The $95,000 Linking Mistake

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The $95,000 Link Building Mistake

We own and manage a series of sports websites. From a four year period, we had a small team of linkers who worked on these sites daily—adding links, reaching out to other site owners, and engaging with sports fans on social media, forums, and other sports sites.

After four years of steady link building, we directed our focus away from sports and stopped our active linking and outreach efforts. In retrospect, this decision—made 20 months ago—was a huge financial mistake.

In the first four months using link builders, we generated $14,780 in revenue from our primary sports site. In the immediate four months after we stopped linking, our revenue dropped to $8,964. We suffered a 39% drop in revenue in just four months. Because this was our busiest time of the year, the full economic impact was partially hidden.

Over the 20 months since we’ve stopped our outreach and linking program, our sports website has generated $28,633 in revenue. In the 20 months before we stopped linking, our site generated $123,757 in revenue.

By stopping our outreach and linking program, we lost $95,124 in revenue! That is almost $5,000 a month!

What Is the Correlation Between Linking and Revenue?

1. Linking Affects Google Ranking Algorithm

While backlinks remain a vital Google ranking factor, effective link building encourages trust and popularity. According to Copyblogger, domain trust/authority represents 23.87% of Google’s ranking algorithm (source:

While many marketers and business owners depend upon social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a major component of Google’s algorithm is still link-based; the quality and quantity of your incoming links plays a significant role in where your website ranks for targeted keywords. If the quality and quantity of your site’s links suffer so too does your site’s ranking.

2. Link Erosion Negatively Impacts Google Ranking

Another reason why not having an ongoing linking and outreach campaign cost us $95,000 was link erosion. According to a report from the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group, over the last two years, 19.85% of links had eroded, meaning that one in five links in existence on January 1st of 2018 were no longer active on January 1st of 2020. Link maintenance is a key factor for revenue upkeep.

3. Don’t Get Lost in the Pages

If you made our mistake and neglected link building over the last two years, the odds are high that at least 20% of your links have atrophied or disappeared. That change is enough to make you fall from a high ranking on Google to page three, four, or five—where nobody will see you or buy your product or service.

Don’t get lost in Google. Contact us today to fortify your links and keep you on page number one!

If you’re looking for help with SEO, contact Braveheart Digital Marketing today. We are a leading SEO Agency in Manchester NH that can help you to improve your website and reach new customers. Contact us today


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Link Building: Why Big Agencies Are Wrong to Neglect It

Link Building

Add Your Heading Text Link Building: Why Big Agencies Are Wrong to Neglect It

Several high ranking SEO people in big agencies have recently opinionated that content marketing has replaced link building and that link building services are no longer necessary.

I don’t think these agencies could be any more wrong. When Google announced the release of its newest algorithm called RankBrain a few years ago, Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google, offered insight into the new algorithm:

“RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”
Greg Corrado
Senior Research Scientist, Google

In an article, Corrado mentions that RankBrain has become the third-most important part of the Google algorithm.

What are the other two most important components of Google’s algorithm? Google won’t say, but it’s likely the other two are on-page (related to page content) and off-page signals (related to inbound links).

The original Google algorithm was heavily weighted toward the value (authority) of incoming links. Although this dial has been turned down slightly over the last couple of years, it is still a major factor in how Google ranks websites.

Which brings me back to the stance of some of the big agencies. These agencies believe that—because of Google’s high regard for brands, any content that a brand produces has a high likelihood of ranking well. And if that is the case why should anyone invest in link building?

Well, because first of all link building is not only about increasing relevance in Google. At its core, link building is about delivering your content directly to your target audience. With social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, online fan groups and forums, and smart phone apps, audiences are increasingly scattered across the net.

The importance of social media amplification cannot be stressed as we enter 2016. Social media is where your audiences are, especially the ones you specifically want to develop content for. That’s why social media amplification is part of link building, and that’s a big part of why link building is important.

If you don’t engage in link building (specifically across social networks), you are neglecting a huge opportunity to reach a sizeable portion of your target audience, and in turn—losing traffic, leads, sales, and conversions.

