Sunday, January 15, 2006

Why and How to Increase Your Link Popularity

Utilization of the search engines is a very important aspect of marketing; they are usually the first means by which prospects can find your site. That's why link popularity is so essential. If the customers can't find your web site, you will not see any sales. Read this article carefully, you will benefit a lot from it.
You may be wondering what is so "popular" about links

Well, to be short... a lot! The term "Link popularity" refers to the ranking assigned to your web site by the search engines. It determines the position your page gets displayed on when people search for certain keywords in a search engine. I can already hear you screaming...

"Cool, tell me how to get my link popular!"

So, here I go. Search engines are discretionary. They give status and ranking to sites that have links to their pages from related, quality sites. It's a simple, but a very important formula. Google created the system, and now virtually all the most popular search engines employ it to rank your web pages in their indexes.

The more commonly used your keyword is, the harder it will be to achieve link popularity, but without achieving this step, it is almost certain your site will never rank highly on any search engine. But don't be dispirited; there are tried and true ways of achieving link popularity using the most competitive keywords.

There are a few things you should know about...

The first is that simply linking up with a vast number of other web sites will not achieve link popularity. In fact, it may have quite the opposite effect. This is particularly true when pertaining to web sites that are nothing more than the so-called link farms - pages containing line after line of random links. Search engines may aggressively discriminate against your website if you are associated with a link farm, so steer clear of them!

The next important thing to take into consideration is the quality of the sites you are linking to. Never link to a page you have reservations about your visitors seeing. The last thing you want your website to appear as is indiscriminate and cheap. Linking to sites of poor quality will only lessen your link popularity, if not completely destroy it.
OK, now let's get to what you must do to achieve top link popularity and improve your rankings to stellar status on all the popular search engines...

The first step, and the fastest way to get your foot in the door, is to get a listing in a popular directory, such as Open Directory Project and Yahoo. If your site is business-related, you will want to be listed on Yahoo, and despite the fact that it will cost you around $300 a year, it will be money well spent. If your site is non-commercial, the listing will be free, but it will take time and follow-up to actually get it listed. Open Directory is gives you a free listing whether you are business-related or non-commercial, but be prepared to make a lot of follow-up inquiries before you see your site listed.

You are aiming to get listed in the highest level of appropriate category, and this just takes some common sense. For example, if your company ships Alpaca wool from an Alpaca farm located in the middle of Nowhere, Tiny State, do NOT submit your listing to "Retailers from Nowhere, Tiny State." BIG MISTAKE! All you have to do is look a little deeper - and submit your listing to the "Fine Alpaca Wool" category. You will not only associate yourself with culture and quality, but you will be listed in a national category.

The next step after you have attained directory listings is to locate other quality sites that will increase your link popularity. Try to find sites that are in some way related to yours, so not only will your link popularity increase, but your customer base may also be expanded. You want to avoid your competitors and look for sites that are useful to your site's visitors. Let's look at the Alpaca Wool site example. Linking up to a site that sells knitting supplies would be helpful to your visitors, and the chances of the knitting supply site wanting to link up to your site are also greater. By linking to a related site that will be relevant to your web site's traffic, you are increasing both of your site's business prospects - and both of your sites' link popularity.

Unfortunately not all sites want to link to other sites, so you will have to do some research when you are looking for possible linking partners. Google is an excellent starting place for your search. Make sure you enter keywords that you think quality customers will also enter to find your own site. Remember, your criteria are quality, highly ranked, non-competing websites that have a links or resources page. Go to these sites and objectively assess them. Look at the quality of the product, the graphics, and the ease of use. Then check out the other sites they are linked to, and determine if your own site would fit in with the crowd.

When you decide you have found a good prospect, you must set out to woo them. The first thing you should do is to add a link on your own links page to their site. This is an essential first step; it shows good faith, and ups your chances significantly of their reciprocity. After you have added their link, you must contact the Webmaster of their site. Since this is almost always done by email, you want to make sure it is immediately clear that your message is not junk mail. This requires that you tell them right off the bat that you have added a link to their page on your site. A hook like this almost always insures the reader will read on.

Next, be sure to be flattering and let them know how much you appreciate their website. Make sure you emphasize that you have actually visited their site, and that their site is not just a random pick. Give them the address of your links page, and ask them to check out the link for themselves. It's a good idea to mention that they will not only benefit from the increased traffic your website will direct their way, but you will also increase their link popularity. Briefly, explain why link popularity is so essential, but do this in a sentence or two so you don't sound like a professor! Finally, tell them you would greatly appreciate if they would reciprocally add a link on their own links page to your website.

Go through this process with as many appropriate sites as you can find, bearing in mind the criteria of quality and non-competitiveness. After you have emailed all relevant sites, be sure to check these website frequently to see if they have added a link to your page. Give it about a month, and if no link appears, try another charming email. Then give it another month, and if your site is still absent from their links page, it's time to remove their link from your own links page. The only time you want to pursue a link further than this is if you believe a site is crucial to your link popularity and your business needs. Just remember to keep all your communications complimentary and cordial.

After you've done everything discussed, set up a schedule to check your ranking in search engines frequently to see if your link popularity has improved. This is not achievable in the blink of an eye. It will take some time and a good deal of work. There is no way around the labor-intensive quality of improving your link popularity, which is why search engines regard it with such importance.
Important tool in all SEO endeavors...
There are a few tools out there that claim to help you with your rankings and links management. They can be very useful and will save you tons of time. The one I'd recommend is one of the most complete tools for search engine optimization. And the ebooks you get with it are priceless. You can go to their web site now by clicking on this link: Click now while it's still fresh in your mind.

One last thing though - make sure you have a beautiful, streamlined site or you will never persuade anyone to link up to you. Be prepared to keep plugging away at this process, as long as it takes, until you achieve link popularity stardom!


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