Don’t Put a Target On Your Forehead

One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so is there are good and bad way’s of going about things in the search world. “What do you mean?” you may ask. . . let me explain.

If you market online, more than likely you’re going to run into a situation where you have several paths which you can take. Some people take the 100% white hat route, some people take the full on black hat route and some people may take a “grey” route. Obviously, white hat refers to straight and narrow, black hat is going directly against search engine terms of service and the grey route might consist of methods that are not listed in search engine terms, seem harmless, but a few people may have a different take on if it is right or not. Even if you think you practice only white hat techniques for promoting and optimizing your site, you still need to drop the target from your forehead because there might be one simple thing you do that you think is fine, but a certain someone reviews your site and dings you with a penalty unbeknownst to you.

What I’m referring to is the people that go to these conferences that the major search engine’s go to. There is a right way and a wrong way of attending these things. They can be an absolute gold mine of information and a great way to network with others in your industry, but they can also be a sure way to magnify the target you’re putting on your forehead.

Lets say you attend one of the sessions/classes and they’re discussing duplicate content. They open the floor for a little Q&A session and you decide to ask a question regarding your companies website, giving the url and hoping for some free helpful advice. Maybe you get some good advice, maybe you don’t, but one thing does happen that you are unaware of. A certain search employee is sitting in the crowd and starts digging through your site finding a thing or two he doesn’t like but has always seemed ok to your company, along with not being against the terms of service. With the click of a mouse, your site has been wiped from the search results. All because you threw your company url out for some helpful advice.

This is something that does happen and it can easily happen to you if you visit these conferences or even post your site url on popular forums. If you have questions, don’t offer your site url so all can hear. What is a complete disaster to the business/site owner is a mere game and fun to the search engine employees. They are really not up for giving advice (typically) or making constructive suggestions, they will just wipe you right out of their results. Google has talked about notifying webmasters when they penalize or ban their site from their results, but the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t happen at this point, so you only know when you disappear. Even then, it’s next to impossible to get an answer of what happened.

How you attend the conferences and/or popular message forums without jeopardizing you and/or your companies website with search engines, is simple; remain as anonymous as you can. The only people you or your company is interested in seeing your site are potential customers. If help is needed where the site is necessary to review, hire a specialized company that is on your side and will provide constructive and helpful answers.

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Google’s Move to Similar Yahoo! Toolbar Features

If you have enough time to keep up with the constant new additions to the search giants, you will see each have near identical new features. Both have satellite mapping, image, video & audio searching, pay per click advertising surrounding natural search results, desktop searching and the list goes on and on.

Both have their own toolbars and each have their own nice features. I use both toolbars because each have tools that I use on a daily basis. Google is now offering their beta test of version 4 of their toolbar, which I installed and started reviewing the new features. Granted the beta version is for IE only, I’m sure a Firefox version will soon follow, the new features are so nice, I’ve been using IE more often since I installed it.

The new Google toolbar now includes many features that Yahoo’s toolbar offers and then some. One of the new inclusions in the crazy algorithms is ranking that includes bookmarking of websites. Guess what the new toolbar has? ? ? Yep, you guessed it, bookmarks. When you go to manage your bookmarks with Google, it presents a layout very similar to Google search results. Be sure to add that “BOOKMARK US” mention on your site!

Back to the new features, one of the coolest addition to V.4 is the ability to add your own customized buttons. You can manually add your own through the options tab or you can right click on any form field and select “generate customized search”. It will present you with a question or two and it appears in your toolbar. The icon will be the websites favicon, if it exists. Once the button is installed, you can edit the button and customize the button further.

If a particular website offers a SEO tool where you are to enter a website url, you can customize a button for that tool and while on any website, click your custom button and it will run the tool for whichever website you are sitting on. There is a better explanation with visual aid to help understand it.

So in summary, the new toolbar v.4 Google’s set to release, is a must have.

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Season Greetings To All

The LinkWorth Team wants to wish all of our customers, readers and everyone else a special holiday season. As there are many celebratory occasions, here are a few of the well known greetings. . .




