Link popularity plays a critical role in the ranking of your website with search engines.
Without other sites linking to you, your website is simply not going to rank and is not going to be found by search engines. In fact, some engines require at least one or more links coming to your Web site or they will drop you from their index.
So What is Link Popularity?
Link popularity is how many external links on the Web point to your own Web site. Therefore, if you have 217 Web pages on other Web site domains pointing to your domain, then your link popularity is 217. Your link popularity will vary on each search engine because each engine has a different set of pages in its index.
Check how many pages are linked to you.
In the tips and Tools Newsletter I included links to sites that measure Link Popularity such as the Link Popularity Checker. This program will quickly compare your link popularity across six major search engines. It will also compare your site to up to three other Web sites that you designate. This is a handy feature to see how you stack up against your competition. It's also great to find out who is linking to you. The link service displays coloured graphs so that you can visually compare your popularity scores for different search engines or different Web sites.
The more sites that link to you the better.
Some of the major engines, like Google, favour links from popular sites. A few links from Web sites with a high link popularity and page rank can be better than a larger number of links from less popular sites (Generally a Google page rank less than 4). Also some engines boost rankings for a keyword when they find links to a site that include the targeted keywords in the linking text. You can determine what a site's page rank is by downloading and using the Google task bar at http://toolbar.google.com/
How to Build Your Link Popularity
- Trading Links. This is the oldest method of improving link popularity and requires a lot of effort. However it can pay off. You simply email or contact the Webmaster of a site which is complementary, but generally not competitive, to your own. You then ask them to link to your site with a little blurb explaining your site. In turn you offer a link back to them.
- List Your Site. Make sure you list your site on the major directories such as Yahoo!, Open Directory Project. Open Directory (DMOZ) is free and a good place to start.
- Post Messages. Post a message, and include your URL in your signature in a guest book or forum on related sites.
- Check Out Your Competitors. Search for your competitors and visit the sites that are linked to them.
- Discounts and Premiums. Offer a discount on your goods or services or a premium for anyone who agrees to post a small graphic on their site that links back to your site.
- Setup Separate Websites. A method employed by many webmasters is setting up separate websites and linking all of them together.
- Create a Testimonial Page. Create a testimonial page about a Web site you would like to get linked to your site. Inform the site of the testimonial, and encourage them to link to the page.
- Write Product Testimonials. Alternatively, write a testimonial of a particular product and sign it with your name and URL. Send the testimonials out to the individual company and tell them how much you've enjoyed using their product. We all like great testimonials and there is a good chance it will get posted on their site.
- Offer Awards on Your Site. Create and give the winners a graphic which shows their award and links back to your site.