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View Poll Results: What is the most YOU'VE paid for a static text link?
I don't buy text links. I feel they are unnecessary. 4 25.00%
$1 - $100 USD / mo 5 31.25%
$101 - $200 USD / mo 3 18.75%
$201 - $300 USD / mo 0 0%
$301 - $500 USD / mo 0 0%
$401 - $500 USD / mo 0 0%
$501 and greater, USD / mo 4 25.00%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-16-2005   #1
jewboy
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What is the most YOU'VE paid for a static text link

Hello Thread Viewers,

As I'm sure many of you are aware, the text link industry is in a rapid state of growth. This suggests that there is a high demand for purchased text links.

What is the most that you have spent on a text link ad and what criteria convinced you to justify the cost?

If you feel buying anchor text rich static text links is unnecessary, please explain why.

Thanks SEW Community.

Last edited by jewboy : 06-16-2005 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 06-16-2005   #2
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I'd pay a million dollars for a link without hesitation if I knew I would get back 2 million.

I would not even pay one dollar if I didn't make anything off it.

That's sounds trite, but actually that's the basis of a link purchase - I've seen people who will spend thousands on a link or series of links but not actually have a site that would convert the traffic.

That's my big issue with people who buy links - they are often looking at it totally backwards. They are focussing on the PR and the IP address and all that crap and half the time it's because their site or product sucks but they don't want to deal with that.

It reminds me of the dotcom days when people would blow this huge wad of dough on a Superbowl ad in the hopes that it would be a magic fix for their company not having a strategy.

A link that doesn't make you money isn't worth anything. A link that does, is. It's that simple. It has nothing to do with PR or IP addresses or even the cost. None of that matters.

The worth of a link is based on the amount of money it will probably make you. Period. Not once cent more. It's not about ego or PR or "themes" or even rankings. It's about ROI.

A link that is not spiderable and is on a banned page, but that actually sends $1000 worth of traffic to your site every month, is worth $300-800 per month. Period. It's worth has nothing to do with it's IP or PR - it;s worth is based on the ROI.

Likewise, unless you can show that a PR8 is worth approximately X amount of dollars to your site, there is no possible way to set a value on that link TO YOU. And since you are the one paying, shouldn't you know what it's value is to you? Who cares what the seller thinks it's worth? If that PR 8 brings in no sales, then it's worth NOTHING.

My opinion,

Ian
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Old 06-16-2005   #3
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I've paid $100+ per month for a text link from several sites because they ranked in the top 10 results for the phrase I was targeting. Even at that price, you can break even with the visitors you get just from the link, never mind the link popularity boost.
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Old 06-16-2005   #4
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Obviously the unknown factor is the boost it gives your organic placement.

High numbers seem to many to be wrong, yet people spend that and more for banners charging CPM.
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Old 06-16-2005   #5
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Quote:
Obviously the unknown factor is the boost it gives your organic placement.
That's very true, but, for example, if it takes $10,000 per month to get from number 4 to number 2, the question that should be asked is: does that 2 position change make me at least $11,000? If not, then it's not worth it, and you should be spending that money on PPC or something else.

If it does make you that much, then of course it is worth it. Of course, if you have never been in that position, then it's harder to judge how much money you would make.

There is another scenario, though - the case where you have already bought the links and are at the position. In this case, you are in a position to measure your ROI (often the only way to figure out an approximate ROI is to do some expensive research).

At this point, you may very well determine that the boost from that PR 7 makes no difference in your rankings or revenue. In that case (assuming you are not hanging on by your fingernails and need the link as a buffer) the link is worth nothing.

Links that send you human traffic instead of just helping with the organics are simply worth more because of this. As long as those people keep coming, the link has a value, even if your competitors keep doing aggressive link building, thus making your links worth less and less every single month - though you pay the same price; or if the search engines decide that the link should be discounted because it's on a certain IP or position on the page or the beer was really good last night and they feel like having some fun...

The end result to all this is - the worth of the link is not based on the link itself - it's based on what it does for the website that purchases it. The same PR7 link might double the income of one company, but not make a dent for another.

The same PR7 link might be worth $300 per month to one company, but not another, and the worth might even change over time for the same company and the net evolves, SE algos change, and competitors continue to build links as well.

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Last edited by mcanerin : 06-16-2005 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 06-16-2005   #6
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The logical result to this (if I was selling links) would be that I would charge more for on-topic, human traffic bearing links than I would for off-topic ones, and sites that sell only on topic links with human traffic are worth more than one with an identical PR and link structure.

