If you read some of my previous articles on this blog, you probably know already that I consider Japanese websites much less vulnerable to spam and black hat SEO tactics than their foreign equivalents. Your blogs, guestbooks and message boards never really get overly spammed and this is all great. Now does it mean people here never employ tactics to artificially boost their rankings?
The answer is a big and definitive NO! They simply use tricks that are a little less dark, a little less unethical. And they’re kind of right because from what I’ve seen, it works pretty strong here.
The gray (dark gray?) tactic I see used a lot is automatic link exchange. You have something like 3-4 big platforms and networks that offer this service: you plug in your site, your title, your description and here you go! Usually these sites let you refuse manually link exchange with bad sites, but only let choose your category between very vague ones, such as “Business” or “Shopping”. They won’t let you spin your descriptions to make them unique, either.
So you do get a lot of links, but obviously these are of low quality. But since they are organized in tight networks, they actually are pretty strong at the moment. Panda apparently didn’t work the same just everywhere…
I can’t really blame people who enter these networks, because they actually provide some sorts of results, free of charge. The thing is, the day Google decides they’ve got enough of this and starts detecting such networks, most of these sites who rely only on automatic link exchange will see their rankings decrease dramatically, if they don’t get sandboxed.
I would recommend against these networks, because they are not what you want for the long term. If you want to give it a try though, make sure that you are extremely picky about the sites you accept to exchange links with, and don’t neglect other, more ethical forms of link building.