Link Building for Ecommerce Sites – Targeting the Right Anchor Text
Posted by Geoff Kenyon
While search volume data can help you make more informed decisions when choosing keywords for link building campaigns, it is important to be driving traffic through terms that not only bring in more traffic but convert well. Targeting anchor text phrases that have above average conversion rates will provide a higher ROI on your link building efforts than focusing only on search volume. Further, targeting keywords with above average conversion rates tends to help you get buy in from your clients/managers for your link building efforts because you are focusing your efforts based on monetary conversion rather than just traffic.
Using conversion data will prevent you from link building to terms that statistically don’t convert.
Here is the process I use to find high value anchor text phrases.
1. Download your organic keyword report from Google Analytics
Make sure you are only looking at organic traffic and add “&limit=50000” to the end of the URL (and hit enter) to export up to 50,000 keywords instead of 500. Make sure to download as CSV (not CSV for Excel) or you won’t get the full 50,000 export.
Note: you must be in the old version of GA to extract the 50,000 rows by adding &limit=50000
2. Remove Keywords Without Significance
Delete all data that can’t be considered significant – to find the minimum number of visits a keyword must have, divide 1 by your conversion rate (site conversion rate in the ecommerce overview) (1/.0125). In general, this number is the minimum number of visits a keyword must have to have valid data. For this example, you would delete all keywords with less than 80 visits.
3. Remove Poorly Converting Keywords
Remove keywords that convert below your average conversion rate (conversion rate in the ecommerce overview). This will focus your link building efforts on high value keywords.
4. Get Difficulty Scores and Search Volumes
Plug the remaining keywords into the SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool and paste (paste special: text only) in the resulting data next to the appropriate keywords.
The important columns have been highlighted
5. Get Ranking Data
Run the keywords through your favorite rank checker. I really like using the SEObook rank checker
because it’s fast, pretty accurate and has a nice CSV export. Avoid running tons of ranking reports so that you don’t get your IP banned.
Pair the ranking data with the appropriate keywords
Remove keywords where you already rank really well (positions 1-3), and ones where you will most likely need a lot of work (less than position 20). The remaining keywords are most likely to give you the highest ROI on your link building efforts as they convert well and are already ranking within the first two pages.
6. Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts
Sort your keywords by conversion rate and identify the keywords that convert the best; put these on your list of anchors to use in link building. You should also consider prioritize link building efforts for keywords with a low Keyword Difficulty score (if they exist for you) as you can see significant results on a faster timeline.
Balancing Conversion and Volume
While conversion rate is really important, search volume also needs to be a consideration. If you have a 50% conversion rate, that’s great, but if there’s only 10 searches a month, you are really capping your potential for profit. While this is really easy to do quickly when you only have three keywords, reality is you will have a lot of keywords to comb through. Identify your most desirable keywords by plotting them on a graph.
You can take this one step further and create a “potential value score” to replace the search volume metric (vertical value).
While this metric has obvious drawbacks (such as you won’t be able to get 100% of the search volume), it does provide a high level value for a keyword.
What if You’re not an Ecommerce Site?
This is applicable to just about any site – If you are a lead gen or affiliate site, just set up your goals and then associate a goal value (average value per referral). Or, if you are a nonprofit, you could set up a goal for filling out a contact form and then creating a goal value based on average donation amount by users who initially contact you through your contact form. MFA site? Create a revenue per visitor value.
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