Which creates more valuable traffic in blog comment links, link exchanges, article bylines, or forum signatures: linking to your home page or deep into content? The answer may double your referral traffic in the next 30 days.
Only until recently, I was stumbling around this same question in my own Internet marketing. However, after running my own tests and looking at the results, I've discovered which works better these common links back to your site.
My tests started with linking half of the content I created to home pages of my websites, the other half to specific deep link content related to the post, article, or starting page. After three months I looked at traffic patterns in my analytics to see which type of linked produced more referral traffic.
The destination pages linked were regular content or a regular home page, not landing pages or name squeeze. I'll test in the future how to improve traffic to landing and sales pages, right now I just wanted to see which worked better a home page or deep link.
Now I'm NOT advocating spamming message boards, related blogs, and blindly article marketing. Instead as you do research on-line, participate in relevant social media, at least leave contributing bread crumbs.
Behind the scenes I've been working on marketing tests based on information relevance and how people find things on-line. It's a way I help my members find what they are looking for both on-line and off. The more I tested, the more this made sense.
Think about the Internet as clusters of details, like selves in the library. Related information is organized near each other by topic, theme, and keyword. Specific links between details build reference value.
While these information artifacts aren't physically near each other, links and references build contextual relevance. Your deep links bind related information together, the better the match, the greater the credibility.
Now when I first ran numbers on these tests, I was only looking at referral information. While I saw greater click through from deep links, an overall increase in traffic was seen.
Where did this increase come from? Some of my deep links where showing up as entry pages, following the click trail I discovered these pages were more likely to pull additional traffic from search engines.
The job of a search engine is to organize, catalog, and direct individuals seeking information to the most relevant results. This means, deep linking related content is actually helping create these associations.
The results of my tests: I found new content with deep links specifically related to the context of the content drew more traffic than deep links to unrelated pages. While links directly to home pages drew some traffic, it drew about half that of relevant deep links.
Links to contextually unrelated sites received very little human traffic, while they were spider-ed, I only care about visitors who can hire my services. Tests were conducted regardless of page ranking.
These results shouldn't surprise you, associating related content closely matching your audiences interests makes it easier for them to find you. You're actually helping search engines to build content relationships, while connecting with readers interested in specific topics.
Now AGAIN I'm not saying to spam out blogs, message boards, and social media channels. The truth is that search engines are smart enough to understand context. If your comment doesn't fit, you aren't going to gain any value from the efforts.
I verified this with a rash of spam comments on a recently acquired website. Before cleaning out the comments, I looked at traffic counts for those links. Just as my publishing software can identify a spam comment, so can a search engine.
It's your involvement in a community of knowledge which builds credibility with search engines while drive traffic to your business website. Deep link whenever possible to relevant content (not just product pitches) and you'll drive traffic to your website quickly.
Because this is something I use to provide competitive advantage to my SEO clients, I can go into this in detail only in the GOLD members area. The key is to make your links in from other sites contextually relevant, it seems visitors and search engines know the difference.
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Justin Hitt runs hundreds of Internet marketing tests each month for his business clients to help them sell more. You can reach him at http://JustinHitt.com/