Who Says Link Building Does Not Work Anymore

We can all agree that the past year of link building, well SEO in general, has been quite the hot topic. Damn near ‘everyone’ participated in link building in some form or fashion. If you read someone that says they have never participated in link building, you can bet most of your money that they’re not telling you the whole truth. It was just part of the landscape and you had to do it to compete. A good analogy is like trying to compete in a marathon but not working out, you can still participate but you probably won’t finish.

Text Linking Is Still AliveAll this rambling leads me to my point. Since the ‘so called’ hammer was thrown down, a lot of people have either turned their heads towards link building or have continued on as under the table as possible. Those that have turned their heads have found it impossible to compete, once again. Why? It’s because linking is still alive and well. The truth of the matter is it will always be alive and well unless the engines change the way they rank websites, a point that I’ve said over and over. Sure, they can try and slap people’s wrists, but if you knock 10 down, there’s 10 more waiting to take their place.

A great example of how well the text linking business still works, I bring to you exhibit A. If you look at the page source, you’ll find that it is nothing more than a frameset page with absolutely zero content. Only a title and meta description. It is currently ranked #1 for the term “Text Link Ads“, which is pretty competitive. I first thought our pals over at TLA were back on track but then realized it was just an affiliate page. Either way, I was thrilled to see what I was looking at. That gives even more proof that you can rank a page with nothing but a pure linking campaign. All you have to do is look at the back links listed and you’ll find their text links. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you have become a non-believer, what more proof do you need that we can help!

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Introducing LinkWorth Jobs

Partners, are you tired of waiting around to be chosen for LinkPost deals?

Advertisers, does sorting through our ever-growing inventory to find suitable LinkPost Partner blogs take too much of your valuable time?

Now there’s an easier way! (Will go live tomorrow 4.29.08)

Allow me to introduce LW Jobs – a new way to buy & sell paid blog posts here at LinkWorth.

In the “old days”, Advertisers had to create an outline, search for Partner blogs individually, make a buy request, wait for approval, then wait for the post be written. On the flip side, Partners had to wait patiently for work to come their way.

Now there is a MUCH more efficient way for both Partners and Advertisers. LW Jobs allow Advertisers to simply create a Job listing using a LinkPost outline and let the bloggers find them.

How does it work?
Advertisers select a LinkPost outline to use, determine a set of minimum requirements that Partner blogs must meet, deposit funds, and then the Job is posted for all of our blog Partners to see and accept the Jobs that best suit them!

Partners
As a blog Partner, viewing the available Jobs is a piece of cake. Simply log in to your control center and view your Alerts to see what Jobs are currently on deck!

You can also access the available Jobs by clicking the “my products” tab >> linkpost >> search linkpost jobs.

At a glance you can see what Jobs you’re eligible to accept. If your blog meets the requirements and there are still available funds, the Job listing will appear green…GO FOR IT!! If your blog does not meet the requirements, the Job listing will be red and you won’t be able to accept it.

Advertisers
Log in to your control center and click the “my products” tab >> linkpost >> create Job (you must first have a LinkPost outline created before a LW Job can be created). Fill in a few fields, set your pricing, and sit back while the buzz about you begins! Check out the screenshot below to see how easy it is.

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Should SEO Agencies Advertise With AdWords

When you come across a SEO agency, their main motto is, “We’ll get you listed naturally in the search engine results.” The goal is to eliminate the need for PPC because you’ll be listed in the natural results. That is even the motto in our niche market. The idea is you get search engines to read your site, then your site will be listed well for your target keywords. Plain and simple, right?

If that is the case, wouldn’t it make sense that the SEO company you find ranks well for their own keywords and do not have to attract people by using AdWords? Should it make more of an impact to the customer if that company doesn’t spend a dime on AdWords and only gets their customers by way of natural search traffic or through non-search related advertising?

I think it is quite humorous when I see SEO or SEM companies that don’t rank well for a single keyword in their own industry, but they tell potential customers that they can do it for them. You could definitely point the finger towards the fact customers aren’t hip enough to do the research on SEO companies before they spend a dime with them, however, I know of situations first hand where people in our industry put certain companies in a high regard even though they are nowhere to be found when it comes to natural search.

