Link building used to be and still is a major part of an SEO campaign for most online businesses. SEOs believe that without links you cannot rank high enough to get any substantial traffic from Google. A few years back though I have noticed that Google started putting more weight on traffic. The more traffic you had the better your rankings were and you could outrank sites that had a lot more backlinks than you.
I have noticed it with my own blog before it got penalized for some spammy links I have no control over. Every time I made a post and mailed it to my list it would automatically get better rankings. I tested it multiple times. When the post was published it would sometimes land on the second or third page, but after I mailed it to my subscribers it would get bumped to the front almost instantly.
When I was telling people on forums about this they said it was impossible, they didn’t believe me. They thought that Google had no way of telling how much traffic you get and this couldn’t be a ranking factor.
Well, I got a news for you…It straight out works even better than building links! I have decided that I won’t be engaging in link building for my new sites after I saw what is happening with my new property I started working on recently.
We built up the site first so that it didn’t look empty. Me and my partner put a lot of weight on quality of the content to encourage social sharing and then started driving paid traffic to it.
We did get one link to it from one of the major web directories so that Google could actually see us and index all pages quicker. That’s it though, no other links were built and we won’t build any more until we become a major player in the space we are going after. But it won’t be your typical link building stuff that most small time affiliates do. By acquiring links I mean building strategic partnerships with other brands in the space. All the other links will come naturally without me lifting a finger. It’s already happening.
Want to see some data?
Here is a screenshot from our Google Webmaster Tools for that site.
As soon as we turned on the traffic flow Google started serving us more search impressions. It works so well that I don’t even care about keywords in post titles and all that crap.
I don’t worry about keyword density or whatever else people go crazy over these days. Non of it matters to me anymore. Content needs to be written for users and that’s it.
The only thing on my mind now is traffic because I know that by getting more traffic I am going to rank higher and higher without doing any SEO whatsoever.
Does the traffic make money? Yes, it generates revenue but we are sort of in the hole right now lol
But you know what? It doesn’t matter to me either. If I was trying to heavily influence our rankings by engaging in some shady SEO tactics I would be more in the hole. Right now we have lost maybe $200 over this month. That’s nothing if you are doing serious link building without actually driving traffic. So in my opinion traffic is better than generating or buying links.
Here is a screenshot from our Adsense account for that property:
I say it’s not bad and it shows that it’s possible to drive paid traffic to a content site. Keep in mind our traffic is high quality. I am not going to get into details about how or what it costs right now because I don’t want to jeopardize my project.
Our posts are getting shared on social media and people comment too.
All this proves what I have been saying for a while now. You need traffic if you want to break through all the spammers and rank high with the brands.
I even wrote a post right after the Penguin update saying pretty much what I have said here that you should concentrate on driving traffic not building links.
My new site is still in beta stage but we have some big plans for it that will catapult it to the top within 7-8 months from now.
Guys, forget link building! Of course you can still rank some small affiliate sites with just backlinks but it’s not a long term strategy.
If you want to build something that matters you need a different game plan. You need TRAFFIC!
It’s so much easier too if Google sees that people visit your site without you manipulating your search engine rankings. It all falls into place without you worrying about updates or getting penalized.
When you get traffic without Google they will treat you better from my experience. They do see that and if your content is good then your position in the serps will grow on its own.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not all of sudden in love with Google because I still think it’s bullshit that they penalized my blog over something stupid. They know which links are spam so they should just discount them and forget about it. Oh well…
Even if my new property doesn’t rank we have plans to make it profitable without Google in case they pull some shenanigans on me again.