I’ve recently heard from some people during the last year or two that, as link builders, we must 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. We have huge respect for Wil (interviewed him within 2012; still worth a read), as well as in general, In my opinion that what he says in the community originates from an excellent, authentic place.
Should you don’t want to watch it, the typical gist from it is the majority of the links SEOs are one way link building “don’t do just about anything to the client”, considering the fact that these links do not drive conversions, assisted conversions, newsletter sign ups, etc. He’s one of the people with talked about links this way, and by no means am I attempting to / want to single him out (he’s simply the most vocal / widespread from the bunch).
This concept sounds great theoretically, and will get you pretty pumped up. Several other similarly exhilarating mottos pop into your head as i listen to it (heard through the entire community):
“Fire your customers! If you don’t like them, then stop coping with them.”
“Build an internet site for users, not search engine listings!”
“Just create great content, and also the links may come!”
However , we could sometimes swing too much in a single direction, whether it’s up 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 like yahoo on one side, and building non-indexable sites on the other.
In this case, the concept of only pursuing revenue driving links, rather than any others, is a perfect illustration of swinging past the boundary in just one direction.
1. Doing something which doesn’t directly bring about revenue
Let’s go ahead and take logic with this argument and put it on to many other parts of SEO. Browse through this and tell me that, in addition to a number of specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that any of these improvements lead straight to increased revenue.
We also realize 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 will read. Maybe those product description sweat shops are writing content that people is likely to make purchasing decisions based away from, but there’s a good chance hardly any everyone is.
So: it’s OK that every activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly result in driving revenue. That’s a lot of whatever we do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links that may or otherwise not make a positive change on rankings
Wil described the concern the links acquired inside a campaign may not get the impact that certain hopes to have once the campaign has ended.
You could potentially easily make 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 at night to what exactly is causing the problem. That’s why audits contain several items to address, because any individual item may not be what Google takes one of the most issue with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a danger on some level that it won’t have the impact you’re looking for.
But how does link-building compare to other marketing campaign types that entail outreach / outbound elements (i.e. advertisements, PR, etc.)? The majority of those, if not all, don’t involve 100% confidence that you’ll receive the result you’re hoping for, whether it’s branding, direct selling, or search rankings.
The expectation a backlink building campaign should lead to a clear rise in rankings, especially while confronting a really complex, modern algorithm that could hinder an internet site from ranking as a consequence of numerous other issues, is unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s look at example. Take the websites ranking for “San Diego Flowers”. The ideal ranking site because city is AllensFlowers.com. They’ve got a bit of solid links that appear like they drive a couple of sales here & there. They also have a few links which are a lot more controversial regarding the direct, non-SEO value they supply:
These were given an award coming from a local event. I think it’s reliable advice not many people have groomed the list of links in this article & made purchasing decisions based off any one of them.
These people were listed in a resource guide for planning for a wedding. If it page got a good deal traffic from qualified prospective customers (people planning for a wedding), then beyond doubt, I really could see this link driving revenue. But according to OSE, this web site only has 2 internal links, and so i didn’t think it is ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, so I doubt more than a couple of people see the page monthly, much less select that particular hyperlink to Allen’s Flowers.
These people 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 designed to use mSQL?), and although it’s not niche or location related, it’s still a hyperlink from a very aged, DA50 website.
Do a number of these link examples pass traffic/conversions? Maybe; there’s absolutely no way of knowing for sure in any event. But the point is: these are typically links I’d want, and whether they passed conversions or traffic, they’re legitimate links that pass the eye test & help this flower shop dominate for all of their main keywords. And this end dexhpky71 is definitely worth hanging 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 the region.
4. My own experiences
Throughout the clients we’ve had and also the projects I’ve been an integral part of, among the best things to consider in analytics will be the referral traffic of your sites we’re building links to. I would like to check if a few of the links we obtain are sending any traffic, and when they actually do, if it traffic converts.
An example that comes to mind can be a .gov link project we did to get a real estate property site. Earlier in 2016, we built ~30 links over the course of 6-9 months (a significant small campaign), so we watched their organic traffic grow ~50% over this time period.
Considering analytics, because the links were acquired, only 3 from 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 to start with.
I remember receiving a blogroll link a few years back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures a month), that was awesome. However if I spent time only pursuing links that might send traffic & conversions, I would’ve built significantly less links, and drove considerably less rankings for my clients & my very own sites (which, coincidentally, brings about less revenue).
So what’s the takeaway?
I totally realise why a good deal people wish to communicate this message. The short answer is that you attract bigger & better clients when you say things like this. As somebody who writes more like a practitioner, and much less as a thought leader, it’s clear that what I’m doing isn’t the very best lead generation strategy for an agency (for everyone 1 big budget client that contacts us, we receive 50 small businesses proprietors unreasonably planning to spend $200/month for excellent work).
With that said, I do believe it’s important to understand the concept of the 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 more visitors/revenue driving opportunities. This counts both for new links you’re building, also for all past manually OR naturally acquired ones.
When you see a couple of links which can be sending value, think about “are there other link opportunities on the market the same as this?” For your agency, we usually make a tactic that, at its core, is actually a single method of getting a link, but does apply to 1000s of sites. You could have just stumbled into something where there are numerous other opportunities exactly like it.
For instance – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store getting a link from your 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 that have website information for brand new members (and are likely to have desire for that basic starter kit), so contacting each using a discount code for your product could scale very well, and drive a great deal of revenue (be sure they mention the promo code in the next club meeting, too!).
2. Should you do locate a revenue-generating link tactic, treat it such as the golden egg that it is
Should you do run into one, purchase it to do it right when it can find yourself investing in itself.
Two general ones that spring to mind are press coverage & forum backlink building. If you’ve got a very nice product, paying a PR professional to help you coverage could cause direct selling. If you’re inside a niche that has active & passionate communities in forums, put money into becoming an integral part of them, and understand tips on how to post links in a way that’s allowed.