I’ve recently heard from a few people over the past year or two that, as link builders, we must basically be focusing on links that drive traffic & revenue.
Earlier this week I watched a relevant video posted on Twitter from Wil Reynolds, which you’ll find below. We have huge respect for Wil (interviewed him in 2012; still worth a read), and then in general, I believe that what he says locally originates from an excellent, authentic place.
In the event you don’t desire to watch it, the normal gist than it is that most of the links SEOs are quality link building “don’t do anything whatsoever for that 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 described links in this way, and by no means am I looking to / want to single him out (he’s merely the most vocal / widespread of the bunch).
This concept sounds great in principle, and can get you pretty pumped up. A few other similarly exhilarating mottos spring to mind after i hear it (heard throughout the community):
“Fire your customers! In the event you don’t like them, then stop coping with them.”
“Build a web site for users, not search engines like yahoo!”
“Just create great content, and the links should come!”
However , we are able to sometimes swing too much in one direction, whether it’s up to the left (i.e. black hat SEO), or all the way to the proper (i.e. building a site purely for UX). That can bring about extremes like getting penalties from search engine listings on one side, and building non-indexable sites about the other.
In cases like this, the idea of only pursuing revenue driving links, and never any others, is a great illustration of swinging past the boundary in one direction.
1. Doing something that doesn’t directly cause revenue
Let’s take the logic of the argument and put it on to many other aspects of SEO. Read through this and inform me that, apart from a couple of specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that any of these improvements lead straight to increased revenue.
We know that Google loves original content, and that there are many listing-type pages that SEOs create content for that we can easily safely assume few are likely to read. Maybe those product description sweat shops are writing content that men and women is likely to make purchasing decisions based away from, but there’s a high probability very few everyone is.
So: it’s OK that each activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly cause driving revenue. That’s plenty of everything we do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links which could or perhaps not make a positive change on rankings
Wil talked about the concern how the links acquired in a campaign might not exactly possess the impact that one hopes to possess right after the campaign is over.
You could easily make your case that, for anything technical SEO-wise, it’s not really a sure thing that this individual fix will impact rankings. Sometimes you’re at nighttime in regards to what exactly causes the situation. That’s why audits contain a variety of things to address, because anyone item will not be what Google takes probably the most issue with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a danger on some level it won’t have the impact you’re trying to find.
So how does building links compare with other marketing campaign types which entail outreach / outbound elements (i.e. advertisements, PR, etc.)? Nearly all of those, if not completely, don’t involve 100% confidence that you’ll get the result you’re wishing for, whether it’s branding, direct sales, or search rankings.
The expectation a link building campaign must always produce a clear rise in rankings, especially when confronted with a really complex, modern algorithm which may hinder a site from ranking due to numerous other issues, is unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s have a look at example. Go ahead and take websites ranking for “San Diego Flowers”. The very best ranking site in that city is AllensFlowers.com. They’ve got some solid links that appear to be like they drive a few sales here & there. They likewise have several links which can be far more controversial with regards to the direct, non-SEO value they offer:
These people were given an award from a local event. I think it’s reliable advice few people have groomed the list of links in this posting & made purchasing decisions based off any kind of them.
They were placed in a resource guide for organising a wedding. If this type of page got a whole lot traffic from qualified potential clients (people planning for a wedding), then beyond doubt, I really could see this link driving revenue. But in accordance with OSE, this article merely has 2 internal links, and that i didn’t find it ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, therefore i doubt over a few people see the page every month, let alone simply click that exact link to Allen’s Flowers.
These people were cited as an example of employing a selected technology. I think it’s safe to say that no sales were driven here (who shops for florists that utilize mSQL?), and although it’s not niche or location related, it’s still a web link from your very aged, DA50 website.
Do a few of these link examples pass traffic/conversions? Maybe; there’s not a way of knowing without a doubt in either case. But the point is: they are links I’d want, and whether they passed conversions or traffic, they’re legitimate links that pass the attention test & help this flower shop dominate for all of the main keywords. And that end dexhpky71 is definitely worth hanging out of my way to make certain our link is included upon an awards page, or which a local magazine’s resource guide includes their service with all the others in the area.
4. My experiences
Through the clients we’ve had along with the projects I’ve been an element of, one among the most popular things to check out in analytics may be the referral traffic of the sites we’re link building to. I wish to check if several of the links we get are sending any traffic, and when they actually do, in the event that traffic converts.
A good example you think of is a .gov link project we did for any real-estate site. Earlier in 2016, we built ~30 links throughout 6-9 months (a serious small campaign), and that we watched their organic traffic grow ~50% over that point period.
Looking at 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 start with.
I remember receiving a blogroll link a couple of years back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures a month), which was awesome. But if I spent time only going after links that would send traffic & conversions, I would’ve built considerably less links, and drove considerably less rankings for my clients & my sites (which, coincidentally, results in less revenue).
So what’s the takeaway?
I totally realize why a great deal people desire to communicate this message. The short answer is that you attract bigger & better clients when you say such things as this. As someone who writes more as a practitioner, and much less like a thought leader, it’s clear that what I’m doing isn’t the most effective lead generation technique for an agency (for all 1 big budget client that contacts us, we have 50 small business owners unreasonably trying to spend $200/month for great work).
With that said, I think it’s essential to know the meaning of the content, while still keeping things practical. Here’s the way you are capable of doing it.
1. Check referral sources for opportunities
Scan referral traffic with your analytics for patterns & clues to more traffic/revenue driving opportunities. This counts both for new links you’re building, but in addition 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 out there exactly like this?” For the agency, we usually make a tactic that, at its core, is really a single method of getting a web link, but can be applied to 1000s of sites. You may have just stumbled into something where there are lots of other opportunities exactly like it.
By way of example – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store getting a link from the local robotics club’s New Member Info page to the store’s Arduino starter kit product page. You will find probably 100s of other local robotics club who have website information for new members (and may very well have interest in that starter kit), so contacting each by using a discount code for the product could scale very well, and drive a lot of revenue (be sure they mention the discount code in the next club meeting, too!).
2. If you do look for a revenue-generating link tactic, address it like the golden egg that it must be
If you encounter one, purchase it to make it happen right if this can turn out 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 cause direct selling. If you’re in the niche which has active & passionate communities in forums, spend money on becoming a part of them, and understand how you can post links in ways that’s allowed.