You’ll have to excuse me if this review tends to wander a bit, but to be honest I’ve had to write and re-write most of it so many times that it’s a wonder it’s getting done at all. The problem has been a simple one, how are you supposed to measure results when the scale on your ruler is being dicked around with every other day? Just keep that in mind when you read my results further down. Anyway, after being contacted to test Linkvana (this was a gifted subscription for review purposes) I’ve been using it for a fair few months now and this is how I’ve found the experience, I’ll leave you to make your own minds up as to whether or not you think it’s worth $147 a month.
Lets get the basics out of the way first, you manage things in Linkvana by creating projects. Each project tends to represent one site and within this project you can add any number of pages/keyword(s) combinations to promote. There are no limits to the number of websites you can promote with Linkvana which is a welcome change compared to some of their competitors. On the down side there is no built in link variation, if you want to mix up anchor text then you’re going to need to take care of that yourself either via a lot more writing or a lot more outsourcing. The visual part of Linkvana though really is well thought out and the interface is easy to follow and fast to respond. Believe me this is no Unique Article Wizard!
Once you have your project with a page/keyword to promote there are 6 seperate promotion modules you can use. They are
3. Social Bookmarks
6. Social Media
You can create as many posts a month as you like so if you have a huge number of websites and pages to promote Linkvana can accomodate you. Each post (or snippet in reality) has to be at least 100 words long and can contain at most 1 link. Once you’ve created your post it then goes through approval before finding its way onto your post posting schedule. Each project can distribute posts at a rate of either Every 3rd Day, Every Other Day, 1 Per Day, 1-3 Per Day, 2-5 PerDay, 1 Per Week or the humanise option. As I said above you can create as many of these posts as you like, but who is going to spend all their time writing 100 word posts? This is where the outsourcing option in Linkvana comes in and it will cost you 1 Linkvana credit per post. Linkvana credits cost $2 per credit. Yes you heard me correctly. $2 per credit. That is $2 per post, on top of the $147 a month subscription, unless you want to write all the posts yourself (which I didn’t). I should add that there is the option to import posts (say if you have an outsourcer available) BUT the import strips any HTML from the post, including links. So you’ll then still have to go through and manually add a link to every post you’ve imported. This makes using their own outsourcing as the only viable option for people looking to do a lot of posts. Most of the promotion I did with Linkvana was in the form of posts, simply because I believe I was approached to review Linkvana based on my recommendation for people to use Build My Rank (remember them?). You’ll need to read my conclusion later on to find out how effective I thought the Linkvana posts were.
Think longer posts. A minimum of 250 words, no spun content and a maximum of 3 links per article. You’ve had enough of writing posts, why not write some much longer articles! Or not. You can always outsource at 5 Linkvana credits per article (or $10 to you and me). $10 for a 250+ word article. Wow. You can probably imagine I didn’t use this much.
I’ll come straight out and say I didn’t test these. It wasn’t the pricing that put me off (25 Bookmarks for 6 credits, 50 for 10 or 100 for 16). It was the fact that once I’d paid they then still wanted me to go through and fill in all the information to create the links. Errr, Magic Submitter anybody? I have done some research to find out where these bookmarks were going and it’s enough to say that there are so many more cost effective and not to mention easier ways of getting these bookmarks that for me this was a total non starter within Linkvana.
They find the articles and videos for you to leave your commments on. The link you choose to promote is automatically including either in the comment itself or as part of the author name. This looked like it had real potential. Not only that but Linkvana are generous enough to give you 150 blog commenting credits each month. To mix thing up the comments you leave have to be of a certain length ranging from a minimum of 20-80 words. Like everything within Linkvana the interface was again slick and the posting delay was minimal. It didn’t take a huge amount of time to plough through some comments and I did use this feature.
50 profile links for 14 credits ($28) or 100 for 28 credits ($56), no that doesn’t make sense to me either. I wouldn’t care if they gave away a million free each month, I wouldn’t touch profile links with a barge pole. I do like to test things so you know where your money is going but I’ve had that many bad experiences where I’ve tested all different types of forum and Web2.0 profiles that I wouldn’t even risk the crappiest of my crap websites by pointing this type of link at them.
Linkvana Social Media
Why they hide this away at the bottom of the menu is beyond me, if there is one module in Linkvana I’d recommend above any other it is this one. Think Google+, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Digg etc promotion. You do get 100 links free per month but if you want more then it’s time to put your hand in your wallet again. Prices range from 100 Social Media Links for 8 credits ($16) all the way up to 1600 Social Media Links for 58 credits ($116). If I was in charge of Linkvana I’d be getting rid of the social bookmarks page and pushing this instead. Not only did I find this the mot effective module but it’s pricing seems to be much more in line with the competition.
My Results With Linkvana
This is where things get a little messy. I started out with such good intentions but no sooner had I started than Google started playing around with anything and everything. Still I’ll give you what I found.
First of all Linkvana posts were nowhere near as effective as Build My Rank posts. They just weren’t. Distributing 15-20 posts with BMR resulted in an instant boost to Google, Yahoo and Bing rankings. The same promotion with Linkvana resulted in a slight increase in Yahoo and Bing but nothing in Google. I tested 2 URLs initially with this. One being an exact match domain that had once ridden high in Google but was suffering from being ignored for a couple of years, the other being a deep page that was already indexed but with minimal previous backlinking. Neither has shifted in any positive way in Google. To supplement this test and with the demise of BMR as my primary “post link source” I then stumped up the cash to do a much wider test. The results, or lack off have been the same. I’m sorry but the Linkvana posts module is absolutely no replacement for the power that Build My Rank provided, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
I only paid for 2 articles to be written, but on seeing the quality of them and the webistes they ended up on I wasn’t likely to be spending money on any more @ $10 a go. Commenting was a different story. I did actually measure a small increase in Google rankings with the 2 URLs I initially promoted using this method (again 1 EMD domain and another deeper page). We are talking a place change of 3-4 to the mid teens for what were fairly uncompetitive keywords but at least it’s something. However the real bonus I got from Linkvana was with the Social Media links. As part of the $147 a month you get 100 of these links and I kept mine pointing at the same page. This page is now sat on the front page of Google in 5th spot for its primary keyword where as before it was mid second page.
I don’t want this review to sound all doom and gloom. For all I know Linkvana could have been the best linking service in the world before the recent Google chanes. Besides the Social Media there have been some other positives from using Linkvana. For a start none of the pages and sites I promoted with Linkvana were negatively affected by the recent Google Penguin update. That’s got to be a good thing? Plus I have seen some positive impact in Yahoo and Bing with just about everything I’ve done with Linkvana so if that’s your game you’re on to a winner. I also imagine that if you have very deep pockets or don’t mind spending 20 hours a day writing then you’d probably do better out of it than I did. If I didn’t know that there were much cheaper and more hands off ways of achieving the same results out there then maybe I’d feel different. Hopefully the latest feature they are introducing will address some of this because I know they are currently in the process of adding a much simpler “how many links to you want to where” style feature. No doubt you’ll have to pay for it as you do with just about everything with Linkvana but it should help with the core concepts of backlinking as we move through 2012, namely link quality and anchor text diversity. The other thing they have going for them is that they are still here, that in itself is a bit of a major result after the recent Google changes.
Overall then what do you get for your $147 a month with Linkvana. You get to distribute as many posts and articles as you like, you get the opportunity to produce 150 comments for backlinks and you get 100 free Social Media links. If you say it really quick then it doesn’t sound so bad….maybe.