There’s a new fad getting pushed by part of the internet marketing community selling paid one-way links on something called ‘Cloud’ sites or ‘500 words’ where there are just various words on their web?site up for bid/purchase as a link text for inbound links. These sites are selling the fact that more one-way inbound links help increase your link popularity and are factored into your ranking and site positioning for keywords used in your inbound link text.

This is reminscent of the recent ‘pixel’ page ad sites where the site owners sell one or more pixels on a website for supposed visibility and inbound links to website owners who want to advertise their website. However, the problem with these sites is that your inbound links are only as good as the site they are on.

First off, hundreds of these flash-in-the-pan sites are popping up and most of them have no ranking or traffic themselves. So you can’t expect to have these help YOUR ranking or traffic. In fact, in my opinion- you should never pay for a link on a site less than PageRank 4. I don’t think there is any problem having free links from sites with PR down to 0, as PR changes and not only is there no penalty for links for lower ranked sites, but search engines like Google expect you to have links from a mix of sites.

Second, many of the major engines often pull ‘spammy’ sites from their results altogether. These sites have no real content and are just a bunch of links. They aren’t likely to be in the major engines listings- another indicator that you will not receive any real traffic from them.

Evaluate paid-link or banner ad opportunities wisely. Is the site content related to your site, therefore targetting an audience appropriate to your site? Does the site bring in real traffic? Get some proof of page views and unique visitors. Does the site have a good ranking in Google, MSN or Yahoo?
Don’t be a victim of the latest advertising fads. Use techniques that are proven winners.

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