When I left my day job four years ago I had four website's, today I have forty five sites and a while back I noticed that two of my sites have held their Top Three positions through all of the trends, fads, search engine updates, even the Florida update did not affect their top positions. To say the least I was perplexed, there was nothing really apparent that made these two sites different in fact I had did a terrible job of keeping them updated, you know too busy with the other site's greasing the squeaky wheels. They were not broken so I did not fix them.
So anyway I needed to figure out why these sites had did so well with so little attention. Now I am thinking if I can just figure out why then I can do the same to the rest of my sites. But like I said earlier I did very little to these sites, they never needed it. It just did not make sense until after days of hair pulling I decided to analyze them just like I would do one of my competitors. First the on page factors had nothing special just very basic SEO, second I looked at the list of inbound links nothing really jumped out at me, so I made a list of my reciprocal partners from my links page then eliminated those from the inbound link list, which left about three dozen links of which six were scraper site's so I eliminated those so now there are 30 links I did not know about, at first I thought no big deal these are just links from site's that wanted a reciprocal link and I never got back to them, like I said I had neglected these two sites. Analyzing the 30 links, six or seven probably were from reciprocal link request that I had ignored, so I was left with 23 unexpected links to analyze and here's what I found
None of the links were on a links page.
All of the links were either in an article or review.
All of the links had text before and after the link text.
Almost all of the links had different text in the link.
Most of the pages linking to me only had 5 to 10 outbound links.
Some of the links were to my home page but the others were to interior pages.
Most of the pages linking to me were only one level deep. (1 click from the home page)
Apparently the handful of quality non-reciprocal links was behind the success of these two sites, which if you look at it from a search engines point of view it makes perfect sense because an unbiased, non-reciprocal and natural occurring link is the only true vote for the quality of the content on your site. The search engines and especially Google are smart enough to spot reciprocal links and know that a reciprocal link has nothing to do with the quality of the content on your site, they know that its just a trade between two webmasters trying to get better rankings.
Back when Google first started counting inbound links as votes for a site in its algorithms they did not have to worry about whether the link was natural, reciprocal or paid because so few people knew about it, plus unlike today the technology did not exist back then to easily scan and spot reciprocal links. But as more people learned about the power of linking more and more abuse took place, forcing Google to adjust their algorithms.
Next week well exam ways to get quality one way links to your site.