Buying Text Link Ads. How to improve the user experience and improve your search engine rankings at the same time.
May 4th 2007 Posted at Marketing
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With Matt Cutts trying to destroy the paid link market it’s apparent that there is a good way to buy text link ads and a “bad” way from Google’s perspectative. I find it pretty frustrating that Google feels it necessary to use back channels like Matt Cutt’s personal blog to disseminate information about their main product, namely their search engine.
It’s really pretty unprofessional in my opinion and it gives Google the ability to disseminate the information it wants and it also give them the ability to claim it’s not official Google policy. I understand that people want to game the system for the search engines and that this approach is what Google has decided in their Official/Unofficial channels. It’s also apparent that text link ads have a place in the market beyond simple PR link buying
It’s apparent from Matt’s post that they are going after the spammiest of link buying where people are buying links purely based on PR. I agree that’s a bad practice but it’s a bad practice because it doesn’t maximize your ad’s exposure, not because of the PR juice that is being passed. The best way to think about text link ads is to think about them the exact same way you would a classified ad except of course text link ads should pop more since there are proportionally fewer of them. Too many people ignore the eyeballs when they should be working to maximize clicks. Let’s face obvious facts; sites with high PR also tend to have a high number of visitors!
So when buying text link ads, it starts with finding the right site with the right audience. This is one of the most helpful functions of the current text link marketplaces, they provide you a number of sites with data about those sites (Both Alexa and Page Rank) to make a decision about placing an ad on the site. This narrow casting approach means you can precisely target a specific site with a specific offer. In many ways this form of advertising can be far more effective than traditional Google Adsense advertising. With the proliferation of MFA (Made For Adsense) sites, your ad can be displayed on less than valuable sites. Since you are selecting a specific site for the ad to appear on, you know whether the site is a quality site or not. Adsense doesn’t offer this same degree of targeting. This is a more consuming ad buy certainly but it can be very effective.
Make sure your ad is more than just a link
It’s inevitable that text link ads are going to move to this format. Given the very real possibility of Google de-valuing your link, the various marketplaces are going to have to offer more than a simple link. Please note that Text Link Brokers already does this by allowing a full sentence to be associated with the link. This makes it a better proposition in the current environment where Google may de-value a link if it’ s being sold for the express purpose of raising Page Rank. You shouldn’t be buying text link ads solely for PR. In fact Google has made that pretty clear they consider that a very bad idea.
Target the Text Link Offer and site ad buy
When buying a text link ad you can precisely target the offer for the site in question. This means your text link ads can have some of the highest ROI of any ad buy if you spend the time to match the offer with the site. Most people are trying to rank for a specific phrase with their text link buys and are neglecting the on site viewers.
Don’t lead with the link.
Think in terms of a classified ad. You need to get a snappy leading to grab the eye of the web viewer. Start the first two or three words in all capital letters. These words should grab your prospect’s attention. Readers skim down a site and only read the beginning words that stand out from the others. It sometimes helps if these are words you normally wouldn’t see capitalized to form the basic question in the mind of the viewer.
“NEVER MIND people who say you won’t get rich.”
“YOUR FREE COMPUTER is waiting in our exciting sweepstakes.”
These should draw the reader’s attention and encourage the click. Naturally you want people to click on the ad. In many ways these ads are actually more difficult than classified ads since you only have a single sentence to capture the reader’s attention and then convert that into a click.
Text link ads require alot more work initially but they can certainly lead to an effective conversion rate. The degree of targeting offered by text link ads is unparalleled and it’s certainly worth your time as an advertiser.
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