I’ve recently heard from some people over the past year or so that, as link builders, we need to basically be centering on links that drive traffic & revenue.
Earlier this week I watched a video posted on Twitter from Wil Reynolds, which you’ll find below. I have huge respect for Wil (interviewed him here in 2012; still worth a read), and also in general, I believe that what he says in the community originates from a very good, authentic place.
In the event you don’t wish to watch it, the typical gist from it is the majority of the links SEOs are quality link building “don’t do anything whatsoever for your client”, considering the fact that these links tend not to drive conversions, assisted conversions, newsletter sign ups, etc. He’s one of many people who have discussed links in this manner, and by no means am I seeking to / desire to single him out (he’s merely the most vocal / widespread in the bunch).
This idea sounds great theoretically, and can get you pretty pumped up. Several other similarly exhilarating mottos pop into your head when I listen to it (heard through the community):
“Fire your clients! When you don’t like them, then stop handling them.”
“Build a site for users, not search engines like google!”
“Just create great content, and the links should come!”
However , we can sometimes swing past the boundary in one direction, whether it’s all the way to the left (i.e. black hat SEO), or all the way to the correct (i.e. creating a site purely for UX). That can bring about extremes like getting penalties from search engines using one side, and building non-indexable sites on the other.
In cases like this, the concept of only pursuing revenue driving links, and not any others, is an ideal example of swinging too far in one direction.
1. Doing an issue that doesn’t directly result in revenue
Let’s use the logic of the argument and put it to use to many other parts of SEO. Read this and say that, apart from a few specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that any one of these improvements lead straight to increased revenue.
We understand that Google loves original content, and that you have many listing-type pages that SEOs create content for the we are able to safely assume few are going to read. Maybe those product description sweat shops are writing content that individuals can make purchasing decisions based off from, but there’s a good chance hardly any individuals are.
So: it’s OK which every activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly cause driving revenue. That’s a great deal of what we do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links that may or not make a positive change on rankings
Wil mentioned the concern how the links acquired in a campaign may not possess the impact that a person hopes to have after the campaign is finished.
You can easily have the case that, for anything technical SEO-wise, it’s not much of a sure thing that an individual fix will impact rankings. Sometimes you’re in the dark in regards to what exactly is bringing about the matter. That’s why audits contain a variety of things to address, because any person item is probably not what Google is taking probably the most issue with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a risk on some level which it won’t have the impact you’re looking for.
But just how does link building compare to other marketing strategy types that involve outreach / outbound elements (i.e. advertisements, PR, etc.)? Most of those, if not completely, don’t involve 100% confidence that you’ll obtain the result you’re longing for, whether it’s branding, direct sales, or search rankings.
The expectation which a building links campaign must always create a clear surge in rankings, especially while confronting an extremely complex, modern algorithm that could hinder a site from ranking because of numerous other issues, is a bit unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s look at example. Use the websites ranking for “San Diego Flowers”. The best ranking site in this city is AllensFlowers.com. They’ve got a bit of solid links that seem to be like they drive a couple of sales here & there. They also have several links which can be considerably more controversial regarding the direct, non-SEO value they give:
They were given an award from your local event. I feel it’s reliable advice few people have groomed this list of links in this posting & made purchasing decisions based off any kind of them.
These were listed in a resource guide for planning a wedding. If this page got a good deal traffic from qualified prospective customers (people organising a wedding), then for sure, I could possibly see this link driving revenue. But according to OSE, this site only has 2 internal links, and i also didn’t find it ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, and so i doubt over a number of people see the page monthly, let alone select that specific link to Allen’s Flowers.
These people were cited for instance of using a certain technology. I feel it’s safe to say that no sales were driven here (who shops for florists designed to use mSQL?), and although it’s not niche or location related, it’s still a link from the very aged, DA50 website.
Do many of these link examples pass traffic/conversions? Maybe; there’s no chance of knowing for sure in either case. But the point is: these are links I’d want, and whether or not they passed conversions or traffic, they’re legitimate links that pass the eye test & help this flower shop dominate for many from the main keywords. Which end dexhpky71 will be worth going out of my way to be certain our link is included upon an awards page, or that the local magazine’s resource guide includes their service together with the others in the area.
4. My own, personal experiences
From the clients we’ve had and also the projects I’ve been part of, one of the most popular things to think about in analytics may be the referral traffic in the sites we’re link building to. I would like to determine if a few of the links we get are sending any traffic, and when they actually do, in the event that traffic converts.
An example you think of is actually a .gov link project we did to get a real estate site. Earlier in 2016, we built ~30 links during the period of 6-9 months (a good small campaign), and that we watched their organic traffic grow ~50% over this time period.
Considering analytics, since the links were acquired, only 3 of the 30 have sent greater than 10 visits. A few them did send traffic that met conversion goals! But that wasn’t intending to make or break why we did the campaign to begin with.
I recall acquiring a blogroll link a couple of years back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures on a monthly basis), that was awesome. However, if I spent time only going after links that will send traffic & conversions, I would’ve built considerably less links, and drove significantly less rankings for my clients & my own, personal sites (which, coincidentally, brings about less revenue).
So what’s the takeaway?
I totally discover why a lot people want to communicate this message. The short answer is that you attract bigger & better clients if you say stuff like this. As somebody who writes more like a practitioner, and much less as being a thought leader, it’s clear that what I’m doing isn’t the very best lead generation strategy for an agency (for everybody 1 big budget client that contacts us, we receive 50 small businesses unreasonably looking to spend $200/month for excellent work).
With that said, I do believe it’s crucial that you know the concept of the content, while still keeping things practical. Here’s how we can perform it.
1. Check referral sources for opportunities
Scan referral traffic with your analytics for patterns & clues to more visitors/revenue driving opportunities. This counts both for new links you’re building, but also for all past manually OR naturally acquired ones.
If you find 1 or 2 links that happen to be sending value, ask yourself “are there other link opportunities around exactly like this?” For our own agency, we usually develop a tactic that, at its core, is actually a single way of getting a link, but can be applied to 1000s of sites. Maybe you have just stumbled into something where there are many other opportunities exactly like it.
As an example – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store choosing a link from a local robotics club’s New Member Info page towards the store’s Arduino basic starter kit product page. You can find probably 100s of other local robotics club which have website information for brand new members (and will probably have curiosity about that basic starter kit), so contacting each by using a discount code for your product could scale really well, and drive a lot of revenue (ensure they mention the promo code at the next club meeting, too!).
2. If you do get a revenue-generating link tactic, address it much like the golden egg that it must be
Should you find one, purchase it to get it done right if it can turn out purchasing itself.
Two general ones that pop into your head are press coverage & forum building links. If you’ve got an awesome product, paying a PR professional to obtain coverage could result in direct selling. If you’re in a niche containing active & passionate communities in forums, put money into becoming an element of them, and understand ways to post links in a way that’s allowed.