You’ve spent the last few months optimizing your website. Your keywords are placed in all the right places on your pages, but your site’s ranking is not improving as fast as you hoped. What do you do?
It is now time to work on link popularity!
Why bother with link popularity? Link popularity is important because every major search engine considers them as a part of their ranking algorithms. You must build links if you want to rank well with the competitive keywords.
If your page includes all the important criteria and scores well with Page Primer, it’s time to focus on your links. You need good inbound links to move your page up the ranking ladder and get new entry points to your site, but how do you get those inbound links in the first place?
Let’s make sure you understand what link popularity is. Link popularity is the measure of inbound links to your web site. Link analysis evaluates which sites are linking to you and the link text itself.
Fortunately for you, there are a lot of ways to improve your link quality and popularity. Here are some ideas to help you set up your own link popularity campaign:
1. Get your site in shape. You must first make sure your site is in shape. Your site should look professional, have good content and be easy to navigate. Validate your HTML code and check your links with a tool like HTML toolbox. If there are broken pages or links in your site, it is not likely you will get linkbacks.
Directories have gone on record saying they may exclude sites with broken links and page errors. Directories want only professional looking sites in their databases, so proof your site before you start promoting it.
2. Make time for link building. You can’t grow your link popularity overnight. Set aside time every week to work on link building. If you force yourself to spend a couple hours a week on link building, it will become part of your routine. If you don’t make it a priority, it won’t get done.
It will take time for you to notice results, but, over time, those one or two new links start adding up until they are hundreds or even thousands of links.
3. Set realistic goals for yourself. Don’t expect to see instant results. Link building is taxing, frustrating and time-consuming. Convincing another web site to link to you can be very difficult. If you get one good quality link a month, you’re doing good.
Patience is the key to link building. It is important to keep track of who you have asked, since it could be embarrassing to ask a site for a link if they’ve already given you one.
If someone declines, wait and ask again later. Their company may have changed their focus, or there may be someone else reviewing the links. A “no” today doesn’t necessarily mean “never”.
4. Educate your employees about link building. If you’re link building in-house, educate your company’s internal management about the benefits of link building.
Link popularity is unique to the search engine industry. Sit down with your management and explain the concept behind link building. Don’t assume your management knows what it is, because most won’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
Explain link building by describing the relationship of link building and increased revenue, this will usually get management’s attention. You will need management’s support to provide the time and money you need to get into search engines or directories, so their understanding is important.
5. Quality above quantity. Be selective. Search engines use sophisticated rules when judging link importance, and the popularity of the site is also important. One link from CNet is worth far more than a link from a personal web site.
Stay away from link farms, which are sites that exist only to link to other websites. Search engines take a very dim view of link farms. Google has been known to ban sites found using these link farms.
Try to stick to sites that are in the same field as your site, but not competing. Links that are in your same field will carry more weight than a link from a quilting site if you are a site for automotive parts. This does not mean you should always refuse if the site isn’t in your field, just limit the amount of the non related sites that you accept. Links from within your own field are strong endorsements and will go a long way to increasing your link popularity.
6. Get to know the website you are requesting a link to. Establish yourself as a real human first, then when you ask for a link, they are less likely to refuse.
Broadcast emails are a bad idea, sure it is easier, but they are considered spam and will only make the company mad at you. Spam link requests waste everyone’s time and don’t work.
7. Give them your exact HTML link code. When you send them what you want in the link and suggest which page you want it on, it makes their job easier. This also makes sure the right words are used in the link and reduces the burden in setting up the link. Everybody is pressed for time, and, if you make it “drop-in simple”, you will be making it irresistible. The easier it is for them, the more successful you will be in convincing them to use your link.
8. Get listed on as many directories as you can. This is important if your site is new or you do not have any inbound links. Another reason this is important is that, without inbound links, your site is at a disadvantage with most search engine rankings.
The way to overcome this is to get a few quality links. The way to start is to get listed in as many directories as you can. There are many directories out there, and the more you can get into, the better.
Here are some directories to choose from: Open Directory, Yahoo, LookSmart and Zeal.com, just to name a few.
Most directories worth linking to require you to pay for a listing. Most of the time, it is worth the expense.
9. Be prepared to give something for a link. Try to have something to offer in return for a link. Create a page that allows you to have a place from which you can easily link to them.
You can offer to work a barter arrangement with them. If your site is popular or is within their market, they might consider advertisements in exchange.
Consider outsourcing your link popularity work. Link building is a time-consuming part of search engine optimization, so you may find it is not cost effective to do it in-house. This means you might want to hire someone else to do it for you.
Many top SEO firms have turned to outsourcing this function. Outsourcing could be an efficient way for you to get links for your site as long as you use a reputable link building firm.
If you decide to outsource, be sure the firm you hire follows good link building practices. Ask them how they plan to get the job done. Make sure they use a personalized approach, just like you would do if you were doing it yourself. You need to make sure that the method they use would not be considered spam.
If they refuse to discuss their methods with you, then you can assume they use impersonal methods such as widespread e-mail drops or link farms – this is considered spam. They may call it something else, but, if their process involves sending out large numbers of form emails, it’s still spam. If they do it the impersonal way, it will only set you back and injure your company’s professional reputation. Saving time at the expense of hurting your reputation isn’t worth it. Go look for a different company, or develop your links yourself.
10. Think of link building as an investment in your site.
The link building process needs to be one of your top priorities. Search engines have found link building to be resistant to manipulation, and they use it to measure the importance of a site. Since link building takes time, the sooner you start, the better.
Think of link building as a long-term investment in your site. The time you put in now to improve your linking today will insure a good search engine ranking in the future.