If you have a website, then you probably wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night fretting about your link popularity. Link popularity has probably become the cornerstone of internet marketing. For the purposes of this discussion, we are going to talk about what link popularity is, why it is so important, and how to implement a strategy to increase the number of quality inbound links to your website.
Simply put, the link popularity for a given website is defined as the number of websites that currently link to that site. Some websites have thousands or even millions of sites linking to them, while others might have only 100 or less. The search engines use this as the most important criteria in their search algorithms for determining where a site should be ranked. The more high quality inbound links a site has, the higher its ranking.
The sheer number of links to a site is not the only factor used to determine link popularity. The search engines also examine the relevance and significance of the links. For example, if a website that sells wheelchairs has 2,000 inbound links, but most of the links are coming from insignificant sites that have nothing to do with wheelchairs, then the search engines might assess a low score for the link popularity of that particular site.
It is possible for a website with a relatively small number of quality, relevant links to be ranked higher than a site with a bunch of nonsensical links. If I have a website that provides mortgage quotes, and I have 800 inbound links, and most of the sites linking to me are quality websites that are related to mortgages or personal finance, then I might receive a much higher search engine ranking than another mortgage site that has 3,000 links that are mostly from link farms or Free For All (FFA) pages.
If you try to acquire inbound links to your website by submitting your site to link farms or FFA pages, not only will it hurt your search engine ranking, but you might get banned from the search listings altogether. Links farms are sites where you can instantly exchange links with all the sites listed in that directory. FFA pages are pointless link directories. The search engines usually discount any links to your site originating from these FFA pages or link farms.
The way to improve your link popularity is simply by advertising your website. If your site provides a meaningful service or sells popular products, people will link to you after you start advertising and your site becomes more popular. You should also submit articles or press releases to article submission directories. You are allowed to include a link to your website at the bottom of the article. So, as your articles are put into circulation, you will receive a lot of links.
You might want to join a link exchange so that you can trade links with other sites, but the links you will receive are usually worthless. Instead, you should focus on advertising and submitting articles to get your site known so that you can get those high quality links you need to climb to the top of the search engines.
I hope this information will help you with your linking campaign. It can take several years to build a high number of quality, relevant links, but if you are persistent, your efforts will be rewarded in the long run. Simply stick to traditional advertising methods and providing valuable content by submitting articles and press releases, stay away from FFA pages and link farms, and you will do fine.
Jim Pretin is the owner of http://www.forms4free.com, a service that helps programmers make free HTML forms.