It’s easy to get caught in the technicalities of SEO and lose sight of the fact that SEO’s real purpose is to generate revenue. In terms of link building, the very best links are those that do more than just score points with the Google algorithm.
Here are three types of links that not only generate revenue, but have also gotten great results for Straight North’s clients in generating traffic and leads:
1. Guest Blog Posts
In order to earn a link from a guest blog post that will drive referral traffic and sales leads to your website, you must first find a publisher whose audience is, or is near, your target audience. Then, select a topic that shows your expertise, so when someone reads the blog posts, he/she is impressed and clicks the link to your website because he/she is interested in your company and the services you can offer.
Guest posts must be written extremely well in order to be accepted by publishers and also to make a positive impression on readers. We always try to match writing assignments with copywriters who are experienced in the client’s industry, get as many technical inputs as possible from the client, and make sure every post gets thoroughly edited and proofread before submitting it to the publisher. This helps us maintain a reputation for quality, and makes it an easier sell on every pitch.
2. Rating and Review Sites
There are many rating and review sites across the Internet for different industries/topics. Getting listed on a rating/review site can drive a good amount of referral traffic and leads. Rating/review sites are used by people looking for a solution to a business problem. Rating/review sites are usually hyper-specific to an industry or service, so these site visitors are very targeted and generally match your target audience. The company reviews on these sites build credibility, allowing the visitor to read real customer testimonials to get a sense of the company’s work.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this approach is obtaining positive reviews — companies have favorably disposed clients, but getting them to go to the trouble of writing a review is not always easy. Persistence pays off, though — we have had great results with rating/review listings.
3. Ranking Roundups
Another earned link type that can drive referral traffic and sales leads are ranking roundups. Ranking roundups are usually in the form of a blog post. An industry publication typically assembles these ranking roundups to highlight the industry leaders in a specific geography, service, etc. They can be published any time of the year, but some common themes are: “Top Companies of 2015,” “Top Companies in [insert location],” etc. If someone is looking for a service provider in a specific location and searches for that in the search engines, these ranking roundups are likely to appear in the first couple spots in the search engine results pages (SERPS).
Rating/review sites offer sustained, long-term traffic and lead generation potential; however, ranking roundups tend to create a flurry of activity upon publication and sometimes throughout the year, but can become outdated. For instance, as of this writing, a post about the top “x” of 2012 probably won’t attract nearly as much attention as the top “x” of 2015. We try to get a mix of both ranking roundup and rating/review links — as a balanced, broad approach to link building takes advantage of all the potential opportunities.
For all three of these approaches, it’s important to know where not to look for link opportunities. For the most part, selection of lead generating links hinges on relevance and the website’s engagement level. Engagement can be measured by looking at the website’s traffic statistics, and reviewing its number of content social shares, comments, number of reviews, etc. The target websites must also meet your other SEO criteria, but without relevance and engagement, the link probably won’t produce the leads you and your client anticipate.
Learn more: 51 great link building tools