I’m definitely not here to point anyone out, this post is more about asking the question regarding this subject. I’ve always wondered how a customer feels when searching for this type of service. I know I’ve read new SEO sites that talk a big game, yet they’re nowhere to be found on simple keywords related to them, which always makes me think they’re a bit full of it and I’ve always wondered how the actual customer feels about it. With that being said, some of the smartest cats out there could not rank for the easiest of words, but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t get amazing results for their customers.

If you have a second, give me your thoughts. I’d like to hear what everyone else thinks.

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LinkWorth Exhibiting at SXSW Interactive

SXSW InteractiveSunday, March 9th through Tuesday, March 11th, we will be exhibiting at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. This is our first trip to this conference, but not our first trip to Austin. We’ve heard great things about this conference and we’re really excited to have such a big conference so close to home.

For those unfamiliar with our state’s capitol, Austin is rightly named the “Live Music Capital of the World”. It is a great city with the University of Texas parked right in the middle. 6th street is lined with live music venues that will satisfy the musical taste of just about anyone looking. I think it will definitely be a fun conference to attend.

When I first heard of people in our industry going to SXSW for a conference, it was very confusing to me. Anyone that has been involved with music in some shape or form, you probably know of the annual SXSW Music Festival. I know back in my band days it was such a goal to shoot for; get an invite to play at SXSW! The festival showcases hundreds of bands throughout 68 different venues over the course of 5 days. So naturally, when I heard SXSW, I thought people were going to the music festival. Little did I know they have a conference right up our alley that precedes the music festival.

If you’re in Austin while we’re there, please stop by our booth. You can’t miss it. It’s the beautiful blue that jumps out and grabs you!

LinkWorth Booth

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Reputation Management – Network Solutions

Working with clients who need reputation management can really help open your eyes on what and what not to do. There are a lot of things that can fall into this list, but here’s a quick list of a few simple guidelines to keep your reputation in check online:

  • Answer customer support quickly, promptly and friendly. You can have a sub-par product but if you treat your customers with the respect you would expect, it will take you a long way.
  • Don’t piss off customers no matter how strongly you feel about your side. The term “Ass Kissing” should be plugged in here. Punch a hole in the wall after you kiss their ass, but make it your goal to do everything you can to make that customer happy. All it takes is one pissed off customer ripping you on a blog or site and it’s never going away.
  • Don’t engage in discussions about your company and/or product on message forums or blogs if you plan on saying something you’ll regret later. Once you publish it, it’s published and there’s no taking it back.
  • Intended or unintended deception is like digging your own grave. The worst thing a company could possibly do is deceive customers in any possible way. The feeling of “being had” is one that people like to talk about the most. Sometimes this can be an honest mistake, which is where quick and friendly customer support would fly in and handle the situation before it blows up, so keep up with what your customers are saying.

With these things in mind, let’s now take a look at what Network Solutions has been doing that is probably going to bite them in the ass. I’ve always wondered why people are still paying more than triple the price for a domain name at Network Solutions and Register.com when you can buy the same name over at Godaddy for less than $10! Evidently registrars are participating in a tactic called Front Running, which lets registrars snatch up domain names people search for making them only available through their own service and allowing them to charge higher prices.

Network Solutions has forced millions of people to buy Internet domain names from them instead of cheaper competitors through a scheme that’s netted the firm millions of dollars, a federal class action lawsuit filed today by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP states. ICANN, whose policies facilitate the scheme, is also named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

 
“Imagine if you asked a car dealer if they had a black convertible and were then forced to buy the car from them. Would you get a good deal? Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand,” said Brian Kabateck, lead counsel in the class action and Kabateck Brown Kellner’s Managing Partner.

The lawsuit also targets ICANN due to them allowing it to continue. Granted, ICANN will be fine after this is all over, but Network Solutions is going to need a strong reputation management campaign once this is said and done. This example might put it into perspective; a domain portfolio of 750 names would cost $20,000 MORE using Netsol.com versus Godaddy.com. Same product, same yearly charge, just $20k more each year. Keep them for 10 years and it’ll cost you $200k more.

Let this serve as our official letter to Network Solutions. If you decide you want to start knocking down the bad sites replacing them with the good, we can help you!

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Link Building – One of the Best ROI Tactics of 2007 – Study Shows

Reading studies about online advertising is something I always enjoy to dig in to. It really gives you an insight of how companies are spending their money and what they feel is the best bang for their buck. Running an online business and actually being in the marketing industry makes it even more beneficial to understand our target market.

