How to get Quality Links and Higher Conversion Rates
By Charles Moffat - April 2012.
"How do I get my link on big ticket websites?"
I had a conversation recently with someone who asked me how to get quality links on big ticket popular websites... but without paying for the link.
Basically, if I understood him correctly, he was looking for a way to get high quality links on popular 3rd party websites, but he wasn't willing to pay for the link itself.
I immediately realized that what he was asking for could only be accomplished via some kind of viral campaign and mavens (people posting links to your site just because they're nice people).
The problem however is that he didn't want a viral campaign and I think part of it was that his website didn't really suit the viral model anyway. His website wasn't even the kind of website mavens would be linking to just to be nice, because his website had no "face" to it. His website is too corporate and faceless.
Say what you want about Steve Jobs and Apple, but at least Steve Jobs gave his company a face. It makes you realize what a benefit having a mascot, cartoon or charismatic CEO can be.
But even so having a face will only get you so far. How do you get mavens to talk about your website?
You really have to do something SPECIAL on your website to get people talking about it. Something news worthy and interesting and worth talking about. One slightly easier way to do this is via YouTube video, because videos can be embedded on other people's websites and that equals extra hits for the video. Extra hits equals more buzz. More buzz equals more people embedding your video.
But if you're not using Viral Video Marketing (VVM) then what are your other options?
#1. Make something useful / possibly unique that other people will want to link to. ie. fatburn.com has a free tool that helps you calculate how many calories you burn when exercising. It is at fatburn.com/free_tool_activity_burn.asp. There you go, I just linked to them as a maven.
#2. Make something truly beautiful. ie. Artwork that people might share via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. But seriously... there are lots of artists out there trying to promote themselves so it would have to be something TRULY beautiful.
#3. Make something truly funny that people will want to share with others and include a link back to you. Basically the same thing as #2, but you should plaster your link on the image so people will know who made it.
By now you get the idea. Mavens aren't going to talk about your website unless it truly has something worth talking about. You may THINK you have something, but it isn't really buzz worthy until its put to the test.
People who have studied viral marketing will point to the similarities with viral diseases. The common cold is usually transferred to 1 or 2 other people because it has a low infection rate. Something with a high infection rate will transfer to 5 or more people easily. So 1 person becomes 5 more, becomes 25 more, becomes 125 more, becomes 625 and the next thing you know thousands of people are all sick and dying. Or in the case of a website, suddenly its gone viral.
But does viral buzz equal sales?
You may not know this but websites which have lots of buzz often have high bounce rates. People visit the website, take a look, share it with friends and then leave almost immediately. They got a look at the freak show and left. Another analogy is they saw the wreckage of a car accident with the police sirens and then they drove onwards...
When you're promoting a website with a product or service that you are trying to sell you should expect a high bounce rate. If you're relying on viral style marketing you should expect a HUGE bounce rate.
If you do something controversial you can also expect lots of hatemail.
Some people think it makes a difference what the website looks like. Well it does and it doesn't.
#1. Your website should look professional. If it doesn't people are less likely to contact you.
#2. Your website should display a bit of your personality / quirky side. You want customers to relate to you. Lets pretend you are running a private investigation firm that deals with cheating spouses and you mention how you've been cheated on too. That is a good because then the customer understands you and sympathizes with you. You want your clients to feel kinship with you because then they are more likely to trust you with the task they want to hire you for. If you were thinking of buying artwork in an art gallery and you met the artist and they had an annoying personality would you still want to buy from them? No, probably not. If they're likeable however then its pretty much a guaranteed sale.
#3. Don't talk TOO much about yourself. Sometimes a little mystery is good. Don't brag either. Nobody likes a braggart.
#4. Your website should be easy to browse. People get annoyed if the website works like a slide show wherein people go to page 1, then are led to page 2, page 3 and eventually a page that asks for their credit card info. You've just wasted their time and its a turn off. Many dating / personals websites do that and if you've ever gone through that rigamarole you know what it looks like and how annoying it is.
