CURRENT VERSION IS SEY 2003
André le Roux
I read a funny post in a search engine
A very sarcastic guy asked: Does anyone here really
still believe that search engines consider link popularity when ranking
sites? Gee man, I dunno. I heard theres this cool search
engine called Google
'link popularity' refers a measurement of the number and quality of
inbound links to a page.
Link popularity matters. The
Infoseek search engine experimented with link popularity measurements
a couple of years ago and Google made it
a big thing with their PageRank system. The thinking behind it is simple:
If many people link to a site, it must have something of value. Its
probably the kind of page youd want right at the top of your search
Popularity In Action
Theres an official White House
web site. Theres also a horde of unofficial and wannabe White
House web sites. How do you serve the official White House web site
first when someone does a search for White House? Thats
right. Link popularity. The big thing that sets the official
web site apart is that it has more inbound links than the wannabes.
As a result of Googles success,
other search engines were fast to build link popularity systems that
can measure the link popularity of each site it spiders and work that
score into the ranking algorithm. Most of the major search engines now
measure link popularity and consider link popularity when ranking web
To Increase Link Popularity
As with many other things, the easiest
ways to increase link popularity tend to yield the smallest returns.
Here are the 4 ways to get inbound
links to your site:
1. Free For All (FFA) link pages
2. Link-share services
3. Ask for links
4. Editorial links
Lets look at these in more detail:
Link Popularity... 1 of 4: Free For All
(FFA) link pages
This one does not work. FFAs are simply
pages with massive lists of links. Anyone willing to take the time to
add their sites can get a link from a FFA page so search engines
simply do not count links from FFAs to your site. In fact, some search
engines consider it a form of spam.
Having your site listed on FFA pages
is a way of artificially inflating your sites link popularity.
Your site might be penalized or dropped
Link Popularity... 2 of 4: Link-share services
This one used to work. Its a
concept very similar to FFA pages the difference being that every
site thats part of the service has its own little FFA page linking
to everyone else. You get one inbound link from each and every subscriber
to the service. In return, you link to each of them.
Some search engines have declared
link-share services a form of spam and now penalize sites that use them.
Link Popularity... 3 of 4: Ask for links
Around the end of 2002 I started hearing
that Google penalizes sites for reciprocal linking. At the moment I
believe that that is probably only true in cases of excessive reciprocal
linking and reciprocal linking with sites that are off-topic. When my
thinking on this changes, Ill report it in my EnginePaper
In the meantime, heres how:
Identify sites in your industry that
might be willing to link to you. Next, link to those sites from yours.
Now write an e-mail to each webmaster, say that youve already
linked to their site and ask for a link back. Make it appealing. Explain
the benefits of link popularity and any other benefits of having a link
from your site to theirs. Explain how their visitors will benefit from
the content on your site. If a link to your site adds value to theirs,
youll get results.
Make your link request as personal
as possible. I receive at least one reciprocal link request per day
- and I delete all of them. Don't use software or a standard template
to email webmasters. You must actually visit the site and comment
on it right in the opening paragraph. You need to show your reader that
you're real and sincere. If you look like just another bot, you'll end
up in the deleted items folder like all the others.
Link Popularity... 4
of 4: Editorial links
This is the most effective technique.
The catch is that it requires a lot of hard work on your part. Fill
your site with valuable content. The kind of stuff other webmasters
want to link to.
Some of the benefits are:
- Editorial links from sites that deal with the
same subject as yours will carry more weight.
- If keywords that you are trying to target
appear in a text link, it carries more weight. This is a good reason
to work some keywords into the title of your site. Most webmasters
will use you title when linking to you.
- Im not 100% sure, but if keywords
that you are targeting appear near the link, that might also count
in your favor.
- The link popularity of the site that links
to you is very important. A link from Yahoos homepage would
be priceless. A link from larrys-used-cars.com would help, but not
a whole lot.
Reading On Link Popularity
This comprehensive article by Eric Ward covers
the 12 things that your link request should contain, followed by the
reasons why. http://www.clickz.com/linking/build_links/article.php/831971
Visit Eric Wards site for a comprehensive
collection of articles on link building:
Also worth a visit: Larry Sullivans
page is based on information contained in the Search Engine Yearbook 2003.
For more detailed search engine information & help, please refer to the
current version of the book.
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