Don’t neglect your links. Contact us today, so we can link you to more traffic, more revenue, and more success!

If you’re looking for help with SEO, contact Braveheart Digital Marketing today. We are a leading SEO Agency in Manchester NH that can help you to improve your website and reach new customers. Contact us today.


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The Three Traffic Sources For Startups

Paid Earned and Owned Traffic

The Three Traffic Sources For Startups

I was recently re-reading Randall Stross’s book, The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups. Inside is a quote from Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham about growth rates for start-up

A good growth rate during YC is 5-7% a week. If you can hit 10% a week you’re doing exceptionally well. If you can only manage 1%, it’s a sign you haven’t yet figured out what you’re doing. A 5%-7% weekly growth rate is extremely aggressive but if you want your start-up to get traction in the market, it’s a good growth number to aim for..
Y Combinator Logo
Paul Graham
Y Combinator

The big question then is “how do you do that”?

There are three sources of website traffic for a startup. In order to be successful and meet Paul Graham’s growth target you need to master at least one of these, if not two of these traffic sources.

Rented or Paid Traffic

The first traffic source that most start-ups use is paid traffic. Paid traffic gives you time to allow your other traffic channels to grow and evolve. It allows you to get product market fit, find those those first customers and find out if you have product market fit.

The most common paid traffic sources are Google Adwords (PPC), Facebook ads, display ads, retargeting, paid influencers and paid content promotion.

With paid traffic you are able to contribute content and engage with the audience. You might be able to control the conversation, but you do not own anything else (data, relationship, creativity, etc. etc.). Hence the name rented traffic.

Without the initial steady stream of visitors from paid traffic, you might never get enough data to growth hack your way to success. That is why paid traffic is the most important traffic source for many startups. Over time, that might change, but it is rare to see a startup succeed who does not buy their initial visitors.

Owned Traffic

The second most common traffic source is owned traffic. Owned traffic is traffic from properties that you own. You own the customer relationships. You make the decisions around content, creativity and evolution. The more owned properties you have, the more chances you have to drive traffic to your website.

Examples of owned properties are websites, blogs and customer forums. Social media properties like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter can also be considered as “owned sites”.

One of the most overlooked owned traffic sources is your email list. You have total control over the timing of the messages you send to your subscribers. And when you click “send,” your messages get delivered straight to them.

The challenge for start-ups is that owned traffic takes time. It takes time to organically grow a following via social media or build an email list. That is why owned traffic is usually the second traffic source that startups tackle.

Earned Traffic

The third traffic source is Earned or influenced traffic. This traffic is online word of mouth, usually seen in the form of mentions, shares, reposts, reviews, recommendations, or content picked up by 3rd party sites.

It is traffic source that you cannot directly control. For example you cannot directly control whether people will “Like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, and then visit your website and become your customer. Nor can you control whether a a piece of content you have produced goes viral.

Earned traffic also includes organic traffic from search engines. Traffic from organic search is considered earned traffic as you cannot control how much traffic the search engines can send you. But like other influenced traffic you can impact this by following SEO best practices.

The challenge for startups with earned traffic is that it is too difficult to predicate, especially in the early stages. You cannot build a growth strategy hoping that you make it to the front page of Hacker News or Business Insider. That is why this is usually the third traffic channel that startups focus on.


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Why Great SEO Is Not “Set It and Forget it”

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Why Great SEO Is Not “Set It and Forget it”

In a great post by Drew Sanocki called “Here Is the AdWords Method That Is Helping My Ecommerce Clients Achieve *Epic* Growth,” Sanocki discusses one of the biggest mistakes that people make with PPC, which he dubs the “Set It and Forget It” strategy.

People who “Set It and Forget It” forget that search engine optimization requires constant and consistent attention. Search Engine Optimization  is not a rotisserie chicken and losing focus will result in a steady decline in traffic, leads, and sales.