And as a link buyer, I would pay more, as well.

This sounds like it might be bad for the link business in general, but a smart business person would take advantage of it to increase profits, I think.

You get what you pay for, and should be prepared to pay for what you get.

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Old 06-16-2005   #7
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So it appears we all agree on this.... it is the increased value to the site that sets the worth of the link coming to it.

If you are building other inbound links there may come a time when you can drop the paid for all the others and remain in position... it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle... once at the top more people are likely to link to you and thus solidify your spot and give you the ability to drop some links.
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Old 06-16-2005   #8
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ROI - can it always be measured?

ROI, ROI, ROI! A favorite acronym for web marketers.

A client I represent is a Manhattan real estate brokerage firm (on Madison Avenue nonetheless!). For those who are unaware, the avg. studio on this island is in excess of $500,000. A 2 bedroom apartment can average between $2 and $4 million dollars. We have apartment listings up to $11 million dollars.

If anyone can figure out how to measure conversions and ROI when my client flips an apartment - please enlighten me!

Measuring conversions and ROI in the eCommerce world is a much simpler task than in the brick and mortar world (litteraly!). It's a mystery to me how this can be done. Should my client ask each apartment hunter what search engine they used, what keywords they typed in, etc. in order to figure out some sense of ROI? Of course not!

The mystery remains. I spend on search engine advertising, with absolutely no concept of how it's converting. Anyone have any suggestions?
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Old 06-16-2005   #9
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Quote:
So it appears we all agree on this.... it is the increased value to the site that sets the worth of the link coming to it.

If you are building other inbound links there may come a time when you can drop the paid for all the others and remain in position... it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle... once at the top more people are likely to link to you and thus solidify your spot and give you the ability to drop some links.
I agree completely - links should mostly be a buyers market, not a sellers

But a seller with a real website, with substantial human visitors, a clear topic and good link pop will be in a very strong position - much stronger than just the standard PR and IP alone that some people focus on today.

At some point, you may well find yourself dropping paid links and actually being in a position to sell them instead

The links that you would drop would be the the ones that were off-topic and not aimed at anything other than link pop - you'll usually keep the ones with humans behind them that are actually buying thing. That makes the best business model for sellers clear as well, IMO.

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Old 06-16-2005   #10
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If anyone can figure out how to measure conversions and ROI when my client flips an apartment - please enlighten me!
A fair question. It's all well and good to talk about things, but sometimes putting them into action for a specific client can be more challenging.

Your client will know their business model better than me, but I'll give it a shot just to give an example:

Use a separate 800 number found only on your website. Real estate is one of those areas where people like to phone up and talk to a person. Every phone call that shows up on that special number + each email/form sent from the site counts as a "conversion".

Trend the conversions vs your rankings over time on a chart. You'll see a pattern. At some point, the 2 lines either intersect or come close to it - at that point you've pretty much maxed out your costs and are wasting money. the only thing to do at that point is to experiment with alternative lead generation and work on making your copy convert better. Spending more $$$ on links won't help. Higher rankings won't help. Combining several approaches has been known to help. Targetting other SE's can help.

I'm sure there are other ways, this was just off the top of my head.

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Old 06-16-2005   #11
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We seem to think alike Ian! I've actually suggested the 800 # method to my client. However, my idea was shot down. Why? Because those who find our listings on the web tend to call each agent's cell phone number (or email them), rather than the office directly. That doesn't seem to work for our business model.

Because we are selling such an expensive product, we tend to dominate the golden triangle on all our keywords across our PPC campaigns - regardless of cost. Even if we are spending thousands of dollars on clicks daily, it takes just one lucky one to make my client a hefty profit. Branding plays a huge part in our industry as well.

Furthermore, by law, all real estate listings in New York must be shared amongst all the brokers. If you query the engines, you will find an endless amount of NYC real estate brokers trying to sell the same shared listings. Thousands of sites all competing to sell the same exact widgets. Not an easy situation. It only makes sense that those on top of the SERPS will gain most of the clients, since our inventory is almost exactly the same as our competitions'.

And virtually all who rank nicely for our keywords are competitors who in their right mind would not give us a link. Thus our SEM strategy has been to spend to get to the top. It is for that very reason that buying links has become such a crucial strategy, even though I may be crossing the line into blackhat SEO, and the idea does not sit comfortable with me.

IMO, all industries are different, and one must not take a cookie cutter approach when it comes to an SEO/SEM campaign.

