I am in the process of figuring out if thinkBIGsites.com organic search engine optimization program is worth $2K or $3K a month.
Maybe you are too.
I figure the best way to do this is to evaluate the work they did for one of their reference clients, Frank Key, who sells a colloidal silver product. (This is good because it’s the same industry as my company, Jigsaw Health, working to optimize for magnesium supplements.)
(Images from The Secret To Internet Marketing That Actually Works pdf download.)
So…How Do You Check Inbound Links?
Links to your website with your keywords in the “anchor text” is what Google ranking is mostly based on. Everyone gets that, right? Ok good.
I needed to figure out how to check Frank’s inbound links. Here’s what I did:
Step 1) Googled “How to check inbound links”
Step 2) Got totally lost for like 2 hours.
Thus, Step 2 will be the subject of a future post called “How Do you Check Inbound Links?” because this was not nearly as easy as I wanted it to be would have imagined.
I couldn’t find a single service that reported inbound links grouped by unique domain. They all just showed every page that linked to the target domain.
They were showing me millions of pine needles. I wanted to see the trees.
Of course, what is confusing is that Yahoo!’s site explorer tool only showed 15 inbound links, and Google shows “about 29.” WTF? Don’t you just love data discrepancy?!?! Grrr…
Next Step: Reference Check
The sales rep at ThinkBIGsites I talked with this afternoon is going to let me talk to some reference clients. I’ll share what I learn from them in a future post or an update to this post. More to come…
What’s A Boy To Do?
Get high with a little help from my friends. (Pun intended…like Gaylord Focker, I pass on grass. Always.)
Any other comments, please post them. “I want to get high, so-o-o-o-o high.”
UPDATE: May 18, 2011
I should have updated this post a year ago, but I just never got around to it. In the past year, I’ve answered several personal emails asking, “So how did it turn out with ThinkBIGsites? I’m thinking of using them, but wanted to get your opinion.”
Well, here’s the rest of the story that I wrote back to all of those who emailed me…
ThinkBigSites did get all 5 of my keywords on the first page, in the time that they expected to do it. One keyword, “magnesium calcium supplement”, was up to 2nd place for a month.
But once I analyzed the traffic, there were only about 100 visits from that natural ranking, and only 1 converted into being a customer.
I’ve done more conversion optimization and multi-variant testing than the average bear, of that I can assure you. In fact, I was a case study in Bryan Eisenberg’s Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer.
Did I have a conversion problem? Yes. And what this trial with ThinkBigSites made me realize — once again — is that “persuassive momentum” matters more to the conversion process than anything else.
What is persuasive momentum?
It’s the spark that started the fire, or the search. What caused this person to search for “calcium magnesium supplements” in the first place? A doctor. A friend. A newspaper article. Etc.
As a premium priced product, Jigsaw Health doesn’t have a strong chance of getting the business of “generic term searchers”, unless they are in a “slow buying modality” of “humanistic or methodical.”
I reviewed this data with TBS and they agreed with me that it made sense to stop spending money. So I did and we parted ways as friends.
Is First Place Worth It?
I didn’t find “paying to get to first place” to be a worthwhile strategy for Jigsaw Health.
In fact, trying to get and stay at #1 organically is no different than building a house on sand IMO. (Here’s a few more thoughts on first place.)