I’ve recently heard from some people during the last year or two that, as link builders, we ought to simply be focusing on links that drive traffic & revenue.
Earlier in the week I watched a youtube video posted on Twitter from Wil Reynolds, which you’ll find below. I have got huge respect for Wil (interviewed him in 2012; still worth a read), and in general, In my opinion that what he says in the neighborhood emanates from a very good, authentic place.
If you don’t desire to watch it, the overall gist from it is the majority of the links SEOs are effective link building service “don’t do anything whatsoever for the client”, given that these links usually do not drive conversions, assisted conversions, newsletter sign ups, etc. He’s one of many people that have discussed links by doing this, and by no means am I seeking to / wish to single him out (he’s merely the most vocal / widespread of your bunch).
This idea sounds great theoretically, and can get you pretty pumped up. Several other similarly exhilarating mottos come to mind when I listen to it (heard throughout the community):
“Fire your customers! In the event you don’t like them, then stop handling them.”
“Build a website for users, not search engine listings!”
“Just create great content, and also the links should come!”
However , we are able to sometimes swing past the boundary in one direction, whether it’s up to the left (i.e. black hat SEO), or all the way to the best (i.e. developing a site purely for UX). That can lead to extremes like getting penalties from search engines like yahoo using one side, and building non-indexable sites in the other.
In this instance, the notion of only going after revenue driving links, and not any others, is a perfect demonstration of swinging too much in a direction.
1. Doing a thing that doesn’t directly result in revenue
Let’s go ahead and take logic on this argument and put it to use to other aspects of SEO. Read through this and let me know that, besides several specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that these improvements lead directly to increased revenue.
We recognize that Google loves original content, and that we now have many listing-type pages that SEOs create content for your we are able to safely assume few will read. Maybe those product description sweat shops are writing content that men and women will make purchasing decisions based off of, but there’s a good chance not many people are.
So: it’s OK that each and every activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly bring about driving revenue. That’s lots of what we should do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links which may or not make a positive change on rankings
Wil discussed the concern how the links acquired in the campaign may not get the impact that you hopes to get right after the campaign has ended.
You could easily make the case that, for anything technical SEO-wise, it’s not really a sure thing an individual fix will impact rankings. Sometimes you’re in the dark as to what exactly is causing the problem. That’s why audits contain numerous items to address, because any individual item will not be what Google has taken probably the most trouble with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a risk on some level it won’t have the impact you’re searching for.
But how does link building compare with other marketing strategy types that involve outreach / outbound elements (i.e. advertisements, PR, etc.)? The majority of those, if not completely, don’t involve 100% confidence that you’ll receive the result you’re hoping for, whether it’s branding, direct sales, or search rankings.
The expectation that the link-building campaign must always produce a clear surge in rankings, especially when dealing with an extremely complex, modern algorithm that may hinder a website from ranking as a consequence of numerous other issues, is a little unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s take a look at example. Consider the websites ranking for “San Diego Flowers”. The very best ranking site for the reason that city is AllensFlowers.com. They’ve got a bit of solid links that look like they drive a few sales here & there. They also have a few links which can be a lot more controversial in terms of the direct, non-SEO value they provide:
These folks were given an award from the local event. I believe it’s reliable advice few people have groomed this list of links in this posting & made purchasing decisions based off some of them.
They were listed in a resource guide for planning for a wedding. If it page got a lot traffic from qualified potential clients (people arranging a wedding), then for certain, I could possibly check this out link driving revenue. But as outlined by OSE, this page has only 2 internal links, and so i didn’t find it ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, thus i doubt more than a number of people start to see the page monthly, much less click on that specific connect to Allen’s Flowers.
These were cited as one example of using a certain technology. I believe it’s safe to say that no sales were driven here (who shops for florists that use mSQL?), and although it’s not niche or location related, it’s still a web link from a very aged, DA50 website.
Do many of these link examples pass traffic/conversions? Maybe; there’s no chance of knowing for certain in any event. But the thing is: these are typically links I’d want, and whether or not they passed conversions or traffic, they’re legitimate links that pass the attention test & help this flower shop dominate for those of the main keywords. And this end dexhpky71 will be worth hanging out of my way to ensure our link is included upon an awards page, or that a local magazine’s resource guide includes their service using the others in the area.
4. My own experiences
With the clients we’ve had along with the projects I’ve been part of, one among the most popular things to think about in analytics is definitely the referral traffic from the sites we’re link building to. I wish to determine if some of the links we get are sending any traffic, and if they actually do, if it traffic converts.
An example that comes to mind is a .gov link project we did for any real-estate site. Earlier in 2016, we built ~30 links throughout 6-9 months (quite a small campaign), and that we watched their organic traffic grow ~50% over this time period.
Taking a look at analytics, since the links were acquired, only 3 of the 30 have sent over 10 visits. A few them did send traffic that met conversion goals! But that wasn’t going to make or break why we did the campaign to begin with.
I remember acquiring a blogroll link a few years back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures a month), which had been awesome. But when I spent time only going after links that will send traffic & conversions, I would’ve built significantly less links, and drove significantly less rankings for my clients & my very own sites (which, coincidentally, leads to less revenue).
So what’s the takeaway?
I totally realize why a good deal people wish to communicate this message. The short answer is basically that you attract bigger & better clients when you say things such as this. As someone who writes more as a practitioner, and much less being a thought leader, it’s clear that what I’m doing isn’t the ideal lead generation strategy for an agency (for anyone 1 big budget client that contacts us, we have 50 small businesses unreasonably seeking to spend $200/month for great work).
Having said that, I feel it’s vital that you understand the concept of your message, while still keeping things practical. Here’s how you are capable of doing it.
1. Check referral sources for opportunities
Scan referral traffic in your analytics for patterns & clues to a boost in traffic/revenue driving opportunities. This counts both for new links you’re building, but also for all past manually OR naturally acquired ones.
If you notice a couple of links which can be sending value, think about “are there other link opportunities on the market much like this?” For your agency, we usually come up with a tactic that, at its core, is actually a single way of getting a web link, but does apply to 1000s of sites. You could have just stumbled into something where there are numerous other opportunities the same as it.
As an example – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store locating a link from a local robotics club’s New Member Info page on the store’s Arduino starter kit product page. There are actually probably 100s of other local robotics club who have website information for brand new members (and may very well have desire for that basic starter kit), so reaching out to each having a promo code for that product could scale rather well, and drive a lot of revenue (make certain they mention the discount code on the next club meeting, too!).
2. If you do look for a revenue-generating link tactic, treat it like the golden egg that it is
If you run into one, purchase it to get it done right when it can wind up purchasing itself.
Two general ones that come to mind are press coverage & forum link-building. If you’ve got a very nice product, paying a PR professional to obtain coverage could result in direct sales. If you’re in the niche which has active & passionate communities in forums, spend money on becoming an element of them, and understand tips on how to post links in a way that’s allowed.