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Interesting comment that about 20% in the first week or two, noticed that as well. Seems as though new links, good ones, give you a little taster and only then the full effect.
eg for a fairly un-competitive term that you didn't list for previously (but is releated to your sites content
term is "blue widgets" and link mentions "blue widgets" in the anchor text.
week 1 -- Position 200 (link just obtained)
Week 2/3 -- Position 40
Week 8 -- Position 25
Week 12 -- Position 20
Week 25 -- Position 23
Week 50 -- Position 40
Obviously very basic and complete guesswork but it's the kind of feeling i get for it.
1.) Amount of competition for the phrase that you are attempting to rank for. A word with little competition around it can rank #1 with 0 - 5 external links pointing to it.
2.) Quality of external links. I have witnessed links that can move a term from 400 + to the first page. It is rare but it happens.
3.) How does moving up in the SERPS impact the rate at which natural links are obtained? So when you are discussing time, is it that one link alone is getting more valued (which I believe it does) or the combination of that and obtaining more natural links?
I believe you get a percentage of the "link juice" right away. I'm guessing 20%, although I have know real basis other than guess.
I have to agree with this also as I have noticed this. I have very competitive terms that were sitting on page 2 of google for quite a long time. They were stable for about the pat 6 months on the same position. I then started a new link building campaign and the SERP's position moved in 4-8 days. it fluctuated back and forth and after 2 to 3 weeks rankings were stabled to page 1 results. its still continuing to move up. It hasn't been even two months yet so I have to agree with this but I still think the best results are to come after 3 months.
... but I am seeing zero effect on my traffic.... zero. I've seen no PR changes on my site in this latest update. My Google traffic has remained unchanged for almost a year at around 340 uniques daily, Yahoo unchanged for over a year at around 120 uniques, MSN.Live <5 per day forever.
What am I doing wrong? I am completely white hat... purest of pure white. Am I not waiting long enough?