Linking for Traffic

We were delighted to hear that the site we built for NWABride was a success. Owner Mary Mann tells us that they had expected to sell perhaps 50 advance tickets online, but in fact they sold more than 350, plus selling out all their vendor space, for a record turnout at their bridal show. They credit the new website.

When we chewedding websitecked their analytics, we found that they’d had just about 4,000 pageviews in the week before the show, an impressive number. Their traffic sources were fairly evenly divided among direct traffic responding to their traditional marketing efforts, search traffic finding their well optimized website through Google, Yahoo, or Bing, and referred traffic.

We didn’t do linkbuilding for this site, so we were interested to discover how the site owners had approached their own linkbuilding.

Wisely, they narrowed in on the links that would provide the best ROI. The site has only about 21 links, but all of them sent traffic. Here’s the strategy that worked for Mary:

  • Get links from your vendors. Actually, Mary had about 100 vendors, and only a few gave her links. Those that talked up the event at their blogs and linked to the website sent significant traffic. Next year, Mary should ask all the vendors to link back to the site — and provide a bit of code so they can do so easily. If you have vendors in your business, you should ask them for links, too, in their Store Finder or their blog or their list of partners. That’s a normal part of the relationship.
  • Advertise where it counts. Mary didn’t use scattershot campaigns, adwords, or other approaches that rely on a large budget for effectiveness. Instead, she narrowed in on the websites where she could expect her target audience — brides — to be: the local student newspaper and the most popular radio station for the relevant age group. We generally see that a highly targeted display ad at a very relevant website will send better traffic than a lot of ads spread more thinly.
  • Leverage social media. Mary’s audience is ideal for social media, and she benefited from Facebook and wedding forums. Whether your peeps are at Facebook, LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Ning, or some more specialized social media site, identifying the right one and getting a presence there can make a big difference for you. This can be particularly true when you’re working on highly competitive keywords. A new site like Mary’s couldn’t expect to get the top spot for a keyword phrase like “bridal show,” but social media brought her traffic from the local area even so.

If NWABride wants to improve search rankings or PageRank, she’ll need to extend her linkbuilding efforts. For traffic, though — and the success of her show — what she has already done was just right.






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