Inbound Link Evaluation and Achieving Conversions
Evaluating the quality of both organic and paid inbound links to your websites is an important task when trying to determine the probability of successfully generating conversions, i.e., sales, newsletter sign-ups, requests for more information, downloads, phone calls and other visitor actions. All links are not created equal. Some are much more capable of leading to conversions than others. The difference between profitable and unprofitable links is due to many factors that include the nature and relevance of the links, where and when they are placed and their relationship to other links pointing to your site.
The following information describes several inbound link traits that determine their effectiveness at securing desired website conversions.
Links from Authority Sites
An authority site possesses the influence and power to boost the rankings of other sites by providing links to these sites from one or more of its web pages. Authority sites are defined by a number of characteristics including high page rank (PR), focused content that is frequently updated, hundreds or even thousands of informative web pages and plenty of outgoing and incoming links to other related industry sites. Links coming from authoritative sites in your industry can provide the marketing boost that directly leads to conversions on your website. Google and other search engines place an added value on backlinks originating from authority sites. This in turn tends to push your site up higher in Google’s rankings for particular relevant keyword phrases being searched. As a result, your site’s increased targeted traffic translates into real on-site conversions. Examples of authority sites include established online publications, trade associations, government sites and respected information portals in your particular industry.
High PageRank Links
Any site with a high Google PageRank has probably invested quite a bit of link building and SEO work over an extended period of time. Although PageRank is by no means the only factor that establishes how Google values a web page, it remains an important factor. According to a recent Matt Cutts video, “it [Page Rank] is one of the more important of the 200 signals that we have”. Since high PageRank sites tend to carry some additional weight and authority with Google, inbound links coming from these sites can only enhance your site’s chances to achieve increased traffic and conversion results.
Contextually Relevant Links
Links that come from websites with similar or related subject matter carry a level of value that non-related links cannot produce. For instance, if your website discusses the best methods of sealing your outdoor deck and you obtain inbound links from health food sites, these links may not be considered as contextually relevant and may not produce the long-term conversion results you seek. These links may look unnatural to the search engine algorithms and inhibit the success of your marketing and conversion goals. On the other hand, an automotive website that that obtains authoritative and contextually relevant links from racing publications, auto repair sites, or auto brand sites sets itself up well for receiving the type of link juice that can lead ultimately to targeted traffic results and more conversions. In addition, these industry established websites possess a loyal traffic following. When your website receives a link from one of these industry sites, the resulting traffic to your site will have a higher conversion rate due to the endorsement provided by the link.
Optimized Anchor Text Links
When building links to help promote the ranking of a web page, it is important that the anchor link text used includes the keywords that are specifically relevant to that page. Using non-relevant link text such as “click here” or “read more” will provide no SEO value or ranking power to the page. A web page about “oil changes” may utilize relevant link text such as “change my oil” or “cheap oil change” to enhance the authority of the web page and increase the probability of new site conversions.
While all the above link characteristics refer to organic linking methods, paid text links present another way of attempting to ultimately bring about conversions on a website. However, not all paid text links produce equivalent SEO and conversion results. When seeking paid text links to maximize conversion possibilities look for links that come from relevant sites with domain authority. Also, only acquire a few links at the most from any one page to keep the appearance of natural link acquisition in the eyes of Google. If paid text links are purchased in mass or from unrelated content sites, Google and other search engines may view them as an inauthentic way of website promotion. Search engine algorithms tend to penalize sites that host paid text links to the exclusion of naturally built, organic links coming from sites that freely share their authority with you. On the other hand, a patiently constructed network of organic links will tend to remain in place, appear natural and provide your site with gradually increasing authority.
In your search for inbound links to promote your websites, be mindful of the ultimate goal – conversions. Simply achieving SEO results from your backlinks is not sufficient within itself. You need dependable conversion data that indicates the links you are going to acquire will result in the kind of targeted traffic that that translates into actual website conversions.