Today I read MarketingSherpa’s Study on the Best & Worst Online Tactics & Budget Plans. I was very happy to see how well the SEO market is doing with the highest Search ROI percentage (57%), trumping paid search ads by almost 25%! No wonder Google is trying to take the feet out from under SEO companies.

What do I mean by that last comment? There is no secret that a main staple of any SEO campaign is link building. Or maybe it is a secret to some, but an SEO firm can optimize the hell out of your site but it’s really nothing without a solid linking campaign. (INSERT LINKWORTH) There is a reason so many agencies use LinkWorth as part of their process; it’s effective and it simplifies their jobs. How much of what we do actually works? According to this study, quite a bit. Here’s a graph showing the emergence of text link ads into the marketplace:

Marketing Survey

What a pleasant sight to see. We had the largest increase from ’06-’07 and we’re in the top 3 of outperforming tactics. What’s even more impressive is the fact link building campaigns are tough to work into conversion systems. I think we do a great job of educating our customers in how they’ll see the benefit, but if you come across someone that lives and dies by the analytics conversion system, it might be a tough sell.

One more thing about this study that interested me was the expectations of emerging tactics. See the image below:

Marketing Study

It appears viral video is an area where marketers are looking to increase their budgets. They list Youtube.com, but there are loads of sites videos can be uploaded to. One example of the viral video tactic is the girl Kina Grannis who entered a contest with Doritos to win a music contract with Interscope Records. She used the social network Digg.com and wrote a song “Gotta Digg” for that community. Long story short, it was a hit and so was she, along with getting a contract with Interscope.

Have an agency and interested in using LinkWorth? Call 866.LNK.WRTH and we’ll get you started. Know what you’re doing and ready to go? Or have your own site to promote and want to do it on your own? Then go signup and create your account. You can be on the ground running in just a few minutes.

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Social Networks Not Ad Worthy

I recently posted our success, or lack thereof, advertising over on Facebook. In the post I pointed out that it could very well be the lack of knowledge on my part, but I posted our numbers and usually numbers don’t lie.

Today I was forwarded a great article from one of my good friends, Simon, with the title of “Google’s Loss is Murdock’s Gain“. In this article, it speaks of Google’s lack luster earnings and recent stock drop, along with what Google says is one of the main causes.

“We have found that social networking inventory is not monetizing as well as we would like,” said George Reyes, Google’s chief financial officer, implying that the sites on which the minimum payments are due were social networks. By far, the largest social network on which Google sells ads is MySpace, which is owned by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation. In 2006, Google agreed to a three-year deal to sell ads on MySpace, committing to pay a minimum of $900 million.

This falls back to my gut feeling about social networks, the user demographics and their spending abilities. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you put a shopping strip across the street from a University. In this shopping center, you have Mercedes Benz, FAO Shwartz and Saks. While there will definitely be some sales from students, most will walk right past on their way to Fraternity or Sorority houses, local bars or music hot spots.

I know some people have said they do well with social advertising, but when a company like Google openly states they are losing money through advertising in social networks, then you can bet your ass that your chances aren’t all that great. Straight from the horses mouth:

“We have a huge amount of social networking inventory, including the MySpace relationship,” Mr. Brin said. “I don’t think we have the killer best way to monetize social networks yet. We are running a lot of experiments and we have had some significant improvements. But some of the things we were counting on in Q4 didn’t pan out. There were some disappointments there.”

Reading this makes me think even more that Izea’s SocialSpark has a huge chance to be the flop of the year.

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New Spider In Action

Earlier today we put our new ad checking spider into production. The much needed upgrade is using up to date technologies along with verifying code and text of the ad. What this means is, if you publish an ad using the wrong anchor text or the wrong code, the ad is not going to be validated until it is published correctly.

Another advantage to our new spider is the advanced level of communication. Rather than just telling you the ad is not found, we’ll be communicating the reason why our spider was unable to validate the ad. We do expect a period of a few weeks to get the communication feature completely finished.

We do encourage you to let us know if you notice any unusual activity or messages being sent. What I mean by this is if we’re sending incorrect information or something repetitive, or just out of the ordinary, then contact support. This doesn’t relate to messages about ads not being found. If you are receiving an ad not found message, we request that you hold off contacting us until you have received more than one consecutive messages regarding the same ad.

