What is Link Popularity?
By F. Terrence Markle
Link popularity is simply the total number of web pages that link to your web page. Link popularity is an extremely important factor that is used by most of the major search engines to rank web pages and web sites. In general, the major search engines consider link popularity a key factor in their algorithms to determine the relevancy of your web page to a particular keyword search query.
Good link popularity is important because it can increase the visitor traffic to your web page. The reputation of your web site (i.e., votes of confidence from other web sites) is a measure of the site’s link popularity. Your web page rank (i.e., the position your web page occupies in a search engine’s results page) to a particular search query can be improved by increasing the number of relevant and quality web sites that have incoming links to your web page.
An incoming link is considered to be relevant if it is meaningful and relates to your web page. If you sell golf clubs online, relevant incoming links could be from: golf club manufacturers, golf apparel sites, competitors, golf-related directories and so forth. In addition, internal links (links from web pages within your web site) are considered relevant and essential because they help your web page visitor to navigate your web site.
It is not enough to just have web page links coming into your web page (link popularity). The quality of the incoming link is also critical. A search engine will put more emphasis on a high quality web page (ranked high by a particular search engine) than on a low quality web page (ranked low by a particular search engine). It will take many lower quality incoming links to approach the level of a single high quality incoming link.
The major search engines do more than match the content of your web page to the keyword search query to determine if there’s a good match for a particular search. They look at the quality of the links to your web page. The reason is because there are thousands, if not millions, of web pages that contain the search query’s particular keyword or keyword phrase in the web page content. The search engines want to deliver a list of relevant and ordered web pages to meet a user’s query search.
In addition to the link popularity, search engines also look at the anchor text contained in the incoming link to your web page. It will consider your web page more relevant to the keyword query search if the text in the incoming link to your web page contains the queried keywords.
The number and quality of incoming links to your web page can be an excellent source of targeted and consistent visitor traffic to your site. In addition, search engines are more likely to index your web pages on a more frequent basis if you have many incoming relevant and quality links. The search engine spiders have a higher probability of finding you through the external incoming links to your site as your link popularity increases.
Reciprocal linking or link exchanging involves another web page linking to your web page and you linking back to their web page. If you select targeted and relevant web pages to exchange links with then you have a higher probability of gaining increased visitor traffic to your web page. In addition, your web page ranking on a search engine keyword query is also likely to improve as mentioned earlier.
Your overall marketing plan should include a link exchange campaign to help improve your search engine rankings and the visitor traffic to your web page. Spend the necessary time and energy to locate and exchange links with link exchange partners that provide a good match with your web page. Review the potential link partner’s web site theme and content to determine if their link would be relevant to your site. Consider only those web sites as exchange partners with themes or topics that complement or relate to your web page.
It is important that you have a good link exchange strategy in place and a process to manage the reciprocal links. Don’t link to a web page if they are not linking back to your web page. Link exchange campaigns require your attention and monitoring. You can perform the link exchange management manually or you can use a computer program that will do it for you.
There are a number of good programs that perform link exchange management functions. However, there are some programs that do a poor job. For example, some management software programs will perform automated search engine queries to harvest prospects that are not relevant for linking to your web page. Do not use “link farms” in your link exchange campaign. These sites provide hundreds of non-relevant links with no meaningful content to your site that the search engines can detect and potentially use to ban or penalize your site.
The vast majority web site owners that participate in a link exchange program do not understand the issues and benefits of the exchange. As a result, they do not maximize the potential value to be gained from the link exchange. Learn and implement the proper strategies and your web page will potentially benefit from improved search engine ranking and increased targeted and qualified visitors.
Every web site that provides links to other web pages should have a links page. Your links page will be an excellent resource for the visitors to your web site. Your web site will be more helpful and credible to your visitors if you provide useful and relevant links on your links page. You can start utilizing the power of your links page when it becomes a service to your visitors rather than a tool to obtain higher search engine ranking.
You need to categorize your links if you have a lot of outgoing links. Don’t try to put all your links on one links page where it has the appearance of a link farm (i.e., no valuable content or relevance) to the search engines that want to index the page. Create a useful links page that shows only the link categories with separate links that take your visitor to an individual link page for each category. The intent is to provide a resource for your visitors that is useful and can be easily navigated. Search engines love this type of structure that they can fully index.
The incoming links to your web page and the outgoing links to other web pages should be structured in a clear manner. Provide your link exchange partners with the exact HTML code to be included in the link on their web page. This code should include your URL, your anchor link text with the appropriate keyword or keyword phrase and a concise description that incorporates your web site name and the appropriate keyword or keyword phrase.
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