the Link Popularity of your site
top placement in the popular Search Engines can be a daunting
task, requiring a lot of effort, perseverance, and experience.
When the spiders come crawling, they are looking for keyword
and page optimization and measuring your site's popularity.
Read what the recognized Expert, Sumantra Roy has to say about
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
1) Submitting your site to Free For All
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
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
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
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
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
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
● 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.
if you find that this site has a 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 Links page in your site, and
add the URLs of these sites to the 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
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
and searching for "email merge" (without the quotes).
Another thing that you can do is to mention in your 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
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.
5) Giving testimonials
This may sound a bit unusual, but giving testimonials for
products or services which you find useful can be another moderately
effective way of improving the link popularity of your site. If you
really like a product, simply write to the company and tell them why
you liked the product so much and how it has helped you. Chances
are, the company will write back to you to thank you for your
comments and will ask you for permission to display your comments in
their web site. Tell the company that you have no problems if they
publish your comments, but request them to add a link to your site
along with the testimonial. There is every possibility that the
company will agree since publishing the URL of your web site gives
more credibility to the testimonial.
Of course, please don't go about giving testimonials to every
company you can locate just because it will improve your link
to Part 2 (continued )
This article may be re-published as long as the following
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Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected
and recognized search engine positioning specialists on the
Internet. For more articles on search engine placement, subscribe to
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