SEOmoz has mentioned it before in their link building videos that badges and widgets are a great way to get links, but can they really help you get to the top for very competitive terms? I believe so and have some proof to demonstrate it. Most badges I have seen are some type of image that is hyperlinked to the owner’s web site. I’m sure everyone would agree that there is some value in image links, but probably not a whole lot. The big question is how can you turn this into a phenomenal ranking boosting tool? It’s easy and I will show you how one company has been successful at it for a couple of years now. This article may create a lot of discussion, but the numbers speak for themselves.
A normal badge would look something like this:
The company I am using in my example is called Authorize.net. They are an Internet gateway service used by online stores for credit card processing. What they have done is created a badge merchants can place on their web site showing their customers that they are a valid merchant. The badge is called a verification seal. The difference in what they have done is they added a text link below their badge. I’m sure a lot of merchants are smart enough to remove this promotional code when they download it, but many do not. According to Open Site Explorer, over 10,000 root domain names have not done so.
Their badge looks like this, which “online payments” is a hyperlink pointing to their home page and the badge itself is pointing to a page that verifies the merchant:
They say the best kind of links are in the content and Google is great at determining this while giving very little value to links of this nature. This may be very true, but it is definitely working for this group. If anything, you should consider implementing it if you can make it work for you. If you are thinking this may only work temporarily, let me say this. Authorize.net did not have great rankings 3 or 4 yrs ago. I started watching them implement this and over time their rankings started to climb. A year or two ago they moved to the top on a few very competitive keywords and haven’t dropped since.
Lets look at the numbers shall we?
Obviously this doesn’t work for every web site due to the inherited requirements, such as having a badge people want to link to. However, the ones that can take advantage of this could really exploit it. Even SEOmoz could do something like this as well with their badges. There may be a question of professionalism for some, but definitely a nice topic to debate on. Please share your thoughts.
Curtis Stevens founded a POS system called Gotmerchant.com. They help merchants increase their revenue and lower expenses with their free point of sale system. They also specialize in a few other products like their free Casio cash register.