What should we do with an inbound link to a product page?

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Marketing expert Adam Riemer and I had an interesting discussion on my podcast about organic inbound links to product pages and what to do about them. Should we reach out and offer them an affiliate link? Or should we reach out and say thank you? Would it be worthwhile to send them a free product? That’s the topic I’ll discuss in this article.

To an extent, it can come down to your goals, which could include:

  • SEO success
  • Building an affiliate program
  • Expanding a relationship with an influencer

And from that perspective, the goals could be interfering with each other. For example, somebody building an affiliate program might want to offer an affiliate link to the website that’s already linking to you. But that will cost a company more money while losing the SEO value, as Adam explains.

Let’s discuss how you might think about the situation. I cover the following:

What is an inbound link?

These links are the links that happen when other websites link to your content. So, for example, let’s say I’ve written about a specific topic, and they mention it in their article or on their website. They might link to my article, which has more content and specifics than their article on that particular topic.

They offer more value to their readers who want to learn more about that topic. There are also giving the other websites props for linking to them on that specific topic.

That’s for informational content. This can also hold for product content. For example, I have linked to products before just because they fit into the article and they helped me create a fuller report. I did not have an affiliate relationship with those companies and was not making additional revenue based on clicks to that particular product.

Those links can help company websites rank higher when people search for their products and services as well.

Read next: Is marketing a good career?

What is link building?

Link building is the practice of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. These hyperlinks, often referred to as backlinks, serve as pathways that connect various web pages. They are not just any links but are links from reputable and relevant websites in your niche.

One great way to build inbound links is to send out news releases, offer quotes to journalists and bloggers and just create awesome content in general that people want to link to, and link to organically.

Read next: Create High-Performing Teams with an Experienced Fractional Executive

How to get an inbound link?

Some companies work with agencies or have in-house teams that reach out to bloggers and influencers to see if they would consider mentioning their product in one of their articles.

You can also get links to your site just by being out there; bloggers find your site and products when they’re looking for related things. For example, I wrote an article on cameras to use in meetings. I only knew about some of the cameras I mentioned because I saw their ad in my Instagram feed.

This podcast episode discusses the topic in even more depth. 

Should we acknowledge an inbound link?

Once we notice inbound links that we didn’t expect or didn’t know about yet, what should we do? Should we reach out to the creator and thank them? Do we offer them an affiliate link so they can make some money? Or do we ignore it?

From a high-level business perspective and relationship-building strategy, I would recommend doing the following:

  • Reach out and thank them
  • See if there are any other ways to partner on a project. For example, do they live stream, and what does the product fit on a live stream? Maybe that’s a way to work together.
  • Are there other places on their website that might make sense to partner on?
  • Do they have the right amount of social media following, that it makes sense to run a campaign there?
  • You might even consider sending them a free product. I’m not a fan of that strategy because the creator likely has to pay taxes on that product.

You might also just ignore it, and chances are the creator will leave the link in the article anyway. After all, they added it without talking to you. But these are all things to consider to see if there is more opportunity to partner with somebody whose audience might be interested in your product.

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