“not really underscored in this example is the potential for the link to gain traction over time. Sure, Jane’s blog may not be that popular, but it only takes one person in her network (or even outside of it) to stumble upon it and also see a need for the same product Jane ordered, and by virtue of Jane’s positive review on ABCwidgets, this second person orders, hopefully has a good experience, and spreads the word further – maybe they have a larger network or more visible blog that additional people will see.”
When evaluating a potential link, I imagine that most of us have the same basic checks that I do. I will freely admit that “potential traction” has not previously been that high on my list, but I’m starting to change my opinion of its importance in looking for new linking opportunities and here is why:
Traction is organic. It’s lazy, in a sense. It is potentially the easiest facet of link building, as you can just sit back and let it happen. Very, very obvious, actually, when you think about it, isn’t it? However, if you choose to become more actively involved in the process, the sky’s the limit.
If you’re keeping up with new organic inbounds, you can easily try and track down how those links came to life so that you can make them flourish even more. Sure, you can just keep the nonchalant attitude but consider this scenario:
Jane (remember her from the example?) gives you a nice link based on your pro-active use of Twitter. Alex happens to have a Google alert set up for your company name and sees Jane’s blog, which he checks out, sees Jane’s positive remarks, orders from your company, receives the best customer service/product/price, and blogs about it on his own site, which has a wider readership than Jane’s blog. If you were paying attention and saw this new link, checked it out, read how Alex blogged about reading Jane’s positive review and how it led him to take action, you could very easily contact Alex (a visibly satisfied customer), thank him for both his link and his order, ask if there is anything more you can do, and when he says that yes, he’d love a discount for 10 of his friends, agree to do it. Alex’s 10 friends order from you, using their discount, and they blog about it, linking to you. This could go on and on and on.
Let’s consider what would have happened if you had not been paying attention and you hadn’t contacted Alex. Yes, he did order from you, and he may continue to do so, but he wouldn’t have the discount for 10 of his friends would he? Jane’s original link plus Alex’s link plus the links from his 10 friends gives you 12 lovely links. You could have just had 2. With very little effort, you scored 10 additional links that were, again, based on connecting with your target audience.
The key is that you saw how your positive customer service affected Jane, you saw that Alex was also affected by that via Jane’s comments, and you realized that you can use the same incentives with Alex (and his friends) that you used with Jane. Sure, you might have noticed Alex’s new link and you may have even thought to email him with your discount offer without tracking his link back to Jane, BUT you wouldn’t have the previous proof that the offer worked.
The takeaway from this is that visibility is not always key when you’re thinking about traction, as a link on a seemingly unimportant site could very easily be found by someone with a more visible site. If you’re getting a truly relevant link, you should expect traction no matter what, but paying attention and helping out a bit with the process certainly can’t hurt you.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.