Web Site Link Strategy

Web Site Popularity Explained

One of several key ways to make your website or blog rise to the top of the search engines is by making it popular. Popularity for a site works very similar to the "Buzz" of a good news story. "Oh my goodness, Britney did what?" or "Did you see this year's Super Bowl ads?" Very few people, at least in the US, can escape the buzz of these two topics in today's news.

Now, how about this buzz: who has heard of Google? Yahoo? Who links to them? everyone. They are ultra popular and they inherit the benefits of their own self made popularity.

Make YOUR Site Popular

So, what can you promote your site into popularity? Give a good reason for others to link to you.

Most sites start out at the bottom of the SEO pile. They have little to no content of value and no one knows about them. They can get off to a good start by providing a sharp looking site with quality content and tools. Users like that and other people who run websites like that as well.

Next, how does a site become popular? Popularity is born through inbound links. A successful link strategy will bring necessary popularity and in the end generate great traffic. SEO companies find their real value in understanding how and where to link; that's how they command such big bucks.

Inbound vs. Outbound

There are two types of links: inbound and outbound. Inbound links occur when another site links to your site. Outbound links occur when you link to someone else's site. Both types of links can benefit your site.

To understand the difference we need an example. Imagine a hot air balloon. Say we use a candle for the hot air source. Will the balloon rise? no. So, let's add some heat. Add the appropriate propane burner, fire it up, and watch the results. Does it rise? yes. Now, poke holes in the balloon. What happens? It falls. The pilot now has to add even more heat to it to keep it in the air.

Inbound links can be similar in relation to web sites rising within search engines. Inbound links are like hot air giving buoyancy in the rankings while outbound links can be like holes that leak out valuable page rank. Often, outbound links can cause a site to be penalized because they redirect credibility to another source. However search engines are pretty smart so they won't always penalize for linking out if the outbound is credible and if the links aren't too numerous. Site owners have to keep in mind that typically whenever they link out they need to provide inbound links to support the leaking page value. Huge sites also need more inbounds because their homepage has to leak popularity out to each of the sub pages. So, the point is: many links in, fewer links out. As a general rule of thumb: link out only to credible resources and invite links in from credible sources.

Here is an excerpt from a weekly newsletter we recently received:

"As any search engine optimization company knows, inbound links are critical to the success of an "organic SEO" campaign. But there are different ways to go about it. Firms that practice true "organic SEO" will look at the website itself and say "how can we make this site something that other sites would want to link to?" A search engine optimization company using "artificial SEO" will ask "how can I get links pointing to this site without adding anything of value to it?" The latter approach usually leads to reciprocal linking schemes, link farms, the purchase of text links, and more - anything save for making changes to the website that entice others to link to the site without the link being reciprocated, without paying the website owner, or without asking 'pretty please.'"

Quality vs. Quantity

Next is quality vs. quantity. There are two ways to approach an inbound link strategy: the quality of links vs. the quantity of links. Site owners want to focus on both, emphasizing quality. Quality web sites already have a great search engine ranking because they are already popular and widely useful. Imagine you could get an editor to link to you from CNN's, Google's, Microsoft's, MSNBC's, or YouTube's front page to your web page? Would anyone see you? You would become very popular very quickly even if people weren't looking for what you offer. They just want to know what is so important to get the space. Now, say some obscure site about bananas build on some unheard of service links to you. Who cares? Google certainly doesn't. In fact, some believe they may penalize you for it. Focus on a lot of quality links.

To sum up, here is the rule of thumb: Request as many high quality links to your site as possible. Link out to quality sites sparingly and low-quality sites rarely, if ever.

Link Exchange

A common thing for site owners to do is link exchange or "referral partners" or whatever you want to call it. Some argue it is an OK practice. It promotes community and overall raises professional popularity. The key is to link wisely. Some will link to just about any professional site - as long as the page linking back is related and cached with Google (you'll read about this in the next section). You'll also want their home page to be cached with Google. Google has to know about them and have them indexed. DO NOT bury your return referral links back to exchange partners. It is fair for them to be able to reach their link on your site within two clicks from the home page. You would expect the same.

Determining a Sites Value

How do you know if a site is valuable? The simplest test is to see if Google even knows about the page. Go to Google search and type: cache:www.thesitename.com (put the real name of the site in for "thesitename") and see if Google returns the page they recorded at their last visit. If it says "no page is found" then the page will provide you with no immediate value, though it may at some future and you have to make a judgment call. If the page is cached you will see the last Google saved page and know they are indexed.

  • Another is to go to http://www.linkpopularity.com/ and enter in the site URL.
  • Another way is to go to Alexa and see if they even exist in the website rankings.
  • Yet another way is to install the Google toolbar and watch for the page rank as you visit different sites.

Once you understand how they pan out then you can make the call whether or not their site is good enough for you or not, remember, it's all about popularity.

Running Multiple Sites and/or Blogs

If you build multiple sites make sure they each have their own focus and give a fair amount of time to each to make it popular. If you can't do that then build one site with several related categories and spend all of your time promoting it. It is a good idea to have one web site and one blog. Google sees the frequent addition of blog content differently than the consistent content of a site. The only time I would recommend having multiple blogs or sites is if you have two completely separate topics to write about (i.e. dog whistles and real estate).

If you would like to learn about Vauntiums Link Builder Program contact us.