Gone are the days when just any old link would improve your rankings. In 2008, you need to be extremely selective - quality rather than quantity.
My post yesterday
how if a site was more useful and had a bigger brand presence than all its competitors, Google really should be ranking it higher.
The problem is that most of the time it doesn't.
Ask some search engine optimisation (SEO) consultants to explain how they operate and you will get confused quite quickly.
Sometimes this is because the SEO consultant doesn't want to reveal his or her 'secrets', but more often than not it is because SEO is a highly technical subject and, unless you are a web designer or programmer, it is hard to understand.
The best part about natural SEO, however, is that there really is no secret.
In the last few years social news sites have become an extremely effective marketing tool with the ability to drive a huge amount of traffic to your website.
Although the numbers using these websites are relatively small in global terms (Digg.com, the largest, has just under 2m users) the audiences comprise thousands of early adopters and key influencers who have the power to seriously affect your brand.
The subject of reputation management has changed somewhat with the advent of blogs and social media, but the core concept remains the same - making sure that positive press about your brand gets as much coverage as possible while negative press is buried.
The most straightforward method of measuring brand reactions is to check the Google search results. A good example is how domain registrar 123 Reg has trouble with its search results.