Recently I’ve been overly obsessed with getting ultra-focused, one-way, followed links to my client’s sites. And after a while of course it starts to get harder and harder to find these links. Then I noticed that some link exchanges I’d set up on a test site were really starting to bear fruit. The sites with the links back to my test site were barely related (think “shopping” rather than “wine”) and the test site was climbing the rankings for all the specified anchor texts I’d set up in the link exchange. Now this is early days and the effect may wear off as quickly as it began but I’ll keep you posted.
I also noticed that reciprocal links were starting to bear fruit as well. Higher rankings every time a link was added to the linking domains report in Google Webmaster Tools across the board for all keywords. Now these links are all from related sites (travel oriented) but the difference is quite marked. For years we’ve been told that link exchanges are dead or harmful to your site’s rankings but since the Panda update I’ve noticed that reciprocal links definitely help… at the moment.
So what about those ultra-targetted, one way, followed links… they’ve not really had an impact on rankings. Strangely I’ve had more results from adding a few nofollowed links from related blog posts with no real targetted anchor text. The site-wide boost these links have given has helped. Maybe my link model was too unnatural as it contained no nofollowed links at all and now that it does Google thinks more highly of the site, maybe it is just the pure number of links that matter. I’ll keep you updated with what’s working!