More and more search engines are using link popularity as a ranking criterion. How do you determine your link popularity, and what can you do with that information to improve your rankings? Read on.
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More and more search engines are using link popularity as a ranking criterion. It all started with Google, and now other search engines, such as MSN, Inktomi, AltaVista, HotBot, Northern Light, and Excite, also use link popularity in their algorithms.
Your link popularity is based on the sites linking to your pages. The factors determining link popularity are the quality of sites linked to yours, the relevance of those sites to yours, the quality of the link's text, and in some cases even the number of links (but in most cases it's quality versus quantity).
How do you determine your link popularity, and what can you do with that information to improve your rankings? One way to find your site's link popularity is to download the Google Toolbar.
How It Works
The Google Toolbar, which installs in seconds, helps you find information from anywhere on the Web (at present it runs only on Windows OS and Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher). It appears just below your browser address box and can be used to search the Web from any page. It has a number of features, but the two concerning link popularity are the following:
Using Link Popularity for Better Rankings
Now that you know how to determine link popularity, you can use the Google Toolbar to see how your competitors rank. Then you try to beat those rankings by getting more links to your site.
Start by referring to your strategic keyword phrases. Let's say you sell antiques, and to get higher search engine rankings for that product page you want to boost link popularity for your Web page regarding your keyword phrase.
Search Google using your best keyword phrases; chances are good that your competitor will come up before you. Click the link to that site, and you'll see a PageRank between 1 and 10 on the Google Toolbar. Check Backward Links, and you'll find out how many sites linked to that site. Sites listed below the number-one listing will have fewer links.
Your job is to get more links than your competitor, increasing the odds of being listed above your competitor.
Getting lots of quality sites linked to yours is more important than lots of ho-hum sites. And remember that link popularity is only one of several criteria considered by search engines when indexing your site. Also important are Web site design (functionality, fast loading, easy navigation, proper link structure, etc.) and search engine optimization (SEO) both for content and for HTML codes (keyword-rich marketing copy, keywords in title, description, meta tags, etc.). Below are a few tips for improving your link popularity.
Tips for Improving Link Popularity
If your site is relevant to a section in About.com, submit to that network. Search for industry-specific directories and topical search engines in Search Engine Guide's Search Engine Directory, and submit to relevant databases.
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Paul J. Bruemmer is CEO of Web-Ignite Corporation, a search engine optimization (SEO) and positioning provider. Founded in 1995, Web-Ignite has helped promote over 15,000 Web sites and was recognized by ICONOCAST as one of the top 10 most reputable SEO firms. Services include optimization, submission, registration, positioning, monitoring, maintenance, paid-inclusion, and paid-placement management for fixed monthly fees. Recent client testimonials report search engine traffic increased from 150 to 500 percent.
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