Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Automated Link Exchange Update

Last month I expressed some serious concerns about automated link exchange pages. I had installed Link Machine on about 15 sites back in July and August, had spent three months fairly religiously exchanging links with other sites. By December 8/04, I reported that none of the automated link exchange pages on any of my sites (about 15 of them) had acquired any page rank. This made me extremely skeptical about the value of a) automated link exchange pages, and b) link exchanges in general.

As a result I put my link exchange program on hold across the board, pending "new developments". It has been almost a month since then, and until the last couple of days I have essentially ignored link requests, and automated submissions from fellow Link Machine users. The requests have piled up and I have to decide whether to follow up on them, or completely rethink the whole link exchange thing.

Then yesterday I noticed that some of my automated pages had acquired some Page Rank. Most of them are sitting at either PR1 or PR2, which, considering how little effort I've put into developing and promoting them is about what I would expect. It also compares favourably with my manual pages at Trade Show Tips, on which I have done no work at all.

My manual pages at continue to perform the best, with the index page sitting at PR4, and most of the rest at PR3. I actually worked quite a bit on these pages in the late spring and summer, but have ignored them since about August.

Some conclusions:

1. Automated link exchange pages — at least the static kind generated by Link Machine — will eventually acquire PR.

2. They will not do significantly better or worse than manual pages.

3. Having the words "link" or "links" in the file name or page title does not seem to adversely affect the PR of these pages. My highest scoring page is called "links.html". It is a PR4.

Also, I have no test data to confirm this, but I think it follows from basic SEO theory that pages with targeted content — including optimized link and anchor text —will eventually score better than bare bones links pages with nothing on them but lists of unrelated URLs.


We're going to make SBO Linknet the authority on linking.