Linking for Conversion

Sep 13th

While this is not going to be a mind blower for most people, I just wanted to reiterate how important it is to place links in your content. If you (rightly) assume that many visitors will ignore your navigation then you will make a site that converts much better. Place your calls to action and your action item within the high-attention portions of the page.
Why are some affiliates ticked off at Commission Junction? Why does Google mostly push textual links with their AdSense product? Why does Google teach AdSense publishers to blend their AdSense ads with the content AND place the ads in the content area? It is all about conversion.

Just like duplication is a form of waste, not using your content area to push your offers is exceptionally wasteful. When looking at some top notch affiliate sites, I have spoke with smart friends who said "but this page has no ads on it" when the site was nothing but ads! The ads were so well blended that they did not look like ads. That is the key to doing well. A good at does not look like an ad that should be ignored. A good ad looks like content that should be acted upon.

If you can lower the amount of space you give to ads but have them convert more then why not do it? Who cares if a page does not have too many ads if that means it converts better?

Outside of conversion there are also other benefits to using link rich content:

  • If you link to a few authority sites from within the content it helps engines know what community the page belongs to. Although you do not want to link out too heavily on your main core conversion / offer pages. Hopefully you could create other linkbait pages and other content which helps carry the authority of those other page. If you do link out to other authority sites on pages highly focused on conversion perhaps it makes sense to do it below the fold.

  • If you link to your own conversion items and to some of your other content then if anyone lifts your article wholesale they are building your link equity, and perhaps helping you convert from their site.
  • Linking to your own other pages from within the content area makes you less dependant on navigational links and allows you greater anchor text diversity. As automated content generation evolves search engines may look for ways to footprint automated content. One of the easiest footprints most likely is no links in the content area.

Since search is the predominant mode of navigation make conversion easy to do right near the top of your content. If they were already converted don't make them scroll to convert. Also follow up the early conversion link with another near the end of the content area in case people need more selling to buy.

Make each page focused on reinforcing that the customer is on the right page and reinforce that the product is the right choice for them. You may care to place some comparisons to other things on the page to pick up comparison traffic and reinforce that the item people are looking at is the best for their needs and wants, but make sure the main goal is to convert them on one main idea.

Fore example, if you put a sitewide warning for fraud against a type of product or service do not be surprised that if the pages also try to push the service you warned off as being fraudulent that your overall conversion for both offers is going to be far lower than your conversion for a single page more focused on selling just one item. If you are going to talk about things like fraud or poor customer experience in great depth it may make sense to make those be their own pages and just link to them rather than featuring that content too prominently in your main conversion oriented content.

Published: September 13, 2006

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Comments

September 13, 2006 - 8:15pm

Great post. Linking from within your content isn't just good for conversion, IMO, it's good for SEO too. Look at how great the Wikipedia does in Google. Could it be because of all the link rich text in all of the articles there?

September 13, 2006 - 10:22pm

I put an adsense box in my content on one of my blogs today for the first time and am not liking it. It just makes it look cheap and me desperate.

Yeah, I am also pretty sure it will convert better but grrr, wish I wasn't broke and in need of some money.

Over monetizing or monetizing too early stupidifies blogs and websites, looks like it will be pizza again tonight. ;-(

September 13, 2006 - 11:56pm

If you are broke, thats probably a sign that whatever you are doing doesn't work! At this stage you need to be more focused on doing lots of testing and discovering what is going to work best for you. Is about.com "over monetized"? Probably, but they also rake in money like it grows on trees.

September 14, 2006 - 12:24am

I'm in total agreement with Andrew and Buzz box. I do think you should do alot of testing first...Probably not as much as I have been doing ut go figure...I think SEO is a process that should take some time, as your blog continues to grow and as you reader base starts to stick you will have mroe options than you can imagine ...But until then pizza is always good ;-)

September 14, 2006 - 2:24am

Great post, and great comment too, Andrew, on about.com -- 'Is about.com "over monetized"?'

I'm heading over to About to see how they do it. :-)

Thanks for the excellent inspiration.

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