Most of us know the importance of links and link building when it comes to getting search engine traffic. Incoming links to our blog or website from other credible websites are critically important to the ranking of your site on Google search engine result pages and on other search engines. Personally, I’ve known this for some time and link building, while a constantly changing strategy has been a key focus for me on this blog and my niche stores.
While I knew the importance of links, I never really experienced first hand until this weekend.
The impact of losing a valuable link
I logged in on Saturday to check Google Analytics for my various websites. I checked my number one niche store, as it has been the main income source for for the past few months. Right after I pulled it up, I said “WHAT?” I noticed that I jumped from 400 visits on Thursday to 141 visits on Friday. I tried to convince myself that maybe it was just one of those things where you’ll sometimes see unexplainable traffic hits. I also wondered if maybe the Google Panda updates had negatively impacted me finally. In any case I was shocked and confused.
Fortunately I have all of my sites registered in Google Webmaster tools, and headed over there to check things out, thinking maybe my site was down or something was messed up. Everything looked fine. I’m not really sure what caused me to do this, but I decided to check out the top 5 sites that had incoming links to me to see if they were up. I pulled up the first one, the one with 63 incoming links: Website is not available. What? Ok, so maybe it’s just down. I watched it all weekend and it’s still down. I emailed the owner a couple of times, the email bounced back.
So far, it looks like the site doesn’t exist anymore, thus removing all 63 of my incoming links. The site was a blog in a similar niche as my store. The owner and I had done a link exchange sometime back. I had no idea how important those links were to my search engine traffic. Losing those links resulted in a 65% drop in search engine traffic to my site. Here’s the screen shot from Google Analytics:
As I’ve told you before, search engine traffic is directly proportional to income and losing that much traffic from search engines definitely hit my bottom line. This particular niche store’s primary income earner is eBay Partner network. Here is the impact to my eBay sales:
The blue line is traffic, yellow line is earnings 🙁
What to do when you lose a valuable link
While I’m still pretty upset about losing the link, this is just an example of some of the hardships you have to deal with on the internet. Google changes their search engine algorithms, keyword values fluctuate, links appear and disappear, etc, etc. The trick is to just move on and adjust. For me, I have to reclaim some of that link juice. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
- Sent out a few emails to site owners introducing myself and seeing if they would interested in doing a link exchange.
- Sent out some emails asking for guest posts along with sending a few ideas for topics I could write on and why I’m a credible source to do so.
- I’ve been reading up on some of the newer strategies for link building and planning on implementing these soon. I’ll share these with you along with my results.
- I plan to write and publish more content on that niche stores blog, just in case part of this was a result of the panda changes. In a nutshell, Panda is putting less focus on sites with low amounts of text content.