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*Free admission for Entrepreneur Expo*

On Friday, February 8th, LinkWorth will be exhibiting in the Entrepreneur Expo at the Fort Worth Convention Center. It’s one of our first trade shows/expos to be involved in locally. We hope all goes well and are able to introduce LinkWorth to some local businesses around here. For any of you that live in the DFW region,(or if you simply want to fly down here for the expo and grace us with your presence) we have free admission tickets that we can give you so you don’t have to pay at the door. Email one of us or comment on the blog and we will get you taken care of.

Entrepreneur Expo logo

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Several New Updates Planned For This Week

We have several new features ready to go live this week. Mostly we’re improving what we have in place now, with one add-on to an existing product.

Add Products, Tags & Categories:

One of our goals this year is to improve the chances of Partner websites to be found by Advertisers. With 23k plus sites in our inventory to choose from, and growing daily, it’s important for Advertisers to be able to find websites/blogs that are the right audience and content to build effective campaigns. The best way to do this is by searching the inventory by keywords. While the feature is already in place, Partners need the ability to tag their website/blog listings with keywords and to classify their site within specific categories.

We have included a secondary category option called “Category Tags” which allows you to select an additional three (3) categories that can apply to your listing. Directly under category tags is a text box labeled “Tags”. This section is like most tag fields where you list keywords or key phrases that describe your listing. Tags will be checked to ensure they match the content on your website, so please be sure you’re not stuffing your tags full of off topic keywords. These two settings are currently available in your account. To add these to your listings, go to PARTNER > MY SITES >> MANAGE SITES and to the right of your listing(s) look for an actions column. Click on the toolset “EDIT” icon and you will find the two new options.

After adding these new items, you will see that we have included our entire suite of products in the Edit view. This allows you to add products to your website. Previously we required each product to be setup separately, however, our new setup allows one submission for all products chosen. After adding your new items, submit to save your changes.

Nofollow Option:

Many partners have stressed the desire to apply the controversial rel=nofollow tag. Our terms have always stated that text ads must be search engine friendly to ensure advertisers received the full benefit of the advertisement, however, we want to provide an option for those who want to apply the nofollow tag to text ads. For this reason we are adding a new option in your site settings that will allow the nofollow tag to be applied. Once activated, your listing will be illustrated with a nofollow highlight alerting all advertisers of your policy prior to purchase. If you have existing advertisements and wish to switch to a nofollow status, an email will be sent to each advertiser alerting them of your change and they will have the option to cancel their ads with a prorated refund. The nofollow tag is not something we plan to force on anyone since it is not our place to tell you how to code your site. The tag is a preference of each partner and it is up to the advertiser if they wish to pay for these types of text ads. The important step is to ensure both parties are on the same page.

LinkPost Job-Opps:

A new add-on to our LinkPost product is called Job-Opps. This not only gives a new way to build campaigns for advertisers, but it also gives partners a great new way to jump into the paying jobs. Our blog reviews have always run on a marketplace basis which is great for advertisers who want to handpick the blogs, but it’s not so great for bloggers who have a lot to offer and aren’t always selected. With LinkPost Job-Opps, advertisers create an outline for the type of review they’re looking for, minimum qualifications, the price per review and the number of job-opps available. Once listed, partners who have a blog that meets the qualifications and wish to apply, can do so until the job-opps available have been depleted. The approval process is being tweaked a bit while we try to decide if advertisers will be approving or declining submissions or if our staff will do this on their behalf. (Feel free to give your suggestions below) We are definitely excited to launch this new feature and it will be live within the next 10 days.

Spiderbot 2.0 – Out with the bad and in with the awesome:

We have briefly mentioned this in previous posts but the light is at the end of the tunnel. Spiderbot 2.0 is coming close to testing and then launching. With the new version we are greatly cutting down on bandwidth and time spent extracting information. The technology includes super fast processing and more informative communication. Our new bot will be in and out in a flash getting the information needed and not wasting bandwidth or time. This should definitely cut down on the “Link Not Found” emails along with sending informative emails explaining what caused our bot to fail on your site. This should be up and running within the next 30 days.

There are many other features on the deck. We’re always looking for customer feedback to help us create a better environment for our users. If you have a suggestion, please list it below and we’ll be happy to look into it.

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