Thank you for your advice! Much appreciated.
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Old 06-17-2005   #12
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When you are dealing with a potential profit of up to $100k on a single sale, the rules don't change, but the application and venues do.

Under the circumstances you mention, I would spend a lot on links too, as well as PPC and banner ads. Any kind of branding, where being top of mind can translate directly into a lot of dollars.

On the other hand, keep in mind that the same dollars that you are making, are the same dollars you are putting on the line if you "cross the line" and someone at a search engine decides to do something about it. If you can re-brand and re-tool quickly after this, fine, but if you can't, it's something to consider - because you know who the management will blame - no matter what "permission" they gave or knowledge they had. That much money lost turns friends into enemies really fast.

Something to keep in mind - the more you have to lose if things go south, the cleaner you should run. Professsional spammers set up their businesses in such a way that getting banned (which is rare but happens) is just part of the process. What you don't want to do is put all your eggs in one basket and then start waving it around wildly, if you catch my meaning.

Here is what I would do. First, tell those idiots (pardon my french) that a $14/month pager for website leads won't make them broke, and neither will an answering service. They probably won't listen (that's actually why I don't take on realtors as clients). But now they are on warning, and you tried.

Next, now that we are on the subject of those handy things called telephones, use one yourself. Stop going to link brokers and start contacting websites in your topic area directly by phone or in person. People who would never respond to a link request via email or consider going to a broker will very often respond well to a real person, with an on-topic, professional site, standing there with cash in hand. Real well.

You competitors won't give you the time of day? That's fine, neither would you, were the tables reversed. But on-topic does not mean realtors, on-topic means sites that are relevant to realty, which a computer measures using links. Sites that tend to link to realtors (or that realtor wil link to) count as well - mortgage brokers, construction companies (ever phone a local cement company? you'd be surprised), excavation companies, architects, interior decorators, landscaping, moving and gardening(!) can all be on-topic. Homes are complicated things, lots of connections.

Each one of these areas has a real possibility to send humans from the links - people fixing up their home before selling it, for example. People looking to see whether they should build new or buy used.

These owners may also have other sites you didn't find but are also on target. People tend to have lots of related interests and businesses.

At least 70% of the links to your website should always be on-topic or linked with on topic sites, IMO.

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Last edited by mcanerin : 06-17-2005 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 06-17-2005   #13
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Thank you Ian for your advice.

Like I said, we think along the same lines. I do not buy links from brokers - I pursue each and everyone manually, usually via phone if a number is listed. Furthermore, I do not dare walk into the realm of spam, lest my site be banned! My daily activities involve contacting site webmasters or sales reps trying to buy static text ads. However, at least 70% - 90% don't know what a text ad is and still think along the lines of banners and buttons!

I'm lucky if I buy 2 - 3 good text link ads / links per day. I call link buying black hat because the act of buying links is "unnatural". I'm not talking about black hat in the sense of blog spam bots, buying huge clusters of links, or thousands of directory listings - all of which can lead to devestating effects. I fly as far below the radar as I possible can.

Next issue - pagers! While the idea certainly will give us a sense of conversions, I'd rather not have my neck wrung by 40 real estate agents - all who carry cell phones and cumbersome Blackberrys!

I surely love ontopic links. An ontopic link always takes precedence over an off topic link. But I don't expect to yield conversions from them - so I'm not sure why I should limit myself to related industries. All my competitors (those who dominate the SERPs for my prize keywords) are all using thousands upon thousands of off topic links. I don't know how I can compete with them if I limit myself to one specific industry.

This is probably the most challenging campaign I've encountered.
Your advice is much appreciated.
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Old 06-17-2005   #14
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Originally Posted by promediacorp
We seem to think alike Ian! I've actually suggested the 800 # method to my client. However, my idea was shot down. Why? Because those who find our listings on the web tend to call each agent's cell phone number (or email them), rather than the office directly. That doesn't seem to work for our business model.
VoIP might be an alternative. Plus it would be cheaper and less bulky than pagers.

You set up separate VoIP lines and then immediately redirect them to the individual broker cell phones. You then have the number of who called, the time they called and how long they talked. The broker even sees the number of the caller in his caller ID.
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Old 06-17-2005   #15
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Ah! Voip.

I do love my Voip, however my cable modem goes down at least 3 times a week (damn Time Warner and their monopoly over NYC!).

Wish that was the solution, but the risks are too great. Thanks for your input.
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