I’ve recently heard from a few people over the past year or so that, as link builders, we need to only be centering on links that drive traffic & revenue.
Earlier in the week I watched a relevant 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 then in general, In my opinion that what he says locally arises from a very good, authentic place.
Should you don’t desire to watch it, the typical gist from it is the fact that many of the links SEOs are link building packages “don’t a single thing for that client”, provided that these links tend not to drive conversions, assisted conversions, newsletter sign ups, etc. He’s one of several people with described links this way, and by no means am I looking to / would like to single him out (he’s simply the most vocal / widespread of your bunch).
This idea sounds great in theory, and will get you pretty pumped up. A number of other similarly exhilarating mottos pop into your head once i listen to it (heard through the community):
“Fire your clients! In the event you don’t like them, then stop working with them.”
“Build a web site for users, not search engines like yahoo!”
“Just create great content, along with the links will come!”
The problem is that we are able to sometimes swing past the boundary in a single direction, whether it’s up to the left (i.e. black hat SEO), or up to the proper (i.e. building a site purely for UX). That can cause extremes like getting penalties from search engines like yahoo in one side, and building non-indexable sites about the other.
In such a case, the thought of only pursuing revenue driving links, instead of any others, is a great instance of swinging too much in a direction.
1. Doing an issue that doesn’t directly cause revenue
Let’s go ahead and take logic of the argument and put it to use for some other elements of SEO. Go through this and say that, besides a couple of specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that any one of these improvements lead instantly to increased revenue.
We also understand that Google loves original content, and that we now have many listing-type pages that SEOs create content for that we could safely assume few will certainly 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 not many individuals are.
So: it’s OK that each and every activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly result in driving revenue. That’s lots of what we should do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links which could or not make an impact on rankings
Wil discussed the concern how the links acquired within a campaign might not get the impact that a person hopes to get once the campaign has finished.
You could potentially easily create the case that, for anything technical SEO-wise, it’s not much of a sure thing that the individual fix will impact rankings. Sometimes you’re at nighttime about what exactly is bringing about the matter. That’s why audits contain several items to address, because any individual item is probably not what Google is taking probably the most problem with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a danger on some level that this won’t hold the impact you’re looking for.
But exactly how does building links compare to other advertising campaign types that entail outreach / outbound elements (i.e. advertisements, PR, etc.)? Nearly all of those, if not completely, don’t involve 100% confidence that you’ll have the result you’re hoping for, whether it’s branding, direct sales, or search rankings.
The expectation which a building links campaign should always lead to a clear boost in rankings, especially when confronted with an incredibly complex, modern algorithm that may hinder an internet site from ranking due to numerous other issues, is a little unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s look at example. Go ahead and take websites ranking for “San Diego Flowers”. The very best ranking site in this city is AllensFlowers.com. They’ve got some solid links that appear like they drive a number of sales here & there. They also have several links that are a lot more controversial with regards to the direct, non-SEO value they offer:
They were given an award from the local event. I think it’s reliable advice few people have groomed the list of links in this posting & made purchasing decisions based off some of them.
They were indexed in a resource guide for organising a wedding. If it page got a great deal traffic from qualified potential prospects (people planning a wedding), then for sure, I could possibly see this link driving revenue. But based on OSE, this web site has only 2 internal links, and that i didn’t discover it ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, and so i doubt over a couple of people see the page on a monthly basis, let alone simply click that particular link to Allen’s Flowers.
They were cited as an example of using a particular technology. I think it’s reliable advice 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 no chance of knowing for certain in any event. But the point is: they are 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 all those from the main keywords. And this end dexhpky71 will be worth venturing out of my way to ensure our link is included with an awards page, or that a local magazine’s resource guide includes their service with all the others in the area.
4. My very own experiences
With the clients we’ve had and the projects I’ve been part of, among my favorite things to consider in analytics is definitely the referral traffic from the sites we’re link building to. I want to determine if a number of the links we receive are sending any traffic, and if they generally do, if that traffic converts.
One example that comes to mind is actually a .gov link project we did for 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.
Looking at analytics, ever since the links were acquired, only 3 of the 30 have sent over 10 visits. A number of them did send traffic that met conversion goals! But that wasn’t will make or break why we did the campaign in the first place.
I remember getting a blogroll link a couple of years back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures a month), that has been awesome. However if I spent time only pursuing links that will send traffic & conversions, I would’ve built significantly less links, and drove significantly less rankings for my clients & my sites (which, coincidentally, brings about less revenue).
So what’s the takeaway?
I totally realize why a whole lot people would like to communicate this message. The short answer is you attract bigger & better clients if you say such things as this. As somebody who writes more as a practitioner, and less as being 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 receive 50 small business owners unreasonably seeking to spend $200/month for excellent work).
With that in mind, I do believe it’s vital that you understand the concept of your message, while still keeping things practical. Here’s the way you is capable of doing it.
1. Check referral sources for opportunities
Scan referral traffic within your analytics for patterns & clues to more visitors/revenue driving opportunities. This counts for both new links you’re building, also for all past manually OR naturally acquired ones.
If you notice 1 or 2 links that are sending value, ask yourself “are there other link opportunities on the market exactly like this?” For our agency, we usually come up with a tactic that, at its core, is actually a single way to get a link, but can be applied to 1000s of sites. You could have just stumbled into something where there are many other opportunities just like it.
For instance – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store getting a link coming from a local robotics club’s New Member Info page on 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 are likely to have desire for that starter kit), so reaching out to each by using a promo code for that product could scale rather well, and drive a great deal of revenue (be sure they mention the promo code at the next club meeting, too!).
2. Should you do locate a revenue-generating link tactic, treat it just like the golden egg that it is
If you do find one, spend money on it to make it happen right if it can turn out paying for itself.
Two general ones that spring to mind are press coverage & forum backlink building. If you’ve got a cool product, paying a PR professional to obtain coverage could cause direct selling. If you’re in a niche containing active & passionate communities in forums, invest in becoming an integral part of them, and understand how you can post links in many ways that’s allowed.