Building Link Popularity Online

The Web is one big popularity contest! The more popular your site is, the higher it is ranked. The higher it's ranked, the better search results your site gets. In other words, if your site is ranked well (e.g., it's popular), your clients (and would-be clients) won't have to scramble through page after page of search results to find you and your business-this is one place where it pays to be popular! Unfortunately, popularity on the Web is a Catch 22 because the sites that are already at the top are often going to get more clicks (or exposure and links) because they are already at the top. So, with this vicious circle of popularity, how do you establish yourself as a major player on the Web?

In this article, we're going to show you how you can employ a few web-savvy tricks to boost your popularity starting today.

Linked Up-Get Connected to Your Popularity

One of the quickest (and easiest) ways to improve your ranking (e.g., popularity) is by piggybacking on the popularity of other sites. You do this by having high-quality, heavily-trafficked sites within your industry linked to yours with keyword-rich links. As is true in life, it's often not what you know, but who you know that will get you ahead on the Web. Believe it or not, links make a potent popularity tool. But, before you learn how easy it is to create these power-packed links, you'll want to understand a few things about how Google judges popularity.

If Google Says You're Popular, You Are

Google is powerful. If Google says your site is popular, it is. Google looks at 4 basic criteria to determine a site's popularity. These same 4 measurements are applied to your links too, so it's important you understand the value of each before you include your very first link on another site. Let's take a look at each.

1. Credibility: Regretfully, popularity linking is not as simple as linking to any ol' site you find. When you're looking for linking partners, it's important to find high-quality, industry-specific sites with a good reputation. You want to associate your name, your site, and your business with excellence, right? Google respects that decision and will reward you for linking to credible sites with a higher ranking for your own site.

2. Popularity: How popular is the site you want your link on? In other words, does it get a large amount of traffic? Is it widely known within your industry? If you do a search on it in Google, do you receive a good amount of results? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you're probably dealing with a popular site. And, a site you want to be on. Google likes to think that popular sites only "hang out" with other popular sites. So, if you can get your link on a highly-trafficked, highly ranked site…you'll be popular sooner than you think! As a side note: Often you will be asked to link to the host site from your site, too. This is called link sharing or reciprocal linking and can ultimately benefit both sites with increased ranking and traffic.

3. Keywords: Google loves keyword-rich sites that have really great content. The same is true for links. Google looks to see if the words used within links actually go to pages with similar content. In other words, if you want to increase your popularity, you'll want to word your links so that they use the exact keywords that can be found on your site. For example, if your name is Bob and you are a realtor in North Carolina, you'd do much better using "North Carolina Real Estate" than "Bob's Website" in your link. In addition, you'll want to avoid using vague terms like "click here," these don't help advertise your site nearly as effectively as links with your keywords in them. Think in terms of keywords and you'll be one step ahead of the game!

4. Relativity: Similar to #3, Google wants to see that the site from which you are being linked is related to yours. In other words, Google wouldn't rank you nearly as highly if you were a realtor with a link on an auto parts website as it would if you were a realtor with a link on a realty site. So, when you are deciding which sites to which to add your link, you'll want to ask yourself if the 2 sites (yours and theirs) are related in content.

Examples of Link Popularity

Let's take a look at some examples of good and bad link scenarios, so you can know exactly what you need to do to start getting popular today.

A) You are a realtor and you choose to place the following link on Bob's Auto Shop-a site that doesn't get much traffic: Click here to visit Tammy, the Real Estate Agent. As you can see, there are a number of strikes against this link scenario, including linking on a site outside of your industry (auto versus realty), one that is not popular (low traffic), and using "click here" instead of your keyword as the link text. This linking scenario would give you the lowest popularity boost.

In this case, a better option would be to update your link text to read "Search for Raleigh Real Estate at Tammy's website." In this example, you'll note that the link has been optimized to include keywords. It's not ideal because Bob's Auto Shop is not related to your industry, but it's better than the first.

B) If you take what you've learned from the first example and find an industry-related site, you'll start to get the hang of it in no time at all. For example, here's an even better scenario. You are a realtor and you choose to place the following link on a small industry-related site that doesn't get much traffic: "Search for Raleigh Real Estate at Tammy's website." This scenario is much better than the first because the incoming link is from an industry-related site AND they are using your keyword text as link text. However, since the site is small and doesn't receive much traffic, you'll want to search for a more popular site to host your link.

C) The perfect solution, of course, would be to find a highly-trafficked, credible, popular site within your industry and include a keyword link to your site. For example, you are a realtor and you place the following link on industry-related site that gets tons of traffic: "Search for Raleigh Real Estate at Tammy's website."

In the world of popularity, it doesn't get much better than this. So, get out there and start linking-when done correctly, it will increase your popularity, boost your traffic, and improve your revenue.

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