About Kalena Jordan

In my day job, I'm Director of Studies and tutor at the online training institution Search Engine College. In my spare time, I'm a search engine agony aunt and SEO to global clients. I've been marketing websites online since 1996 and blogging about search since 2002. To learn more, visit

Q and A: Should I source backlinks from a link merchant?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’m working through the link building course at Search Engine College, but I’m a tad unsure where to source links for my website. I know I can get them from industry related websites, but think this might be a slow process. Is it therefore deemed appropriate for me to source links from a service such as linksmanagement.com? If so, can you please answer the following questions:

1. How many links should I acquire on a weekly/monthly basis?

2. Can I focus on 1 page of my website at a time when building links, or should I spread them evenly on various pages of my website say 3-4 pages at a time?

3. Should link building be an ongoing process, or can I stop when I’ve achieved the ranking I desire….and we all know what position that is! :-)

If linksmanagement.com is not a source you would recommend me to use, can you recommend another please?

Kind Regards


Hi Alistair

Links should be acquired organically – at a moderate pace. I recommend adding no more than five new links a week to a site. Sites that acquire large blocks of links in a short space of time are more likely to attract attention from Google’s anti-spam team.

Whatever you do, DO NOT use a link selling site such as LinksManagement to buy backlinks. Links must be earned, not bought. The selling or purchasing of backlinks is in direct violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines and could earn your site a ranking penalty or removal from Google’s index altogether.

Instead, I recommend that you use Raven Tools or another all-in-one SEO tool-kit with which to manage your link building efforts. These suites of tools generally enable you to research, find, contact and track link partners all in the one location. Raven’s link research tools in particular are brilliant for finding potential link opportunities and keeping track of who has linked to you.

We are still editing the remainder of the Link Building course, so you’ll probably find that (when published) the remaining lessons will answer your questions. But in the meantime, can I suggest that you review the Link Building lessons within the SEO101 and SEO201 courses? Also look at the recommended reading and resources for those lessons. They contain a wealth of information about link building.

Finally, take a look through my previous blog posts about link building as they should give you some inspiration about where to find new link partners.

Hope this helps!


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Happy New Year!

Raro1 Raro2Hi everyone!

Can you believe we’re already in our second month of 2015? It seems like Xmas was just last week.

Apologies for the blog silence, but I’ve been taking a well-earned break to rest and recover from a difficult year. I managed to sneak away for my first holiday in three years and my son and I spent 8 glorious days in tropical Rarotonga in the Cook Islands (check out the photos). If ever you get a chance to visit islands in the Pacific, I highly recommend it.

I’ll be spending more time focusing on my role at Search Engine College this year, as well as producing training courses at Udemy and running digital marketing training workshops around New Zealand for the IITP. I’ve also scored a bit of consulting work in the field of online education, so 2015 is going to be full of challenges!Raro4

With such a hectic schedule, I won’t be able to post here as much and – sadly – I won’t be reprising my Fast Five in Search series this year. But I will be answering as many Q and A’s as I can, so please do keep sending in your tricky questions about search engines and I’ll do my best to publish my answers here.

Wishing you all a safe and memorable 2015.

Fast Five in Search – Week 52, 2014



Well, it’s hard to believe 2014 is nearly done and dusted. It’s even harder to believe that I managed to publish a new Fast Five post every single week of the year!

Sometimes blogging comes easy and sometimes life gets in the way, but I’m proud to have made it through the whole year without a missed post. Thanks for keeping me company along the way and I hope you found the series enlightening.

Given the emphasis on shopping during the festive season, my final Fast Five for 2014 feature articles and blog posts about e-commerce and online shopping trends this year.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Special Report: Will People Ever Buy Through Social Media? by Martin Beck via Marketing Land. This post looks at how social channels are starting to monetize using methods other than sponsorship and advertising. While Twitter and Facebook are testing Buy Now buttons in-feed, Pinterest and Instagram are showing unexpected potential as motivating direct purchases as well.

2) Amazon’s 2014 Holiday Sees Mobile Shopping Approach 60% Of Total Volume by Darrell Etherington via TechCrunch. In their annual holiday sales performance review, online etailer Amazon revealed that 60 percent of their shopper activity came from mobile platforms, including dedicated apps and mobile websites. That’s a staggering figure and something that should make any etailer rethink their mobile marketing strategy, pronto.

3) Why People Buy Things Online by Eric Siu via HubSpot. You’re going to want to bookmark this one, trust me. I love fresh Internet statistics and this post is a collated collection of statistics gleaned from the latest reports undertaken about our online purchasing trends. For example, did you know that free shipping is the second highest factor influencing purchasing decisions on Internet retailer sites behind product quality?

4) Is Social Media Very Good for E-commerce Conversions? by Chris Crum via WebProNews. Another post looking at the monetary value of social media marketing and how it contributes to online conversions. This article concludes that social media marketing efforts only account for about 1.2% of total site conversions on average.

and finally…

5) E-commerce: Metrics That Matter by Kristin Wilston via SiteProNews. A brief post that serves as a reminder that if you run a e-commerce site, you need to track consumer behavior on your site. Kristin provides some examples of the most important metrics you should be tracking to help understand your customers and guide them towards conversion.

