Improving the Link Popularity of your site

Link popularity, i.e. the number of sites which are linking to your site, is an increasingly important factor as far as search engine placement is concerned. Other things remaining the same, more the number of links to your site, higher will be its ranking.

What is important is not only the number of links to your site, but also the types of sites which are linking to you. A link from a site which is related to yours is more valuable than a link from an unrelated site.

In this article, I explore different methods by which you can improve the link popularity of your site. I start with the methods that you shouldn't bother using, then go on to the moderately effective methods, and then end with the most effective methods you can use to boost the link popularity of your site.

1) Submitting your site to Free For All (FFA) pages

A common misconception among many Internet marketers is that while FFA pages may not directly bring in traffic to your site, it will help to improve the link popularity of your site, and hence, will indirectly bring in traffic through the search engines.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Most FFA pages can contain only a certain number of links at a time. This means that when you submit your site to a FFA page, your site will be placed at the top of the page. However, as more and more people submit their sites to the FFA page, your site will be pushed down, and finally, when it reaches the bottom of the page, it will be removed.

Now, since you can bet that plenty of other people are also submitting their sites to the FFA pages, your site will remain in these pages for only a short span of time. Hence, in order to ensure that the search engines see your site if and when they come to spider the FFA page, you will need to ensure that you submit your site to these FFA pages on a regular basis - at least once a week.


Even if you used an automatic submission program to do it, can you imagine a worse way to spend your time and/or money? Furthermore, many search engines recognize these pages which only contains links to other sites as FFA pages and may completely ignore them. And while I haven't yet seen any evidence that submitting to the FFA pages will actually penalize your site, there is every possibility that this might happen in the future.

Hence, when it comes to FFA pages, my advice is simple: don't even think about them.

2) Joining Reciprocal Link Services

Some people have recommended that in order to increase the link popularity of your site, you can join some reciprocal link services. The basic idea behind these services is that you add some pages to your site which contain links to other sites which are members of that service, and in exchange, these members will also add pages to their sites which will contain a link to your site. Theoretically, more the members of that service, more your link popularity.

However, I have plenty of reservations about using this method to boost the link popularity of your site:

i) Most of these services require that you add a visible graphical or text link from your home page to the pages containing the links. If they require a graphical link, it can completely destroy the general look and feel of your site. Even if they require a text link, how would you feel if a visitor to your site clicked on such a link and found one of your competitors (who is also a member of this service) right at the top of a page?

ii) Most of these services give the same pages containing the links to each of its members, i.e. the pages that you are required to upload to your site are exactly the same as the pages which all the other members of that service are required to upload to their servers. Even the file names of the pages tend to be the same for all the members. Most search engines are now able to detect such duplicate pages in different domains and may either ignore the pages or may even penalize all these domains for spamming.

iii) Instead of linking only related sites with each other, most of these services link all the members with each other. This means that lots of unrelated sites will be linking to your site. As I mentioned before, links from unrelated sites are simply not as valuable as links from related sites.

Hence, I don't recommend that you join any reciprocal link programs.

3) Exchanging links with other webmasters

Another way of improving the link popularity of your site is to exchange links with other webmasters who have sites which are related to yours, but are not direct competitors. Here's how you can do it:

First, open a database program like Microsoft Access and create a new table containing fields like FirstName, LastName, Email Address, URL etc. Then, make a list of the sites belonging to your competitors. Then, go to AltaVista, and type in the following in the search box:

link:somesite.com -url:somesite.com

where somesite.com is the domain name of one of your competitors. This will give you a list of all the sites which are linking to that competitor. Then, find out in what context a particular site has linked to your competitor. If this site is an affiliate of your competitor, then your chance of getting a link from this site is limited, unless you offer an even better affiliate program. However, if you find that this site has a add-links page which contains links to other sites, one of which is a link to your competitor, then it is an excellent prospect for exchanging links. Find out the name and email address of the webmaster of the site and add them to your database. In this way, go through all the sites which are linking to your competitors, locate those sites which you think may want to exchange links with you, and build up your database.

