Around last summer it was becoming increasingly obvious to me that buying/placing/creating links in content that had already been crawled & indexed had very little effect at all in terms of increasing rankings.
Many different newspapers and other publishers were offering links in old articles for a ridiculous amount of money and the truth is they had zero impact.
Around the end of last year I did a little research but was so busy at the start of the year I didn’t get time to write about it and then it got forgotten. So I thought I might as well publish what I found as I think it is still applicable to the current climate.
Very simple really, I took 3 websites in different niches and built varying links into each one. There were 3 types of links built:
1 – In ‘fresh’ content
2 – In ‘old’ content
3 – Text Links (sidebar and footers)
I basically used a little bit of article marketing together with some fresh blogs posts on my network to build the links back into the sites. All links used the target anchor text.
I placed links on blog posts that had already been crawled, indexed and even given a bit of PageRank (around half the links were PR 1 ). The links were placed using the target anchor text.
I basically added some blogroll links to 15 of the blogs in my network, all were site wide and all used the target anchor text.
As you can see this test has some serious limitations and therefore the results can’t wholly be relied upon however the ranking changes do seem to point to a lack of weight in building links from old content.
All links went live half way through week 2:
It was quite clear to me when running this little test that placing links in old content had little if any value at all, it didn’t budge and even went backwards a little bit.
It’s also worth noting that the site wide text links had a massive impact, yet they settled back down after the initial jump (remember this was the end of last year, site wide links won’t work like this anymore 😉 ).
Due to the fact all these sites were targeting different keywords and that the article marketing couldn’t be controlled to a certain number of links, it makes this test an unfair one when comparing the link methods side by side.
However, the links from old content didn’t seem to have any impact which was in line with my experience up to this point.
It’s also worth noting that the site with the text links is now nowhere to be seen in the index, not even in the top 200, which shows Google have already devalued all the links.
The test isn’t conclusive but I can guarantee you I won’t be spending time placing links in content that has already been crawled and indexed, if you’re adding fresh content to a page that is fine, if you are publishing a fresh article that is better but I feel once Google has crawled a piece of content & then gone on to associate it with that page, placing a link in it afterwards does nothing for anybody except the user.
As I mentioned this is by no means scientific and I’d love to hear about contrary experiences and/or results.