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Old 06-11-2006, 08:28 AM   #1
gophergas
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Default Unexpected Text Link Solicitations

As my site has grown, I've started getting unsolicited text link inquiries. Folks are asking how much it would cost to host a text link on my site for a month or longer.

Given that I don't know a thing about these people, I'm a little leery. Have any of you received such inquiries, and how did you handle them?
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Old 06-11-2006, 09:51 AM   #2
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It may very well be that they would like to place their link on your page to increase the "site rank" of their own site. Links like these are commonly sold on EBay (price depends on the page rank, but can go up to as much as a few hundred dollars).

Just a thought...

-Sebastian
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:39 AM   #3
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As you might know, gophergas, I am sometimes known for giving some rather long answers here at Geek/Talk. This is going to be one of those times. There are times when there are important issues that need plenty of details in order to give a good and complete answer.

People who want to buy text links are doing it for one of two reasons. Either they are hoping it will improve their PageRank or they want the links to bring them more traffic. Maybe I could add a third reason as wanting to achieve both of these.

The sad thing is that most of these people are trying to buy text links to try to improve their PageRank. The good thing is that PageRank isn't nearly as important as most of these people think it is and is just one of hundreds of factors involved in the determination of the search engine results pages.

One reason PageRank has been losing its importance is because of all of the many things people try to do to try to trick Google into giving them a higher PageRank.

People need to remember that Google, as well as all search engines want to be able to give people the best possible results when they conduct a search. That is what searchers deserve and expect. They shouldn't see sites in high positions of the search results because they used every possible trick to get there.

Using various tricks to make it to or near the top of the results might be good for the page that gets to that point, but it isn't fair to people who are using the search engine if that is an inferior page that doesn't fill the needs of people who are using the search engine.

Those behind search engines know that if enough people aren't satisfied with the results they give them, then those people are going to use search engines that will more consistently give them good results.

As a result, Google and other search engines make changes in order to fight against those who are trying to use unfair tricks to improve their position in the search results.

One very big battle involves people who want to do everything they can to try to increase their PageRank. That is one of the reasons why PageRank doesn't have as much importance in the Google algorithms as it once did. But Google doesn't make it a point to go out of the way to inform people of this. Obviously if people are using tactics to try to inflat their PageRank, then the importance of PageRank should be lower.

The original concept of PageRank and links must be remembered. The idea behind the links was that links were to be seen as a vote for the page being linked to. People were suppose to link to another page because they felt it had some value, interest or use to their visitors.

Things such as link exchanges, buying links or anything that gets away from that concept of how Google wants the linking to work can keep the PageRank system from working the way Google wanted it to. That is why it is only one of many factors involved and isn't the absolute power that some believe or want to believe that it is.

Often in search engine results pages you will see pages with lower PageRank that are placed higher than pages with higher PageRank.

All of the major search engines consider links even though it seems to be most associated with Google. They are getting very good at detecting some of the methods people use to get more links. Google is getting very good at it.

Some people sell links and label them as "sponsored" or other terms that indicate they are paid links. But others don't label them in order to interest more people in buying because many people feel if they don't have a label or if they put them in the content they won't be noticed by the search engine as easily.

Google has ways to detect this and is very good at it most of the time. As people come up with new tricks, they are coming up with ways to detect and fight against those tricks. Many people are finding that what once worked no longer works.

If a site is considered reputable and sells enough links, they won't get a penalty from Google. However, they could reach a point where Google would no longer allow them to pass along any PageRank, therefore making the links not worth anything to those who are buying them for the sole purpose of increasing their PageRank. Those who bought the links could still get some additional traffic from the links, but they wouldn't do a thing to increase their PageRank.

Some people won't be able to determine that a site is no longer passing along any PageRank. Those who do determine it would eventually stop buying links on that site if their only reasons was to try to increase their PageRank.

It should never be forgotten that links from pages on other sites can be a way to increase traffic and if people want to do that, there is a way it can be done and make it clear that the link isn't being purchased in an effort to try to raise PageRank. This can be achieved by the use of the rel="nofollow" attribute. That tag makes it possible for a site to add a link without that link being counted as a vote.

People are often interested in ways to increase traffic and buying links is one way. Buy them and make certain the nofollow tag is used. It can be a good way to increase traffic if the links are purchased on the appropriate pages.

The best thing for people to do is to devote as much time and attention as possible to their site in order to make it the very best possible. When they feel it is the best it can be, then do more to make it better. When this is done, there are going to be those who are going to link to that site simply because they do like it and feel it will be of benefit to their visitors. People will also see their traffic increase as well.

