Free Web Advertising
Free Advertising on the net is the dream of everyone looking to promote their goods or services online.
But is it really worth all the effort?
Is it worth your time and effort to pursue a free marketing strategy rather than cheap paid ads?
Many so called no cost platforms are nothing more than either classified ads online, or directories that in themselves won’t deliver much return for you as a website or blog owner without a lot of effort.
You need your low cost or no cost promotion activities to do one of two things, either it needs to position your site in front of a large targeted audience at an affordable cost, or it needs to provide your site with a worthwhile backlink that will help to push your own website up the rankings so that you attract more traffic directly.
The problem with chasing free traffic as it is dubbed, is that most of the top listed sites are not going to help you to get traffic to your site.
Below we analyse the top 20 Google ranked sites for ‘free internet advertising‘ and rate each for their usefulness;
Google Top 20 Listings Appraisal
Thompson Local isn’t anything more than a services directory, where you can add your company to create a free internet advertising basic listing. For a fee you can add additional functionality, like a link to your website and such.
In addition, paid listings appear above the free listings so for someone to find your website through a free listing in Thomson Local, you need someone to search on Google, then click on the Thomson Local listing (assuming it ranks well for your service and location) and then scroll down through the paid listings into the free listings and then choose yours.
It obviously gives you a chance of being found, but the practical chances of attracting any volumes of traffic worth having from an un-paid listing are very low indeed.
Having said that, you are better off having a free listing than not bothering, but don’t rely on it for more than occasional traffic.
This article from 2008 refers to a no cost link building strategy that used to work but now has far less effect. It used to be a fairly common practice to create badges, labels, awards and such like, with links pointing to a target site hidden within the code. As they were added, unwary website owners unwittingly provided links to a third party sites.
This technique no longer has the effect that it used to. If you check the article and cross reference with the dating site mentioned in the article, you will see that it doesn’t rank in the top 100 of Google.
While this might once have been considered to be a ‘free marketing’ strategy it isn’t a viable way of promotion for your site online any longer.
Free Internet Advertising .co.uk is a site that offers you a free page on their site to advertise anything you like. This means that their site has ended up being a total random mix of unconnected content. In addition all the pages have the same page title and meta data which is focused on ‘Free Internet Advertising’ rather than on your page content which is what you need.
The main aim of this site seems to be to get you to create a page and then create some links to it, thus making their site more powerful while doing you page very little good at all.
If you want to make a page to promote your company, there are far better alternatives available. Any free Web 2.0 site such as www.squidoo.com, www.blogger.com, www.tumblr.com. www.livejournal.com or any others will provide you with a much more efficient page that will rank better for you in search and much faster too.
Un-paid listings on Yell are much the same as free entries on Thomson Local. Your listing will always be below the paid listings, meaning that people will generally have found what they are looking for long before they see your advert and that’s assuming that Yell rank high enough in search for their listing to be found in the first place.
What you are doing with a Yell free Ad is putting an ad at the bottom of a page in a directory that gets most of its traffic from it’s rankings in other directories, Google, Yahoo and Bing.
While it is better to have a free Yell ad than not, it is not going to be a significant driver of traffic to your site.
Freeads offers exactly that, free classified Ads on the net. The downside to FreeAds is that your ad will be well down a list, below the Premium Members paid ads and paid embolded ads. This means that you will struggle to attract much traffic from your ads unless you pay. Prices start at £24.99 for a three month package that gives you 3 Premium listings and 6 Bold Ads.
There is potential to reach some good traffic numbers with paid ads, but this does depend on your niche as these ads are more suited to selling some new and used goods over others, so you will need to check to see if other people are actively promoting in your niche first before commiting yourself to a paid Ad campaign.
Bamify Ads is an Ad exchange site. Your have to earn credits by showing their Ads on your site, and everytime one of their Ads is displayed on one of your sites, you earn a credit which then allows your Ads to show on their partner sites.
In addition you can earn credits in other ways, by referring other people to Bamify, by watching trailers, filling in surveys and playing games. You can also buy credits in bulk.
The downside to using this process is that you have to provide ads on your site, which you should think of as exit points. For each Ad that is displayed on your site, your Ad will be displayed on another site. It isn’t clear how targeted the sites are where your Ad will appear, or what Ads will end up being displayed on your site, but with out basic niche targeting the Ads wouldn’t have any success at all, so we can assume that they target sites with niche related Ads.
(We are in the process of testing these Ads using different blogs to our target blog to host the Bamify Ads – We will let you know our progress towards the end of March 2013)
This technique should allow us to drive traffic without then losing that traffic via their Ads on our money site.
This site offers you a ‘Plink’ which is their version of a mini blog which you can set up free. Part of the ‘Plink’ site contains an Ad Box which will have an Ad from another ‘Plink’ in it. Everytime your ‘Plink’ shows an Ad, you earn a credit that allows your Ad to be shown on someone elses ‘Plink’.
To the best of our knowledge, none of us here have ever come across a ‘Plink’ online, indicating that it is a mostly contained network, meaning that your Ads are mostly going to be seen by other ‘Plink’ owners, rather than people who are actively seeking your products or services.
Advertising online is all about hitting your target market, and we would question whether this site can offer that.