“select keyword phrases, build out their Ad Groups, choose bids that get them a desired position, then move on to more sexy things like content marketing. These businesses ignore the fact that AdWords is a multiplayer game. … Your actions impact competitors’ actions. You change your bid, they change theirs — along with their ad copy, landing pages, CTRs, etc.”
Drew Sanocki

One of the most common mistakes I see with brands and small businesses is definitely related to setting and forgetting. Often these businesses stop SEO once their site is optimized. Though the initial optimization proves successful at first, sales, traffic, and leads dwindle as the site’s hard-fought rankings are lost to other more SEO-diligent websites. It’s often more expensive to ‘reacquire’ top rankings than it was to reach them initially, forcing CMOs and digital marketers to invest more resources to return to previous levels.

An ongoing SEO campaign is much more effective in the long-term for brands, and here’s why:

1. Searcher Demands and Interests Changes

The way people search has changed over the last couple of years due to the greater usage of smartphones and tablets. According to a study by BIA/Kelsey, mobile search volume will surpass desktop search in 2015.

The mobile movement is having a profound impact on organic search as users search differently on their phone than they do on their desktops.

Searches are more local with stronger commercial tendencies on mobile devices, while engagement is as much as 9% higher on tablets than desktops.

It is not just the B2C market that is being impacted by mobile. According to data from Scott Design, more than 1 in 3 US technology decision-makers read B2B content on mobile devices.

Continual optimization for words and devices that your target audience is using is necessary to compete in the digital age.

2. Google Makes Hundreds of Changes Every Year

CMO/Business owners who say that that they are in a traditional industry and that the words used to describe the products and services has not changed in years are not paying attention.

One of the main reasons that “Set It And Forget It” does not work with SEO is that Google changes its search algorithm 500–600 times a year. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

Companies that are actively working with SEO’s are able to adjust to the algorithmic updates that the search engines make and can take advantage of the opportunities they present.

3. Links Erode

The third reason why an ongoing SEO campaign is better than “Set It and Forget” is because of link erosion. According to a report from the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group, over a five year period (2008-2013) 44% of the URLs they monitored became inaccessible.

Their data showed that 256 out of 579 URLs in the sample no longer provide access to the content that was originally selected, captured, and archived by the Chesapeake Group. In other words, link erosion was 44.2% within six years.

Narrowing it to the last two years (2012-14) that link erosion was 19.85%, meaning that one in five links in existence on January 1st of 2012 were no longer active on January 1st of 2014.

So, if you have neglected your links in two years, the odds are high that at least 20% of your links have atrophied or disappeared. That change is enough to make you fall from a high ranking on Google to page three, four, or five—where nobody will see you.

That is why great SEO programs include active link building so that you can continually add new links to replace the ones that have eroded.


Great SEO is an activity that is constantly evolving with a dependency on the changes in searcher behavior, search engine updates, and competitor moves.

Companies that view SEO as “Set It and Forget It” will see their search engine visibility and traffic erode over time, but companies that engage in great SEO
will see increased visibility, traffic, leads, and sales from their website.

Ready to get started with some great SEO. Contact us today.

If you’re looking for help with SEO, contact Braveheart Digital Marketing today. We are a leading SEO Agency in Manchester NH that can help you to improve your website and reach new customers. Contact us today


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Have We Seen the End of SEO Copywriting?

Have We Seen the End of SEO Copywriting?

It’s an interesting question. Is SEO copywriting dead? It’s something my wife and I discussed over the weekend. Type in “SEO copywriting” in Google, and Google’s Featured Snippet will state that

SEO copywriting refers to the art of writing copy that ranks well in search. SEO copywriting is relatively easy to do (if you have some experience), and it’s an excellent way to gain valuable web traffic without spending thousands of dollars on paid advertising.”

The key phrase from the Google Snippet is “ranks well in search.” Originally, the focus of SEO copywriting content was to rank well in Google by inserting a keyword X times on a page in specific locations – headline, first sentence, first paragraph, etc.

Rankings acted as the metric used for measuring the effectiveness of SEO copywriting.

But what the Google’s selected Snippet refrains from associating with SEO copywriting is a very important factor to a business’s success: the customer!

