Search engine optimization is important, but let’s face it: optimizing your site and generating links isn’t just difficult, but time-consuming. Even if you get everything right, it could take months before search engine visitors start to flow your way.

For that very reason, lots of Internet marketers supplement their SEO campaigns with pay-per-click advertising and social media. Neither of those is a bad idea, but there are other ways to attract visitors, too. In fact, today we want to share five sneaky ways you can siphon search traffic from your competitors quickly and inexpensively…

#1 Choose Smarter Keywords

If you don’t want to go ahead-to-head with a big competitor, start your SEO campaigns by targeting keywords and phrases they don’t. Think smaller and embrace a niche. Take advantage of the long tail of search. Not only does this speed up the process of ranking on search engines, but it might be so effective that you stop worrying about more competitive keywords and search phrases altogether after you start to get conversions.

#2 Fill Out a Google Business Profile

Recognizing that searchers like to work with local businesses, Google prioritizes regionalized listings at the top of its search results. You aren’t likely to be included in those listings (along with maps, contact details, and reviews) unless you have a Google business profile. It only takes a few minutes to fill out, and can have a huge effect on your marketing. Complete yours now if you haven’t already.

#3 Properly Tag Your Images and Videos

For all the intense competition at the top organic search listings, a majority of marketers still overlook the power of image and video searches. Break away from text-based content, then add a few targeted keywords and titles, and you might suddenly discover a trickle of search traffic that’s easy to get access to. And, you can use the same pieces of content to promote your business on YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere.

#4 Get on Local Directory Sites

Local business directory and review sites (like Yelp) are incredibly popular with buyers, and rank so highly on Google and the other search engines that your listings there may appear well before your own website. Taking advantage of that fact is easy – you just have to fill out an accurate and complete profile and start building positive word-of-mouth from happy customers.

#5 Be in the News

Many local news publications and websites, particular outside of major urban areas, are always on the hunt for new companies and events to cover. By sending them tips and press releases, you could get some attention for your business. You might also generate inbound links, spinoff articles, and additional inquiries that bring you leads while improving your search engine visibility. When most business owners think of search engine optimization, they go straight to the idea of on-page optimization and link-building. Those are still your most valuable long-term strategies, but why not take advantage of the shortcuts that exist and bring new customers to your site faster? Give these five methods a try, and you might be surprised at how well they work!