It’s amazing how a seemingly small change can dramatically improve conversions. On one of my link request outreaches I kept getting solicited for donations, to pay for links, something I didn’t want to do. Then I discovered a small change to what I was doing that resulted in more links.
Many years ago we updated our suggest-a-link outreach to include several suggestions, not just the one site we wanted a link from. One would think that asking for links for several sites would decrease the conversion rates because the success rate was divided between your site and the other recommended sites.
So instead of asking for links for one site, we started asking for links for multiple sites. That worked well… then we improved it.
We noticed that some sites tended to be popular with the niche we were working on. So we decided to include popular sites along with the site we were promoting in a suggest-a-link campaign.
The difference in success rate was noticeable. We could tell from the positive feedback from people contacted that we were on to something.
Link Building Success Rate Improved
The link building conversion rate improved.
I refer to this strategy as co-recommendation.
These are the important points for understanding why co-recommendation works for me.
1. The campaigns are for commercial sites, eCommerce or ad supported.
2. Co-recommended sites were similar to the sites being promoted but not competitors.
Popular Sites Make Your Sites Popular
The co-recommended sites were popular with the sites I targeted. This is I think is important.
What I did was note the kinds of sites that were popularly linked in that particular niche. For example, if I was targeting a specific kind of blog and many in that niche tended to link to three particular sites, then I noted those sites as being popular in that niche.
Some link builders pick random dot edu/dot gov or non-profit sites, pages that they believe are “authoritative” and have “trust” ascribed to them. A useful page is a great thing to recommend.
But it’s never worked well for me. It actually drove down my conversion rate.
My conversion rate went up after I started recommending popular sites. Why is that?
I believe that recommending unknown .gov and .edu web pages forced the email recipients to click the link and review the web page. That web page better be delightful. If it’s not, do you think they’re going to risk their time to review the second link?
My conversion rates went up after switching to recommending sites that were popular with the sites I wanted links from.
Why Do Popular Sites Help Build Links?
There are several things that I think are happening that help this outreach work. The first one is that the recipient recognizes the brands you are recommending and judging by the feedback I have received, the targeted recipients are literally delighted by them.
The consequence is that when the targeted recipient views your site in context with the other two sites that they already like, I think that maybe some of the good will from those co-recommended sites is extended to your site.
The juxtaposition of the one site they don’t know yet with the sites they likely already know might make them believe that maybe that site they don’t know is of the same quality.
The feedback I’ve received is disbelief that they weren’t already linking to the popular sites. Most times they linked to all the sites. Sometimes they left out my site and only linked to the popular sites.
I’m OK with it because the conversion rate was still higher.
Link Building Tip Works for Quality Sites
It’s been my experience that that placing your site in proximity with other well liked sites can increase the likelihood of your site being viewed more favorably.
But this tip will not help a site with poor content, bad web design and a poor user experience. Real links only come to pages that deserve them.
So first make your site worthy of a link then promote it.
If you have a quality website and you’re not already doing this, give it a try. Promoting a site is like soccer… goals don’t happen often so adding a few more results in a big win. Co-recommending your site with popular sites may help increase your success rate.