The End Of Google Rankings As We Know It! Rotational Rankings?

I always worry about posting new found research as some clever dick always pops up to tell you they discovered it in 1999, however I have noticed something in the rankings recently that has made me re think Google rankings.

The Story

OK so I decided a couple of weeks ago to rank for “SEO consultant”, just something I fancied really, not the most competitive term.

Anyway….. I have obviously been keeping an eye on the rankings over the past few weeks on this particular keyword and a few more as well and there has been some pretty dramatic trends in the rankings.

One day I checked and I was 7th for “seo consultant” refreshed and I was 15th, refreshed again and I was 4th!!!

It’s not just that keyword either, I searched “search engine optimisation” I was 11th, refreshed and I was 26th and again and I was 7th.

Now rankings have always been up and down but this was a little crazier than usual.

Webmaster Tools Update

So…. Google announce the webmaster tools up date only a few days ago which explains that they are now tracking click through rates in the keyword sections of webmaster tools.

Now I don’t know how accurate these figures are and they seem to differ quite a bit to Google analytics, however the data it presents is interesting.

Just take a look at the below screen shot;

webmaster rankings

Now I am only using “bing SEO” as the example but the data establishes a few things across multiple keywords.

The first thing you notice is that out of 320 impressions I only ranked first 260 times (these impressions figures aren’t accurate as I usually receive around 600 visitors on this keyword a month), this means I don’t rank number one, I only rank there around 70% of the time.

The Old Theory

The old SEO theory determines your rank based on page optimisation and the number of links your page/domain has, the only thing affecting rankings would be competition in Google’s algorithm. I now think this is outdated and wrong, over the last 6 months I and other SEO’s have seen massive fluctuations in rankings suggesting a new way of ranking sites and determining traffic.

My Theory

Well, this is what I suspect, Google have confirmed nothing yet or any other SEO authority but the evidence I have seen strongly suggests rotational rankings.

Let me explain…. You do a search in Google on your main key term and you rank 4th, so you rank 4th??? Wrong you may rank 4th in that instance but you could complete the same search 10 seconds later and you rank 10th, a huge difference not only in ranking but the traffic too.

So… Google determines the rank of your site determined on page factors and links and then ranks you in a range of positions could be 5 – 10 or it could be position 2 to 4 pages back, depending on the person searching, there location, personalised search, time of day.

Ultimately how well optimised your site is determines how often you rank in a top position.

So your aim is not to rank in the top 5, which is now impossible, your aim should be to rank their most of the time.

What Does This Mean?

It means quite a lot.

1 – Determining traffic in a certain position is now impossible

2 – Your ranking position can change every second even if you’re searching on the same IP using an incognito window on chrome

3 – You can never say I rank number one, but only I rank number one most of the time

You see there are so many websites competing for the same space that Google has no choice but to use a rotational system like this and for all we know they may use the click through rate to decide whether your ranking gets better or worse, maybe.

I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts on this and if anyone has noticed these changes.

Is Reciprocal Link Building Worthwhile?

Anybody who knows me also knows I am the enemy of reciprocal link building, this is due to many reasons, firstly because of the lack of link juice they pass, secondly they leak PageRank unnecessarily and thirdly because many reciprocal links look like spam.


My point of view has changed slightly, in the last three months actually.

As many of you might know I control a whole load of niche blogs, one of those blogs has been causing me a few problems; in fact I was struggling to get it onto the first page.

After a long conversation with a close friend and a bit of brainstorming, I decided I was going to do a straight link exchange with 2 other quality sites within this particular niche, a straight exchange blogroll to blogroll. In fact I didn’t even bother with getting the exact anchor I was looking for and just used the domain name.

I was sceptical about this but didn’t really have anything to lose, the site was barely generating 20 bucks a month!

After just 1 week of the links been in place I not only moved onto the first page but into the top five! This meant 20 times more traffic, and $5 in income. This was 2 links and a week later wam!

