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Evaluate What a Link is Worth to You - Infintech Designs Feb 24, 2013

How to Evaluate What a Link is Worth to You

Although there is an abundance of quantitative methods of link evaluation, most of them pay little or no attention to the “human factor”, which frequently is as important as numbers. That is why when evaluating links you should consider qualitative factors because these have a lasting effect on your site usage, popularity and, eventually, sales.

To start your analysis, you should have a very good understanding of the habits, interests and purchasing power of your audience. To go into more depth, you need to know how trusting they are of external recommendation, where they frequently search for product information, whether they share it, etc. As your research goes on, the context and effects of different links should become clearer, and using the findings, you should be able to judge what type of person on average they would attract. For example, a backlink on a dedicated forum accompanied by a detailed analysis of your service would be extremely beneficial as such forums are usually visited by people in need of this service. The more detail you gather, the more accurate this judgment would be. Thankfully, if you are a start-up, this information should be readily available from your market research.

Having gathered the necessary tools, you can start evaluating backlinks from websites. There will always be subjectivity involved but try to make the process as consistent as possible. Your initial research should have highlighted key areas of interest. For example, businessmen skim-read articles quite fast and frequently ignore things on the sides so a link there might not be as effective as one right below the text. Common points to consider are: the context – whether your services fit with the surrounding information; credibility – if the page text fully ensures the customer of high quality; and presentation – whether the link button is discernible from the background.

Not all links come from websites and as such they will have different characteristics. More specifically, social network links play a key role in increasing popularity. Two key differences are their short life-span – just think of how long a link stays in your newsfeed, and the disproportionate traffic in this short timeframe. Additionally, the outreach of a link is connected with that of the person sharing it – consider followers on Twitter, for instance. Finally, the relevance of the group where a link is shared should not be underestimated. Ideally, you would want the link to lead to a page which both captures users with excellent content and easily connects with the rest of the site.

In the beginning you might need to proactively build links, perhaps through guest posting and letter sending – but be careful not to cross the line of shamelessness. During this stage you might encounter the dilemma of strength of links (quality) versus their sheer number (quantity), and you could be tempted to choose either. However, a superior solution would be to identify key strategic partners – specialist forums and websites, and frequently visited directories – and spend more resources on their quality. In addition, you should identify those websites with less potential but which still have valuable readers, and focus on quantity with them.

As previously noted, guest posting is a good strategy to increase your popularity in the early stages. It offers you the opportunity to showcase your skill on a reputable site alongside a link. It further lets you access the audience of the host site and benefit from search engine ranking benefits. A similar strategy with partner websites involves a referral system whereby those that pass on potential clients to you would earn a certain benefit.

For more great advice on the topic, contact the consultants at InfintechDesigns. We look forward to hearing from you.

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