find the right places to publish. 

For this, you can use Google with search operators. Then you need to vet each page manually. Try our free website authority checker for that last part. 

Using Google with search operators to find guest posting opportunities
Result from screening a website with Ahrefs' free authority checker

With an Ahrefs sub and our SEO Toolbar, you can also vet the websites right inside the SERPs.

Using Google with search operators and Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar to find guest posting opportunities

Or use our Content Explorer to get additional insight to filter for results that meet specific performance criteria. 

Possible guest blogging opportunities filtered by DR and website traffic
Possible guest blogging opportunities filtered by DR and website traffic.

7. Syndicate your content 

Content syndication is a similar tactic to guest blogging. The only difference is that with content syndication, you publish the same thing in multiple places. 

Getting started with content syndication is practically the same as guest blogging. You need: 

  • Great content. 
  • Potential syndicates (websites that can publish your content). You can use the same process and tools as described above. The only thing that changes is your search query. So you can use something like “originally appeared on” + [topic].
  • A good pitch to get your foot through the door. 

With syndication comes the option to self-syndicate. So unlike guest blogging, you can self-populate your articles to other platforms like Medium, Reddit, or LinkedIn. These platforms have a large audience and their own distribution mechanism, so you can get in front of people’s eyes for free. 

Hubspot syndicating article on Medium

Recommendation

Use a backlink checking tool to see where authors of your choice syndicate their content. In Ahrefs, go to Backlinks report, set the word or phrase filter to “Anchor with surrounding text,” and type “originally appeared on” inside the input field.

Backlinks profile with Anchor filter applied

8. Engage with your audience on social media 

Social media platforms, including online communities, are places where you can likely find your target audience. You just need to figure out where exactly and how you can provide unique value to them. If you have something important to say, there will be plenty of opportunities to link to your website. 

A link to a blog post that's part of a relevant answer on Quora
Example: posting answers on Quora.

Start by learning more about your audience. Again, for this, I’ll recommend SparkToro. 

Another way to find places that mention topics related to your website (or even your website) is to use a web monitoring tool like Google Alerts or our very own Ahrefs Alerts

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Sample Ahrefs Alert setup

Once you’ve zeroed in on your communities, you may want to approach them with these universal tips in mind:

  • Pay attention to what works for each audience – After joining, read the rules and dedicate some time to researching the group. Look at how the existing members interact. Also, comment on others’ posts while adding value and being helpful.
  • Post thoughtful, insightful comments – Others will begin to return the favor. Don’t be a spammer. 
  • Start referencing your own website after a while – Only do so after you’ve spent a good amount of time giving back to the community and making some friends. Even then, try to go about it in a way that doesn’t scream “blatant advertisement.” Asking for opinions or positioning your website as something that may help people out are some ways to go about it.

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You shouldn’t always expect referral traffic from your social posts. Two reasons:
  • If there’s no natural way to include a link, don’t do it. Otherwise, your content may be seen as a spam policy violation.
  • Social media platforms seem to prefer native continent, i.e., content that is to be “consumed” on the spot instead of accessed via a link. This means sometimes you will have to trade links for engagement. 

Case in point. Have you heard about Miss Excel? Her software training business can generate up to six figures per day. Not per month, per day. Even Google Docs tried to correct me on that.

Incorrect autocorrect by Google Docs

Miss Excel gets customers through social media. But you can rarely come across a direct link to her course in any of her posts. Instead, she directly shares Excel tips on TikTok and Instagram. Here’s a great interview on how she does what she does. 

Instagram intro on Miss Excel's page

9. Start a community of your own

And how about creating your own community? 

It may work if:

  • People genuinely like to share thoughts on topics related to your website. 
  • You can offer a unique value that will attract and retain your audience. 
Marketing Solved community promoting a free course
Marketing Solved is a popular marketing community run on Facebook. Note the highlight.

Going further, we can see there are multiple benefits of having a community tied to your website. In terms of promotional aspects, the biggest benefit will likely be word of mouth. 

Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing channels. It will start working organically when community members feel like the value inside the community will benefit others. But you can potentially influence word of mouth by giving people a reason to talk, such as a new study you just published. 

Sharing an original research study on Ahrefs Insider

This way, a community can naturally start to attract members and, as a result, promote your website. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect overnight success with this tactic. Treat it, rather, as a long-term investment with dividends paid as you go. 

10. Build an email list, start a newsletter 

Here’s why email marketing has been utilized by so many marketers: It allows them to build an audience and communicate with them directly and regularly. For free. An email marketing list like that can become one of your most valuable assets. 

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Of course, building an email list is not that easy. But if email marketing is done in tandem with quality content marketing, a setup like that puts the process of list-building almost on autopilot. All you need to do is to put up a sign-up form next to your content. 