That’s it for 2014 folks and this will be my final Fast Five post for the time being. Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and I’ll catch you all in 2015/.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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Fast Five in Search – Week 51, 2014



So it’s nearly Xmas and 2014 is drawing to a close. Most of you will already be on vacation, which means you have more time to read longer articles and editorials rather than just skim the blog post headlines like you usually do, right?  With that in mind, this week’s Fast Five consists of 5 in-depth articles and recent blog posts that are a bit meatier than the usual pieces I link to. Enjoy!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) 26 Ways Brand Succeed With Social Media Marketing by Debbie Hemley via Social Media Examiner. A nice round up of how some well known brands are leveraging social media to spawn higher levels of engagement. Take note and see if you can replicate some of these ideas into your own social strategy for 2015.

2) Technology, Self-Promotion and the Death of Public Relations by Shane Paul Neil via Technorati. Having completed my undergraduate degree with a major in Public Relations, this article – joyfully declaring PR to be dead – leapt out at me. Has technology killed off traditional corporate Public Relations and sent spin doctors to the unemployment queue? Best read it to find out.

3) Smarter Education: The Rise of Big Data in the Classroom by Lindsay Rothfeld via Mashable. If technology has killed Public Relations, it has injected new life into education. This written piece (and accompanying video) looks at the role technology plays in the modern-day classroom and how it is contributing to lower school drop-out rates in the U.S.

4) A Brand New World in Which Men Ruled by Jodi Kantor via New York Times. Keeping with the theme of technology and the impact it has had on education is this fascinating editorial delving into Stanford University’s pioneering class of 1994. The class churned out a very large number of (mostly male) tech graduates who each established or contributed to dot com success stories, including Netscape, Yahoo, WhatsApp, Google, PayPal and Facebook.

and finally…

5) Brands That Have Been Naughty and Nice on Social Media (Infographic) by HootSuite via Marketing Land. Well I couldn’t avoid Xmas forever! Here’s a fun Infographic from the clever team at HootSuite that ranks some of the big brands as naughty or nice, depending on their brand sentiment and popularity on social media during 2014. I won’t give too much away, but it looks like Santa won’t be visiting General Motors or US Airways this year. Oh dear.

Have a joyful, safe and memorable Xmas dear readers. I’ll catch you next week for the final Fast Five for 2014. santa-sack

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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Fast Five in Search – Week 50, 2014



There’s been some really clever Christmas marketing campaigns come across my desk this month – the type of ideas that have you thinking about them a lot longer than the bog standard Xmas marketing pitches.

So this week’s Fast Five is all about the Cleverest Christmas Marketing Campaigns.candy-cane-sml

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Coke Zero Sweater Generator by Royale for Coca Cola. This ingenious web app was the brainchild of uber-hip design firm Royale for Christmas 2013. It allowed users to design their own version of the geekiest holiday sweater ever, using a series of pre-set design features, images, colors and patterns. The top 100 designs were chosen by users and put into actual production, before being tagged with Coke Zero labels and hand delivered to the winning designers.

2) The Wondrous Wellington Advent Calendar by WellingtonNZ.com. This one is closer to home and celebrates my city of residence, so it has a special place in my heart. Wellington Tourism have designed a beautiful animated map of the city, in which they have hidden a working advent calendar for Christmas 2014. Each day this month, you are able to *open* a flap within the calendar corresponding to the date (if you can find it!). Inside is a discount offer or voucher deal for various retailers, restaurants, activities or venues around the city. Two for one gelato? Mmmmm, you bet.

3) Christmas Tinner by Game Digital plc. British video games retailer Game Digital came up with this little gem for Xmas 2013. The idea spawned after a survey of video gamers revealed that most intended to play through Christmas Day and they’d rather give up Christmas dinner than have to stop playing. Game Digital came up with the solution: a festive feast in a tin. Christmas Tinner comprises of nine layers of food – ranging from a starter to a pudding and you can see it in all it’s glory via this video review (yes he actually eats it).

4) Maker’s Mark Ugly Holiday Sweaters by Maker’s Mark. For Christmas 2011, bourbon producers Maker’s Mark created a special Christmas promotion for their Brand Ambassadors, consisting of delivering each one a special holiday sweater custom made for their bourbon bottles. Apparently the promotion was a huge hit on social media, enabling them to dominate bourbon-related search traffic and put their major competitor – Jack Daniels – on ice (sorry).

and finally…

5) WestJet Christmas Miracle by WestJet. The WestJet Christmas promotion from Christmas 2013 made a SPECTACULAR impact on the Internet. Staff from WestJet in Canada placed an interactive screen within one of their boarding gates, allowing passengers to talk to Santa and tell him what they were hoping to receive for Christmas.  The supposedly random group of passengers boarding for a domestic flight from Toronto to Hamilton were then amazed to find those gifts waiting for them upon arrival at their destination. The resulting YouTube video went viral and nuts on social media. Who can resist the power of Santa Claus delivering presents via luggage carousel? Not me, I still get tears in my eyes watching this one. It’s a marketing miracle.

Happy Christmas marketing!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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