Most people usually build links to a site for their SEO benefits alone.
That said, traffic and leads can and should also be a by-product of good link building.
How? Two ways:
- Building high-quality links to your site will increase its overall strength and authority, which will, in turn, make it easier for it to rank for multiple keywords = increase in traffic.
- Building links from sites with traffic will send referral traffic to your site.
Plus, as someone once said, “With great traffic, come great leads”.
Or was it different?
Oops, sorry uncle Ben. Anyways…
Ideally, you should strive to do both at the same time.
A high-quality link is, by definition a link from a trusted, relevant and real site (a site with traffic).
To find sites like these, you can only trust your gut and third-party software with their metrics.
I use Ahrefs, and the metrics I take into account when looking for good link building prospects are:
- UR – the power of the page (I like to look at UR9+)
- DR – the power of the domain (I like to look at DR20+)
- RD – the number of different sites that are linking to the page.
- Search traffic estimation – an estimation of the page’s traffic based on the keyword it’s ranking for multiplied by their volume and the site’s ranking position.
With this out of the way, let’s see how to actually get more traffic and leads from your links!
Find Your Top, Most Valuable Linkers
First we need to find the people who are linking to you who’s links are also converting into sales for you.
To do this, go to Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals
Select one of your goals from the “Explorer” section.
Then, sort the Goal conversion rate column to show the pages that got you the highest conversion rate.
You’ve now found your gold mine. A pool of sites who’s links are actually sending you traffic. What do you do with them?
There are a number of different ways you can leverage these findings. Let’s look at some of them.
Research Your Top Referring Sites And Find Similar Ones
Let’s say I contributed an article to Search Engine Land, which I know (from Google Analytics) has got me traffic and some leads.
What insights can I gather from it?
Let’s look at the site as a whole and take notes:
Just from their contributor page I can catch a few things:
- DR – DA = 90 → If I did it once, I know I can do it again. I can leverage the fact that I have an article on this site to pitch other similar sites.
So, in my email I will be like: “I was featured on Search Engine Land etc. etc.”
- They explicitly accept guest writers. I can use this to look for particular “footprints” and craft specific search operators for my prospecting. Something like:
Seo blog intitle:”become a guest contributor”
- They accept articles from industry professionals and have “marketing professionals” in the text. I can incorporate this in my advanced search query:
Seo blog intitle:”become a guest contributor” intext:marketing professional
Yes, this site has way lower DA and traffic than SEL, but still, it’s a similar kind of opportunity (authoritative site), which means that people coming from this link will most likely trust that I’m an “expert” and be interested in paying for my services.
Build More Links From Sites That Are Already Sending You Leads/Customers
With the same example as above, if I had a link on SEL that i know is bringing me traffic and leads, why not become a regular contributor and publish more articles on that same site? Just take a look at the website’s guidelines and see if they allow people to become regulars and have their own column on the site.
Build Tier 2 Links
What if the article you published on another blog is getting good traffic (and in turn generating traffic and leads for you), but you know it could do even better?
Let’s say I’m Derek Gleason of CXL and I recently published this article on the Ahrefs blog:
The article is doing great, has a ton of traffic and is ranking for some great keywords already:
Let’s dive deeper to see if there are any quick wins for us.
I went to the “organic keywords” report for this particular URL, and applied a few filters:
- Positions: 5 to 15 → This shows me for which the keywords my URL is ranking for between the bottom of page 1 (position 5-10) and the top of page 2 (positions 11-15) of the Google results. A page that is ranking in this spot has a very good chance of getting pushed up quite easily with just a few new links to it.
- Volume: >100 → I only want to see keywords that have significant search volume.
This article is already ranking pretty well for a bunch of keywords at positions 5 and 6, so half of page 1.
I could go out and build just a few links to it and it would probably move easily to positions 3-4, which would greatly improve its traffic (and the traffic/leads that it sends to the author).
Research Your Competitors And Replicate Their Top Referring Links
What if you’re new to this or don’t have any articles already published somewhere?
How can you tell which sites to ask for links that you know will bring you traffic and leads?
Simple, Enter SimilarWeb.
This tool allows you to input any site and get a bunch of metrics about its traffic. We are going to specifically take a look at one of our competitors to see where they’re getting some good referral traffic and try to emulate them.