Email sign-up form displayed next to an article

Before you run off and start looking for the best email app, do make sure you’re on the right track:

  • You need to commit to publishing great content regularly – After all, the content should attract people to your email list. If you feel like you can use a step back to revisit your blogging strategy, check out this list of 17 blogging tips
  • What kind of newsletter will your audience like to read? For example, we recently found that Ahrefs’ audience prefers to get a short digest of each article we feature in the email instead of, say, bare links to articles. 
  • What will be unique about your newsletter? Do you plan to include some kind of added value or exclusive content for your email subscribers? Or will you keep it simple by offering people the good ol’ “never miss a post again”? 

11. Get listed in local directories (for local businesses) 

If you’re a local business owner, getting listed in local directories is a must. 

This is because people look for local services on the web all of the time. For this, they use either local service directories or simply plug in a keyword like “lawyer near me” in Google. In the latter case, Google will usually point them to a local directory. 

SERP for "lawyer near me" dominated by map pack and directories
Looking for a lawyer via Google these days? Well, you will see mostly maps and links to directories.

Creating or claiming your Google Business Profile is a good starting point. Setting up the profile is quite straightforward (and free). However, what I recommend here is going a step further and making sure your profile is optimized. Here’s how to do it in 30 minutes

Completing this step will make your business profile (hence, your website) eligible to show up in Google Map Pack (the search result with a map, as seen in the picture above), Google Maps, and a local knowledge panel when someone looks for your brand. 

Next, add your business to relevant local directories. For example, a lawyer may want to list their service for free with Thervo.com. Just make sure to keep all information consistent across platforms.

Once you’re done with adding your business to directories, check out our guide on local SEO to take things a notch higher. Among other things, this guide will show you tactics that can improve your position in the local map pack and how to create content for keywords with local search intent.

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12. Do outreach for link building 

Outreach done for link building purposes is a tactic where you get your content in front of bloggers and influencers in your industry. The aim is to get them to talk about you and link to you.

This tactic is mainly utilized to boost the “authority” of your pages in the eyes of Google so that these pages rank higher and bring more search traffic. 

Correlation between search traffic and referring domains
Our study of 1 billion pages found a strong, positive correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and search traffic from Google.

In its simplest form, outreach is the act of reaching out and asking for a link back to your website. And yet, great outreach at scale is a lot more than just asking for a backlink. The process involves:

  1. Creating content. 
  2. Finding prospects. 
  3. Segmenting your prospects. 
  4. Finding the right contact details.
  5. Crafting your pitch.
  6. Scaling your outreach. 

Sounds easy, right? But there are actually a lot of details involved that can make or break the process. Also, steps like finding prospects or finding the correct emails are too tedious or even impossible without the right tools. 

Hunter's Sheets add-on filling email addresses the tool can find

The best way to go about your outreach process is to pick up a tried and tested process you can simply follow to a T. Here’s one from us, completely free: 

Recommendation

Some backlinks will have a greater impact on your webpages than others. Learn what makes a good backlink

13. Get free press with digital PR 

Digital PR (public relations) can do such an amazing thing: carrying your message to your audience for you.

Link to a local lawyer's website in a magazine—a PR effort
And now you know a reputable music industry attorney. All thanks to her commentary on an article about NFTs.

Promoting your website through digital PR includes:

  • Using services like HARO or SourceBottle to monitor journalist requests – Sign up and wait for expert commentary requests related to your website or important to your audience. Try also following #journorequest on Twitter. 
  • Newsjacking – This is about monitoring news to react with expert commentary and thought leadership pieces. 
  • Pitching linkable assets to journalists and bloggers – You can use something you’ve already created or create something special for that occasion. 

All of the above tactics allow you to benefit in three ways: 

  1. Build awareness of your website
  2. Send traffic to your website when people want to learn more about you
  3. Boost SEO if the commentary includes a live link to your website 
Backlinks report showing a link from a high-DR website
Being featured in the press is usually a great opportunity for a high-DR link.

Here are two free tools from Ahrefs that can help you with your digital PR efforts. 

The first one is our aforementioned free website authority checker. Thanks to it, you will be able to quickly see the authority of the website. 

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The second one is our Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. You can use it as a free way to monitor backlinks from your PR efforts. 

Backlinks report with DR, anchor, and dofollow filters
With the Backlinks report, you can easily filter your backlinks based on properties like DR, type of link, or the text inside the anchor and the surrounding text. In this example, we see links earned by a law firm from publicity around Johnny Depp’s recent trial.

14. Get featured in newsletters or podcasts

Chances are that there is a newsletter in your niche that regularly curates content found on the web. 

And chances are, if your content is good enough, it can be featured in one of those newsletters. 

One of my articles featured in #SEOFOMO newsletter
One of my articles featured in #SEOFOMO newsletter subscribed by +20K SEOs.