We would also like to wish everyone a wonderful and very prosperous 2006. Have a great New Year’s Eve and be safe!

From all of us at LinkWorth

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New Features in Control Center

It’s been a little while since we have spoken of new features added to the control center. There have been a few added recently and it is time to point them out and give brief explanations to each.

This new feature gives advertisers the ease of repurchasing links they have previously purchased but have either not renewed, cancelled, declined or expired. Rather than having to go through the buy links section and find the partner listings and take the steps again, you can simply login to your account, go to >> TEXT ADS >> LINK HISTORY and select either TEXT LINKS, BILLBOARDS, PACKAGES or ROTATING ADS. It will show all of your past history and any links available for repurchase will have a checkbox located to the left of the listing. Select any and all partner listings you wish to repurchase, and then click the “REPURCHASE” button on the bottom of the page. It will direct you to a summary page of all listings you selected and the option to set the link location you want your link to appear on. Once these selections are set, click the REPURCHASE button once again and you will get the confirmation page showing prices. Confirm and they are repurchased. For those of you who might miss renewals and the text ads are not renewed and cancelled, you can now easily get your campaigns back up quickly with this new option. It will save advertisers quite a bit of time if in this situation.

Why we did not have this before is a bit of a mystery. It has always been a feature for advertisers, but not for partners. Now partners can navigate to >>MANAGE LINKS >> HISTORY and select either TEXT LINKS, BILLBOARDS, PACKAGES or ROTATING ADS. This will provide a listing of all previous activity which has occurred in your account. If a link appears and disappears, you can now see the status of the link in your history. Sometimes advertisers will send a request and cancel before the partner ever gets to their account and it’s a bit of a mystery. Now you have full access to see the link and what the status is, i.e. . . . if it’s cancelled, cc failed and so on. Also, if you have a question on if a link should be published or not, you can visit your link history page and see what the status of any link is.

Based on several requests about adding more than one text link on one single partner site, we have implemented an options tab for advertisers when buying text links, packages, billboards and rotating ads. If the checkbox for Show Additional Options during checkout is selected (located next to the BUY LINKS and/or ADD PARTERS buttons), the advertiser will be taken to a new page that gives the option to add multiple text ads on one given partner website. You’ll have the ability to add multiple text ads on *ALL* partner listings selected, or go through individually and select one or multiple text ads no each partner listing selected. On the new page, each partner listing will be shown with all of your text link ads you have created. Each of your text ads will have a checkbox next to it and a link location drop down menu. Place a checkbox next to each ad you wish to place on the given partner website, select the appropriate link location/price and then move to the next listing until you have gone through all of them. When finished, click the CONTINUE button and it will direct you to the confirmation page. If all looks good, select the payment method and then the BUY LINKS button and you’re done. This is an option that may not appeal to everyone so we just made this step an option to select when buying. This allows those uninterested to skip this step. It definitely saves those wanting to add multiple ads on one partner site a TON of time.

SORTING OPTIONS – Advertisers & Partners
For those of you who might manage your clients linking campaigns and have hundreds of purchased links, we have been adding sorting options to all of the pages which might contain a lot of listings. This will help locate specific listings in your account easily and save a lot of time. Advertisers can access their APPROVED LINKS section and notice at the bottom of the page where we now show how many listings are on the page and also total up the link prices. This can help advertisers easily calculate prices paid for specific ads and or listings.

Partners no longer have to fax or mail their tax forms before getting paid. Due to popular demand, we have discussed the option of receiving tax info online with our tax advisors and have been given the green light. We setup a simple wizard similar to other online tax forms you may have experienced with other companies that payout money and it’s easily entered inside your LinkWorth account. All information is received with secured encryption methods and is instant.

