I’ve recently heard from some people during the last year or so that, as link builders, we ought to simply be concentrating 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 huge respect for Wil (interviewed him in 2012; still worth a read), as well as in general, I think that what he says in the community arises from a very good, authentic place.
In the event you don’t wish to watch it, the typical gist from it is a lot of the links SEOs are link building company “don’t do anything for the client”, considering the fact that these links usually do not drive conversions, assisted conversions, newsletter sign ups, etc. He’s one of the people with described links in this manner, and in no way am I trying to / would like to single him out (he’s just the most vocal / widespread of the bunch).
This concept sounds great in principle, and will get you pretty pumped up. A few other similarly exhilarating mottos come to mind once i hear it (heard through the community):
“Fire your customers! If you don’t like them, then stop dealing with them.”
“Build an internet site for users, not search engine listings!”
“Just create great content, and also the links may come!”
However , we are able to sometimes swing very far in one direction, whether it’s up to the left (i.e. black hat SEO), or all the way to the best (i.e. creating a site purely for UX). That can lead to extremes like getting penalties from search engines like google in one side, and building non-indexable sites about the other.
In this instance, the thought of only pursuing revenue driving links, rather than any others, is an ideal demonstration of swinging past the boundary in just one direction.
1. Doing an issue that doesn’t directly result in revenue
Let’s use the logic of the argument and apply it to other elements of SEO. Read this and let me know that, apart from several specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that these improvements lead right to increased revenue.
We also understand that Google loves original content, and that there are many listing-type pages that SEOs create content for the we can easily safely assume few will read. Maybe those product description sweat shops are writing content that individuals can make purchasing decisions based from, but there’s a good chance only a few everyone is.
So: it’s OK that every activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly result in driving revenue. That’s lots of whatever we do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links that may or perhaps not make a direct impact on rankings
Wil discussed the concern that this links acquired in the campaign might not exactly hold the impact that certain hopes to have following the campaign has finished.
You might easily make your case that, for anything technical SEO-wise, it’s not really a sure thing an individual fix will impact rankings. Sometimes you’re at night in regards to what exactly is causing the problem. That’s why audits contain a number of items to address, because any person item might not be what Google has taken by far the most issue with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a danger on some level which it won’t hold the impact you’re searching for.
But just how does backlink building can compare to other marketing campaign types that involve outreach / outbound elements (i.e. advertisements, PR, etc.)? Nearly all of those, if not completely, don’t involve 100% confidence that you’ll receive the result you’re longing for, whether it’s branding, direct selling, or search rankings.
The expectation that a link building campaign must always result in a clear boost in rankings, especially when dealing with a really complex, modern algorithm that may hinder a site from ranking as a consequence of numerous other issues, is a bit unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s examine 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 like they drive a number of sales here & there. They likewise have a couple of links that are a lot more controversial regarding the direct, non-SEO value they provide:
These were given an award from a local event. I feel it’s reliable advice very few people have groomed this list of links in this posting & made purchasing decisions based off any of them.
These people were listed in a resource guide for planning a wedding. If this page got a lot traffic from qualified prospective customers (people planning for a wedding), then for certain, I really could see this link driving revenue. But as outlined by OSE, this page has only 2 internal links, and I didn’t find it ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, and so i doubt more than a few people see the page each month, let alone select that particular hyperlink to Allen’s Flowers.
They were cited as an example of utilizing a selected technology. I do believe it’s reliable advice 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 link from a very aged, DA50 website.
Do a few of these link examples pass traffic/conversions? Maybe; there’s no chance of knowing for sure in any case. But the idea is: these are generally 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 those of their main keywords. And that end dexhpky71 is definitely worth venturing out of my way to make certain our link is included by using an awards page, or that the local magazine’s resource guide includes their service together with the others in your community.
4. My very own experiences
Throughout the clients we’ve had as well as the projects I’ve been part of, one among my personal favorite things to think about in analytics may be the referral traffic of the sites we’re link building to. I wish to find out if some of the links we get are sending any traffic, and in case they actually do, if that traffic converts.
An example you think of is really a .gov link project we did to get a property site. Earlier in 2016, we built ~30 links throughout 6-9 months (a serious small campaign), so we watched their organic traffic grow ~50% over that period period.
Looking at analytics, since the links were acquired, only 3 of your 30 have sent more than 10 visits. A couple of them did send traffic that met conversion goals! But that wasn’t going to make or break why we did the campaign from the beginning.
I remember receiving a blogroll link many years back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures on a monthly basis), that has been awesome. However, if I spent time only pursuing links that might 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 realise why a lot people desire to communicate this message. The short answer is that you simply attract bigger & better clients when you say things like this. As somebody who writes more as being a practitioner, and 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 excellent work).
Having said that, I believe it’s essential to comprehend the meaning of the message, while still keeping things practical. Here’s how we 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 find 1 or 2 links which are sending value, ask yourself “are there other link opportunities available the same as this?” For our agency, we usually think of a tactic that, at its core, is actually a single way of getting a web link, but does apply to 1000s of sites. You might have just stumbled into something where there are several other opportunities the same as it.
For instance – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store finding a link from the local robotics club’s New Member Info page towards the store’s Arduino basic starter kit product page. There are actually probably 100s of other local robotics club which may have website information for first time members (and may very well have curiosity about that starter kit), so reaching out to each with a discount code for the product could scale very well, and drive a great deal of revenue (be sure they mention the promo code with the next club meeting, too!).
2. If you do look for a revenue-generating link tactic, treat it just like the golden egg that it must be
Should you do come across one, purchase it to do it right whether it can wind up investing in itself.
Two general ones that come to mind are press coverage & forum building links. If you’ve got a cool product, paying a PR professional to help you coverage could cause direct selling. If you’re in the niche which has active & passionate communities in forums, spend money on becoming an element of them, and understand ways to post links in such a way that’s allowed.