Links are important to organic search marketing, and they rise in importance as competition for your keywords get stronger. The most searched-for keywords have the most pages vying to be shown at the top of the results, so your page's link popularity is often the key component in its search ranking.
But links are valuable far beyond search marketing. High-quality links to your site from all the "right" places (in the popular core of the Web) can drive many qualified visitors to your site through those links. In fact, we believe that attracting links to your site should be based on the qualified traffic those links will bring, not based on any calculated effect you are expecting in your search rankings. If you attract the links that bring the right visitors, the search engines will follow.
You learned that solicited links are important, but that cold-calling another site is hard work that requires perseverance. We discussed alternatives, ranging from internal links to relational links to paid links that might bring the link popularity you need with less effort.
Paid links are just one way to spend your search marketing budget, however. In Chapter 14, we explore every kind of paid search and show how your search marketing program can maximize the impact of your marketing spending.