We have finally gotten moved into our new office. To be honest, we didn’t think it was ever going to happen. We constantly questioned whether we should have just found an existing location to get in quicker rather than having a brand new office built for us, but now that we’re moved in, we couldn’t be happier. This new office now allows us to increase our staff. More staff means more business for everyone. We are aggressively seeking new sales/account management personnel to catch up with our demand. We have set our goals very high for 2006 and expect to reach all goals set, if not surpass them. One of the main goals is to make all of our partners and advertisers happy to be part of our success. We appreciate everyone that makes LinkWorth what it is and want to show our appreciation with success for all. If you are located in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and are looking for employment, give us a call.

Future services to be offered by LinkWorth

Pay Per Click Management
Since PPC can be a very effective method of instant targeted traffic, we plan to incorporate PPC services within your existing LinkWorth account. We will use our proprietary software to integrate your keywords into Yahoo and Google PPC programs.
Traffic Analyzer
This service will be free to all managed accounts and for a small fee to unmanaged accounts. This will allow webmasters to place a code snip on their pages and track all visitors with all stats detailed out in your LinkWorth account. We will relate it to your LinkWorth efforts and put it in very easy to understand terms.
Banner Advertising
Even though this is an old method of marketing, many people still prefer banner ads. It is a great way to build name recognition and visibility, along with traffic generation. This will also be incorporated into your existing LinkWorth account as an option.

As always, we will continue to improve our system to your needs. We listen to each and every suggestion and/or request. If it makes sense and others want it as well, it’s on our new tasks list. Without you, LinkWorth is nothing, so we will continue to tailor to your needs.

We also want to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season.

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Contest Money Giveaway

As most LinkWorth customers know, we are always trying to make LinkWorth a better and more user friendly atmosphere for all. Over time, we have grown to learn that what might seem trivial to us, might be confusing to others. After many discussions of how to make our control center interface easier, we have come up with a new and unique idea. We are calling it our “Facelift Contest“.

With any software program, one of the most important parts is the initial homepage. It can be constructed to give a quick insight to all major aspects of the program, much like having a bird’s eye view of an entire city. We, at LinkWorth, feel our initial login homepage could use a major facelift to better illustrate important features and/or sections of your account. It could provide more accurate statistical information about your account and be laid out in a much more user friendly manner. So instead of us putting our thoughts into the layout, we feel the best way to get something everyone could greatly benefit from was to allow our customers, who use their accounts on a daily basis, the power to do it.

This leads us to the actual contest. We want you to submit your best login homepage of how you think it should be laid out. It can be submitted in the following formats: jpg, gif, bmp, pdf, html or psd. While the design/artwork is a plus, we are looking mostly for the art of information provided on the homepage. What bits of information would you like to see on the login homepage? How would you like to see it shown? . . . and so on.

There are TWO (2) login homepages; Advertiser Home and Partner Home. There will be one winning submission for each homepage with either one or two actual winners. The contest will run until January 1, 2006. After the deadline has passed, we will select the top 5 submissions for each homepage. We will then construct demo pages of each and open the voting up to the LinkWorth customers. The voting process will run for a total of 30 days and at the end of the 30th day, we will crown a winner for the advertiser homepage and partner homepage.

Now for the part everyone is reading this for! ! ! The prize.

Grand Prize Advertiser Homepage – $500 credit to account (total of 1 prize)
Grand Prize Partner Homepage – $500 credit to account (total of 1 prize)
Runner Up Advertiser Homepage – $25 credit to account (total of 4 prizes)
Runner Up Partner Homepage – $25 credit to account (total of 4 prizes)

This is a view of the current advertiser homepage:

Current Advertiser Homepage Design

This is a view of the current partner homepage:

Current Partner Homepage Design

To submit your entry, login to your LinkWorth account and look for the submission directions on the homepage, located in the announcements/news section.

Tips and Hints to participants are:

1. Be creative and informative
2. Fast loading page (low image use)
3. Great use of statistical data
4. Detailed labeling
5. Extremely User Friendly
6. Simplified but detailed

Best of luck to all who participate! We are excited to see your idea’s.

Be sure to read our rules and regulations of this contest.

