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For SEOs and digital marketers of every description, the pressure is really on to build links.

But easy links no longer bring the results that are demanded of us. What search engines are forcing us to do—especially post-Google Panda—is to win quality links. And quality links are hard to get.

But it is precisely because they are hard to get that every savvy marketer should embrace the opportunity to win quality links. It is well within every marketer's grasp to develop the skills, the knowledge, and the experience required to make the task of getting quality links not only manageable but also hugely productive.

To succeed, you've got to target your link-building strategies at different types of sites, just as you'd target your marketing strategies to different market segments.

Think about groups of sites, not individual targets

Gathering big lists of link prospects is relatively easy. But after you've collected your list of prospects, where do you start?

You could segment your list by rank, such as the following:

  • We'll only go for sites with a Google rank of PR4 or higher.
  • We'll only go for sites with a Google rank of PR7 or higher, starting with the highest.

But those options are not the way to go. Say you target only those sites that are ranked PR4 and higher. Apart from PR4 being just an arbitrary figure, the sites you target will probably have nothing in common. Essentially, you'd be chasing links in isolation.

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Ken McGaffin is chief marketing officer (CMO) of Wordtracker, where he creates and manages its link-building tool. He writes about and teaches link building at the Wordtracker Academy.