The word organic has always had a Cronenberg-esque quality in my mind. I imagine the intersection of machine and biology. And really, when talking about the internet, the word “organic” is apt.
Psychology and biology influence every aspect of our lives including how we interact with content online. We’re not machines. And while largely, we follow specific patterns, it’s still hard to predict when a piece of content will go viral and when one might flop.
A good example of this is the film John Carter. Everyone from the higher execs to the actors thought this film would be the next “Star Wars.” And that’s most likely where the true problem lay; when you’re too close to a project, it’s almost impossible to have an objective opinion.
John Carter is the forced content of an overly micro-managed content marketing plan. It’s the inability to trust your audience and your own instincts.
In the next few paragraphs, we’re going to talk about some fairly simple ways to earn organic traffic without “trying too hard” and ending up with a John Carter.
1. Hacking a Community
Mr. Robot taught me that hacking is more than code cracking. You can hack pretty much anything in this world because it’s mostly built with imperfect hands. You just need to find the weakness and exploit it until you’re in.
Like any social situation, you must know the rules of interaction before you begin hacking a community for organic traffic. And not all niches are suited for community hacking.
You first need an online community that represents your niche. You might immediately think of Reddit, and you would be halfway there. The only problem with Reddit is that most forums within Reddit expect you to remain anonymous.
But it’s a good place to begin and practice your online community skills. Because spamming is highly detested among most Redditors, you have to become a genuine community member before you ever mention a product or original piece of content.
Pay close attention to a community’s rules. Some places will tank your links if they detect original content. You have to be participating in conversations or sharing something interesting you “found.”
If you’re in the fashion industry and you’re looking for a great community to hack, try Lookbook. You must use excellent photography if you’re going to hack this community. And you must feature actual products users can find online.
It’s a boon for fashion-based retailers who want to increase their reach and build organic traffic. But be careful, communities like only want great looking products. Spamming communities like this with “custom t-shirts” and the like will only get you banned from the community.
2. Acquire and Migrate
Resistance is futile; assimilation inevitable. While you aren’t the borg roaming cyberspace in an unwieldy cube, you do have the ability to take over other websites (non-violently, of course) and assimilate them into your own site.
And it’s not as expensive as you might think. You can pick up an already established site with a moderate amount of traffic for as little as $2500. That’s a far cry from the million dollar sites you hear about all the time in case studies.
If you’re a bigger website, this isn’t a ton of cash. You might even spend this much on a smaller SEO campaign.
What Are the Benefits?
You can totally absorb all the traffic of the existing site. Even a smaller site will allow you to bring in a few thousand units of traffic a month if you’re lucky.
This is a huge boon for link building. You’ll take in all of the links the website had connected back to it. This means your network grows that much.
Double or even triple the amount of content on your site with minimal effort? Yes, please! Suddenly Google sees you as a much larger site with a ton more authority.
You now rank for a ton more keywords. This may seem common sense, but if you’ve just acquired a site that has at least a few well-ranked pages, you’ve just improved your site by a margin.
Depending on the deal, you may even be able to bring some social media accounts in with it. Now, how you court that audience of social media followers will be a tricky road. But if you do it right, you’ll have a whole new audience for your content as well.
And lastly, the golden ticket: a site-wide facelift in organic traffic and higher SERPs.
How Do I Know How Much to Spend on a Website
Hundreds of factors might affect how much someone decides to sell their website for. Emotions might be tied up in a site or it might include various extraneous parts like social media accounts or mailing lists.
Common wisdom dictates a price of 2x net annual income. You might even discuss a per-subscriber fee for mailing lists, which will increase the price of the site. And what you decide to pay will largely depend on how you perceive the value of the website and whether you want direct vs. organic traffic.
Oddly, you want a medium trafficked site (10-20k monthly) that makes little to no income. This will let you grab the site for less money and still gain a sizeable amount of traffic.