Link popularity is a measure of the quantity and quality of other web sites that link to a specific site on the World Wide Web. It is an example of the move by search engines towards off-the-page-criteria to determine quality content. In theory, off-the-page-criteria adds the aspect of impartiality to search engine rankings.
Link popularity plays an important role in the visibility of a web site among the top of the search results. Indeed, some search engines require at least one or more links coming to a web site, otherwise they will drop it from their index.
Search engines such as Google use a special link analysis system to rank web pages. Citations from other WWW authors help to define a site’s reputation. The philosophy of link popularity is that important sites will attract many links. Content-poor sites will have difficulty attracting any links. Link popularity assumes that not all incoming links are equal, as an inbound link from a major directory carries more weight than an inbound link from an obscure personal home page. In other words, the quality of incoming links counts more than sheer numbers of them.
To search for pages linking to a specific page, simply enter the URL on Google or Yahoo! this way:
Here are some strategies that are generally considered to be important to increase link popularity:
- There should be links from the home page to all subpages so that a search engine can transfer some link popularity to the subpages.
- Appropriate anchor text with relevant keywords should be used in the text links that are pointing to pages within a site (technically, this helps link context, not link popularity).
- Getting links from other web sites, particularly sites with high PageRank, can be one of the most powerful site promotion tools. Therefore, the webmaster should try to get links from other important sites offering information or products compatible or synergistic to his/her own site or from sites that cater to the same audience the webmaster does. The webmaster should explain the advantages to the potential link partner and the advantages his/her site has to their visitors.
- One way links often count for more than reciprocal links.
- The webmaster should list his/her site in one or more of the major directories such as Yahoo! or the Open Directory Project.
- The webmaster should only link to sites that he/she can trust, i.e. sites that do not use “spammy techniques”.
- The webmaster should not participate in link exchange programs or link farms, as search engines will ban sites that participate in such programs.
To increase link popularity, many webmasters interlink multiple domains that they own, but often search engines will filter out these links, as such links are not independent votes for a page and are only created to trick the search engines. In this context, closed circles are often used, but these should be avoided, as they hoard PageRank.
- HIOX Link Popularity Checker
- Measuring Link Popularity
- Link Popularity Web Directory
- Increase link popularity – Why and How to Increase Your Link Popularity (free article)