This is a directory focused on small businesses in the UK. They have a free listing services as well as premium options, so it is a good potential market for you. The benefits of directory listings have lessened in recent years, and paid directory listings are in essence ‘paid links’ which are against Google’s terms and conditions unless they are ‘No Follow’ links, which then offer you no SEO benefits.
Directories generally don’t drive much traffic so the benefits of directory listings are increasingly dwindling.
This is a free classified directory that does have premium paid listings. It doesn’t appear to use ‘No Follow’ attributes so we would question the wisdom of paid listings from this directory.
An additional issue when adding a free listing to a site that offers a paid Ad containing a link, is that google may not be able to tell if your Ad is free or paid, and if in any doubt, will penalise you rather than reward you, so directories should be used with caution.
Redcog looks at first glance to be a quality opportunity, but there are some issues with this site.
This is a directory site that makes claims of being SEO friendly, and yet if you follow the link on their home page to an example of their directory ranking on Google, you won’t find them listed inside the top 200 results.
This implies that they once did, but have probably been ‘slapped’ by one of Googles recent updates. This would have an impact on your site if they link to you, so we would recommend leaving this one for the time being until their site shows signs of some Google Love again.
Their core strategy looks to be one of the better options available, but without any Google rankings, we would avoid it currently.
In addition, their blog was last updated in March 2010, and the previous post was 2008 so it doesn’t look to be being actively managed at present.
Free Index does rank well in Google for local search terms, so is well worth adding a free listing currently. You can add a detailed page of content, and if you write it to be keyword rich then it will rank well in search. This is one of the better advertising opportunities we have found, although if you expect an ad on this site to generate a lot of traffic you are set for disappointment.
It’s hard to tell quite what’s going on with the Free Ads Planet. It is built on a Forum platform, and contains mostly low grade ads for cheaper phone calls, a large quantity of foreign ads.
It focuses mostly on Business Opportunities, Products and Services, Multi Level marketing, Marketing, Affiliate Programs, and another category of ‘everything else’.
This isn’t a site that we would advertise on because there is not enough quality structure in place for it to be considered to be high quality content, and also, your ad will drop down the listings quite quickly as new ads are posted, lowering the chances of your ad being found.
This is an interesting proposition, but is basically just a business page that you need to like in order to post an Ad. Your Ad will drop down the list over time so you will need to keep posting on a regular basis, but this offers the opportunity to add your link and some text, images etc onto another facebook profile with lots of likes.
Currently they have 5,000 likes, but are aiming for 50,000 eventually. They also have plans to create a separate website for hosting additional Ads too.
The idea is that you post an Ad on their site, and it will then be shared with everyone who has liked it, and their friends too which is how the process is scalable.
Potentially, if each of the 5,000 people who like the page all have 100 friends each then your Ad will be seen by 500,000 people.
This is our own parent site which offers free advertising opportunities as well as some low cost online advertising solutions.
We were disappointed with many of the alleged free marketing opportunities advertised which is originally how this site came about. Our aim is to offer our visitors information as to the best free website and blog marketing sites available, and more importantly which sites you will be wasting your time with.
It is also increasingly expensive to advertise on Google using Adwords, so we have sourced alternative lower cost advertising methods that will drive quality traffic to your site for far less than current Google PPC costs.
Wikipedia details the recent history on online advertising and how the internet has changed over the last decade or so.
Well worth a read in order to understand the chronology of advertising evolution online and gives an incite as to where the market may be heading in the future.
Ad Trader offers free options for some types of Ads, but not all. It does depend on the type of Ad that you want to place and where you want it to be published.
They claim 12,000,000 page views per month, with 6.5 million searches per month, so plenty of potential traffic to chase here.
This site covers how to add a Google Places listing which is a potentially free option. Google Places is geographically based, so if you are looking for a local listing, Google Places is a listing you should have.
This post covers all the basics in detail, but could include more information about the tricks and tips required to position your places ad as high up the listing as possible.
Google will place a business higher if it considers it to offer a better result for the search, so it isn’t just distance from the searcher based. Because of this, make sure that your ad as much detail as possible to your listing as it will all be used to aid your rankings.
Friday Free Ads offer free classified ads online and in their free paper. Again, despite a large readership, it will depend on your niche as to whether it will generate any quality traffic for you.
The best way to decide if a directory site is going to work for you is to look for similar advertisers to yourself. If you can find competitors, then it is an indication that it is worth their while advertising there.
Which Advertising Option is Best?
Free adverts are often anything but free when you take your time and effort into account. On the one hand, if you have some time on your hands to dedicate to promotion, then you can add your link to various directories and sites that promise you lots of hits and traffic, but most of them fail to deliver in reality.
In our opinion, if you are convinced that free adverts are the route you want to pursue and are looking to get real people to your blog or website for nothing, then there are two main sources of that traffic, blogging and social media.
Blogging for free traffic will (in time) position your blog posts in front of search engine traffic that is actively searching for information on the subject of your blog post. You found this blog post by doing exactly that.
Read more about how blogging will drive free internet traffic to your site here
Social media traffic can be split into several areas;
Pinterest Traffic Generation – (Content to be added once our Pinterest testing has finished.)
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