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New LinkWorth Location

With the continued success and the future plans of LinkWorth, the need for additional staff and additional space was important in taking our next big steps. We are happy to annouce that LinkWorth will be moving into our brand new office just north of Dallas, in Lewisville, Texas at the end of the current month (October). For our local customers, please call ahead for directions if needed. All other customers nationally and internationally, the reason for this announcement is due to the changes it will have on all customers.

Shortly after we are moved in, the massive hiring frenzy will begin. The majority of our new employees will be sales staff that will actively seek new advertisers. We will also add additional personnel to assist in support, perform daily tasks, additional programming help and assistance in payouts. This will not only help business for all partners, but it will allow LinkWorth to grow. We have been limited with space and personnel due to our existing office, so our new location will definitely benefit everyone.

During the move there will not be any downtime to services and it should be seamless. Of course, anything can happen, but we have anticipated all options and are ready to move.

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The Roots of Text Linking

If someone was to ask you to define a text link, how would you visualize it? How would you explain it to someone that might not understand it? How do you think it might have changed from when the first text link was created up to a text link created today? These are great questions to dissect and understand the true roots of text links and the effectiveness of them.

One of the biggest conversations within the Seach Engine Optimization / Search Engine world is the concept of text link advertising and if it’s something looked down upon by the search giants. Let us take the biggest of all search portals, Google, and look at their view. I recently read a blog from an actual Google employee who gave his thoughts, which he claimed was also the Google view on the topic and he openly said the buying and selling of text links is against their policies. Of course, if you read their guidelines, nowhere does it say anything about the buying and selling of text links. Now let us backup just a bit and think about how Google is where it is today. What has made them the powerhouse they are today in the search world? The answer is very easy. . .the selling of text link ads. That product alone accounts for an overwhelming majority of their quarterly earnings.

Before we get too much further into this subject, lets get back to our questions above. I asked how you would visualize a text link and how you would explain it. Since I can’t ask all of you your answers and post them as I’m typing, it only makes sense to give my answers. So the way I visualize a text link is:

When I think of a text link, I think of a pathway; a direct step into another space. Sometimes I get very futuristic and think of the old TV show Star Trek. Remember the ole saying beam me up Scottie? A text link is very similar because it beams the user to another space, on another server, in a complete different geographic location.

Now when I think of how to describe it to someone that might not understand it, it would be:

A text link is a word, or group of words, which can be clicked and direct a web surfer to another location which will provide information related to that word or group of words. It is a computer reference to another bit of information a web surfer has the option to click and read.

The last question deals with the evolution of a text link. I ask that anyone illustrate the difference between today’s text links and the text links used when the internet was first born. There is no difference. Text links are the foundation of which the internet was built on. Without text links, there would be no internet. Without text links, there would be no internet users. They are what makes the internet “user friendly” and allows surfers the ease of navigating between one location and another to read information they choose to read without someone forcing them to do so. It is also what online advertising was built on. Show me one online advertising model that doesn’t involve a text link and I’ll show you a very ineffective online advertising model.

This brings us to the early discussion of how these search giants deem the buying and selling of text links “against their guidelines”. First of all, these text links are not their property to say how and when they are to be used. When the selling of text links is what has made them who they are today, how could they be so hypocritical in saying that another entity cannot do what they do? This blog that was read made comments about “filters being applied” to look for these sellers and not count their outgoing links. It was also mentioned about applying penalties to those selling. My response to this is, if they can live with themselves and drive their value and technology into the ground by hitting the wrong sites, then I welcome this new move. The selling of links being found automatically means their technology has to identify “intent”, which is an abstract identifier. Think of how many websites that are not selling text links will get hit with this crap because of a wrong guess.

What the search engine “gods” need to realize is, whatever product they distribute, the rest of the world will continually dissect and try to adapt. Right now, text links are the basic form of what search engine algorithms are calculated with. In my honest opinion, it’s the best calculation besides original content that any search algorithm can use to determine which site is worthy; at least the only “fair” way to do so. Sure there will be those who figure it out, but it leaves the true results out of human hands. If Google was to hire a department of several hundred thousand people to manually review and score a website, then you would fall into the hands of favoritism.