Naturally, a link inside a newsletter won’t count for SEO. But it can lead to links from authors reading that newsletter. And in any case, you’re putting your name on the map and making the newsletter’s subscribers aware of you. 

What you need to do here is to find relevant newsletters and show your work in a well-thought-out outreach pitch

Using Google with search operators to find newsletters
You can use the same process as with any prospecting process explained in this article. Tip: use brackets to group multiple terms.

Two words of advice:

  • Pitch only your best articles – Remember, you’re pitching to a flesh-and-blood human, and they don’t like spamming. 
  • Don’t worry if your content doesn’t get chosen this time – Try to reforge that into a relationship with the editor. There will be other chances. 

15. Get featured in rankings or reviews 

The web is full of rankings and reviews. Chances are that some of them are related to what you do. Getting featured (and linked) is a free way to get some direct referral traffic, boost your SEO, and increase your brand awareness. 

If you’re just starting out, you may want to build some authority before you send your first pitch. Keep in mind that editors will screen your website by a number of different criteria—from website design, social media following, to even personally testing your products, recipes, strategies, and whatever you offer. Also, they may be actual experts on the topic. 

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So what may help you here is segmenting your outreach prospects based on the authority of the website you’re targeting. What you’ll do then is to start from smaller websites and move your way up. 

The backlink profile of a website can be a useful, quick proxy for this, so you can use Ahrefs’ Site Audit or the free website authority checker if you don’t own a subscription.

At all times, check your targets manually. This will help you personalize your pitch and potentially discover additional opportunities, such as a special section for “rising stars.”

"Rising stars" section in a newsletter

Another tip here is to focus on webpages that rank very specific types of websites. They can be easier to reach out to since more niche topics tend to have smaller audiences. So for example, if you’re running a blog that focuses on low FODMAP cooking, look for that kind of opportunity instead of “best food blogs.” 

Final thoughts 

These aren’t the only possible ways to promote your website for free. I do encourage you to experiment and double down on what works. If you think something may work for your audience (and even if it hasn’t been tried before), go for it. But make sure to measure the results. 

Keep in mind that your marketing tactics don’t need to be truly unique to be effective. One of the best places to find promotion ideas will always be your competition and other successful businesses—even if they operate in a different industry. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter



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SEO

Decoded Headless CMS & SEO

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Decoded Headless CMS & SEO

What is headless CMS? Why are more companies looking into it nowadays?

Powered by greater flexibility and scalability, it might be the next generation of content management systems.

Lidia Infante, Senior SEO Manager at Sanity.io, joined me on the SEJ Show to explain how headless CMS works and how it can be particularly beneficial for ecommerce businesses.

I don’t have to build every page. I create the content in a core database, a central source of truth. And then, I deploy it following a template.–Lidia Infante, [16:00]

I think there’s a little bit of a misconception about headless. A lot of people out there, the conversations I’m having with people that are not tech SEOs is they feel that just utilizing a headless means that it’s automatically going to be faster, quicker, and a better experience. –Loren Baker, [25:15]

For most ecommerce sites, I would recommend going with a headless solution, especially if you’re on a direct-to-consumer side with a big brand.–Lidia Infante, [45:09]

[00:00] – Lidia’s background.
[10:36] – What is headless CMS & how is it helpful?
[17:20] – Do you build from scratch in a headless environment?
[22:00] – Are headless CMS quicker?
[26:00] – SEO optimizations in headless.
[31:30] – Other benefits of using a headless CMS system.
[36:00] – How well does AI content rank in it?
[39:52] – Where does Lidia see headless going in the next four to five years?
[44:45] – What kind of business should look into headless CMS?
[49:59] – How important is JavaScript?

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Resources mentioned:
https://www.sanity.io/shopify
https://www.sanity.io/sej – Free boosted Sanity plan for SEJ readers
https://www.dangler.co.uk/

Regarding SEO and other stuff you can do, I think the main pain point that Headless solves is content velocity.–Lidia Infante, [28:00]

Headless CMS can guide you a little bit more when it comes to optimizing web performance. Different headless CMSs will help you achieve amazing core web vitals differently.–Lidia Infante, [26:19]

B2C brands need to ensure that the experience they provide on their website is not the typical ecommerce experience of title, product, picture, price, and description. It’s more similar to the experience they can provide in a shop. –Lidia Infante

For more content like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/searchenginejournal

Connect with Lidia Infante:

Lidia Infante is a consultant, writer, and speaker who has been working to help businesses grow their reach through SEO in European markets, the US, and Australia.

She got her start on the business side of things through psychology, allowing for organic growth strategies that are now driving ecommerce sites’ success!

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As part of her passion for SEO, she enjoys regularly participating in podcasts and webinars in the SEO community. She writes about international strategy, digital business, and women’s rights on her website.

Connect with Lidia on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lidiainfante/
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LidiaInfanteM
Visit her website: https://www.lidia-infante.com/

Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker
Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker

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