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We did all on-page optimization and started link building. The first 3 months saw significant increases in Google's rankings, then a small decrease.
Now, for the past 3 months, despite continued link building (all permanent, relevant one-way links), the rankings haven't budged.
Btw, the site has been around for years, and we examined "trust" factors pretty thouroughly to build on those as well. The site doesn't have any history of spam or black hat stuff.
We plan on holding steady, and continuing with the link building for this site. It's just been frustrating not to see any changes for so long.
Anyone ever seen this before?
links aren't the be-all and end-all anymore anyway. it's starting to become more about what the user actually does while he's on your site.
google measure it through their toolbar, analytics and cookies.
if a site has a billion links - but everyone clicks away from the page after two seconds - then google is still going to know it's rubbish.
[edited by: tedster at 5:09 pm (utc) on April 3, 2008]
There's a site - extremely high competition, high ROI - which I was able to get into the top league in about two months... and then couldn't get pass over the leading few for the rest of the year.
If I really wanted a conspiration theory, it'd be related to the fact that we got more links to a 2nd tier page than the homepage, but if I keep sane...
It's just this hard, and that's that.
And an analogy to your story: it was trust ( TrustRank )+ relevance that I went after first and foremost. And the idea worked extremely well, as it lifted the site to the top 10 with one tenth, sometimes 1/20 of the linkage the competition had. The site cleared the trust thresholds for the top bracket and was ready to compete with the big ones.
But from then on it was plain old PageRank and anchor text pounding. The simple answer seems to be: not enough links. Not enough power. Trust is not an issue, the site can rank for anything at will, it's just that...
...the top few has been around for 8/10+ yrs while this site is 1 year old, and simply doesn't have enough of the same.
Not to mention that the old timers were sure not to miss out on mass-link exchanges. Some of them have pretty strong linkage brokered from informative sites as well. One in particluar is one step from the backbone of the Internet. They have great connections.
( and out of the top 10, it seems to me the site in my care is the only one that doesn't have a spending budget )
So, we're up against a wall allright, but this wall is not in front but behind us. The starting line where you're clear to go, all you have to do is mass up more of the same and nothing else matters.
( to the dear reader who doesn't know anything about trust/co occurrence/relevance/authority sites/thresholds/-950 ... don't try this at home )
[edited by: Miamacs at 1:47 pm (utc) on April 3, 2008]
You really need to look for a link building strategy that can grow exponentially if you want to maintain linear gains in Google. In other words, viral/linkbait type stuff.
Perhaps we needed some kinda scandal...
That'd get some news coverage to the site.
yeah. "leveling up" costs more and more.
Most of the sites that are really good can take care of their own campaigns after an initial push but... in some industries it's the USERS who can't take initiatives, don't want you to be creative - just deliver them the service and guarantees. There's nothing about this particular theme that'd get a link, ever.
You can always build a portal around it though.
Events, blogs, pictures, forums, whatever that is even mildly related.
Which is what I've pushed for since day 1.
Explore stuff around the topic, relevant, just in a different sector. Informative, not commercial, etc. Then you'll get some additional links to the domain at least. From then on it's your call.
30 weak links earn a PR 4, the 550 organic to only PR 3.
I know another page 1 site, which has only 3 inbound links with PR 0. One of them is even sponsored spam.
My feel is, that this inbound link algo is coming to a critical point.
It seems to me too many people focus on SEO and links and all the things not related to the purpose of a website which is to provide information in an easy to read and navigate manner.
You can drive yourself crazy trying to second guess what the search engines are doing or will do. At the end of the day they are always trying to improve search relevance. If your constantly trying to find shortcuts around that simple fact your probably going to lose in the long run.
My 2 cents.
I think people usually forget that competitors are also working at improving and maintaining rankings, so, it is not at all surprising that you are stuck where you are.
I'm sure loads of people here will have an idea of how long a link takes to reach full value - but if you've only been building them for 6 months I reckon you haven't gained the full benefit of them yet..
Keep going and keep positive - good luck!
It's my belief that Google is just taking longer to give credit to backlinks, so it's more a waiting game than ever. This makes sense for two reasons that I can think of - spam, cause obviously spam links are less permanent than freely given editorial links, and the whole paid links debacle, because it might discourage webmasters who pay for links if they find that their first six months of money just goes into a black hole and brings no results.
How do the competitors' coding compare to yours? (i.e. Are the competitors' sites using a tableless design? is your site using a tableless design?)
If you look at the coding for the majority of top ranked sites for a given keyword phrase, you'll see more and more of them are tableless.
So I guess my question is: Is your site tableless?
[edited by: Judah_Ben at 4:51 pm (utc) on April 4, 2008]
Most of the sites I'm reffering to, that contain tableless designs, produce tons of validation errors as well.
You probably already know this, but just to clarify for any newbies reading this post... A tableless design doesn't mean that the site's code validates without errors. It means that it doesn't use tables in the HTML code.
I'm not saying that a tableless design would make or break the site's ranking, I'm just curious if the website in question uses tables or not.
My other question would be "when was the last time content was added?"
The only reason you see more tabeleless designs at the top these days is because that's the way most sites are being designed now.
In response to Judah_Ben:
The website in question doesn't use a tableless design. New content is being added at different rates over the past 6 months.