Let me make one thing clear, this is a pretty small blog in a low competition niche, I know every link that points to the site and their aren’t a ton of them, not even a hundred. This is how I know the reciprocal links are the reason for the increased rank.

What Does This Mean

OK, before you going out trading links like a mad person let me just clarify some rules first and give a few warnings.

1. I only traded 2 links, now this is all I needed to give me a boost, but I would never recommend a blogroll of more than 10-15 partners.

2. I traded the links with related sites, this doesn’t mean on the exact topic but on a related one (ie. blenders site links to a cooking site – not exact but relevant)

3. Treat the exchange as a partnership adding value not just in your blog sidebar but within your posts as well.

4. Finally don’t trade them in one go, site wide links can mean your link popularity jumps by thousands, this can look suspicious so keep it to 2 trades a month and build from there.

Please Do Not Do This!

There is another form of reciprocal linking that I would advise you to completely stay away from, let me show you the chart below.

reciprocal link building

As a webmaster you are going to get automated email after email asking you to exchange links, 95% of them will be set up like above.

“Hey give us a link and we will send you a link from our spammy unrelated link list.”

Some even have the links lists in categories but it is designed to do the same thing, spam Google’s index and you will get caught and banned.

This is different to having a links page with helpful links on it to sources based on your niche that don’t necessarily link back to you, that sort of ‘resources’ page is fine.

Why is this different to a site wide or blogroll exchange?

A blogroll or site wide exchange is designed to pass traffic as well as authority, if you show a link on every page of your site you’re willing to lose PageRank from every page of your site. Would you do this for a worthless link??

Reciprocal link pages are not designed for users, they’re designed for spiders, they are crowded, look terrible and shout SPAMMER!

So ignore the emails, find good, trustworthy and relevant link partners because this sort of reciprocal linking is valuable.

You may have noticed my ‘useful sites’ link on the right-hand site, yes this is my reciprocal list. I do plan on adding more but slowly, these sites are quality blogs exchanged with people I know and trust and am happy to refer traffic to and they will remain there as long as the partnership lasts.

One word of warning

Do not do this with a brand new site; first give your site some authority with one way links through guest posting, article marketing, directory submissions etc

Then when your site already has some authority, look for partners. This is for 2 reasons;

1 – Many webmasters will not exchange links until you have some toolbar PageRank

2 – One link exchange can give you hundreds of links, a new site hit with this kind of link popularity straight away is always going to attract attention.

This could well be my last post before the holidays so if I don’t get chance to publish again, enjoy the holidays and have a great Christmas. I will be posting before the New Year!! Big things coming in 2010!

P.S. My post about Bing SEO got into the “Top 50 SEO Posts of the Year” at you should check it out, lot’s of great resources on this page.

One Way Link Building – Indepth Review Of The Best Services

Let me start this post by making it clear that this is not a promotional post, there are no affiliate links in it and I will try my best not to use any promotional language.

The reviews are from my own experience as I have used the services over the past 3 months, some quite a lot longer.

The next thing I want to make clear is that this post is to help those who actively build links, if you don’t think article marketing is ethical or content distribution is a valid way of getting links then this post is seriously not for you, if you read it you may leave this blog and never return :)

One Way Link Building

I know there are quite a few “SEO” newbies that read this blog, however if you think you fully understand one way link building you can skip this section and go straight into the reviews.

One way links are those links that point back to your site without any return link the linking page.


– If I get a link from Jonny at that is a one way link.

– If I return a link to Jonny’s page that links to me this is a reciprocal link.

– If I return a link to a different page on Jonny’s domain that is what is known as a triangular link.

I hope that makes sense…

There is nothing wrong with reciprocal or triangular links as long as we keep them to a minimum, they are sometimes good to use to help a new site gain trust or strengthen an established sites link profile.

