Each web page can be optimized for conversion or linkability, but few pages are well optimized for both. That is part of why search as a business model works so well. The signals of quality that search engines look for are typically associated with information, not pages that convert well, thus those who have overtly conversion oriented sites and pages have to buy advertising.
You can complain to top ranking sites and complain to Google about an informational site outranking you, but other than giving them a good laugh you stand little chance of getting much out of complaining about how the system is set up.
If you and a competitor both have the same optimized sales funnel, but have sites which do not have content that inspires linking then the odds are prett good a blog or newspaper article might outrank you.
Building Authority Without Hurting Your Conversion Potential:
A search engine is going to trust whoever has more signs of trust bolted on to their offering. If you have linkbait on your site it helps boost the overall authority of every page on your site.
When Linkbait Goes Astray:
Many SEOs fail at creating a site that converts well because we integrate our linkbait content (or other spurious information) directly into the sales funnel in a way that actually makes our sites less appealing and less conversion oriented.
You can still host linkbait on your site without actively driving the attention of your audience to it during the conversion process.
Use linkbait to get the links, but don't promote it heavily on your site unless it builds consumer trust and leads them toward conversion.
Keeping Conversions on Track:
A couple of my friends recently wrote an article about using Google Website Optimizer to streamline your sales funnels.
What is This Page for?
Each page should teach, convert, or be linkworthy. If you can do all that with one page that is awesome, but with most pages and most ideas you can't be optimally effective if you try to combine them all. For most businesses it helps to keep citation-worthy linkbait and the sales funnel separate.
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