Link Popularity Building Tips

Link Popularity

Link building has always been a hot topic. In the beginning of the Web hyperlinks were virtually the only way to get visitors to a site, because search engines were in their infancy. When search engines grew to be the major source of the Web traffic, links didn't lose their weight, as search algorithms started to rank sites according to the quantity and quality of their incoming links. And today links become increasingly important with the growing significance of the new Web 2.0 social networks.

Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal link means your Web site links to another Web site and that Web site links back to you. Search engines use link popularity to rank Web sites. Exchanging reciprocal links with other sites will build a great link directory that will motivate visitors to bookmark your Web site to get access to your link directory.

One of the factors search engines use to determine your relevancy to a search term is the number of Web sites linking to your Web site. This is an effective way to increase your search engine rankings.

Three key success factors for a reciprocal linking strategy are:

1. Quality of links should outweigh quantity
2. Link partners must relate to your site content
3. Partners should link to you from pages listing as few links as possible

Link Popularity Building Strategies

Thus, links rule the Internet. Once a routine task of a Webmaster, link building has emerged itself into a full scale industry with millions of dollars in turnover. Ranking algorithms perceive links as a proxy for a human judgment, or a user's positive endorsement of a page. The idea is as follows: a user discovers a page, likes its content, links to the page, and the page gets higher ranking. This is the so-called 'natural way' of acquiring links.

Since the natural way of getting links for a new Web site can take forever, some additional boost is required. There are many strategies of link building able to ensure you some initial ranking and exposure, which are necessary to make the 'natural way' work. Some of these strategies can be very tricky and do more harm than use. Here are the steps in starting a link building campaign:

Step 1 - Get people to want to link to your Web site. Generating quality inbound links to your Web site requires a systematic approach and hard work. But the payoff is worth it. To begin with you must have good content on your Web site. Step one is to analyze the value of your content in relation to competitors. You will also need a page of outbound links on your Web site that visitors will find valuable.

Step 2 – Research Web sites that are worth linking to and that will bring relevant traffic to your site. You need to identify the portals, directories, news sites, e-zines, blogs, and other information sources specific to your industry. Google is a great help with your research because it ensures your partners are properly indexed. Look for sites closely related to your site in terms of theme and keywords. Google's ranking algorithm takes into account each link's importance along with other factors like the proximity of your search keywords in the documents. In other words, it's not just about the number of sites linking to a given page, but also the importance of those sites (measured by the links to each of them).

Step 3 – Implementing your strategy. Like any marketing campaign you need a plan. Develop a content plan for populating your Web site with valuable content. Set linking policies, pages, and linking code you can give to link partners for your site. Monitor the progress of your linking strategy so you can see what results have been achieved and adapt or tweak what you are doing to improve results.

A Reciprocal Linking Program will require that you manage the following:

1. The name of the site
2. The URL (address)
3. The name and e-mail address of the person who runs the site
4. The date you contact the person who runs the site and the date he or she responds
5. The resulting deal (Some will say yes, some will say no, others will not reply at all, others will want a link back from you, some may want money for links, some will be out of town and take weeks to reply, etc.)
6. The status of the deal
7. Verifying that the link is in place
8. Checking the site periodically for the link (Yes, some folks swap links and then pull yours for odd reasons.)

Link Building Tips

Be a user when building links. The point is to make your link exchanges look like they are acquired the natural way. Make sure that your links appear in places where search engine expect them to be. This should be pages relevant to your content. Links should (if possible) be in the page copy or in a sidebar possibly among the other links pointing to pages also relevant to your topic. The anchor text must look naturally - so no keyword stuffing.

Analyze your own motives of linking to the sites you like. What motivates you to cite a Web resource? Is it a collection of online tools or handy tutorials? Or maybe it is a provoking title? Apply this 'reverse engineering' to your pages, and use unique interesting content to attract links.

Avoid things that can damage your reputation in the eyes of search engines. No link farms (sites with hundreds of links), suspicious looking Web sites or poor quality link exchanges. Do not participate in three-way or similar linking schemes - these attempts to disguise reciprocal linking are easily to detect. NASA managed to get a man on the Moon with computers less powerful than a GameBoy, so why do you think Google can't discover link triangles with all the computing resources at its disposal?

Buying links. This practice is pretty much discouraged by Google, because it undermines the idea of the proxy for human judgment. So you have to be especially savvy when buying links. Avoid link trading sites or any site publicly announcing that is sells links. Don't mix buying links with paid advertising. You pay for an advertisement on a high traffic page expecting visitors referred by your ad. Buying links has a different purpose - increasing your link popularity.

Do not be obsessed with backlinks. There is an intense focus on link building but not enough focus of content creation. Links must reflect the quality of content. If you think your site has not enough incoming links, you should think about how to improve the quality of content and make it more appealing, not about more link exchanges.

If the links to your Web site include the words for which you want to get high rankings in the link text, your chances of getting ranked for these keywords increase.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free program run by Google that allows you to keep track of any topic on the web. You select your "keywords" or "URL's" and Google will alert you via email whenever links/ content containing your selected topics appear anywhere on the web.

It is an excellent way to keep informed about your domain or name. It is also perfect for keeping up-to-date on the latest information in your market niche or niches. It's also a great way to find out what other people are saying about you or your site.

For example: if you have a site on "antique cars" then you would create a Google Alert for those keywords. Google will alert you by e-mail whenever a new link/content related to those keywords appears on the web.

This is a great way to stay informed in your niche, but it is also a valuable source of potential linking partners. Many of those links are blogs that will allow comments with a link back to your site.

Google Alerts will probably send you 10-20 links each day, depending on the popularity of your chosen keywords. Just go to these blogs/links and see if you can leave a comment with some valuable additional information on what's been discussed.

To sum up:

Remember the most important benefit of a link exchange is the traffic resulting directly from these links. Search engines are highly unpredictable. They keep changing their algorithms every now and then. Your site is on the top 10 results today, but it may not be so tomorrow. The most important thing you can do for increasing your site's position on the search engines is getting traffic from direct links.