Be Careful Using Text Link Ads

I learned a lesson in the last several days that I assume could have been much worse. Sometimes no matter what you hear or read about, you just have to try something for yourself. It’s probably a good idea to follow the advice you read about in some cases rather than being the Lone Ranger and doing it your way.

Case in point, I recently bought a text link on a very high profile blog, which will remain nameless, and thought I would get some traffic and maybe a little PR juice as well. Needless to say, I ignored the most recent advice I heard from Jeremy Palmer, I believe it was through the Black Ink Project, in an online session. Jeremy remarked that he thought he would boost some of his sites by buying text links and ended up getting them all penalized and losing some serious rankings.

Of course I thought, that’s Jeremy, Google knows about him because he’s a big shot, I’m just a medium order of fries, they don’t know about me. Wrong!

I don’t get a lot of traffic from Google here at Affiliate Confession, but it is enough that I don’t want to lose it, mainly because it is a source of ever changing new traffic. The 30 or 40 organic searchers that Google sends my way every day come from a huge variety of long tail keywords that are pretty diverse in the niches they come from. I jeopardized that traffic last week when I purchased the text link on May 28th and only 3 days later my traffic from Google dropped by 80% as you can see below:

Text Link Ads Results

Luckily I realized what was going on the second day after purchase and immediately converted that text link to an affiliate offer. It took a couple of days for the link to change, but when it did, the traffic returned to normal. I’m thinking I didn’t do any long term damage to this blog because I caught what was happening in time and changed it in just a couple of days. My strategy for buying text links now is to either use them only for affiliate offers or to experiment with links on lower profile sites sending traffic to sites that I can afford to do without. I’ll probably just stick with affiliate offers though.

Sometimes you just have to do something stupid before you realize how stupid it is. Don’t be stupid.

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14 Responses to “Be Careful Using Text Link Ads”

  1. That’s why I can’t understand why Text Link Ads and TNX are still in business. Buying text links may be good for somethings, but on regular sites and blogs it just penalizes you.

  2. I still don’t get why Google does this. It’s not like everyone has an unlimited supply of money to buy text link ads, etc.

  3. Alan.

    Are you sure it was due to the text link?

    I have no text links on my site and noticed a significant drop in google search traffic over the same period may 29 – June 1 my google traffic was down by 90%. It’s not returning to the usual level

  4. should have read my comment :o)

    my google search appears to be returning to the usual level of traffic so far this week :o)

  5. I warned you 😉


  6. Yes Jeremy, you did warn us. I’m a little thick headed though.

  7. Yes, thanks to you both for the warning … they are tempting some times and thanks for being “stupid” for me LOL *hugs* Suzanne

  8. I think that you can’t asure that it was due to the text link ad. If you had 500 daily visitors from google and then suddenly they decrease to 100 it would be more suspicious, but around an amount of 40 visitors the fluctuations are bigger.

  9. I highly doubt your traffic drop was due to a penalty. Normally Google doesn’t act that quick (it may take a couple weeks or months, but not always) and secondly they would not have removed the penalty that quick. Most likely you would have had to file a request to have the penalty removed had it really been a penalty.

    My Google traffic, about 100-150/day, flucuates a lot and some days can all but dry up. Text links are risky but in this case I doubt it was the cause of the drop in traffic.

  10. Binary Ant, Justin,

    I know it’s not the most significant of traffic levels that we’re dealing with here, but it is the biggest fluctuation from Google I’ve seen in probably 5 months.

  11. I was just talking about how I hated learning lessons the hard way. I don’t buy text link ads, just on the fact I think they are a waste.

  12. I have to agree with the people saying it’s a fluke. I’m not saying they don’t penalize, just that this doesn’t seem like a penalty from Google. If it’s that easy, all you’d need to do to shut down your competitors is buy a few text link ads on their behalf.

  13. I had a side experience with text link ads. I didn’t think of checking if they would hurt my traffic, but a few of my original sites are adult related. Not porn, but adult.

    I have a new offer on one of them that gives out free products and I thought I would do my first text link ads for this. I looked up adult blogs and sites to place ads on so that I wouldn’t piss anyone off, and used the June coupon code for 20% off. I thought this would be a good experiment and drive a little traffic to my site, but no.. my order is denied. Why? Because its adult themed.

    Ok, I prolly missed the fine print that said no adult sites. I’m not sure its there, but doesn’t matter now anyway. What’s interesting is that they have adult sites listed but won’t allow adult ads. Kinda weird.

    Does this mean the adult sites only accept ads for kids? Boy is that a can of spiders to open.

    I guess I’ll do like you said and use my $500 prize on affiliate offers since my non-adult sites aren’t ready for launch yet and the links would prolly just hurt their traffic anyway.

    Oh.. and the Microsoft adcenter doesn’t allow adult ads too. So I’ve done the same with them.

    Thx for the tips, you continue to be a great person to learn from.

  14. Thanks for the warning although I don’t buy TLA but I sell them. But I agree with Justin your traffic drop might not have been due to a penalty as Google is not fast at removing such a penalty.

    Peter Lee

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