A few years ago, the "sorcery" used by search engines to determine how they ranked their results changed on an almost weekly basis – but now links have emerged as one of the dominant factors in determining page placement.

Laura Lippay wrote on the Yahoo! Search Marketing blog that of the top five factors behind search engine rankings in 2009, three were determined by links – the quality and quantity of external links, the diversity of link sources and link distance from trusted domains.

Rather than taking on an extensive link-building exercise, she said that users of search engine marketing can boost their links by generating online buzz.

This means getting people to not only visit their site but also to bookmark it, share it and, of course, link to it.

Achieving this means thinking about what the target audience wants and delivering content that is more relevant to them than competitors, while also being easily "shareable".

"A naturally buzz-worthy product will have you on your way to conquering many of the top ranking factors, without having to try to make them happen by force," she said.

Ms Lippay had previously described inlinks as the "crown jewels" of website optimisation.

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