A lot of these things take time and work. Too many people are in a hurry and don't want to put in the time. They want a quick solution and start looking for the easy ways to achieve what they are trying to do. They end up spending too much time on things they shouldn't, such as trying to have a higher PageRank or to improve the almost meaningless Alexa ranking. Sometimes methods that are less than ethical are used to make the PageRank or Alexa ranking look better.

Time spent on those things could be much better spent on trying to make your site the very best it possibly can be. If more people did this, their sites would be much more successful.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:51 PM   #4
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So, if I'm reading all this correctly, selling sponsored links at $100 a link per month isn't necessarily going to hurt me if I keep it limited to about 5 links -- right? (And if I sell all 5 spots, I can raise my prices!)
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:08 PM   #5
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If $100 is a good deal (relative to the amount of traffic the site gets) and they're willing to prepay, why not? Five more links on your site prolly wouldn't hurt you at all, better if they were related links to your site's content tho. Prepaying would be the key ... if they're buying multiple months, I'd let them pay a month at a time but I personally wouldn't run ads for "some guy" until he paid me first.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:29 PM   #6
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gophergas, Google has indicated that a reputable site could sell links without penalty. Depending on certain factors that site might not pass any PageRank to the site buying the links. If your site isn't presently penalized, then you likely have a reputable site as far as Google is concerned.

One big thing you do need to keep in mind is who you are selling the links to because that can hurt you. When you sell links, you are linking to a page. You should not link to link farms, web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" because doing so can hurt you and result in a penalty against you.

Last edited by Larwee; 06-11-2006 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:55 PM   #7
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Respectfully, were missing the point and some of the advice in this thread is contrary to the appropriate way to sell advertising which includes text links, descriptions with links, and even banners which contain linking text below them (NOT ALT text). Iv'e done it for years and while that may make my advice appropriate, I will leave the final descisioon up to you. Please take notes, class is in session /joke

Introduction: Forget Google or any other SE in the world and all the convuleted theories about them. No way G or any other company is going to tell or dictate to me how I sell advertising Period. End of that subject.

This is the way:

1. Your advertiser should fit the demo of your visitors and offer a product and or service that YOUR visitors would be interested in.

2. Collect funds up front and charge by the month with a max term of say 3 to 6 months to protexct yourself in a rising market.

3. You approve the copy and the link opens in a new window. Audit it once and a while to insure they advertisers isn't using a redirect to a site you might not like. Figure out how often or if ever you will let the advertiser change the copy.

4. How much to charge? A guess since I don't have a clue about which site your talking about. Translate it to CPM since this is an industry standard and figure you need at least 50K/month roughly to start in impressions and try to ask for a CPM of $2.00 and negotiate from their. Tell the advertiser approxametly how many impressions they will get and stay out of the CTR issue as much as possible. Although, if youve done your homework and carefully selected advertisers who fit then most of it will take care of itself. Trick, change the copy say every month to see how it neffects the CTR.

5. HOGWASH to the number of text links you can place on a page because G or anyone else says so. Baloony. Sell as many as the page will hold without degrading the users experience. GV has 8 slots ! and on occassion they are all filled with no impact on organics results while I ran the farm. The same can be said for Banners which also had a text link BELOW them and THAT number of adverttisers is HUGE with zilch impact on rankings.

6. Get an adserving script if you want to do a lot of this.

Good luck and HTH

Last edited by Steve_S; 06-12-2006 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:22 AM   #8
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Steve/Larwee/Emmzee/s.herzig,

Thanks --- this pretty much is in keeping with what I had in mind. I told the people who e-mailed me that I would provide a "sponsored link" area on each page and that I would charge $100 per month per link --- as long as that link met with my approval. Good idea about occasionally auditing the links to make sure they're not redirecting to adult sites. Also, I'm planning on moving to an adserver before too long because of inquiries like this. Some folks want to buy banner ads on my site, and I don't have a way of serving those other than through Fastclick's interface.
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:36 PM   #9
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Be careful! I've seen some ****s while people approached me with text link requests.
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Old 06-14-2006, 11:33 AM   #10
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This is off-topic somewhat, but one of the trends that I've seen emerging during the past couple of months are people soliciting to place entire pages of text links on some of our sites.

These brokers are obviously motivated by both PR and straight traffic volume, but it's hard to imagine that many publishers would support a scheme that effectively places a third-party link farm on their mainstream website.
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