link networksI’ve written about this before, but I think it’s worth revisiting, especially in light of the Panda update, which seems to have decimated many such web sites. So are link networks such as TextLinks.Com, Linkvana and all the rest still worth anything or should you avoid them as being nothing more than link farms and content farms which Google now seems to disdain?

Defining Link Networks

I want to take a moment to explain what I mean by link networks because they are fundamentally different from most other ways of building backlinks. In most cases, when trying to build backlinks, you write guest posts for other websites and you write blog comments and forum posts. However, when using a link network, you are doing something which technically, is frowned upon by Google – you are paying for links.
The way these networks work is that they each have hundreds or even thousands of blogs which are often hosted on separate C class servers (hosting on a single server means that they are more likely to be picked up by Google as being link networks). These blogs all host content which has been custom written for those blogs and they all require approval of the content that gets posted.

Not All Link Networks Are Created Equal

It’s not by accident that I mentioned TextLinks.Com in the title of this blog post even though other link networks like Linkvana are better known. The reason I mentioned them is that they are fundamentally different from many other link network options.
In essence, TextLinks.Com has deals with independent blogs all over the world which agree to host content and get paid a fee for doing so. If the content gets rejected by a blog you requested, then you get your credit back and you can use it somewhere else. The catch is that you need to be a current customer of the company in order to use it.
Linkvana and many other link networks by contrast maintain their own blogs which are run exclusively by them and which have nothing but their content on them.

Which is Better?

So which option is better? Well, as with so many things – it depends. On the one hand, the Linkvana model works very well because they directly control what goes into their blogs and they are able to build them up with higher page ranks.
On the other hand, a model like TextLinks.Com could provide more diversity and therefore better value for your money (if the choice is between these two alone, TextLinks.Com is cheaper, though there are others).

But Do They Work At All?

Let’s get back to the original question. Do these kinds of link networks even work anymore? As far as I can tell, the answer is a definite yes. The reason is simple – while Google doesn’t really want you paying for links, they like it even less when they end up with crap for results on their search pages (after all, ultimately the intention is to provide quality search results to their users).
Because of this simple fact and the fact that all these link networks require approval and have minimum standards for the content they’ll allow, you are guaranteed a higher quality experience in building a portfolio of backlinks than if you simply spammed every random blog out there looking for backlinks.
As for which model works better, well, frankly, I don’t have an opinion. I’ve tried both and both seem to provide me with some backlinks, so I think either choice is good and it’s a matter of personal preference rather than a matter of which is “better” when it comes to link networks.