Alternatives to SEO

So, a little background: I’m the marketing writer with a relatively small firm and we’re having trouble drumming up website traffic. We’ve been doing SEO, even hired a firm, and we’re having trouble breaking into the top ranks, since at this point everyone in our field is doing SEO. The SEO firm we’re working with keeps asking us to moonspeak up our pages with keyword stuffing and linking, and it makes me think that actually getting up there in SERP is going to be very costly and hurt our conversion rate.

My question: Are there alternatives to SEO? I mean, obviously search engines are still king and a huge potential source of traffic, but has anyone had success by focusing on other methods to the exclusion of major SEO efforts? The obvious preference is for inexpensive methods, and I know this is kind of like asking if for an alternative to breathing oxygen, but I feel like it’s worth checking to see if there are other reliable ways to market our site.

Hi GreenIrene,

You could certainly advertise with Adwords or on Facebook, but to do so most effectively you really need to know your ideal client so you can target them as precisely as possible.

Same goes for your seo efforts too. If you’re targeting more generic terms you’ll no doubt have much stiffer competition, but if you target more precise “long tail” keywords it’ll probably be a lot easier to get noticed by your target market.

Hope this helps some and welcome to Sitepoint!


get ready for the onslaught of one-line useless homilies from all the seo experts that have gravitated to sitepoint forums like flies to cow patties… they will tell you to use social media marketing, article marketing, social bookmarking, ad friggen nauseam, all without giving the slightest hint of how actually to do it

i’m afraid i don’t have any pertinent advice to give you other than to take all of these with a huge boulder of salt

… and also to mention that i loved your word “moonspeak” – did you make that up?

One of the highest traffic generator other than SEO is PPC. A well planned PPC program will get you much needed traffic. But be ready to face the cost conversion proposition, the notion of continued expense is a major hurdle.
One other way is Social Marketing, although it is nowadays included in a SEO program but Social Marketing is a very effective tool. Major social sites like fb, tweeter etc have a huge subscriber base. Marketing effectively in this sector will definitely give you much needed traffic and your SERP will also increase from it. You can try both social advertising through viral & PPC mode. Open up Fan pages and provide useful content and be active in discussions etc

@Steve, thank you for the advice. Unfortunately, we’re already doing that and it still isn’t enough (part of what we pay our SEO firm for is tailwords and targeted info) Still, it is good advice so I appreciate it.

@r937, thanks for the heads up. I actually have heard a ton of people say it, but it’s clear that they don’t really have much insight beyond knowing the buzzword. “Social media is great, use it” doesn’t really help me. We make B2B software, we can’t just make a fan page and expect people to like us. People telling us to use social media is like if I asked a doctor for a diagnosis and he said “use medicine”

And moonspeak…I think I heard it somewhere else in a different content and it was the reaction I had to some of their content suggestions, which even after I rewrite them for legible English still reads like a clunky list of keywords (which is what annoys me about working with SEO firms, (Or at least ours) they’ll use every dirty trick to pump your rankings up and not really show any concern for whether or not your business actually benefits from any of it.)

Part of why I want to focus on SEO alternatives is that I strongly believe that search engines are angling for a downslide, maybe not not but soon. No matter how much they tweak their algorithms, search engines are still producing more and more mediocre results that are inundated by SEO. As a result, they’re actually doing significant damage to the quality of the internet as a whole since it’s discouraging organic content and encouraging SEO farms. This is going to collapse eventually, and people will turn to blogs and social media for the primary amount of their information, and even though search engines will remain they won’t be a significant source for producing leads.

Anyway, rant aside. I appreciate the responses from people, thank you.

Get sued by a company people hate. When Aaron was sued by Traffic Power, he got hundreds or thousands of links, including links from sites like Wired and The Wall Street Journal.

Hmm…well, that would work up until the point when the cost of the lawsuit vastly overpowers the amount of traffic it gets us.

In simple words “no”.

There are alternatives for “low end” traffic like getting visibility through directories, social networking sites (only if you spend a lot of time making connections with relevant people), classified sites etc. But remember, you only make sales if the traffic % of that particular network is good (conversion comes after that). Since Google is the top most site with good stats, conversion rates are decent.

IMO, AOL search has also got good conversion rates (powered by Google).


If you don’t do seo and you are not paying for your ads … social marketing would be another domain to do marketing. I would suggest Twitter as people can find what you post on your wall. And it is free.

I have a few sites where I get as much traffic from social network sites as I do organic traffic. This is one area that you could look into. There are a lot of tools out there that help you manage multiple social network profiles across various services. Technically this is still part of SEO. The key is to do a lot of different things then when one approach gets better results optimize that.

I don’t think there is any alternative that is better than SEO. I mean I get a lot of traffic from twitter and facebook, but I spend a lot time promoting them where as SEO it just comes naturally without me doing much and it still consists 60% of my traffic source.

