Interview with Ken McGaffin of WordTracker
Ken McGaffin is the co-author of the Link Building Masterclass ebook and one of the world’s most resepcted thought leaders on the subject of link building and online PR and is also heavily involved in that well known SEO tool… Wordtracker, who have recently launced their new linkbuilder tool. He’s also a very nice guy in person. I have had the opportunity to meet Ken on many occassions and have always been incredibly impressed with his insight, so I decided to put on my “reporter” hat and ask him for an interview. I caught him JUST before he went on holiday – so I thought I would publish it whilst he wasn’t looking.
I am certainly proud of the campaigns we’ve done with Wordtracker, and I’m proud of the teaching that I’ve done. But I don’t spend much time thinking about that. I like to focus on the future so the thing that I’m really proud of is my ‘next big idea’.
Hi Ken – Thanks for agreeing to talk. Tell those few that don’t know – what’s Wordtracker and why are you interested in Links?
Wordtracker provides a keyword research service for SEOs throughout the world. We’ve been around for over 12 years and are used by many thousands of professional individuals and agencies.
In the early days, we concentrated on just the research service but over the last few years we’ve developed education material and new tools that help people use keywords effectively. We want to help people to really put keywords to work in generating profits for their business.
Earlier this year, we launched Strategizer which helps users build on the keywords that are already working for them and fully exploit keyword niches that are bringing them revenue. Now we’re excited to be launching Link Builder.
Of course links are essential if you really want to rank well in search engines and keywords play a vital role in link building. First in identifying highly relevant link prospects, and second in determining what anchor text to focus on to give the best search engine boost.
Now – Wordtracker recently started to use MajesticSEO’s API at the very highest level. Tell us what you are doing with that API?
We’d been using the Majestic database in our own link building and promotion and was very aware of the value of the data and the insight it could provide. We were sure that could offer value to our customers.
However, we didn’t want to just provide a link analysis service, we wanted to help people embrace the whole concept of building links. So we’ve taken the Majestic API to provide us with a very sound foundation, and we want to concentrate of adding value by helping people find link prospects, evaluate them and build carefully targeted link campaigns.
Have you got any enhancements planned that you can tell us about?
We’ve been delighted with the reaction to Link Builder and of course we have a lots of plans on how we can build on that. Here are some of the things that we have in the pipeline:
- I think good link builders are always looking for link opportunities and their link building is both systematic and serendipitous. Most of the time they’ll be focused on the task of link building but there’ll be times as they surf the web doing other stuff, that link opportunities will suddenly appear. So we’ll shortly be launching an extension that will help them capture those opportunities and save them to a campaign without having to open the tool.
- We also looking at the useful insights users can get from analyzing anchor text and how that can relate to their keyword marketing. Used together keywords and link building provide powerful marketing muscle. We’ll be introducing our early ideas on anchor text shortly.
- Helping people identify top-notch link prospects in any market is also crucially important and again we’ll be introducing some ideas on this.
- And a top priority is helping people manage and monitor link building campaigns so there’ll be some creative improvements there.
You’ve literally written the book on link building. Tell me what made you write it and what are you most proud about in your Internet career to date?
Well, over the years I’ve developed a lot of ideas and techniques and writing the book was a great way to pull it all together. Plus, I got to work very closely in writing the material with Mark Nunney who I really respect as an SEO.
The objective is of course to help educate people in link building. Many people’s approach to link building is about “that site links to my competitor so I’ll ask him to link to me”. That’s just a tiny part of it.
Real link building is about understanding the online community around a particular market and then establishing your place within it. I’ve tried to explain that in the book.
At a webinar last night a member of the audience asked me, “Link building is so boring, how can you enjoy it so much?” I tried to explain that sending out hundreds of link requests is boring but that researching the key influencers, building a relationship with them and creating content that they just love is really exciting.
I think the best links are the ones you get without asking, it’s the quality of what you produce that really gets people to link.
What am I most proud of? Wow, that’s a good question. I am certainly proud of the campaigns we’ve done with Wordtracker, and I’m proud of the teaching that I’ve done. But I don’t spend much time thinking about that. I like to focus on the future so the thing that I’m really proud of is my ‘next big idea’. I just love the enthusiasm and the challenge of turning ideas into something practical that really helps people.
Thanks for your time Ken – that’s really great.
Thanks for the opportunity to speak Dixon. It’s been fun.
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