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Company Internet Marketing

July 13, 2007 | Comments Off on Company Internet Marketing


The Lazy Git: Text Link Ads and AdSense

This post is adapted from a message I sent out to my mailing list. Might as well share it with all my readers.

Not too long ago, one of you asked me if I had some more information about text link ads. As it happens, I really didn’thave much to say at the time, but I can talk more intelligentlyabout it now. It’s timely for me because I had an unsolicited request to display a text ad on one of my sites last week. So here are my thoughts about text link ads, how they relate to AdSense, and whether or not it’s something you should be doing.

What Are Text Link Ads?

Let’s first make sure we’re all on the same page. When I say “textlink ads”, I’m referring to text links that someone PAYS you to puton your sites. In other words, advertisers go around looking forsites in their niche and buy links on those sites in order to directtraffic to their own sites and/or to raise the search enginerankings of their sites. While there is a company called Text LinkAds out there, when I use the term “text link ads” I’m referringto the generic concept of paid/sponsored links, not to the specificcompany.

How Do Text Link Ads Work?

It’s fairly simple. You and the advertiser (often mediated througha third party like Text Link Ads) sign an advertising contract whereyou agree to link to the advertiser’s site for a fixed fee, usuallya monthly payment. The advertiser gets to choose the link and wherethe link is placed, paying more for the top spots on well-traffickedsites.

You can see how much sites are worth to advertisers using thefree Text Link Ads free calculator. Start by going to the Text Link Ads home page and select “Free Tools” from the “Make Money” tab. Click on the”Text Link Ads Calculator” and you’ll end up on a page that hasa simple form to fill out as well as something that looks verymuch like an AdSense heat map. First fill out specifics about yoursite on the left side. Then click the various areas of the heatmap on the right to see how much you could be making per monthby selling ad spots for text link ads.

For example, the TLA calculator tells me I could be making about$70/month selling one ad spot on my AdSense blog. And I could makemore by selling more spots. Hmm.

So say I can get $100/month on average for selling links on a site.If I had 5 sites like that, it would be $500/month in extra incomefor very little work. Not a bad model.

Google Doesn’t Like Text Ads

But there’s a catch. The search engines, and Google in particular,don’t like paid links. Because it mucks up their algorithms. Youshould read this post from Google guy Matt Cutts for some details.

Now, various people in the search marketing community think thatthis is bull, that people have been selling links in one form oranother for a long time now and so what’s all the fuss? They evenargue that Google does it themselves with AdWords, AdSense, etc.(Mind you, their programs don’t affect search engine rankings.)

I’m not going to get into the debate, mostly I just want to makeyou aware of it.

Here’s the problem, though. Much of a site’s value toadvertisers is based on various third-party measures of how wellthe site is trusted and how much traffic it gets. Google’s PageRankand the site’s Alexa numbers are particularly important. So if Google comes up with algorithm changes that force sites with paidlinks to lose PageRank, and the value of those links is based (inpart) on PageRank values (all things being equal, advertisers willpay more for links on a PR6 site vs. links on a PR5 site) then themoney you make from selling text links will decrease and maybe evendisappear. No, I can’t predict the future, but it’s something tokeep in mind.

The Lazy Git

After my interest in text link ads was piqued, I went looking forsome useful resources on the topic. The only one I’ve found so faris an ebook called The Lazy Git Marketing Method (LGMM).

I had seen this promoted by other Internet marketers, but had notbothered with it before because the sales page turned me off. When I see pages with fancy sports cars and dollar bills flying around,it just kind of says “scam” to me and off I got to other sites.

(A “lazy git”, by the way, is a British expression. A “git” is slangfor a stupid or unpleasant person. A “lazy git” is. well, you canfigure it out.)

What you don’t see when you read the sales page for LGMM is anymention of text link ads. That’s what it’s all about, though:creating high-PageRank sites (PR4 or higher) and then monetizingthem via text link ads. It’s pretty passive income once you’ve gotthe sites set up.

Text Links Ads and AdSense

Of course, AdSense publishers know all about passive income. Onceyou create a few AdSense sites, it’s usually just a matter of tweaking them once in a while (with new content, usually) and basically letting Google do all the hard work for you. So displayingtext link ads on a site is really a close cousin to displayingAdSense ads. It’s almost a natural step for an AdSense publisher totake.

Well, if it weren’t for the search engines grumbling about paidlinks. There is some risk to putting text link ads on a site thatis getting a lot of traffic from organic search queries. You mightwant to think twice about doing that.

So I wouldn’t go slapping text link ads on all your AdSense sites.Try one or two sites, maybe. Or create some new sites specificallyfor this experiment.

Back to the Lazy Git

If making money with text link ads interests you in a serious way,then the Lazy Git Marketing Method is worth a look. It’s not a bigebook — it’s very short, in fact — and it’s not for short termgains — the author tell you that up front. It will requiresome work on your part to get the sites going and to get themranking well — kind of like AdSense. But that’s what I like aboutit, it’s a complementary process to what you (as an AdSense publisher) are already doing.

I actually learned something from this book. Not about text ads,but about finding good domains, both new and expired, especially about the tools you use to make that fairly easy. The parts of thebook about setting up sites and blogs is pretty basic and I don’tthink you’ll learn anything new there. Besides the domain stuff,the most interesting parts of the book are the strategies you useto get your sites to rank more highly and therefore make money fromselling links on them. Again, some duplication there with thingsyou already know, but there are some different twists.

Are Text Link Ads For You?

That’s a good question. “Probably” is the answer if you’re an AdSense publisher. It’s another income stream to consider for yoursites. I say go ahead and try it out with one site and see how wellit works for you. Again, it’s a complementary strategy in many ways.If you’re more into affiliate marketing, though, then text link adsprobably aren’t for you, not if you’re looking to direct traffic to vendor sites to make money as an affiliate — if you’re not putting AdSense ads on your affiliate sites, don’t go putting textlink ads on those sites either.

Sponsored Link: The author of the famous Google Cash book has a free report available for download called Google Cash Strikes Back . He’s trying to sell you on his system to automate the Google Cash method, but it’s instructive in and of itself in showing you how much work is required to make money by promoting affiliate products with AdWords. AdSense is a lot easier in many ways, IMO.

Eric Giguere is the author of Uncommon AdSense and the award-nominated (that just means it lost!) blog Make Easy Money with Google and AdSense .

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