Once you have done that, create a add-links page in your site, and add the URLs of these sites to the add-links page. Then, send an email to these webmasters, introduce yourself and your site, congratulate them on building an excellent web site, tell them that you have already added a link to their sites from yours, and then ask them whether they would be kind enough to add a link to your site. In your email, emphasize the fact that exchanging links in this way will be mutually beneficial for both of you because it will help both of you drive traffic to your sites. Wait for a month or so to see the response. Some webmasters will agree to link to you. Others will simply not respond. After a month, remove the links to those sites who are not interested in exchanging links and using the methods outlined above, try to locate more sites with which to exchange links.

When you send the email to the webmasters, make sure that you personalize each email. Don't begin every email with "Hello Webmaster", begin with "Hello Mike". If you want, you can use email merge programs to automatically personalize each email. You can check out some email merge programs by going to http://download.cnet.com and searching for "email merge" (without the quotes).

The main problem with this method of improving the link popularity of your site is that it takes a lot of time. You may find that the number of links you manage to get just does not justify the time that you spend over it. The best way to automate the whole process is to use a program called Zeus. Zeus will allow you to locate and exchange links with sites that are related to yours and manage those links on an ongoing basis in a fraction of the time it would take for you to do it manually. You can download a free trial version of Zeus at the following URL:

http://www.1stSearchRanking.com/t.cgi?4581&zeus/

While the program does take a while to get used to, the results that you can obtain with it are simply phenomenal. I highly recommend that you download the free trial version and try it out.

Another thing that you can do is to mention in your add-links page that you are willing to exchange links with other web sites. This allows other webmasters who come to your web site to propose a link exchange.


4) Starting an Awards Program

A moderately effective method of improving the link popularity of your site is to start an awards program. You can have web sites which are related to yours apply for an award from your site. The sites which win the award get the chance to display the logo for your award. This logo is linked to your site, preferably to a page which contains more information on the award.

If you publish a newsletter, consider declaring the winners in your newsletter. You can also perform a review of the winners' sites in your newsletter. This adds useful content to your newsletter and also gives more webmasters the incentive to apply for your award, since you may review their sites in your newsletter. This also gives them the incentive to subscribe to your newsletter to see if they win the award.

Make sure that you give awards to only those sites which deserve to win. If you give your award to sites which don't deserve it, your award will have little credibility, which will, in turn, hurt the credibility of your company. Furthermore, make sure that the logo you design for the award looks professional. If it doesn't, not many webmasters will want to display it in their sites.

More Tips:

5) Giving testimonials

6) Posting to Message Boards and Discussion Lists

7) Starting a Link Contest

8) Writing articles and allowing them to be re-published

This is by far one of the best ways of improving the link popularity of your site.

Submit it to the following article submission sites:

http://www.ezinearticles.com/add_url.html http://www.ideamarketers.com http://www.marketing-seek.com/articles/submit.shtml http://certificate.net/wwio/ideas.shtml http://www.web-source.net/articlesub.htm

Some notes about writing articles:

i) I have learnt through experience that some webmasters will publish other people's articles and will display the complete resource box but will not link to the URL mentioned in the resource box. In order to prevent this, you need to explicitly state that the article can be published only if the URL mentioned in the resource box is linked to your site.

ii) Your resource box should not be too long - it should be no more than 6 lines long, formatted at 65 characters per line. Otherwise, other webmasters and ezine publishers will hesitate to publish your article.

9) Starting your own affiliate program

This is another excellent way by which you can improve the link popularity of your site.

Clicking here for one of the good affiliate softwares
10) Submitting to the directories

11) Analyzing the quality of links

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Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at the top of the search engines, go to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com/t.cgi?4581 For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE newsletter by going to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com/t.cgi?4581&newsletter.htm