When it comes to conversion rates there are basically three kinds of profitable websites out there...
A. Lots of hits, very low conversion rate. Their business model is to advertise the heck out of it, focus on Brand Name recognition and get a tiny percentage in sales. Eventually the branding will be valuable later if the company survives the test of time.
B. Low number of hits, but with a higher conversion rate. This model focuses on the charisma of the website / quality product / personal service. Often such websites will be in a niche market with very little competition.
C. Combinations of A and B. Extremely rare. Such websites usually already have quality brand names that every recognizes and products which are relatively cheap / shippable. Batman, Lego, Amazon, Madonna, Virgin Mobile, etc. Websites like Chrysler and Toyota will still get lots of hits, but most people prefer to buy a car in-store rather than online so its difficult to track conversions that resulted from people visiting the website.
There is a 4th type of course... unprofitable websites that either have a shoddy product/service, a shoddy website design and/or shoddy advertising. Just one of these factors can drag a website down into unprofitability. If the product is junk nobody will buy it even with a fancy website and lots of advertising. If the product is really good and there is lots of advertising then the website will still get sales, but it could be a lot better if it looked better. If the product is good and the website looks professional, but you have almost nothing for advertising... then don't expect to get many sales if your daily visitors is almost nothing.
So lets assume you have a quality product and your website looks chic and snazzy. If the only thing missing is quality advertising then what you need is quality links.
To get quality links you really want big ticket websites to be linking to you, but in reality such websites are ridiculously difficult to get a link on (or if you do get a link, the link is low quality and may even have rel="nofollow" on it which means its useless for SEO). The fastest way to get a quality link from a big ticket website is to pay for it.
Which brings me back to the question someone asked me yesterday (which I will paraphrase): "Is there any way to get a quality link from a big ticket website without paying for it and without using viral marketing?"
The answer is "No."
You are either paying for the link or trying to trick people into linking to your website using a viral gimmick. You might get some random links from people (Mavens) who go to your website and just like it for whatever reason, but they aren't going to be "big ticket websites" that are linking to you. More likely it will be a blog, twitter post or a brief mention on Facebook. (Twitter and Facebook are both rel="nofollow" and thus useless for everything but viral buzz.)
The easiest and fastest way is to quality links is to pay for the quality links. You could try viral marketing, but its like trying to shoot a bullet with another bullet while riding a horse in the dark. Its extremely rare and more than likely you will just waste your time with little or no results.
You can also try to do it yourself, but if it was easy to do like washing the dishes by hand then everyone would do it. Most people just buy a dishwasher because they're too lazy to do it. In the case of SEO what you need is the tools, the resources and the knowledge to do it. Its not like washing the dishes where anyone can do it the first try. Its more like fixing a toilet and you need to hire a plumber who has the proper tools to do the dirty work. You could try to fix the toilet yourself but you might just end up wasting your time and flooding your basement.
The end result is that when it comes to a difficult task its always best to hire a professional.
The best online marketing is content that is quality and contains pinpointed topical links to your website. Better PageRank is good, but the quality of the content and the quality of the links is the most important aspect of such advertising. Anything less and you're not getting good value for your advertising dollars. You could have 1000 links that are off topic or 10 quality links which are on topic and the quality links will always out perform quantity.
And a good performance on behalf of your advertising, your desirable product and a professional website means conversions and sales.
Speaking on behalf of designSEO.ca we specialize in creating quality blog posts, ezine articles and getting topic oriented links on websites that are both high quality and on topic for your website. We don't cut corners and we only use White Hat SEO. We may cost more than competitors who are trying to sell you spammy Black Hat or Grey Hat SEO, but we're worth the extra cost because our methods are tried and tested. This in no way guarantees success or sales over the short term, but we can get your search engine results up higher so that you are getting the necessary hits tailored to local customers who are looking for your service so you have a reasonable chance of success.