Link Development Tips and Tricks – SEM Synergy Extras logo
Todd Malicoat from was today’s guest.

On today’s episode of SEM Synergy — the can’t-miss WebmasterRadio show featuring Bruce Clay, Susan Esparza and a new expert guest each week — we devoted the program to link development. Link development specialist Todd Malicoat of was our guest, sharing juicy tactics and recommendations for link building. Todd explains his process for training link developers, tracking link solicitation efforts, setting guidelines for staff, creating profiles for link building, and why he believes link building is considered mysterious.

That last topic was kind of what inspired me to put together a show about link building secrets. After reading a post on Link Spiel by link development authority Debra Mastaler, I started to get the feeling that members of the Internet marketing industry are on a quest for link development’s hidden treasures. But as Debra points out, the only link building secrets out there are the ones you don’t listen to. Years of speaking at conferences and frequent discussions with SEO professionals has highlighted the fact that no matter how comprehensive the presentation or how inventive the suggestions, Internet marketers still think of link building as a black box of mystery.

So to help dispel one of SEO’s greatest myths, I thought I’d do a little snooping to see what link earning recommendations are really at our disposal. As predicted, there are more than a few resources available to link builders looking to better their craft.

Link Development Tools

BuzzStream: I wrote about BuzzStream a few months ago here on the blog, and I’m still willing to put money on this tool’s ability to streamline and manage link building campaigns. With this CRM for link building, you can research potential link partners, keep track of past discussions, and easily maintain backlinks. My 50 private beta invites disappeared faster than you can say “link building made easy.” Now that the product is open to the public, there’s no reason not to use it.’s List of Link Building Tools: You can find lists of tools all over the Web and, of course, some are better than others. But when tools are shared by a trusted source, there’s a good chance that there’s something worth checking out. Wiep’s list of indispensable link building tools are divided into categories of one-click analysis, in-depth analysis and link targeting. LinkDiagnosis, Link Sleuth and Link Harvester are among the link building tools listed.

Link Development Techniques

Link Baiting with Fake Web Sites: At, Ann Smarty presents a creative and unexpected link bait concept — the fake Web site. With a sticky concept, a sensational domain and an influencer willing to promote your site, you’re on your way to attracting natural links. Whatever link equity is gathered there can be pointed toward the site of your choosing.

Link Baiting with Must-Click Headlines: Notorious link developer Lyndon Antcliff writes about link building, among other topics, at In a post last week he wrote that, on average, content must grab the reader’s attention in less than three seconds. Crafting a headline that reads like a brick to the face is his suggestion for getting and keeping reader attention in an info-overload environment.

Tips for Evaluating Link Opportunities

Know What Google Looks For: Buying links is a legitimate advertising opportunity on the Web, however as we all know, Google has said that buying links for the purpose of increasing PageRank is a manipulation of the system that will be penalized. At the SEOUnique Blog, Matthew Ridout looks at the ways which Google identifies paid links, such as unrelated content, unnaturally ideal anchor text and a too-rapid increase of links. With knowledge comes the opportunity to act.

Identify Nofollow Links: Also detrimental to link development efforts are links that don’t pass link equity. Paul Teitelman outlines 10 ways to identify whether or not a link is passing juice. Links with nofollow tags, links on robots.txt disallowed pages, links with redirects or refreshes, and Flash or JavaScript links are all low-value when it comes to link equity. Again, knowing what to look for or avoid is half the battle.

So there are a handful of resources I found after a quick stroll through my feed reader and the SEO Geeks Newsletter. Imagine what a little digging could do.

It might be nice to hold out hope for a link building easy button, but there just aren’t any link building secrets. You might ask, “If link development is so competitive and so important to search marketing, why did people give it all away in the first place?” No mystery there. They want links, of course!

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (3)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent Digital Marketing Optimization posts is better than the last!
Bruce Clay on January 22, 2024
How To Optimize Content for Facebook and Instagram
Bruce Clay on December 14, 2023
SEO vs. PPC: How To Choose
Bruce Clay on October 16, 2023
7 Proven Strategies To Increase Website Traffic for Your Business

3 Replies to “Link Development Tips and Tricks – SEM Synergy Extras”


The whole paid links discussion is something that really bothers me. Seriously, Google makes billions of dollars within their advertising efforts but yet seems to want to impose their will against small publishers who want to make some revenue.

What is stopping a competitor from buying links from junk and un-related sites and pointing them to my domain? How do you police that? You cant, and that is why this stance is both impractical and just flat out not right.

As an SEO, its frustrating. The big guys buy links daily but see no ramifications but yet mid tier websites get penalized?

I just dont see how they can penalize the link purchaser without opening up the biggest floodgates to corporate interactive espionage.

No follow links are still good for rankings because Search engines still index them. if they add noindex to the links, you wont get pr juice and the links wont be indexed by search engines.

Thanks for the link building info, I’ve been focusing on this for the last month with a decent level of success for the websites I manage.

The jury for me is still out on no-follow links. I have noticed that they do still help my search engine rankings.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Serving North America based in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Bruce Clay, Inc. | PO Box 1338 | Moorpark CA, 93020
Voice: 1-805-517-1900 | Toll Free: 1-866-517-1900 | Fax: 1-805-517-1919