There was a time that Google engineers used an algorithm that gave sites great rankings if they exchanged links with related sites. That is simply no longer the case. Caller after caller that calls us that has used link exchange software or link exchange services has one common denominator in their story- I was ranked so well in Google, but for some reason I am now nowhere to be found. What happened?!
There are hundreds of link exchange services, and a few link exchange software tools that will hunt down related sites you can request link exchanges with. However, not too long ago, Google engineers must have been given a marching order of dampening the rankings of websites that use link exchange services. Folks, it was a massive slaughter – on a medieval scale. It was bloody. Kids were crying, puppies were being kicked, husbands were blaming their wives and wives were blaming their husbands.
Fingers were being pointed to the poor webmasters, to the ever trivial meta tags, to keywords in the URL not being there, to keywords in the page name not being there, to the neighbor stealing the newspaper and lastly to Google having an evil plan of destroying them (not true at all).
Well folks, Google prides itself in programmatically solving problems. In most cases, they do not want to belittle their engineers by devaluing sites by hand. In essence, there is no policy at Google that I know that would ever purposefully hurt a website. They will not take down your site, they will not devalue your website, nor do they have an evil plan to harm you. Having said that, Google has a spam team headed by Matt Cutts. Mr. Cutts job is to get keep Google’s index spam free. To that end, his team has in fact removed sites by hand, but those sites were in blatant violation of Google’s guidelines as most were either using hidden text or cloaking, both are considered black hat SEO and are a definite NO-NO! Even in that case, many contend that robots found those violations and not Mr. Cutts’ team.
So how does all this pertain to you? Well, if you obtained links from other sites and are pointing links back to those sites, and if you have done this to more than about 15 sites, you are probably experiencing a serious drop in your rankings.
Forum, Blog & Articles Links Are Dead
There was a time where people used forums, articles and blogs to get links. We at RegisterEverywhere.com have never used such poor methodologies, as we deem those types of links to be spam. Nonetheless, links (excessive links) pointing from forums, blogs, and articles not only don’t work, but are counterproductive, as they may get your site penalized.
So what does work?
Simple- get good links from older sites and make sure they are one-way links. Never point links back. Oh, please please PLEASE do not fall for the automated emails that seem almost personalized that request a link from your site. These —— even have the audacity to say that have already placed a temporary link to your site from their site and they even give you the link path, which is something like: mycrapsite.com/somedirectory/someotherdirectory/keyword-keyword.php
Moral of the story – Avoid link exchanges and get 1 way links to point to your site from older websites. NEVER POINT LINKS BACK.