New customers don’t usually pop out of the blue. They use search engines to guide them to your website, and these search engines harvest data like links to rank your website.
It’s not just the amount of links you put out there, but their relevance that’s essential to increasing your traffic. By relevance, we mean the degree to which the link promises to fulfill a need or a purpose for a potential customer, which is quantifiable in the extent to which that customer would be willing to turn to you with an order or a quote. It’s not the same as the relevance that link has for you, unless these links convert into orders. There’s only one type of link in particular that’s usually relevant to you, because it leads to more conversions for you, as you’ll see below.
There are three types of links: inbound, outbound and internal.
- Outbound links are those that connect your customers to partner websites. They don’t usually convert into sales for you, unless the customers trust the products or companies you link to so much that they end up giving you some of the credit for their happy experiences.
- Internal links connect various pages on your website and serve to secure an order, but not bring you more traffic.
- It’s the inbound links, therefore, that you’re interested in. They bring customers to your website from external links. They’re invaluable because these customers will usually already have expressed a desire to see your product by clicking on the link.
But what makes an inbound link relevant to a customer, and how can you harness this quality? Here is a list of five essential factors and ways to ensure that you reach your goals for optimum inbound link quality.
You can increase your visibility with directory listings. These listings are usually paid for, but some may be offered free of charge. Authority sites include trade association and portfolio sites, public association and contact directories, or vendor lists recommended by trade organizations, global trade shows, reputable review sites, etc.
Receiving Better Business Bureau Accreditation is a fine example of an attempt to reach the customer’s attention by upholding fair business practices and maintaining positive customer relationships. BBB Accredited Businesses comply with high industry standards—called BBB Code of Business Practices—and demonstrate their commitment to resolving customer complaints promptly and fairly. BBB’s Seal shows customers that the company is deemed to treat its customers ethically. BBB has been around for more than a century, and its domain authority rank is 97 out of 100.
As trivial as it may sound, automatic syndication is no joke. Set it up for your blog so that fresh content has optimum reach. Connect the RSS feed to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Instagram so every new piece of information is shared with network members. Then bookmark posts on Digg, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and other such popular sites for more backlinks, reviews and references.
Cooperating with like-minded people or businesses is probably not what you had in mind when you set out to improve your inbound links. You probably want nothing to do with people in the same line of business, or at least people or businesses who earn a living by recruiting the same types of customers as you. But if you leverage your unique assets and look for complementary (and we can’t stress that enough) products from your collaborators that are particularly relevant to your line of work, a reciprocal link between your sites can only be in your favor. This would increase your exposure remarkably, because your partner’s customers would no doubt be interested in your complementary products to round off their product or package.
A wedding photographer and a DJ are a fine example. Their services are not necessarily connected, except in a certain type of setting, and it is that particular setting (the wedding) that brings them considerable income. Therefore, a link trade between the two is a brilliant way to refer customers back and forth.
- Useful content
It goes without saying that your content should be not only fresh and accurate but also useful if you want it to have any relevance to a potential reader. There’s one infallible way to make sure your website is relevant: publish reviews. It doesn’t really matter if they are your customers’ reviews or your own, as long as the message is truthful and the name of the author is clear. If you want to be the one in the spotlight, then review everything you can get your hands on. Books, media, beauty products, clothing, sports equipment, apps, plumbers, etc. Use reputable platforms, such as Amazon, to host your shopping and review spree, but try not to overdo it.
If you have a webshop, allow viewers to see customers’ reviews. It’s especially important with shoes, clothes, make-up, etc., where potential customers are very interested in the feel of the product and rely on other people’s experiences before making a decision.
Guest bloggers have invaluable insight. This involves some research and a bit of pestering the owner of the original website, but if you manage to build rapport with the owner, your input will be that much more trustworthy. Accept requests for other bloggers to do the same on your website, but be picky if you can. Remember: Google doesn’t take kindly to poor quality guest blogs, so don’t try to game the system with blogs that have no substance. Whatever the product or service you offer, make sure you can identify with your host website’s values and your content is a credit to their cause.