LinkInTxt v2.1 ROCKIN and ROLLIN

LinkInTxt Stats as of 3:30PM, September 28, 2007:

  • Number of Pages Included Index: 18,534
  • Number of Keywords Available: 331,910

If you haven’t opted into the LinkInTxt program, what in the world are you waiting for! Login to your Control Center, go to My Products, then click LinkInTxt and then ‘crawl my site’. Submit the sites you want to include and we’ll get to work. Other than adding your url and adding links, the only other thing to do is get paid. Do you not have a LinkWorth account and want to monetize your site? Signup today and Sell Links?

Have you taken a stroll through the product to see what keywords are available in your industry? It’s simple. Login to your Control Center, go to My Products, then click LinkInTxt, then click ‘search/purchase’ and enter your term. More than likely we have what you’re looking for based on the stats above. If we do not, an alert is immediately setup for you and you’ll be notified as soon as we find keywords that match your criteria. Do you not have a LinkWorth account and want to market your site? Signup now and Buy Links?

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What Link Buyers Want

I get asked questions like “How can I sell more ads on my site?” all the time so I thought I would share a few things that might shed some light on what Advertisers really look for when buying links.

You’d think it was really simple. Advertisers are just looking for basic relevance, high PR (barf), or lots of traffic, right? Well, yes and no.

While all of those are true, savvy advertisers are scrutinizing the links they buy more today than ever before. And, especially given the nature of what we do here at LinkWorth, we’ve become very familiar with link buyer motivations.

99% of people who buy links expect one of these three things:

1. Improved rankings or PageRank
2. Click-throughs (from high traffic domains)
3. Buzz (new company, reputation management, re-branding, or whatever)

Once you understand what the motivators are you can then consider how the link buyers go about selecting the websites they use when building a campaign. The smart ones do a lot of homework and base their decisions on a variety of factors. As a publisher, you should know what they’re looking for.

Since I have “list-o-phobia” I will refrain from putting these in any particular order, but here are some recurring themes I hear when it comes to paid link selection.

Strength of site
Thankfully, this does not refer to toolbar PR exclusively. (That is so 2005!) Strength can be measured in other ways like age of domain, inbound link profile, Alexa/Compete ratings, pages indexed, clean code, etc. I’ve even heard of really hardcore buyers that check out the WayBackMachine and see what they’ve got on tap. (You can tell if a site was keyword stuffing back in 2002!) We don’t get to see the TrustRank of a site but it’s something that is critically important for ranking on Google.

Even further, nothing says “buy a link from me” quite like great rankings for your own title phrasing or keywords. Just the fact that you rank well is a key-indicator that your site is trusted and will probably pass juice. (And don’t think for one second that your prospective customers aren’t looking at this, because they are!) If you’re ranking for popular keywords you’re probably getting a good bit of traffic which can be a tantalizing added bonus for Advertisers.

Related content
This is beyond your control as a publisher, but what you can do is have well-written, unique content about whatever the theme of your site actually is. If someone from your niche comes along, be the obvious choice because your content is the best out there. I realize this is much easier said than done, but if you are serious about monetizing your website FOR A LIVING in the midst of the millions of websites being added to the internet, it is probably a good idea to be thinking this way.

This just in: advertising online is expensive! Provide value and you’ll attract more advertisers. Be reasonable in your asking price and people will come. Always keep in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, too, because marketers come in all shapes and sizes with different philosophies and levels of knowledge. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Just don’t price yourself out of the game.

Perceived value can extend beyond the realm of cost, too. If go above and beyond for an advertiser they’re likely to stay with you month after month after month. For example, you might get a special request in regards to a link placement or something. My advice? Do it if you can! Or at least consider it because educated link buyers know going in that they want to have the same inbound links indexed for an extended period of time. Sure, that might make them a bit picky, but when you consider that they’re prepared to commit to you for YEARS in some cases that it’s probably not an excessive request. The way I see it is, you’re in this together. Work with your partners!

Especially within this community, the more options you have available the better. Offer multiple ad types, page locations, packages, etc. Buyers are getting smarter and don’t want just the typical sidebar or footer link on the index page anymore. Be open to this! Take the time to list your sub-pages that address specific topics, for example. Fish with a big net! Offer rotating ads or paid blog posts, too, because you never know how you might fit in to someone else’s campaign. Why exclude yourself?

LinkIntxt is going to be another HUGE factor. I have clients salivating right now; just waiting for their keywords to become available on Partner sites so they can snatch them up.

Websites that aren’t “obviously” selling links for rankings or PR

Over-the-top disclosure, especially with all the recent dialogue about paid links, can be a deal-killer. Is it right? That’s not for me to decide, but if I’m a publisher I’m following the money. Most advertisers I speak with request that we find them sites that make it difficult to determine if their outbounds are sponsored or not.

