Why the ‘magic middle’ is so good for link building

Posted by Ken McGaffin on 20 Jul, 2011
View comments Link Building
Why the 'magic middle' is so good for Link Building - from Wordtracker the leading keyword research tool

Edit - the Wordtracker Link Builder tool is no longer available however you're welcome to check out the Link Prospector tool by Citation Labs here.

When you’re building links, you want to find quality sites to get links from but you also want prospects where you have a good chance of success. Such prospects can be found in the magic middle and Link Builder is the ideal tool to find them.

Link prospects in the magic middle will have a reasonably good rank but are nowhere near the top of the lists of prospects. Back in 2006, David Sifry of Technorati.com defined the magic middle as sites that had between 20 and 1000 links.

That was five years ago and the number of blogs and the number of links to them has grown exponentially. So don’t worry too much about the absolute numbers, think just about good, well-written blogs that you can get links from. They’ll not be A-list blogs, but that can be a good thing.

A-list sites in any industry get inundated with pitches – that means your pitch must really stand out – it needs to be something special even to be considered. That takes a lot of effort – it’s well worth it, but not everybody has the time to do it.

In the magic middle, there are thousands of sites that are not quite ‘A-list’ but offer an audience an opportunity to write and get a link to your site. They’re not inundated, but they’re focused and passionate about what they do. They usually easy to contact, and may be flattered to be picked out. They can be ideal people with which to build a relationship.

Engage with the magic middle and you’ll get potentially many links for less effort than you would expend trying to persuade top-notch sites to link.

Link Builder is the ideal tool to use to find the magic middle.

In the tool, you’ll be able to see the rank, and you know for sure that the prospects links to at least one other site in your market. Look at the ‘top link’ and you can see the link in context and understand why the link was given.

Let’s look at an example:

Link building tool magic middle

I built a campaign on the keyword sports car in the US market. I found over 30,000 prospects. So what value could I find in the magic middle?

I skipped the top sites and went deep to page 11 on the results: there are clearly some gems in the list – I picked out calcars.com:

I had a quick look at the site and it certainly fulfils my criteria for what makes a quality link prospect (see video here: http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/assessing-link-prospects.

Here’s the home page:

Link building tool Calcars home

They’ve got a prominent ‘contact us’ page:

Link building tool Calcars contact

They’re very clear about how and when they want to be contacted – if you’re a reporter (or writer), if you’re making a generous offer (think commercial!) or if you have important news (think creative!).

That’s fantastic information for a link builder. So if any aspect of your products fits what they write about, then you now know how to approach them.

There are other examples. Let’s look at the magic Looking at the magic middle again:

Link building tool magic middle mom

This time I see that DesignMom.com is listed as a prospect – in other words we’ve found a link to an auto related story on the site. I’ll click on the top link to see the story:

http://www.designmom.com/2010/09/what-would-design-mom-do/

Link building tool design mom

So I can see that it’s a good, well-written story and it’s a good looking blog. A deeper look and I see it’s a fantastic blog – great writing and a great range of ideas. And the author makes it easy to get in touch at http://www.designmom.com/about/

That’s just two quick examples, but there are many others that Link Builder quickly makes available.

The lesson is to dig deep and find link prospects that your competitors won’t have taken the time to discover.

(The Magic Middle is a term first coined by David Sifry of Technorati.com – you can read more at sifry.com)

Edit - the Wordtracker Link Builder tool is no longer available however you're welcome to check out the Link Prospector tool by Citation Labs here.

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