I wrote this article three years ago, Marketing Power: Grow Your Website With Great Web Content | Angela Booth’s Creativity Factory, and said:
“Each link you get is valuable. Consider that any backlink is worth at least $25 a month to you, and much more if the link comes from a high-ranking site. Placing a monetary value on links gives you a way to evaluate the results you’re getting from your content development.”
That’s still true; however, Google’s becoming more fussy with the weight it gives to links since the Penguin update.
It’s time to stop focusing on “links” per se, and focus on links which convert to sales… and, oddly enough, on outbound links.
From my experience working with clients, getting links which convert is easier, than focusing on just getting links for traffic. With Google hovering, it’s less dangerous too.
Links which convert
What do we mean by “links which convert”? In a nutshell, links which make sales for you: links which stem from a relationship you have with a company.
For example, let’s say you’re a marketing company. You’ll link to your clients, on your portfolio and case study pages, and wherever else is appropriate. With any luck, you’ve asked a client to link to you too, at the start of your relationship.
These kinds of links are a testimonial. They’re legitimate. However, don’t go back through your client lists and ask for links now; getting a flood of links suddenly won’t look natural to the search engines. But do consider getting these simple “converting” links going forward.
There are other ways to get “converting” links. Consider links from:
* Any companies with which you have a relationship, such as your suppliers;
* Companies in your local area. You can do this subtly. Create an events page on your website, to promote local activities. Sponsor an event or three. You’ll get links.
Subtly is the key. If you’re thinking that maybe old-school (gimme a link, any link) SEO is dead, you may well be right. As we’ve said, focus on conversions, rather than traffic.
Don’t be afraid to link out
While the outbound linking was directly from previously mentioned 26 Steps article. I took alot of heat in “26 Steps to 15k a Day” for recommending that people link out to other sites. The theory then was that clearly SE’s were going to look at outbound links to determine a sites theme. There are alot of metrics that outbound linking can be used as a quality (or lack their of) signal for search algos.
If you’ve been hesitant to link out, get over it. You can and should link out. Yes, it feels counter-intuitive. However, it builds relationships, and relationships are a huge part of new-style SEO — which is just plain old marketing.
Links will always be important. These days however, links which convert are much more valuable to you than any links which purely send you traffic.