However…. One way links need to make up at least 80% of our link profile, they are given more weight from Google as a one way link is a reference without a return vote, no other reason for giving the link other than the fact you are pointing people to a great resource, apparently.

So as webmasters it is important that we start getting these one way links and doing it with the content on our own sites alone is a real pain in the a%! in fact it never really materialises for 95% of webmasters, even if their content was the best anyone could provide in that niche. I have seen so many blogs with great content, hardly being noticed online because they have failed to fully understand the concept that content is king.

Yes, content is king, but only when you use it right and posting 10 times a week is not using it right and will probably end in you getting burnt out and giving up, only to start a new blog on a new theme 3 months later making the same mistakes.

The following reviews are going to show you some great systems for generating ‘one way back links’ of course some are better than others and if you’re in an extremely low competition niche you may not even have to pay, anyway let’s kick into the meat of this post.

The Free Way

Yes if you have absolutely no competition or your competition are a few crappy little sites who don’t know what a link is then, Yes all you need is your time.

Use sites like Ezine Articles and GO Articles, to publish content in return for a link back. You can read more about article submissions in a post I published a few weeks back on ‘mass article submissions‘ and why they are not as effective as they were.

As well as publishing the odd article for a link you can also submit your site to directories (Yes this still works) and you can submit your individual blog posts to blog carnivals.

Do around a month of this and you will see a steady increase in links, and if there is little competition for your keyword you should be at least on the first page of Google.

It is so important to use your target anchor text when creating these links back to your site, however remember to mix it up using different variations. I recommend using the exact anchor text around 30% of the time, the others should be variations and/or your domain name.

Ok, let’s fly into the product reviews at last, remember these reviews are 100% genuine and designed to give you a true insight into the product and my own experience with it. The products are in no particular order; however I will tell you at the end which I use and prefer. Remember the products that will suite you will depend on your exact needs and budget.

Article Marketer

article marketer

Article Marketer is a mass distribution network that pumps your article out to thousands of ezines and their subscribers.

First thing to get out of the way is that Article Marketer has now split into to 2 different companies since October 2009, however both systems are very similar and work in a similar way.

Both Distribute Your Articles and Content Crooner send your articles out to thousands of directories and ezines.

The services cost between $30 and $40 monthly with discounts when you pay for a year or a life time membership.

Some things to keep in mind

1) Even though your articles are sent out to thousands it is not going to be published on thousands.

2) Also your article is going to be the identical content on every directory so only the strongest domains will be indexed.

3) You can typically expect to acquire between 15 – 35 back links with every article you distribute.

Who does this product suite

I would recommend this to anyone who writes one ‘quality’ article a week for distribution and when I mean quality I am talking about something worthy of a guest blog post. If you tend to write 400 word descriptive articles (like me :) ) I suggest you save your money and distribute them manually.

My Article Network

my article network

My Article Network is a similar sort of set up, however has some big differences.

First of all it has over 10,000 active blogs to publish your content on, all with separate IP’s, excellent but how is it different to article marketer and co?

My article network also gives you to tools to spin your content, basically this means you rewrite the paragraphs a few times and my article network mixes them all around to create unique articles. This means more of your articles are indexed and you get more links.

The price of the service is $47 a month, if you stop paying your articles stop being distributed and this leads us onto the negative side of my article network.

Once you have written and submitted your content, it starts to be distributed, slowly. In fact you will be lucky to get more than 3 distributions per article a day, on top of this you have no idea where the content is going to or the quality of the sites. I used Google to see how many articles were being indexed and the success rate was a little better than article marketer and co, however the blogs were slightly better quality also.

Who does it suite?

If you have a site that needs a moderate amount of link building then this could be the perfect product, I would recommend writing a few articles a week and you should be able to build between 80 – 250 back links a month, which is a nice steady rate.

Unique Article Wizard

unique article wizard

The Unique Article Wizard is hyped up something crazy, in fact in the UK we would say it’s a little too cheesy!!