So the moral of this blog story is text links are here to stay. Search engines can say all they want to try and prevent the buying and selling of text links, but the bottom line is, it is ADVERTISING. The same advertising they sell themselves. If search engines decide to issue filters or penalties, not only will they drive their company into the ground by pissing off stockholders, but the buying and selling of text link ads will continue to grow and prosper. Online commerce is bigger than search engines, they just happen to have the bigger methods in which one could find what they’re looking for. Right now, somewhere out there, the next empire is being put together that will make the Google’s and Yahoo’s and MSN’s of the world obsolete.

Long live text link advertising!

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Key Tips and Hints for Partners

One of the most common questions we receive is, “How can I make more money?” So the idea of tips and hints might be helpful to those wanting to boost their partner activity level. We will go through some things that work for other partners and basic things to pay attention to.

  • The Price is Right!
    As you may know, PageRank is usually the driving factor in a link being bought, but people are getting smarter and realizing that PR is not as important as once thought. In LinkWorth, the driving factor for any advertiser to take notice of a link is the price. The great thing about LinkWorth is the amount of competition bidding for an advertiser to buy. This helps advertisers spread their budget through many people. So price is the single most important factor when selling links. Take a peek at your category and see where the most active sites are priced. Consider matching their prices or possibly beating them. There is no reason someone would pay for a link on your site for $100 when they can buy a link on the same type of site with similar stats for $25. Think quantity to make money, not pricing high to make it. Feel free to use our free link price tool as a guide.
  • The More, The Better
    Advertisers come in with something in mind to buy. If not, they tend to lean towards a particular type of product offered. The idea is to appeal to any advertiser that comes into LinkWorth. If a new advertiser is looking to buy a billboard ad and a rotating ad, yet you do not have this option available, then you have zero chance of selling anything to that advertiser. So edit your listing(s) and activate all products offered and for all locations. Unless something strictly prohibits the ability to place any type of ad or any location of an ad, you should make it available. The more options you have, the better your results will end up being.
  • Upgrade a Time or Two
    Standing out of the crowd is very important. We have several thousand different websites for an advertiser to sift through. Most of the time they are after a particular subject or theme, but if your site falls within their realm, you need to be seen so the advertiser can at least take a look at your site(s). LinkWorth offers the option to upgrade a listing to become a featured partner listing or a regular featured listing. The featured will allow your listing to rotate on the top of the login home page and all of the buy links pages with other featured partners. The regular featured listings will make your listing stand out inside your category. Both give optimal exposure to advertisers and will most likely increase sales immediately.
  • Build Your Army
    Those partners in our system who earn thousands upon thousands of dollars each month have something in common; they all have an army of websites listed in their account. Build websites or acquire websites that cover all types of categories. This makes you available in all categories that advertisers are shopping in. As long as they have lots of content rich pages, they’ll get picked. An army of website listings priced to kill is the secret formula to making a lot of money through LinkWorth. There you go, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth! 😀
  • Go Both Ways 😉
    Once you start earning a little cash, or if you just have a little budget to put towards this, look at buying a few links for your partner listings. All partners can convert their account into a Combo Account and have the ability to go both ways, Advertiser and Partner. Partners can convert some or all funds into advertiser dollars and buy links. This will help build your own stats up to make it more attractive to potential advertisers. Advertisers look for a well priced listing and then look at the statistical info for that site. The stronger the listing is, the better chance an advertiser will buy a link from it if it’s priced right. Not only this, but it helps your site’s listing in the search engine listings.
  • Treat Your Advertisers Well
    Something we see from time to time is partners who get an advertiser and then treat them unfairly. Although it may seem fair from the partner’s point of view, the advertiser, who is paying you, may not feel the same way. If someone buys a link at a price set by you, don’t increase it over and over and expect them to stick around. Our suggestion is to let your current advertisers be grandfathered with the price they’re paying. Hiking the price up on your advertisers usually ends up with them dropping you like a bad habit. If you feel strongly about increasing the price, use the “SEND MESSAGE” icon and explain to them what you are looking to do. Based on their response, make your decision. Some advertisers will be ok with it, but some may not be. This can also lead to poor customer feedback which future advertisers may read.