Hint: use your blogrolls! 😉

Websites that aren’t completely littered with ads & outbounds
You’ve seen the sites that have very little content but an enormous amount of ads, right?. MFAs, banner buffets, link farms, and every other junk site you can think of are losing business in a hurry these days because it’s difficult for these types of sites to have a positive impact on a linking campaign. I, along with everyone else who knows anything about it, always advise clients against using “hollow” sites because they just don’t produce.

There is a fine line between monetizing your site and whoring it out. Sites that are written out of passion tend to do the best. Even if your sole intention is to monetize your site (which is most often the case, right?), there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Just be aware that if your site looks like the Las Vegas strip you probably won’t attract tons of link buyers!

I’d say I hit the majority of the hot-buttons. Inevitably I’ll publish this post and think, “Damn! I forgot to mention ‘this’ or ‘that’….” but that’s how it goes. Good luck!

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LinkInTxt v2.1 – Up And Running

FINALLY! Big applause for Juancho for abandoning the search in a box and building our own personalized lwbot. As of right now, all websites that have opted into LinkInTxt, allowing us to crawl your site, have been indexed. We are fine tuning mr. lwbot as he crawls along, but we’ve gathered a couple hundred thousand keywords and still going. If you are interested in including your site, login to your account and go to MY PRODUCTS > LINKINTXT > CRAWL MY SITES then pick the sites you want to be included along with a standard price. We’ll pull the keywords on your site and make them available in our database.

Advertisers, jump in while you can. Buy keywords from similar site content. Get targeted traffic through these links and help build link popularity. Login and go to MY PRODUCTS > LINKINTXT > SEARCH/PURCHASE.

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SES; Was It Worth It?

So, after one very long week, we’re back in the office after exhibiting at SES San Jose. Road-weary, tired, and in need of a liver transplant….we’re back mostly unscathed.

One big question Ron and I had going into this thing was, “are we really going to get enough out of this trade show to justify the expense of exhibiting and bringing the five of us out to California for a week?” It may be a bit premature to wager a guess but for now I’d say, “absolutely!”

In addition to the obvious “fun stuff” like the Google Dance and SearchBash, we were probably more productive on the floor than even I’d hoped we’d be. We were fortunate to have a great location in the exhibit hall and the amount of foot traffic we had was about all you could ask for. We had a good game-plan for visitors along with the obligatory t-shirts, pens, & coupons to give away. And for me, it was just nice having the opportunity to really brand ourselves as opposed to just being there, talking to people, and attending the events.

I had the pleasure of speaking with a few different executives whose sole purpose of attending the show was to meet us in person and that was an awesome feeling. Especially since they weren’t even clients yet! We were also able to meet a few of our current Advertisers and Partners which is always a thrill for me. Hell, even Mr. Cutts came by our booth to say hello! (And he was extremely pleasant, I might add.)

So, to everyone that stopped by, THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

I can now say “mission accomplished” without hesitation and feel really good about it. Now we have to convert our opportunities and all that jazz but as it stands right now, I think it was well worth the expense and the effort.

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Who Wants To Know About LinkInTxt

question markWe haven’t announced much about our 2nd version of LinkInTxt. Obviously for a reason.

Our plan is stellar, but the execution of our plan has been a lot tougher than we expected. We do have the original version up and running so the in-text links are available. We’ll have a lot more time to apply toward the new product at the end of August. We apologize for the unexpected delays, but rest assured we are getting very close!

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So Many Conferences, So Little Time

blue skyThere is no doubt that our industry has plenty of conferences to attend. With so many to choose from now, how do you decide which shows are the right one’s to attend. While there are plenty of others, the most popular are:

Search Engine Strategies – the most well known.
Search Marketing Expo – new, but one of our favorites already.
Pubcon – another popular, mostly because it’s in Vegas.
Affiliate Summit – different crowd, but a great event.
Ad-Tech – geared towards the advertising and corporate crowd.

LinkWorth will be exhibiting for our first time at the SES San Jose in a few weeks. We’re pretty excited about it and glad to take the leap. The who’s who of search will be at the San Jose show and the big fun will be the Google Dance. Here is a good video of a previous SES San Jose show.

Matt and I will be in New York City for the SMX Mobile show, part because the SMX Seattle show was so good, part because it’s NYC and part because we’re ending the week with a bunch of friends coming up for a good weekend. The SMX show has taken conferences to the next level and it definitely caters to those who frequently attend search expos.

The most interesting story of all these conferences is WebmasterWorld Pubcon 2007. Our plans are to have a booth this year but the crew over at Pubcon is really dropping the ball. We’ve made several attempts to make our plans, but I’d have to say their lack of customer support is really beginning to make us feel otherwise. Take Vegas out of the equation and I wonder just how popular this show would be. Bottom line though, it is in Vegas and it is a great time.

