Link popularity simply means how many links you have from other web sites. It’s a measurement of how popular your web site is among the internet community because incoming links can be considered as votes. Usually you link to a site because of some value of it (except in cases that you want to point spam sites).

Because of its fairness, search engines give higher weight to link popularity when they rank web sites. Google has even implemented an algorithm called Google Page Rank based on it. Other than that you can get a stream of traffic via your incoming links.

Effectiveness of Different Link Types

Not all incoming links are equal in value. The value of an incoming link largely depends on referring source and referring page.

Referring Source: It’s always good to have links from well established and well recognized sites. Intuitively those votes have higher value over less recognized ones both in visitors’ view and search engines’ view. Google Page Rank and Alexa Rank are two highly used measurements to locate established sites. When it comes to SE rankings, the theme of the source is also considered. That means a link from a source in same subject is better than a link from a source in different subject with same recognition values.

Referring Page: If the page is too buried or a duplicate one then the value you get goes down. Buried situation is self-explanatory. If the same page appears in many places on the internet, SEs consider them as duplicate content. Well known examples are syndicated articles and press releases. Even though both these contain backlinks to parent web site, SEs can identify that those were not made by site owners as true votes.

As a way of overcoming link spam, Google introduced a new attribute called nofollow and it says that other SEs also employ the technique. So, if a webmaster wants to link to a site but doesn’t want SEs to consider it as a linking vote (in a case like pointing a spam site) then he can add this attribute to the link. This was originally introduced to prevent comment spam in blogs but it is applicable to all web links.

Although the observations tell that nofollow method hasn’t worked as intended, you better be aware of it in your link building campaigns because if you are putting some effort to get a link and it’s a nofollw link then you better save your effort. You can easily recognize nofollow links with Search Status Firefox plugin. After installing, right click on the icon in status bar and enable the feature.

Another trap is redirecting URLs. Redirecting URLs are the ones which first point to a different URL (most of the time to a tracking URL) and upon clicking redirect to the right URL. There is no guarantee that SEs can figure out destination URL after the redirection. Therefore always try to get direct links to your site.

Methods to Build Link Popularity

Any legitimate and effective link building method should work. If you are going to plan a new campaign, always consider above facts and make sure those are web links. Links in emails won’t add any value in SEs’ aspect. Below are highly used methods to increase link popularity.

  • Web Directory Submission is an effective method in all aspects. If you put it right, you can get high quality and distinct links along with a stream of traffic.
  • Blogging is a more natural way to build links. Bloggers are forward in linking to good articles. You just need to keep your value and engage in blogsphere.
  • Link Baiting deserve its own topic. Simply put, it’s doing something that can gain attraction from the community. A common way is building lists. Since it takes lots of work, other webmasters can simply point to your lists rather than rebuilding them. Saying something controversial and contests are two other popular methods.
  • Reciprocal Link Exchange means coming into an agreement and linking to each other. There is a school of discussion that SEs may not value them highly. However by doing it right, you can assure both traffic and SE consideration.
  • Article Marketing is really effective in traffic building. Since SEs can identify duplicate content, backlinks you get from them won’t add much value. However by writing articles you can position yourself as an expert which can lead to more natural links.
  • Press Releases can lead to traffic spikes. As in articles, backlinks in press releases may not be that effective. However the bang you make with press releases can gain more attention which can then lead to more natural links.
  • Forums are the places to discuss your business matters. Usually forums allow adding a signature with backlinks to your site. If the forum hasn’t set them to nofollow, SEs would recognize them. But forum topics get buried soon which make it ineffective as a link building method. However the recognition you get by helping to fellow entrepreneurs can lead to solid natural links.

Tracking Link Popularity

There exists number of desktop and online tools to track link popularity. Among them, Link Popularity Check is a highly used free desktop tool to track link popularity. You can also use SEs as I explained in Tips to Find Reciprocal Link Exchange Partners.

All major search engines have a feature to display backlinks they have found for a certain website. These data may vary from one search engine to another. As observed, Google doesn’t show correct data. You can use Yahoo Site Explore to get good results. The usual operator search engines provide is link,

link:www.example.com

Be aware that this search may also list pages from you web site that link to your home page. To exclude them, use site operator with minus sign.

link:www.example.com -site:www.example.com

In Google, leaving a space between the link operator and the domain name brings more results. That is,

link: www.example.com brings more results than
link:www.example.com.

You can always use HomeBizPal Website Dignity Search to accelerate your search. Just enter the domain name. Then you can search backlinks found by major 3 search engines with just 3 clicks.