If I was Google I’d always be on the lookout for websites trying to manipulate their way into top ranking. So no surprise they do that, and - needless to say - with a lot of success. If I was Google I’d prefer to look as closely as I could to what makes humans actually tick (click) and like. And I’m pretty sure they do this as well. Through offering Google Analytics for free for instance. Through Gmail. Docs, Maps, etc.
By offering quality tools for free, Google gets great insight into which sites deserve high ranking and which don’t. Effectively killing the old game of counting links pointing at your site to determine whether you matter, or not. Still… backlinks matter a little bit. Just like your content, Title (and other) tags, etc. The big landslide this fall was that reciprocal links were pulled out of the equation. Somebody linking to your site, who receives a link back to return the favor, simply isn’t doing it for Google any longer. Fair enough. Good call, I think. At least to some extent.
If I was Google, I’d also look at other things. And I know they do. For instance? How about looking at how many people bookmark your China website. They can. Easily. Remember the Google toolbar (with advanced features turned on?), that is how they find out your website is memorable. Also no doubt in my mind whatsoever that they turn to many social bookmarking sites out there for reference. I mean. Wouldn’t you? If hundreds of people bookmark some page on del.icio.us you’d have to be blind not to take that into account.
So here goes… I officially declare the death of link exchange – as if that was up to me ;-) And I proclaim the new way to demand attention: social bookmarking exchange. If you social bookmark me, I will social bookmark you. Just say the word. Respond to this post, let me know which keywords you’d like me to use describing your website on del.icio.us, Stumbleupon, etc., and let me know where to find your bookmark to www.chinasuccessstories.com (containing any keyword you find appropriate and hopefully China + Business).
Together we can do it: long live bookmark exchange!