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Link Popularity - Is It Really That Important?
Originally Published: May 25, 2004
With the domination of Google and Yahoo on the search engine market, words like "link popularity", "link prominence" and "link reputation" have become buzzwords in the search engine marketing industry.
Many webmasters try to get as many links to their web site as possible and some companies even offer "1000 links to your web site within minutes". But is link popularity really so important as many people want us to believe?
1000 links to your web site within minutes?
Before there was Google, links to other web sites were the online equivalent of personal recommendations. People linked to a web site because it was a good web site with good content. Nowadays, people often trade links just to get links. Links are placed to totally unrelated web sites and often, links to other web sites are not useful for the visitor of a site.
Of course, search engines have found out that many links are only used to artificially inflate the link popularity numbers of a web site. For that reason, links from FFA (free for all) link pages and the "1000 links to your web site within minutes" link farm pages don't work anymore. Search engines also give links from unrelated web pages less weight.
Good links, bad links and Google PageRank
What does this mean to you? Does it mean that it still makes sense to trade links? Yes, it does. However, when you get links to your site, you should do it right.
When you build links to your web site, you should act as if search engines didn't exist at all. Just use common sense. Don't focus on the Google PageRank or the search engine ranking of a web site.
If you see a good web site with good content that has a low PageRank you should trade links with that site if that web site is useful for your visitors. One day, that page might have a higher PageRank and it will still link back to you.
Ask yourself: Is the web site related to your site? Would it make sense for web surfers if they linked to you and you linked to them? Could visitors of the other web site be interested in my site?
If you find a web site you would want to visit or your visitors would want to visit then link to it and ask for a link back to your site. Don't care about other factors.
Search engines are only one way to attract visitors to your site. Visitors who find you through related links on other sites are very targeted visitors. These visitors are much better than visitors who found you through an unrelated keyword on a search engine.
Do the right thing and get the right links
Link popularity is an important factor for your web site but you have to do it right. Don't link to any Tom, Dick and Harry and don't try to get lots of unrelated links. Trade links with sites that are related to your site and that are interesting for your visitors.
Just use common sense. Search engines try to put human common sense into mathematical formulas with their search engine algorithms. If you have good link partners, you'll get targeted visitors from your link partners as well as higher search engine rankings because of high link popularity and high quality links.
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