SEO looks like a black art in many ways and never more so than when you research link building. I hired an “SEO Expert” last year and learned that not all industrial marketing links are created equal.
First, our “expert” was more concerned about volume of links rather than the quality of those links. Sadly, Google is much smarter than that. They know a link farm when they see one, so 400 links from low-ranked sites don’t count for much. Fewer links from better sources will drive a higher ranking.
Second, he pounded out a lot of links in a short period of time. Then, when the contract ended, no new links were created. This led to a spike in ranking in the early going and a decline later on. Apparently the speed with which new links are built gives the appearance of content being very interesting, and helps that content rise in the rankings.
Another interesting twist is that Google gives new content a bit of a honeymoon period for rankings. This makes sense when you consider that natural link-back activities will take a while to grow, so newer content needs to come to the top briefly so it can be assessed by readers. So if you can expect your new content to rise in the rankings initially until people have had an opportunity to view it. It will then settle into a longer term place in search results.
What does that mean to industrial marketers? More of the same really; i) Short-cuts don’t work for any meaningful length of time, so settle in for a long haul; ii) You have to create content that is truly interesting so people will link to it; iii) Distribute the content so that people can link back to it. And don’t be shy about asking for links!