We have moved beyond one keyword per page of content. A single page can now rank for over 100 terms. Instead of keywords, we focus on themes.

While rankings used to be the metric of choice, clients today want that content to convert into leads, sales, and revenue.

As a result, the best content are narratives—customer-centric stories that show a common and relatable problem and offer solutions to that problem.

As the Featured Snippet relates, SEO copywriting is company-centric, speaking about features and benefits that matched consumer’s searches without relating to the customer on a personal level.

Is SEO copywriting dead?

Yes. I think that content development has evolved away from writing for search engine rankings to writing to connect with your audience.

This new approach is represented by companies like Contently who use these sorts of headlines to connect with their target audience.

Own Your Audience - Contently

Customers want stories, and marketing companies are finally recognizing that. What do you think? Is SEO copywriting dead?

If you’re looking for help with SEO, contact Braveheart Digital Marketing today. We are a leading SEO Agency in Manchester NH that can help you to improve your website and reach new customers. Contact us today


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The BEST Way To Generate Leads In 90% Of Industries

Lead Generation

The BEST Way To Generate Leads In 90% Of Industries

A new report from Bizible analyzed more than 480,000 leads through its Salesforce marketing analytics platform and the data showed that Search does a better job of generating leads than any other marketing channel.

A Hubspot report last season showed that SEO provides the best ROI of any inbound marketing channel, and the Bizible study reinforced that data. There is a subtle difference between the two reports as the Hubspot report was able to track both SEO and PPC separately. In the Bizible study they combined both organic and PPC under the single search umbrella.

The Bizible data showed that when looking at first touch, Search drove 56% of leads generated. When looking just at last touch, Search accounted for 41% of the leads generated.

Not a surprise then that the combination of Search first touch and Search last touch was the most productive channel for lead generation, accounting for 37% of all leads from first/last touch combinations.

Lead Generation by First/Last Touch Combinations.
Lead Generation by First/Last Touch Combinations. Source: Bizible

For those marketers who believe that search will not work in their market, Bizible refuted that. The data showed that Search was the leading channel for 9 out of 10 of the industries measured for generating leads by first touch. The software/SaaS sector was the only sector in which search did not drive the majority of first touch leads.

First Touch By Industry

Don’t Overlook Social In Lead Generation Process

Social is a market that has really matured into a valuable inbound marketing channel in the last year of so. When Bizible looked at the percentage of closed deals that were won by first touch in each channel, social impressively came in third with a 30% win rate, despite driving just 5% of leads. Social impact on lead generation is a not widespread yet because the social leads were concentrated among two industries; Education and Finance.

Note that Direct and Search had the two highest closed rates at 56% and 40% respectively with Display having the worst at only 12%.

First Touch Lead Generation By Industry
First Touch Lead Generation By Industry. Source: Bizible

Social shortens the length of the marketing cycle. When Social was the first touch, the marketing cycle was 30% shorter than average.

Marketing Cycle


Search is the most popular first touch channel for lead generation accounting for 56% of all leads acquired. Search, especially organic SEO, has to be a part of your company’s inbound marketing strategy. Whether your market is B2B or B2C, Search generates more leads, more cost-effectively.

The Bizible report shows that the last touch severely undervalues the top of the marketing funnel and does not account for the buyer’s decision journey. Companies need an inbound marketing analytics program that allows for Multi­touch attribution.

You can’t ignore Social in B2B marketing; it has a 30% shorter marketing cycle than the average inbound channel. Social is not just for posting statuses anymore. It is also a valuable lead generation channel.

The full paper “Multi-touch Attribution for Companies with Sales Teams” is available for download here.

We’re offering a free inbound marketing assessment. We will evaluate your current website, and show you the most direct ways you can get more traffic and leads from your website.

Click here to receive our FREE Inbound Marketing Assessment.


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What is geofencing?

What Is Geofencing?

What is Geofencing? Geofencing marketing is location-based ads where a user’s location is recorded via the internet, and advertisements are only shown to people in

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Why SEO Still Provides The Best ROI Of Any Inbound Marketing Channel

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO Provides The Best ROI Of Any Inbound Marketing Channel

I built my first web site in 1996. In those days I just needed to update a meta keyword tag in order to have a site rank highly in the search engines.

