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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Linking Strategies: "To Buy or not to Buy, That is the Question"

Linking Strategies: "To Buy or not to Buy, That is the Question"

Buying text links for your website is a highly controversial subject online. Like it or not, approve of the practice or disapprove, it does exist and there are many website owners who are doing it. I'm not going to debate the issue one way or the other; just shed some light on what some consider a "gray subject."

So why would you want or need to buy a text link on another website? It all goes back to "link popularity." Search engines look at how many other sites are linking to yours when deciding on your ranking. Granted, this is just one criterion, but nevertheless an important one to pay attention to.

If you don't know how many other sites are linking to yours, go to any search engine and type this in: link: ... you should get a pretty good idea of your "popularity." Keep in mind that Google never shows all sites linking to yours, so what you see in the results will not be an accurate presentation of those linking to you. Why they do this is not clear (it's one of those "Google Secrets"), but a possible explanation is that it's one of the methods they use to keep their ranking algorithms private.

When considering a link purchase, only buy from sites that are related to your theme and use the Google Toolbar to check their page rank. You can download it here:

A page rank of 4 or above is pretty good but a 7 or 8 is excellent. Never buy a link based on page rank alone. If the site doesn't relate to your site's content, don't do it.

Here are some things to keep in mind before making any purchases:

There are two types of links: one-way and reciprocal. A reciprocal link is when two sites agree to link to each other, a one-way link is just one site linking to another without linking back. Purchasing a text link is an example of a one-way link. One-way links are counted higher by most search engines and therefore are more valuable then reciprocal.

When supplying your text link to other sites, make sure to include your keywords in your anchor text. The anchor text is the part of the link that is clickable. Use a variety of key phrases so as not to raise any red flags with the search engines.

You also want to be consistent with your url. Use the "www." part in all incoming links, as links to "" and "" could be treated as two different websites by the search engines.

Another tip when buying links is to do it slowly. Don't buy too many at one time. You want it to look natural to the search engines. Hundreds of sites deciding to link to yours in a week is not "natural" and may catch unwanted attention from the powers that be.

Stay away from link farms when choosing link partners. Just associating with "bad sites" can be enough to get you banned by the search engines. You'll also want to make sure you're getting links from different IP addresses. Search engines will give the links more weight if they don't all come from the same IP.

So now that you have the basics, where do you buy the text links? I thought you'd never ask.

1) LinkHaul

Purchase static links to PR 4, 5,6, 7 or 8 websites. Pricing starts at 3.00 per month.

2) Text Link Brokers

Offering a variety of link building programs to increase your link popularity.

3) LinkAdage

Buy or sell text links within an auction format or buy direct thru a broker.

4) Text-Link-Ads

Offering $100.00 in free text link ads when you spend $125.00. So you only have to spend an initial investment of $25.00

5) BackLinks

Free service that allows webmasters to trade, sell or buy text links.

When you buy a link, it's usually billed on a monthly basis and you'll always pay more for a site with a higher page rank, and also for having them put your link on their main page compared to a page deeper down within the site. Once you purchase a link let it run for a few months at a time. Search engines will need it in order to find and spider them.

Right or wrong, purchasing links is one way to improve your link popularity quickly and move your site up the ranks in the search engines. Remember, there are many ways to increase your website traffic, and buying text links is just another means to an end.

Internet Marketing Is Going To The Feeds

Internet Marketing Is Going To The Feeds

This change is permanent: Marketing your website without taking advantage of RSS feeds will be the biggest mistake you can make in 2006 and beyond.

Microsoft is unleashing a new OS (Vista) that will plug into the web via RSS in a very profound way. If you haven't been keeping up on Vista (formerly Longhorn) developments because you thought it was of no consequence to you as a marketer, think twice.

Vista will revolutionize the way everyone syndicates their content and markets their websites forever.

RSS is fast becoming the backbone of the web. Sites are organically syndicating content around the web through RSS search engines like this one:

Feeds in RSS directories then get picked up by publishers looking for good headline content for their sites.

The major search engines also pick up those feed listings and often discover new sites and spider them faster than any other form of content syndication including articles and press releases!

How To Create A Feed For Your Site

First off, if you are not blogging, you need to. Every type of site imaginable can produce a relevant blog with topics related to your main content.

It doesn't matter if you simply sell furniture on your site - you need a blog!

Imagination is all that is required to create a blog featuring the almighty promotion power of an RSS feed. In the furniture example you can blog about interior design and any number of topics.

Notice that the big sites (that were formerly simple shopping cart sites with little content) are now putting up articles and blogging about the topics surrounding their products.

They are not stupid. They know that creating content and feeding it around the web is a major traffic source and they've been switching to richer content models for well over a year en masse.

Most any major shopping site you land on nowadays has rich content somewhere on the site. And they have a feed their visitors can subscribe to and that they can market with.

For the smaller mom and pop shop, a Wordpress blog is all you need to plug into the RSS world and fill your site with rich content (not just product descriptions and sales letters) that the engines are looking for, as well as the major part of your market who want more information before making purchases.

A review site is a very popular model. Lots of surfers want to read about 3rd party experiences with products before deciding on purchases.

Again, this model is not new and it is not an afterthought marketing ploy. It is major business to the sites who have mastered the art of filling direct sales sites and shopping cart-run sites with deep content.

With Microsoft Vista, all PC users are going to be able to detect feeds on every site they visit and subscribe to those feeds.

Very soon the days of "Give me your email address and other private information" will be a thing of the past.

Smart marketers are going to adopt the RSS information delivery model because surfers will quickly begin to ignore email subscription forms while looking for the simple and completely anonymous RSS subscription model.

So if you haven't started planning a marketing campaign utilizing RSS delivery of newsletters and updates over email, you had better get started understanding RSS and its eventual replacement of the traditional email list.

Critical mass tolerance of spam and giving out email addresses has been reached in all markets. Only in very tight niches in special circumstances where there is instant trust and credibility conveyed by a site will you find decent optin rates.

Everywhere else the optin rate for any kind of email notification list is at rock bottom. Add to that a dismal delivery ratio of emails due to overzealous, catch-all spam filters from the ISP to the user level, and the writing is on the wall: email is on its way out as a viable tool for a successful marketing campaign.

The change is happening now and it will be permanent. RSS will eclipse email lists and it will be the new defacto method of content syndication around the web by the end of 2006.

Tracking what your RSS subscribers click on and do through your RSS feeds is the problem many geeks are working on now. We will soon have more accurate and more in-depth tracking available through RSS subscription and syndication than we currently have with email marketing.

Once marketers feel comfortable that they haven't lost any tracking ability that we currently enjoy with email, the game will quickly accelerate into a whole new type of competition for eyeballs. Watch also for a whole slew of new marketing courses and materials that teach how to dominate a niche with RSS marketing rather than email marketing.

"Growing Your List" and "Syndicating Your Content" is going to be done by RSS more and more by regular website owners as this year progresses. That includes your competition! Vista will be a massive feed detector/reader available to all PC users very soon.

This means that you can have a feed on your site for visitors to subscribe to, or you can see for yourself how many of your visitors choose to ignore your email subscription form and your content because you are not Web 2.0 enough for them.

So, are you set to take advantage of RSS as the impending dominant tool in your marketing campaign?