Link popularity is defined as the number of web sites or
web pages pointing to a site. It is a measuring factor used
by many search engines in determining the relevancy and popularity
of a web page. Google uses link popularity as the single most
important factor for a site to achieve top search engine rankings.
Content is the next most important factor Google uses to rank
a web site.
In the past, search engines ranked a web page based on the
meta content the page offers considering the keywords, key
phrases, titles and description tags. The principal factor
in rating a web page, were the keywords and key phrases. As
time passed, many web sites cleverly utilized this factor
by spamming a page with unnecessary and irrelevant keywords
and phrases. The search engines faced difficulty in analyzing
these spammed and irrelevant pages resulting in improper ranking
of these pages. Search engine specialists and research developers
after months of thorough study and analysis discovered that
a page could be best ranked on the basis of its popularity.
The popularity of the website was determined by the number
of other websites which had links pointing to the home website.
They also considered the popularity of the websites that pointed
to the home website. This strategy proved to be effective
and paved way to the concept of link popularity. This technique
is very safe as it is quite difficult for a website to get
into the eyes of many similar websites leading to top search
engine rankings. There are no easy means for website owners
or spam experts to easily manipulate the pointers to their
site in any way and increase their site popularity. Google
was the first search engine to implement link popularity as
a part of its search engine ranking strategy. Later, almost
all the search engines followed suit thus establishing a very
strong base for link popularity as a primary decision factor
in search engine optimization strategy and achieving top search
We have just seen that Link popularity holds the key in determining
and ranking a web page. It is also evident that search engines
accord top search engine rankings by looking at the number
of sites pointing to it. However it is not simple to achieve
link popularity for a site.
Any website links to our site if and only if useful and meaningful
content is present thus evoking interest in the visitors mind
to introduce a pointer to our website. So, primarily good
content is the first and foremost aspect a site should provide
in order to increase link popularity. Content always forms
a fundamental feature in search engine optimization.
The second aspect is usage of reciprocal links or link exchange
programs wherein two website owners include a link pointing
to the others. In this way, both the sites are assured of
a link from the other side. One can also submit to Free for
All Pages (FFA), which automatically ensure links to your
site. FFA pages place the site URL in a common page consisting
the URLs of many other sites. It is really a painstaking exercise
to really submit and monitor FFA pages. Sometimes you would
have to submit on a weekly or daily basis and if you are really
fortunate enough, all these links stayed tuned to your site
for a period of time. Banner Exchanges is another means by
which one can achieve pointers to their site. But all these
methods are considered as spamming techniques by search engines.
Link popularity is not just a measure the number of links
to a site but more than that. The following factors are useful
in measuring link popularity.
Number of Links - The more the number of
links pointing to our site (Inbound links), the higher the
Link popularity is.
Relevance - Link popularity is based on
the relevance of the inbound link. The incoming link should
share the same subject of that of the current site as search
engines detain irrelevant links.
Link text - The text in the links also can
affect the ranking of your site. Search engine spiders see
if any text in the links pointing to our site is relevant
to the context. So if websites use keywords or phrases that
coincide with that of our website, there are greater chances
of a site achieving top search engine rankings.
Search engines merely do not consider the quantitative aspect
of link popularity but also the quality of inbound links.
In other words, it is of no use if hundreds of irrelevant
links point to your site. Few quality links, which are relevant
to the subject and theme, will go a long way in ensuring top
search engine rankings.
Search for similar sites, which share the same content that
of yours. Study the site and send an email requesting to link
back to your site, clearly explaining the purpose of the link
and the site. It is a good idea to send the link text that
you want to have in the other website including the html code.
Recommend including the keywords and phrases in the link text.
Also explain where to position the link in their site, whether
in the home page or secondary page etc.
Each search engine has a different approach towards implementing
link popularity of a site. For instance, one search engine
may show that a site has 200 links pointing to it, but another
may display only 50 links are pointing to it. A site will
get a boost in ranking if the sites linking to it are already
indexed by search engines and directories. So, ensure and
crosscheck whether the site, which is linking to your site,
is submitted to the search engines. All sites linking to your
site should be indexed by that particular search engine. Incorporating
outbound links to relevant sites may also add to link popularity.
Ensure that no dead or broken links exist in your site.
Finally, here is a brief do's and don'ts about how to achieve
good link popularity.
- Study the links of your competitors and contact them
- Use quality links, rich with keywords
- Link to relevant sites only
- Place the link in the home page if possible as it boosts
- Check for broken and dead links
- Ensure that all sites linking to your site are indexed
by the search engines
- Submit pages with new links to search engines on a timely
- Do not use FFA pages
- Do not use exchange programs
- Do not use banner exchanges
- Avoid using images as links
The reasons being the above factors are considered as spamming
techniques and artificial link popularity by popular search
Analyzing the above factors, it is clearly visible how link
popularity forms a basis for search engines to rank web pages
and the importance of link popularity in formulating an effective
search engine optimization strategy.