Seems we already signed up to Pubcon! Those guys responded today and said we were the first signed up back in May. Woops. I will change the lack of support to my lack of memory!

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Does Google Expect Too Much?

googleWith all of the power that Google has these days, is it wrong to think they expect WAY too much when it comes to asking all of us to do things that would make their job easier?

The new “unavailable_after” tag has me thinking so.

Sebastian wrote a wonderful post on this topic and it warrants a read. I remember hearing about this a few weeks ago and thinking to myself at the time, “I get why Google would want me to do this, but how in the world is this beneficial for me?”

Well, it’s not. At all. At least as far as I can tell, anyway.

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Want to Earn A Little More With LinkWorth?

I slipped this little secret out today on a blogger’s site and figured I would post it on our blog to be fair. We buy a lot of ads for our managed accounts each month and there is an ordered process we follow, which is searching for similar themed sites and preferred partners. We’ve experienced a huge growth in partners the past couple of months and it helps if our staff is familiar with your site. “How can this be done” you ask?

linkHelp us create a buzz about LinkWorth! We have alerts for our name and as soon as they show up, everyone up here reads them. As our staff read these glowing write ups, they make note of the website url. Then as they’re buying for clients, the process is something like this: search for same themed preferred partners, search for partners who have written about us. This isn’t anything we’ve put in place internally, it’s just how we have noticed our account managers spending money lately.

In summary, here are a few things you can do to catch the eye’s of advertisers (and our staff)

  1. Upgrade your listing to be “Featured” and stand out from the rest.
  2. Make sure your pricing is competitive to others in your niche.
  3. Make sure your site is fresh with content and readers.
  4. Help create a buzz about LinkWorth on your site.

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Writing Great Paid Blog Posts

Is there a difference between writing a great blog post and writing a great paid blog post?

There doesn’t have to be.

I always love reading the LinkPost deals that come through here. (LinkPost is our paid blog post product for those of you keeping score at home.) What’s most interesting to me is seeing all of the different approaches bloggers take when writing directly for cash. The flavor of the paid blog posts are often very different from what you’d normally read on their site.

There’s the standard “I’m getting paid to write about this particular product or service. Here’s what I think…” This can be a great approach as long as the “here’s what I think” part stays true to the voice of the blogger.

It’s also pretty common to see something like, “This product is GREAT, GREAT, GREAT” with no disclosure whatsoever. I get this approach, too, because even though the overwhelming positivity has obviously been “bought,” there is nothing there that spells it out and some advertisers find this attractive. The problem, though, is that as a reader you tend to smell “sell-out” as soon as the page loads!

Then there are always the pessimists. The bloggers who seem to hate the concept of paid blog posts (with the exception of the money being earned, of course) so every paid post they write comes across as negative. And you can see right through this approach if you’ve read enough of these. It’s almost as if the blogger is attempting to maintain his credibility by slamming the advertiser’s product or service simply because he’s being paid. But I understand this approach, too, really I do.

But the best paid blog posts, in my opinion, come from the bloggers who have a little fun and are creative in the process. One relatively new LinkWorther who has made an extraordinary impression on me is the lovely Venomous Kate. I told her earlier today that I consider her to be the poster-child for writing great paid blog posts. Why? Because you can tell by reading her work that she’s writing out of passion and having fun. And all the while she’s doing what she’s being paid to do. Go check out one of her sites and you’ll see what I mean.

Kate has a knack for infusing an advertiser’s link right into the copy of what seems to be just one of her normal blog posts that any of her regular readers would enjoy. (And you can certainly add me to that list, Kate.) She recognizes that as long as the advertiser gets what he’s paying for (the link), she doesn’t have to stray from the message she wants to get across. Paying advertiser or not, that post would very likely still be on her site. And that’s what makes her great at what she does.

I know, there’s the argument that a paid blog post is intended to create “buzz” about the advertiser and that sort of thing. But what kind of buzz does an advertiser get if the blogger trashes him? It’s more like a buzz-kill, isn’t it? And unless I’m going to sell them on a full-blown reputation management campaign after that, I’ve just done them a disservice.

My point is, just try to have some fun. You shouldn’t have to compromise yourself just because you’re accepting money for writing. It’s easy to spot phonies and as this space continues to evolve, I can see the more creative bloggers owning most of the market-share because there is no big difference between their paid and non-paid posts.

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Save 20% on Admission to SES San Jose

We are finally taking the plunge and will be exhibiting at the biggest industry show of the year; SES San Jose.

I guess one of the “perks” of exhibiting is that SES issues a unique coupon code to each of the exhibitors to pass along to their clients and associates. So, here’s ours! You can save like 20% on any conference pass or get a free Expo-Only pass. Any discount is good, right?

If you’re going to be out there, make sure you come see us!

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