I’ve recently heard from a number of people throughout the last couple of years that, as link builders, we must only be centering on links that drive traffic & revenue.
Earlier in the week I watched a video posted on Twitter from Wil Reynolds, which you’ll find below. I actually have huge respect for Wil (interviewed him within 2012; still worth a read), as well as in general, I believe that what he says in the community comes from a really good, authentic place.
Should you don’t want to watch it, the typical gist from it is the fact many of the links SEOs are back link building “don’t do anything whatsoever for your client”, provided that these links usually do not drive conversions, assisted conversions, newsletter sign ups, etc. He’s one of many people who have discussed links by doing this, and in no way am I looking to / would like to single him out (he’s merely the most vocal / widespread from the bunch).
This idea sounds great in principle, and will bring you pretty pumped up. A few other similarly exhilarating mottos pop into your head once i hear it (heard throughout the community):
“Fire your clients! Should you don’t like them, then stop working with them.”
“Build a web site for users, not search engines!”
“Just create great content, as well as the links should come!”
The problem is that we can sometimes swing too much in a direction, whether it’s up to the left (i.e. black hat SEO), or all the way to the right (i.e. developing a site purely for UX). That can result in extremes like getting penalties from search engine listings using one side, and building non-indexable sites around the other.
In this instance, the concept of only going after revenue driving links, instead of any others, is a great instance of swinging very far in a direction.
1. Doing an issue that doesn’t directly bring about revenue
Let’s consider the logic on this argument and put it on for some other areas of SEO. Browse through this and say that, besides a few specifics (i.e. page speed improvements), that any one of these improvements lead right to increased revenue.
We also know that Google loves original content, and that there are many listing-type pages that SEOs create content for your we are able to safely assume few will certainly read. Maybe those product description sweat shops are writing content that people can certainly make purchasing decisions based away from, but there’s a good chance not many everyone is.
So: it’s OK that each activity we’re doing as marketers doesn’t directly result in driving revenue. That’s a great deal of what we should do as SEOs, anyway.
2. Links which could or otherwise not make an impact on rankings
Wil mentioned the concern how the links acquired in the campaign may well not hold the impact that a person hopes to obtain right after the campaign has finished.
You could easily make the case that, for anything technical SEO-wise, it’s not just a sure thing an individual fix will impact rankings. Sometimes you’re in the dark to what exactly is causing the matter. That’s why audits contain a variety of items to address, because anyone item might not be what Google has taken one of the most problem with. So, for anything you’re doing on-site, it’s a danger on some level that this won’t have the impact you’re searching for.
But just how does building links 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 obtain the result you’re dreaming about, whether it’s branding, direct sales, or search rankings.
The expectation that a backlink building campaign should always result in a clear increase in rankings, especially while confronting a really complex, modern algorithm which may hinder a web site from ranking as a consequence of numerous other issues, is unfair.
3. Existing well ranking websites & their link profiles
Now let’s have a look at example. Consider the websites ranking for “San Diego Flowers”. The best ranking site in this city is AllensFlowers.com. They’ve got some solid links that appear to be like they drive a couple of sales here & there. They have several links which can be far more controversial with regards to the direct, non-SEO value they give:
These folks were given an award from the local event. I think it’s reliable advice very few people have groomed a list of links in this posting & made purchasing decisions based off any kind of them.
They were listed in a resource guide for planning a wedding. If this page got a whole lot traffic from qualified potential prospects (people planning a wedding), then for certain, I could check this out link driving revenue. But according to OSE, this site only has 2 internal links, and i also didn’t discover it ranking well for “san diego wedding resources”, and so i doubt greater than a couple of people view the page each month, let alone select that particular backlink to Allen’s Flowers.
They were cited as an example of making use of a selected technology. I feel 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 the link from your very aged, DA50 website.
Do a number of these link examples pass traffic/conversions? Maybe; there’s no way of knowing for certain in either case. But the point is: these are typically 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 all those of its main keywords. Which end dexhpky71 is worth venturing out of my way to be certain our link is included by using an awards page, or that the local magazine’s resource guide includes their service with the others in the area.
4. My own, personal experiences
Throughout the clients we’ve had and the projects I’ve been part of, one of my personal favorite things to check out in analytics is the referral traffic of the sites we’re building links to. I wish to determine if some of the links we have are sending any traffic, and if they are doing, if that traffic converts.
An example that comes to mind is actually a .gov link project we did to get a property site. Earlier in 2016, we built ~30 links throughout 6-9 months (a good small campaign), so we watched their organic traffic grow ~50% over that period period.
Considering analytics, because the links were acquired, only 3 of your 30 have sent over 10 visits. A few them did send traffic that met conversion goals! But that wasn’t will make or break why we did the campaign from the beginning.
I remember getting a blogroll link quite a while back that sent some serious traffic (mid 4 figures on a monthly basis), which had been awesome. But 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 own sites (which, coincidentally, contributes to less revenue).
So what’s the takeaway?
I totally realise why a whole lot people want to communicate this message. The short answer is that you simply attract bigger & better clients when you say such things as this. As somebody who writes more being a practitioner, and less like a thought leader, it’s clear that what I’m doing isn’t the ideal lead generation technique for an agency (for anyone 1 big budget client that contacts us, we get 50 small businesses proprietors unreasonably seeking to spend $200/month for great work).
With that in mind, I believe it’s crucial that you know the meaning of your message, while still keeping things practical. Here’s the way we can perform it.
1. Check referral sources for opportunities
Scan referral traffic inside your analytics for patterns & clues to more visitors/revenue driving opportunities. This counts for new links you’re building, but also for all past manually OR naturally acquired ones.
If you notice a couple of links that are sending value, contemplate “are there other link opportunities available much like this?” For our agency, we usually come up with 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 might have just stumbled into something where there are several other opportunities exactly like it.
For instance – imagine an eCommerce niche electronics store choosing a link from the local robotics club’s New Member Info page on the store’s Arduino starter kit product page. There are actually probably 100s of other local robotics club which may have website information for brand new members (and are likely to have fascination with that basic starter kit), so contacting each with a discount code for that product could scale very well, and drive plenty of revenue (make certain they mention the discount code on the next club meeting, too!).
2. If you get a revenue-generating link tactic, address it much like the golden egg that it is
If you do encounter one, spend money on it to get it done right when it can wind up investing in 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 get you coverage could cause direct sales. If you’re within a niche containing active & passionate communities in forums, purchase becoming part of them, and understand ways to post links in many ways that’s allowed.