Two days ago I posted a teaser on this topic where I said "So what does one do to prevent ones "network of sites" from being stripped of its link passing rights? Well, be smart about how you link and why you link. Think about how most sites naturally obtain links and go from it from that angle. ". (I wonder if it is appropriate to quote myself?...) Unfortunately I won't be able to disclose the name person I met with this past Monday, the individual seems to be a little worried that Google is reading this site and will devalue his linking methods manually. Having said that, this person's daily focus and energy goes towards link building strategies.
During our conversation we discussed how he goes about building links for his clients. He tends not to go the paid route, but he said he had done so many times in the past and will do so in the future. His real reason for meeting me, I think, was to exchange links (please dont email me to exchange links, I do not participate in any link exchanges).
We then got into how he has been developing a network of portals of which contain links to many quality sites and his clients sites. None of these sites directly link to each other, they all link in a triangular fashion. For example, one might create Site A, B and C. Site A will link to Site B, Site B will link to Site C and site C will link to site A. You will never find Site A link to Site B AND Site B link to Site A.
To effectively implement such a strategy, this person has created and is creating "portal sites." The portal sites will be on specific topics and contain links to high-level ODP and Yahoo! directory sites, you won't normally find deep-level sites listed in the portal sites. He then adds links from the portal to his clients sites that relate to that topic. So a portal on computers will have links to the top computer sites in ODP and Yahoo! directories and also to his client's sites.
He then tries to get free and paid links to the portal sites that are on-topic to those sites. As you can imagine, it is much easier getting links to a portal site then it would be to an e-commerce type of site.
Now he has these portal sites with quality links from on topic sites. He then links out to his on-topic client sites from the portal. He might link a portal to an other portal but never link a client site back to the same portal. This way he starts to build this complex pyramid linking structure.
The only complaint I have about the way he is doing this is that it is currently not all managed in some type of unified linking database application. As the portals and linking schemes grow, it will continue to become more complex. He is managing now but I wonder for how long. I tend to be bias, because anything I do, is done with efficiency in mind through the use of Web technologies.