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Free Executives Guide to SEO

Link Popularity


Link Popularity relates to the number of links and authority of the web sites linking to your site. Search engines recognize when a site is popular based on links that point to your site or any page in your site from external websites. Link popularity is factored into search engine algorithms, most famously through the use of Google's PageRank technology. Because of the emphasis placed on link popularity, increasing the number of quality links to your site can improve your search engine ranking. You gain link popularity with the search engines for having quality inbound and outbound links. Quality links are defined by their content relevancy to your site as well as their own popularity. An important factor in determining the quality of a link is its anchor text. Anchor text is the text in a link that concisely and correctly describes what that link is all about. You want anchor text to be meaningful and relevant both with regard to internal and external links to your site. Understanding the basics to establishing good links will help increase your site's link popularity and thus improve its SEO ranking.

Before you begin working to increase your link popularity, it is important to know how your site is currently doing. Determining if you have others linking to your site is invaluable SEO information and knowing if the search engines know about those links will help you get started. Then you can decide if you need to increase your number of quality inbound links as part of your search engine optimization strategy. Or maybe, you need to get rid of badly placed links that point to your site, such as those related to link farms. Pay attention to the content and quality of a site linking to yours and the other sites that they link to as well.

Consider formulating a plan of action and goals for your web site, including SEO strategies for a Link Building Campaign related to your site.

Correct Linking Methods


Focusing your link campaign on correct methods can have lasting, long-term affects on your site's search engine placement. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you look for link partners.

  • Look for relevance in a site.
  • Keep your site focused and its links focused.
  • Know who is paying attention to you and who you want attention from.
  • Be creative and willing to share appropriate information.

Having quality links will not only help you gain popularity because they will feed you good traffic, they will also most likely improve search engine ranking. A well structured site has well structured and relevant information, including links.

Technical Note for Linking

A solution for keeping certain links that may or may not be totally relevant to your site and letting the major search engines know that you have a clear understanding on importance of certain links is by using the following technical code within specific site pages: rel="nofollow"

This code, in association with the hyper reference tag, tells the search engines that you have a link here but to not follow or count that link. Used appropriately, it also tells the search engines that you believe the link to be appropriate for additional information but it may not be completely relevant to your site. This way you get the benefit of gaining popularity points without looking like you are spamming. Another example on how to implement this code for a link that goes to siteA.com might currently look like this:

<a href="http://www.siteA.com">SiteA Information</a>

This could be modified so that search engines do not use this link to influence the way they rank your site by adding the coding as follows:

<a href="http://www.siteA.com" rel="nofollow">SiteA Information</a>

This attribute is appropriate for paid or sponsored links where the aim is not link popularity but visitor traffic. The search engines want you to design your site for users, therefore they reward obvious attempts to do so.

Link Building Campaign


A link building campaign can assist you in improving link popularity and earning better SEO rankings among the major search engines. Following are some steps to increase your web site's link popularity during a search engine optimization project:

  1. One process in a link building campaign is determining whether you have back links, also referred to as inbound links or backward links, to your site. These are links from another site that links to yours. To do this, some search engines have search functions that will point out back links. Some back links can be found in Google or Yahoo! by using the following search function example:
    www.bruceclay.com -site:bruceclay.com
    (replace bruceclay.com with your domain name)
  2. Then, you can decide if should establish more quality links to your site. This requires research into areas that are related to your business or services. Establishing quality links requires awareness of your competitors and who they link to or get links from. If a site links to your competition then you should consider getting that site to link to your site as well. If other sites exist and are pertinent to your site then you want to establish a connection with them to have a link from their site to yours.
  3. A quality link can sometimes be formed by establishing a link partner. This is when you create reciprocal links between your site and theirs. Be careful when you exchange links or establish a link partner. Make sure that this is not done exclusively in your link building campaign or in too much quantity. Ensure that the reciprocal link is completely relevant to your site. With a link partner you will continually need to make sure that their site continues to exist and continues to be relevant to yours.
  4. Once you have established quality links to your site, make sure that the search engines are aware of them. You want all pages of your site and those referencing you to be spidered and indexed by the search engines. Do this by submitting the pages that contain a link to your site to the search engines. Do not rely on the other sites to know how to submit sites to search engines or actually perform the submission for the page that is important to your web site's link popularity.

You may also want to consider Bruce Clay search engine optimization services or SEO Training.

Increase Link Popularity


An additional idea to consider for increasing link popularity for your web site is in the creation of a "link magnet" described below. Avoid "link farms", aggressively purchasing links or having too many links. Search engine optimization (SEO) tips and information on the areas to avoid with regard to links is also described in further detail below.

Link Magnet

Web site link popularity can be measured by the number of times a particular site or page is linked to. If your site has worthwhile or exclusive information then others will find this and link to your site. This type of information is considered a "link magnet." Link magnets are items or information that attract visitors to your site, like a magnet. Depending on your market or business, there can be a number of ways to develop a link magnet. Unique ideas, design elements, information, or graphics can do the trick. Free services, tips, or goodies can pay off in web site popularity. Consider letting go of that unique, exclusive item in the event that others will want to use it or link to it.

The Bruce Clay Search Engine Relationship Chart® has found its way to becoming our link magnet.

Need More SEO and Ranking Information? - Make Your Site a Link Magnet

Areas to avoid

Link Farms - Avoid link farms at all costs.
What is a link farm? A link farm is a web site or web page in a site dedicated to listing unrelated links to other sites for the primary purpose of increasing incoming links to a site. You might consider a link farm to increase your popularity but ultimately this is incorrect. Link farm sites or pages are penalized by search engines and should be avoided at all costs. They offer no benefit to your link popularity and are considered a form of spam. If your site is included in a link farm, your site could be penalized as well or, even worse, banned from a search engine all together. They are useless and not worth anything in assisting you with your site's link popularity or, ultimately, your search engine ranking.

Purchasing Links
Aggressively purchasing links that promise sponsoring or promoting your page link throughout their sites can have the same detrimental affects as participating in a link farm. Watch who is endorsing you. The major search engines are aware of the areas and sites that sponsor or promote links incorrectly and are penalized for such actions. You do not want your web site or any of your site pages to also be penalized or banned.

Also, avoid excessive links within your site. Too many links either to or from a site can be detrimental to a site. Search engines consider over 100 links on a page to be excessive and possibly a link farm.

Correct Linking Methods

Focusing your link campaign on correct methods can have lasting, long-term effects on your site's search engine placement and SEO rankings. Look for relevance in a site. Keep your site and links focused. Know who is paying attention to you and who you want attention from. Having quality links will only help you gain popularity. Be creative and willing to share appropriate information. A well-structured site has well-structured and relevant information, including links.

Technical Note for Linking

A solution for keeping certain links that may or may not be totally relevant to your site, and letting the major search engines know that you have a clear understanding on importance of certain links, is by using the following technical code within specific site pages:

rel="nofollow"

This code, in association with the hyper reference tag, tells the search engines that you have a link here but to not follow that link. Used appropriately, it also tells the search engines that you believe the link to be appropriate for additional information, but it may not be completely relevant to your site. This way you get the benefit of gaining popularity points without looking like you are spamming. Another example on how to implement this code for a link that goes to siteA.com might currently look like this:

<a href="http://www.siteA.com">SiteA Information</a>

This could be modified so that search engines do not use this link to influence the way they rank your site by adding the coding as follows:

<a href="http://www.siteA.com" rel="nofollow">SiteA Information</a>