These are some of the more common and proven tips and tricks to increase your partner activity, exposure and pocket books. As more are learned, we will continue to post them for all to read. If you have a method you would like to share, submit a comment below.

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New Sub Accounts Available

Due to the growing number of advertising agencies and SEO consultants using LinkWorth for their own customers, the need for simplicity of multiple accounts has been addressed. Many have asked for a solution to the problem of having multiple logins and accounts to separate advertisers from each other, so we have answered these requests.

Advertisers can now visit their ACCT INFO section within their advertiser account, then click on SUB ACCTS to create a new 2nd level account. The form to be completed will ask for all of the required information to build the 2nd level account and once submitted, a drop down menu in the top right corner of the page will appear. By selecting a different sub account from the drop down menu, one can toggle back and forth between each account created. Each sub account will be independent of the others, but your main login information is all that is required.

If you manage many of your own clients through LinkWorth, now you can give them their own sub account to keep billing separate, reports separate, linking campaigns separate and all other aspects different from your other clients.

Sub accounts can also convert to combo accounts allowing the advertiser of each account to sell links as well. This option is only available to advertiser accounts or combo accounts. Partner only accounts do not have the need or ability to create sub accounts at this time.

Any and all questions should be directed to our helpdesk or text links forum. We hope this serves well to those in need.

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The Little BLUE Engine MSN Search

I’m sure anyone that has searched around through SEO firms or SEO wannabe websites; they always have their “portfolio” of websites they have pushed to the top of natural listings. What I find rather funny is how almost all of them show MSN results as their portfolio!! :))

I know MSN is trying so hard and all the while saying the same ole words the little red caboose once said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” but no matter how many dollars that “poor poor” man Bill Gates has, I don’t think he’ll ever catch the likes of Google.

Most have noticed the simplicity of MSN results, much like our “SEO Experts” out there, but has anyone noticed how volatile the results are? As you might expect, we have managed some monstrous linking campaigns behind the walls of LinkWorth and we have clients who are #1, 2 or 3 on damn near all of their terms with Google and Yahoo. The weird thing is, MSN was the first engine to shoot them to the top spot, however, now these people dominating their market on all engines fine themselves struggling to make the first page with MSN now.

Obviously these are signs of little Billy “bad ass” Gates trying everything possible to get the edge on the Google Nation who have risen to power over the rest of the world. Making tweaks here and tweaks there, adjustments here and adjustments there…there has to be a way to beat those Googuys. So let’s say Bill finally finds a smooth working algorithm to fit the internet searchers needs. He gets the MSN search engine purring like a e-kitten and search results are weeding out spammers with ease and allowing relevant sites built well to list high as they should be…what would be missing?

The answer to this question is simple…. PEOPLE!! As most of you have probably noticed over the past year or two there is a generic term everyone is using these days when they want to find something on the net….”GOOGLE”.

“I GOOGLE’d my name and found this.”

“Have you tried to GOOGLE that product?”

“Just GOOGLE the product name and look for one.”

Google has become the staple of search; in technology and within our own language. So before anyone has the remote chance of knocking Google off of the pedestal, they not only have to out code their brains, but they also have to devise a catchy phrase or name for their search that people will learn to say when referencing to search using their site. And not only learn, but enjoy saying. People like to say catchy phrases or names that are easy to get out.

Let’s do a little test here and see which one of these just do not belong…

1. “Hey buddy, will you get on the net and Google the closest Pizza Hut?”

2. “Hey buddy, will you get on the net and Yahoo the next movie?”

3. “Hey dear, will you MSN the driving directions for our trip?”

Out of these 3 search giants, there is one that flows naturally, one that flows pretty natural, but you don’t hear much, then there is one that you never hear and it definitely doesn’t flow naturally. Which do you think?

So in conclusion to this story, MSN not only has a long way to go with their technology involved with MSN search, but they really need to come up with a creative name to identify their search technology if becoming number 1 in search will ever happen.

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