20
Jan
2009
8 Purchase Influence Indicators for Links that Influence Rankings AND Purchase Decisions

When qualifying link prospects you inevitably find a segment of people who influence purchase decisions as well as the search engine rankings. Their ability to sway opinions - and search rankings - within your market makes them a highly valuable link target. Simply writing an acquisition email that makes a link offer leaves a great deal of value on the table in B2B and B2C markets with long and research-intensive buy cycles.

Influencing the Purchase Influencer Link Prospect Segment
Ideally you ally with this influencer segment and provide them with ongoing data, research and expertise access that aids their agenda and educates them about your products and services. You do this in the effort to influence their recommendations and build a sales referral stream, as well as a feedback channel for new business directions.

Two Purchase Influencer Challenges
The large scale link builder faces two challenges in maximizing relationships with purchase decision influencers. The first challenge is identifying purchase influencers using consistent cues from the link prospect data set. There are some consistent cues we have found as we sort through thousands of link prospects, however it is often gut instinct that suggests that a prospect could mean more to the organization than a link.

The second challenge is in building and maintaining these relationships. Ideally the large-scale link builders can hand off these high-value prospects to a media relations and content creation team that connects these purchase influencers with the internal expertise, research and other informational resources they value.

8 Indicators of Purchase Influence Within Large Link Prospect Data Sets
It's unfortunate to automators, but the majority of work involved with identifying purchase influencers must happen by hand. This is because many of the indicators of link prospect value are also indicators that the individual could be a purchase influencer. Here are eight ways to tell if your link prospects are link influencers too.

1) Are There Reviews or Review Services Published On the Site?
When reviewing by hand, look for reviews or review sections on the link prospect's site. You could potentially recrawl the sites of your link prospects and look for the term "review" in the URL or in the body text. Also look in the question and answer or frequently asked questions site sections. Also investigate comment threads - is the site owner making recommendations there? Finally, in some B2B sectors you find the presence of analysts whose function is to provide purchase recommendations to businesses. You may find that reviews are mentioned in an about us, contact us or services section of the site.

2) In-Link Indicators of Purchase Influence in Your Market Space
Inlink data can provide a great deal of insight into the purchase influence a link prospect has in your space. Is the URL of your link prospect linked on other link pages and blogrolls within your link prospect data set? If so, this can indicate that their opinion is well regarded. Do their backlinks include newspapers, .edus and other influential or niche media sites? If they have won favor from sites with high editorial standards it is likely that their opinions will influence purchase decisions. Does your link prospect have inlinks from your competition? This can be an indicator of links prompted by positive reviews or testimonials. If they do have reviews, who links to them and how often?

3) Are They Members of Forums and Other Social Media Sites?
Sometimes a website's appearance belies the influence the site's creator has within a community, especially in B2C markets with passionate participants. Indicators of community influence appear as inlinks from industry-related forums and other social media sites. This becomes especially easy to identify if the link prospect includes site links in their tag or signature line. Just because someone doesn't blog on their site doesn't mean they're not influential in online communities.

4) The Link Prospect URL is On a Niche Industry Publication
Link prospects that are niche industry publications fall squarely into the purchase influencer segment. Identify the writers whose topic areas and agendas meet with your own and get busy building the relationship.

5) The Individual's Name is the URL
In certain industries you find a great deal of influencers have created personal websites to showcase their professional abilities and successes. If you find URLs in your link prospect set that are personal names then these deserve a closer look as potential purchase influencers.

6) Comprehensive, Well Tended Link Pages
If the link prospect maintains a comprehensive links or resources page then this person could well be a purchase influencer. Link page maintenance is ongoing effort and ongoing effort indicates passion for a space. This can sometimes translate into purchase influence.

7) Do they Link to Their Quotes on Other Sites?
It's great to find link prospects who cover news related to your space - they give you an excellent opportunity to make the offer of exclusive news. One indicator that this link prospect is also a purchase influencer is if news agencies call them for input on news stories. Often this type of influencer will mention and link to instances in which they have contributed to coverage of a story.

8) Cross Check Your Link Prospects with Analyst Relations and Public Relations Lists
If you have access to contact lists created by public relations or analyst relations departments you should cross check your urls and any names you gather with them. AR or PR departments may provide guidance for you on outreach, or devise concepts for working with these contacts to cultivate more inlinks or alter existing link text.

In large-scale link building efforts, link builders comprehensively sort and analyze the content space of a market. If they know the tell-tale signs of a purchase influencer they can treat this valuable segment with the care required to turn them into a lead generating ally.

More Large-Scale Link Building Resources
12 Powerful Offers that Build Links in Your Link Acquisition Phase
Link Request Rejections: 6 Ways to Grow from No
12 Ways to Maximize Your Link Acquisition Efforts
5 Questions that Increase Your Link Request Conversions

Comments

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    [...] 8 Purchase Influence Indicators for Links that Influence Rankings AND Purchase Decisions When qualifying link prospects you inevitably find a segment of people who influence purchase decisions as well as the search engine rankings. Their ability to sway opinions - and search rankings - within your market makes them a highly valuable link target. [...]

  1. [...] Goal 3: Increase

    [...] Goal 3: Increase positive mentions from influential media Websites that influence search rank often influence market perception. You’ll find that segments of your link prospects may respond well to public relations-styled outreach including offers of sneak previews and executive access for interviews. Here’s more about identifying these highly valuable purchase decision makers within large url data sets >> [...]

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