Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Link Popularity

What is link popularity and how can you build link popularity to help your business?

Link popularity plays an important role in the visibility of a web site among the top of the search results.

Wikipedia defines link popularity as a measure of the quantity and quality of other web sites that link to a specific site on the World Wide Web.

There are all kinds of website design and search engine optimization terms out there that can be confusing especially when you are just getting started with your small business website.

Lets break down some of the definitions for easier understanding:

Link Popularity
Link popularity is the measure of the number of hypertext links coming into a website from other websites on the Internet. Although you obviously want to have several links incoming and outgoing, but it’s important to pay attention to the quality of your website inbound and outbound links. For instance, if you have several incoming and outgoing links to sites that aren’t relevant to your website, your links aren’t quality links. When browsing the web and you stumble upon a site with great information and you click on their resources, would you rather be directed to more information about the subject you originally searched for and related items, or links to widgets?

Anchor Text
The anchor text is the text that you click in a hyperlink. Many times you’ll see “click here” to view our pricing. Using click here rather than a keyword such as “widget pricing” takes away from your natural search engine optimization. The search engine algorithms use anchor text and can get you better ranking if you are using it correctly.

Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal links are two-way links from one website to another. Basically, you place a link on your website to the other company website and they in turn place a link on their website to your website. Often times you are allowed to include your anchor text in the link you are placing on the external site, other times – you can include your company name, website and a brief description. Again this practice is another important part of search engine optimization.

Non-reciprocal links
Non-reciprocal links are sometimes referred to as one-way links. It is just as it sounds, a link to your site, or a link from your site that isn’t returned. Meaning, I often link to Wikipedia for definitions to help explain items in my website articles. Wikipedia doesn’t link back to me for my articles.

Link Exchange
A link exchange involves reciprocal links and usually occurs when you or your Webmaster receive an email from a company that would like to exchange links with you or you can initiate a link exchange with a website that you think has valuable information and would benefit your site users. Always fully check out the sites that are requesting link exchanges with you to make sure that they aren’t part of linking farm or using practices that Google and the other search engines frown upon. You don’t want to accidentally get your site banned from the search engines!

Paid Links
Paid linking involves buying and selling links to improve a site’s ranking. Google and other search engines use linking in their algorithms to determine a sites “importance” which effects the site ranking. Google frowns upon the process in particular as well as other search engines and there has been quite a bit of controversy over Google suggesting that webmasters report paid links to them. There are instances where it is okay to purchase a link for advertising and you can check out the guidelines in Google’s Webmaster Help Center.

Now that you’re familiar with the terminology, it’s time to get out there and start building your link popularity! Remember quality and quantity and watch your website move up in natural search engine results.

Joanne Pele is the Vice President of Operations at Complete Business Systems. Complete Business Systems provides a ready-to-go branding package for your company, including website, logo, business cards and letterhead. Additional services include postcard design, databases, press release and web content writing. For more information, visit CompleteBizSystems.com, or call 800-479-9186


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