Hang on though everyone, block out the cheesy hype because this product actually works and works well.

It works on the same premise as the other two products distributing your site to thousands of directories and blogs, so how does it differ??

Well it does in two ways….

1) The spinning tool and options used in this service are the best I have come across and…

2) The quality of the sites submitted to are the best I have come across in a distribution service.

I have used this product for the last 3 month and the average article generates around 300 links, I am not trying to over sell this but these are the kind of results it gives.

Does it have a downside??

Actually yes and it’s the price. Its $67 a month to use the services and this could seem kind of expensive, especially if you are creating little or no income from your site, however apart from that I see no other downsides. It really is an excellent tool.

Backlink Solutions

backlink solutions

OK we start to move into a different area of one way link building and that is with blog networks.

Backlink Solutions is a network of blogs (around 300) that will allow you to publish content on their network. Again the blogs are on differing IP’s and your snippet or article will be published at a rate of between 1 and 20 a day.

Differences to the above products

First of all the blog network is quality with some blogs boasting a PageRank of 5 and 6 (not all some are as low as 2 and 3).

The second benefit is all the blogs look and act like blogs therefore are more likely to be indexed.

The third benefit is that you only have to publish snippets of content (over 150 words) this means you get more links for less time.

Lastly they also have a tool for you to spin the content so you will get more indexed links.

The Price?

$97 Ouch – Yes but it really is worth it for all you get, the only downside apart from the price is that, some of the content does not get indexed and therefore the link building potential is limited, however you place your links within the content which looks more editorial and therefore holds more weight on Google.

Who is this for???

If you are making some good money online this is your next purchase, you can build quality links in a very small amount of time, however if you are making no money it will be difficult to justify.



Linkvana is very similar to Backlink Solutions, it has a large blog network of high PageRank blogs which you submit snippets of content to in return for a link.

The differences

– You can only submit one piece of content for 1 link

– They will only issue 2 – 5 snippets a day per domain

– You can have profiles for as many different domains as you like (even if you don’t own the domains, Backlink Solutions does not allow this)

– You can hire someone to write your content for $2 a snippet (I like this 😉 )

These differences make Linkvana a little more search engine friendly and in my opinion give you a better quality of link.

The Downsides

– You can only build 2 – 5 links a day per domain
– The price is $147 a month

Who is this for?

In my opinion linkvana is only for those who already have profitable sites or those who engage in client work and professional link building. $147 is a lot if you only have 1 or blogs that don’t really pull in any cash.

What Do I use

Before I tell you this, first understand I do a fair amount of client work.

I actually use Unique Article Wizard and Linkvana, however if I only had my own sites to worry about and not clients as well, I would use Backlink Solutions instead of linkvana.

You may want to start with the article wizard and then when you have built some income invest in one of the blog networks also.

Is this blackhat?

This is not an easy one to answer and depends on your interpretation of “blackhat SEO”.

My opinion is that it is not. Article marketing has been around before the internet was born and distributing content for a link is no different to guest posting or submitting your site to a directory.

What about spinning and submitting multiple copies of the same article

Well, effectively you are distributing different articles to different directories? What is the harm in that, you are simply making sure Google gives the content unique recognition and therefore recognises the links.

In my opinion this is not blackhat, you are not scraping content, hacking and planting hidden links, all the content is written by humans. What more do you want??

Some Important Link Building Notes

– If you have a new site start off building links slowly and gradually build up the amount.

– If you use these services I recommend submitting content no more than 30 times a day, you don’t want to get penalised for link bombing.

– Remember to mix up your anchor text, you will be penalised for building exact anchors too fact even if it is a 2 page drop for a month, do you really want to risk it?

– Write quality content and your success rate will increase, this will lead to more links for the time you spend writing.

Don’t think you can compete with those people who are using these tools, you will lose. If you care about your business you need to make some sort of investment even if it is simply your time.

I hope you found this useful and please let me know if you have any questions.