Link Building Is Still Important For Promoting Your Business Online

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Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 2:30PM

I'd like to invite existing clients and new prospects to consider using our link building services for one or more of your web sites as a way to increase search engine rankings & web site traffic.  I believe that links are still at least 50% of what's necessary to make a successful online business.  Links work well for google's algorithm because it is hard for people to fake/manipulate. 

Larger companies acquire other business and their Internet brands who already have customers and links as a shortcut to online success.  Small businesses are forced to use more economic approaches to link building.  We try to be as effective as possible with low budgets.   I can understand that any money to a small business is a lot of money since I run a small business myself.  I estimate our clients spend between 1% and 5% of their gross income with us each year.   This is a very modest amount which causes a low risk and low reward scenario and it often makes me feel guilty that I can't be "firing on all cylinders" for a client.  I would encourage all of you to consider finding areas to cut costs / reallocate funds in order to increase your online market share through link building.

Importance of focusing on promotion after site completion

In many cases, your web site(s) are not performing to the extent they could if they had more links to them which can achieve higher google pagerank.  We have made the web sites arguably A: beautiful, B: functional, C: added unique content, but in most cases, we have done very little to D: promote them due to the limited budget & prior efforts.   Promoting your business is often the most expensive part of a company's budget.  I have read quotes such as 80% of a companies' budget should go towards advertisement/promotion efforts but of course that doesn't mean 80% on the web only. 

I understand that real estate professionals do most of their promotion through "sweat labor".  Realtors work the phones, call expired listings, do open houses, and network to create new relationships.   All of that is probably more important then the web site and it's something the realtor can control.   When a client works with us, obviously they have more concerns and less control.  However, we help you compete in the areas where you are otherwise inexperienced.  Our expertise with online marketing helps reduce the amount of sweat you incur.  The end goal of using our services is to reduce your work load and still achieve the same or better results.

Comparing link building to other more instantaneous advertising

If you were to promote yourself through pay per click, you may achieve a predictable amount of leads instantly.  These costs rise as inflation and competition increases.  Some competitors are willing to take a bigger loss and flood the market with paid placement.  This gives them a better history metric with google which can cause your ads to perform worse then theirs simply due to their larger scale campaign.  This loss of performance is extremely common in online advertising because larger companies are spending millions of dollars to buy and resale this placement to you.   Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo, Realtor.com are all examples of this reselling traffic approach.  The original visitor usually went to google and we try to get more visitors to go direct to you instead of third parties.  This is the whole reason you have built more expensive custom web sites and link building further enables this to be successful.

Link building reaches a higher portion of the market

Because pay per click only represents a about 12% of the search audience, you can achieve up to 8 times the number of leads compared to pay per click with a top ranking on the same keywords.   All other forms of advertising besides pay per click such as banners, purchasing leads, paying for impressions cost more per lead, so I'm not really discussing them here.  Even placement on sites like realtor.com, zillow.com, trulia.com is usually more expensive per lead because a lot of their traffic is resold pay per click or traditional brand advertising (tv, print, sponsoring, etc).  They simply can't afford to be cheaper then pay per click in many cases. 

I have found the results to be very bad in my experience with placing ads on national web sites.  I simply can't recommend this kind of placement unless you are given exclusive placement at a reasonable cost without a burden of long term commitment.   They usually don't give you exclusive placement and exclusivity is often sold out for the indefinite future due to aggressive business practices & sales people.  Often, the most you could do is sign up for a waiting list usually.  

I found realtor.com to be particularly expensive compared to pay per click.  They sell banners with an undefined number of competitors in your market.  If there are 20,000 visitors for a zip code, this might be divided among 10 or 20 competitors.   With a typical 1% to 5% click through, you might receive 30 visitors on your realtor.com banner for $500 to $1000 per month - absolutely insane compared to PPC which would generate 200 to 1000 clicks with the same money.   Often these companies don't even have the actual analytics available for you before they ask you to make a decision.

Link building is cost effective in the long term

Pay per click (PPC) can be effective if you can achieve sales, but the number of people who clicks sponsored ads is about 12% of all people searching online.  The free placement positions are receiving 78% of the clicks.

In my experience, realtors constantly want their expenses to be reduced or eliminated.   Link building doesn't guarantee a reduction in short term expenses.  In fact, it usually has a lower return on investment the first year compared to pay per click if you compare how many leads you receive with both efforts.   So we are talking about a long term growth in market share for your company, not instant results.   It is commonly said that anything good / worthwhile is not easily obtained. 

High search engine rankings are often able to persist a long time (months / years) when you stop paying for services.  Some of our clients already enjoy high rankings because of our link building efforts from years ago, so further service would only enhance what you already know to be true.   These changes in market share can represents tens of thousands of dollars in reduced marketing costs compared to pay per click.  A competitive edge that plants you firmly ahead of competitors and leaves them guessing on how you did it.

If you have any questions on our link building services, please contact us.


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