Link Popularity Tips

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Is quantity or quality more important when I am building links?

Build links to create a network over which information about your products and services can travel.

One way to increase your traffic and improve your visibility is to build an online version of the old-fashioned Rolodex: word of mouth (or link!) and smart networking will reinforce your other marketing efforts, and can be a good place to start if you have a very tight budget. Build inbound links through reciprocal link exchanges to promote your web site. These links will direct users to your site from other, relevant sites, increase your company's visibility to your potential customers AND to search engines, and potentially save you some money that you can then use to focus on longer-term goals, such as search engine optimization. Building an effective link network takes time and research, however. You need to find good link partners, make link requests, wait for responses, manage those links, and check to see if your links are posted and operational. These are all straightforward tasks, but require careful thought how to build those links. Use site tracking analysis tools to track how many visitors you get from each link, and use that information to fine-tune your link building strategy.

How does Link Popularity figure in my web site's ranking?

Develop and maintain Link Popularity.

Every major search engine uses Link Popularity as one of their primary algorithms. In fact, Google uses Link Popularity as its most important factor in ranking sites, so developing and maintaining Link Popularity is essential to your business's success. Both quality and quantity are important components of Link Popularity, but one great link can be more important and more valuable than dozens of bad links. Focus on what a referring link says about you, and that it emphasizes the keywords that are important to you so that search engines recognize the link.

Are link farms a smart way to build lots of links?

Avoid link farms.

While linking services, or link farms, might appeal because they broadly distribute your links and purport to save you the time and effort it takes to find link partners, they have several potential and important drawbacks. First, the breadth of their distribution often comes at the cost of relevance of the links to your business. Your links will be posted on sites that could have nothing to do with your content, product, and service. Not only is that a wasted post, but it may degrade the relevancy of your links, and some search engines now consider link relevancy in addition to link popularity when they rank web sites. Also, link farms have a reputation for flooding your inbox - creating as much or more sorting and sifting work as you may have done to simply identify a smaller number of more relevant links. Instead of paying good money for low-value service, use web metrics to identify qualified link partners and invest your time in building relationships with those sites.

How should I choose my link partners?

Select link partners based on popularity and relevance to your web site.

While search engines' emphasis on "link popularity" would seem to imply that more links are better, it is a better decision to identify quality link partners than to simply get as many inbound links as you can. Look for link partners that target an audience that complements or overlaps with yours, and web sites that use keywords that are related to your keywords. If you are a chiropractor, it does not make much sense to get links to your site built on a book shop's web site - even if that site gets a lot of traffic; chances are, not many of their customers will want to click through for a chiropractor. Putting a link on a health web site's back pain page, however, will get your information to people more likely to be in your target audience, increasing the chances of them clicking on the link and visiting your page. Conduct some internet market research to identify potential partners, focusing on sites that use keywords that generate a lot of traffic and that are related to your site.

How can I build my online network?

Feature reciprocal links on your site.

Just like offline business relationships are two-sided, your online network must also be reciprocal. If you identify a site that you would like to have link to your products and services, chances are that that site would benefit from exposure to your audience, as well. When contacting a potential partner about a link, take the time to tell them about your audience and product so that the value and relevance of your site to their audience is apparent. You can help quantify the reach of your site by conducting site traffic analysis and sharing results, such as number of unique visitors and rate of conversion, with potential partners to support your value proposition.

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