When submitting to directories, buying paid search ads, buying display ads, or ranking in organic search a small company with a smart marketer can seem like it is much more powerful and much more authoritative than it is. But some webmasters undermine their authority by not considering how displaying ads on their own site could affect the perception of quality.
Which Directory is the Best?
Many directories sell sitewide banner ads to other directories, which directly states the other directory is of higher quality and more worthy of submitting to, not only for how the ads flow link equity, but also for the general brand perception.
Sell Yourself First:
Some sites make the same error of undermining their perceived site quality by placing external ads above their house ads or internal products. An earlier version of my site design placed other ads in-line with the content and the ad for my book on the sidebar. The day I put my ebook ad inline with the site content my sales tripled. If you have an editorial site that people subscribe to the easiest thing to sell should be your own stuff since people reading your site already trust you. Now my site has less ads, a better brand perception, and more profit.
Promote Your Content to Sell the Ads:
Without distribution it is hard to make money from advertising. Without heavily promoting the value of your content it is hard to get much distribution, especially with the self reinforcing nature of networks and the web.
Some sites are so optimized for short term profits that they undermine their own authority by placing a large ad block above the content. There are many creative ways to slightly reduce ad CTR while still leaving the general perception of quality to most site visitors. Just about every link you get will be from someone who visits your site. If your site leaves a good perception of quality and trustworthiness it is much easier to be deemed as linkworthy than if your site looks like an ad farm. AdSense aligned top and to the left is the equivalent of a noisy FFA page.
The order you place things in tells readers of your site what you think is most important. If you are in a competitive marketplace it is hard to compete if you place other brands or ads above your content.
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