I’ll pretend I’m a graphic design SaaS and will use Snappa as an example of my competitor.
First step, grab your main competitor’s URL and plug it into SimilarWeb.
Go to the “Referrals” section of the report and you’ll immediately see which sites are sending the most referral traffic to your competitor. In this case, you can see it’s creativebloq.com and louisem.com.
Now, simply do a Google search for site:referringsite.com “competitor name”. This will show you all pages on the referring site where they mention the competitor.
In our example:
37 pages mentioning Snappa on louisem.com, pretty cool!
Only 2 pages mentioning Snappa on creativebloq.com, still, not bad!
Now that we know what kind of pages are sending traffic to our competitor from other sites, it’s just a matter of:
- Reaching out to them to be included in those same articles (this works well for “X tools for “Y” type of articles).
- Reaching out to them AND other similar sites pitching guest posts or link placements in existing articles that are relevant to our business.
- Check Your Target Serps And Piggyback On Other Sites Ranking
This strategy is also called “Parasite SEO”, “Satellite Websites”, or “Barnacle SEO Pages”.
In a nutshell, it means piggybacking on other sites’ that commonly rank high for your target keyword(s). You basically take advantage of their high authority domain to rank your own page. These sites can be blogs, web2.0 properties, or any other kind of site where you have some editorial control and can publish your own page.
They say, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.
Now, this technique can be done in two ways:
The blackhat way → you publish an article on one of these high-authority sites and send a massive amount of spammy links to make it rank. These links “wouldn’t” hurt the site due to its super high authority.
Or, the white hat why → you publish your article (can be guest post) or ask for a link on a page that’s already ranking with outreach.
Staying in the SaaS space, let’s take a look at an example.
Let’s say I’m a new sales prospecting tool company. If I search for “sales prospecting tools”, I can already see page one is filled with some pretty big sites, like Hubspot or Yesware.
No way in hell I can compete with them with my own article.
It’s pretty clear though, that most pages ranking are lists of many other tools. What I can do is simply reach out to them and ask to be included in one of their lists. If they included all those other tools, there must be a way for me to get in!
I would analyze all those list articles and take notes of specific angles and pitches I could use to be included.
Another way to get traffic and leads form your link building efforts is to reach out to influencers in your space and build relationships.
To do this, you most likely will have to spend some money.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to pay them directly.
What i mean is that you’ll need to offer something of value for them to promote or simply offer them value up front in the form of support, networking opportunities and so on.
A few examples could be:
- Create unique research data that they’ll be interested in sharing or linking to.
- Offer them free product samples or a free subscription (if you’re a SaaS).
- Offer them an affiliate link for your product that they can make money from while promoting you.
- Mention them (ego bait)
- Promote their business to your audience.
Here’s a recent example.
Fact: I’m obsessed with learning.
The fact that i work in SEO makes it especially daunting. I get promoted new courses, webinars, seminars etc. on a daily basis.
So yeah, I spend a ton of money on stuff like this (Also why I’m part of TTT 🤓).
What I think I’m pretty good at though, is taking full advantage of every single opportunity I get to go deeper than simply consuming the content. I want to build actual relationship with the people I buy from and who I admire.
To be clear, it’s not that I plan this, and study every single move. It’s just the way I am, I don’t like to be lurking around in the darkness, I want to show my face to people (even if it’s just online).
This is what I’ve done with Robbie Richards.
I bought his (great) training course “The SEO Playbook” and just (overtime) started building a relationship with him inside the Slack channel.
Over the course of a year or so, we’ve spoken several times in that chat, I’ve also gave him a testimonial for his course, feedback on other ideas and so on.
All of this naturally led to Robbie asking me if I wanted to be featured in one of his articles he was about to relaunch.
the article isn’t really bringing me a huge amount of traffic or leads, but this is just to show you how it’s still possible to build real relationships with important people in your space.
I had given value to Robbie by purchasing is course, he’s given value to me by first of all making a great course, then also by getting in touch with me personally.
It’s just that, a mutual exchange of value.
Hopefully these strategies showed you how link building can also be an effective way of generating traffic (and leads). Generally speaking it’s always a matter of seeing what’s working (for you or others) and do more of it.
I’m sure there are a ton of other ways to do this, so please let me know your feedback and ideas in the comments 🙂