Today’s search engine algorithms are very sophisticated and you’ve got to have deep knowledge and well-honed skills to win at SEO. SEO is still the most productive and economical way to generate qualified leads and customers. It’s also the one that Marketers say is the hardest to execute. As a result, more and more companies are letting their marketing budgets get eaten up by PPC and switching their attention away from SEO to the latest shiny toys like Instagram. SnapChat or TikTok.

Despite the appeal of all these new social channels, one thing remains consistent: SEO ROI provides the best return of any inbound marketing channel.

Marketing Spend closely tracks led generation rates

SEO on average is 12% of a typical marketing budget, but generates 14% of leads. PPC, on the other hand, is generating only 6% of leads, despite having 8% of the marketing budget. If you are spending more of your marketing budget on PPC than SEO then your lead generation program is likely upside down.

It’s not just the number of leads generated from SEO that makes it such an important inbound tactic it is the QUALITY of those leads.

In the same study, Hubspot asked marketers for the average percentage of leads converted to sales by marketing channel. SEO leads inbound marketing conversion rates, netting 15% above the average conversion rates.

SEO delivers best ROI of any marketing channel

SEO continues to deliver the best ROI of any inbound marketing channel. It’s worth more attention from marketers. Don’t let the idea that SEO is hard keep you from winning the online game. The right resources will make it easy for you.

Has your organic search traffic has fallen over the last couple of years? If it has then a technical site audit will uncover why the search engines are not ranking you as highly as they used to.

Contact us today and learn how you can increase the ROI of your SEO campaigns.


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What Does Mark Cuban Know about SEO That He Is Not Telling Us?

What Does Mark Cuban Know about SEO That He Is Not Telling Us?

I have been a huge fan of ABC’s Shark Tank since it first aired in 2009. The show quickly became the most-watched TV show in our home as we discussed valuations of the companies and what we thought of the products and sales pitches.

Shark Tank made becoming an entrepreneur cool, and when ABC announced the spin-off series called Beyond the Tank, I was really excited to watch it.

As the name suggests, Beyond the Tank shows what happens after a deal is made and how the investors, or—the “Sharks,” work with the entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

One of the companies showcased on a Beyond the Tank episode is the Red Dress Boutique which is an e-commerce site that Mark Cuban invested in.

Cuban has made his fortune in technology and the Internet, and I wanted to see what advice he had given the Red Dress Boutique to improve their online sales. What Internet marketing tactics was Red Dress using?

When I pulled up their home page, I was ready to be wowed, but when I hit “view source,” boy was I disappointed!

Red Dress Meta Tags

Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram have helped fuel Red Dress’s growth in part because these are platforms where they can shape the conversation with their audience (with the clothes they use) and interact with their community via comments.

The main focus of the Beyond the Tank episode was the desire of the owners to redesign their site to make it faster—not to help with their Google rankings, but to improve the user’s experience. The Red Dress owners were concerned that the slow loading site was causing some of the images to pixelate, decreasing the user’s experience.

My takeaway from the show and the Red Dress site is that Cuban is focused on Red Dress maintaining its hockey stick growth. He does not want anything to get in the way of that.

Cuban is extremely intelligent, and if he thought there was an opportunity or market that the company was not targeting, then he would mention it. An analysis of the Red Dress Boutique website indicates that search is just not a key component of their growth plan.

And that has to worry Google and the SEO industry. It is clear that Cuban is perfectly fine with the Red Dress Boutique’s current online marketing strategy of using social media to grow its brand, control the message, and interact with its community without the sudden curveballs that Google has been giving website owners the last two years.

Will we see more e-commerce sites turn their attention and advertising dollars away from search and toward social networks? And if we do, what will that mean for search practitioners?

If you’re looking for help with SEO, contact Braveheart Digital Marketing today. We are a leading SEO Agency in Manchester NH that can help you to improve your website and reach new customers. Contact us today


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