I don’t think there are any easy alternatives to SEO, but there are a few things you can use alongside SEO to reduce your dependence on it a little bit at least.

1 - Paid advertising
Adwords is the obvious one, but you could advertise directly on other sites, and use traditional print or outdoor ads to drum up traffic. You ned to do your research on your ideal clients before entering down this route, but it can be very very effective in getting your business/website in front of the right people at the right time.

2 - Organic link building
Yes it is a bit like SEO, in that you are trying to get links to better your SERP, but this way you won’t be keyword stuffing etc. Content, as ever, is king and if you truly offer better content or better services than competitors you should be able to get links back. Write relevant, interesting and unique content that is genuinely useful to potential clients and those making use of social media may help to get the word out. Infographics for example can be useful tools for business describing the state of their industry, and adding easy tweet buttons can help their spread.

3 - Social Media
Social media is all about two things - relationships and conversation(s). If you are in the B2B sector then you’re absolutely right, building a Facebook page won’t do you much good in all likelihood.

LinkedIn on the other hand can be useful for cementing real world business connections and also for making that second degree jump to other potential clients that have relationships with your current clients or employees. Keeping a LinkedIn page for your company and keeping all your contact details and business relationships up to date on their is not a massive task, and can be genuinely useful even if it only has a very small effect on your marketing.

Twitter, unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, lets you build out your relationships. Find possible competitors and potential clients and follow them. Be helpful, answering relevant questions they pose, and keep and eye on Twitter search terms and relevant hashtags - again answering questions related to your industry. Twitter is not the place to upsell your products - people will reject it as spam - but it is the place to create relationships and can be very useful if you utilize it correctly. Being able to watch searchterms and hashtags also lets you follow the conversations relevant to you, letting you interject with help, critiques of competitor’s practices, etc. It is a brand building exercise in the most part, but some search engine algorithms are starting to take social media into account as it is more difficult to SEO 140 characters and real people.

In short - no there isn’t any real replacement for SEO, but by making it part of a larger group of methods you can reduce reliance on it a little.

PS - loved the use of “moonspeak” as well - I’m going to start using that.

My question: Are there alternatives to SEO? I mean, obviously search engines are still king and a huge potential source of traffic, but has anyone had success by focusing on other methods to the exclusion of major SEO efforts? The obvious preference is for inexpensive methods, and I know this is kind of like asking if for an alternative to breathing oxygen, but I feel like it’s worth checking to see if there are other reliable ways to market our site.

Do you have an ad budget? You could look into Project wonderful advertising.

@masm: Thanks! Those sound like some great ideas.
@cpvr: Well, we have nothing earmarked for advertising, things are approved on a case by case basis. Thanks for the heads up though.

SEM, SMO are the alternatives because all0 are targeted with same goal webtraffic.

So, thank you again for the advice, but my conclusion has been that SEO is a waste of time. In any field where high SERP is valuable, there is way too much competition and there is pretty much no way to beat out larger firms with more resources. There is no way to get results that are worth the costs in time and money. Anything I can do, a higher ranking company is already doing with a head start and more money.

Honestly, I’m just going to go back to real marketing with actual markets and connections, I’m tired of writing for google spiders and hoping I can get some results before they catch on and switch up their algorithms.

There are business owners who choose PPC as a method of marketing their businesses. For example: If the user is looking for clothes for baby girls, paying Google to have your baby girl clothing website at the top right of its first page gives your website a higher chance of click-through. Actually, PPC can provide you an immediate ranking in contrast to SEO. As long as you have the money to spare, PPC is a viable option. But pay-per-click strategy needs to be properly executed or else your money will be wasted for a sloppy marketing move. Personally, I have tried PPC before. It’s true that it can immediately rank your website in SERP’s but it won’t last long. That’s when I started to study and apply SEO. Why pay hundreds of dollars if there other options that can provide you same amount of traffic. Aight?

Because getting SERP in the upper rankings is difficult if not impossible for meaningful keywords?

Sorry up front if I am going to teach you to suck eggs.

I think the only way to get your traffic is PPC if you want to side step SEO but a couple of things:

  1. from what I have read you have to have a good quality score or your cost per click will be inflated. Part of that is related to whether google thinks your site page you are linking to is relevant to the search term and so you have to do some SEO to show google what your site is about but you won’t have to keyword stuff the page but I think you need to use SLI.
  2. you want to ideally have little cost but do you know what the lifetime value of a customer is? I am sure you know it is easier to sell to an existing customer than find a new one. You may be looking at the cost of your advertising but it may pale into insignificance if you think past the initial sale.

Now…why should SEO make Google think my site has quality? Backlinks from junk sites and cheap tactics make a site look cheap, and Google knows more about SEO and how to fight it than anyone else does.