What is link popularity and why do you need it?
Link popularity is a measurement for number of links to your site from other websites on the Net. But what all this buzz about link popularity? Why it is so important to have as many as possible quality links to your site.
I would like to point word "quality", because we are not talking about FFA pages. Let's be realistic - you will not be getting a lot of visitors from the links on other sites, because in most of the cases this reciprocate links pages are hidden inside websites under different directories. So why try and exchange a link with multiple sites?
The reason for link popularity importance is that some search engines (and Google is one of them) rate your position in search results by your link popularity. They rate your site higher in search results if there are more links pointing to your site. A link from one site to another is considered a "vote" for that site. For example, I have a link from my site to your site. This must mean that I think your site is valuable and thus, it must be a worthy site.
Now you probably saw many ads saying that you can place your link to thousands of sites in one click for free. This are FFA links pages (free for all). Not only they are useless in terms of link popularity, but you can also be banned from major search engines for using them. Why are they useless? You probably saw at least one FFA page. It is one long page with hundreds of links on it. When new link added, it appears on the top and the bottom link is being deleted. Considering that there are hundreds of links added everyday there is very little chance that link to your site that you placed there today will still be there tomorrow. But as I said the worst thing that can happen to you as a results of using FFA pages is being banned from search engines.
If you want to check how many links you have already pointing your site, you can use Free link popularity check provided by Marketleap.com. Click here to check it out. It spiders few main search engines sending them the request for websites, that have links to your site.
By the way, search engines also count your internal links towards general link popularity index. Meaning, that if pages of your website are well linked to each other it also works towards improving your link popularity. The best results are coming from text links with some description next to them if possible.
How to get links to your site and improve your link popularity?
The best way to get link to your site is to exchange links with other sites - ask for link exchange and provide reciprocal link in return. Set up a link page directory on your website and start building it. Find sites that you want to exchange links with and email them with link exchange request. Finding sites manually is the best guarantee that you will get quality links. It is time consuming process but at the end it is worth the effort, because you will be getting quality link exchange. And as I mentioned in the very beginning of the article, quality of the links is important.
How many reciprocal links to I need to get so my sites will be ranked well in search engines?
Good question, but no single answer there. Because it depends on few factors. First of all on keywords that you are targeting. For example with one of my sites for my main keywords, I managed to get on the first page of Google search results with 120 reciprocating links. With another site, which operates in less competitive are, I had only 20 links reciprocating and still was on first results page for my chosen key phrases. Keywords optimizing is one of the most important aspects of search engine rankings. So by choosing proper key phrases and optimizing your pages you can get ranked well with relatively small amount of reciprocated links. Another factor is how competitive your are is. For example if your site is about web hosting it would take a lot of effort to get good rankings, because it is very competitive market.
To estimate the number of links that you would need, try searching Google for your key phrases and see websites that came on the first page. Check their link popularity and you will have your approximate target. But remember that those sites might be working on their link popularity as well, so you need to set a higher target.
The most important is not to overdo it. Don't create a huge link page with thousands of links, because you might be considered as a link farm by search engines and banned. Categorize your links pages and limit yourself to few hundred links. This should be enough for most of the cases.
How long can it take to build up good link popularity?
To answer this question, let's have a look at both sides of the process -
- active part: exchanging the links
- passive part: seeing your link popularity improvement.
Part one. Building your links pages and exchanging links. Not every website that you asked for reciprocate link will reply with positive reply. From my experience it, only about 20% to 30% websites agree to exchange links (it depends on the content of your website of course. You might get higher figure if your site has good content and look and lower figure if its clearly commercial site). This means that to generate necessary number of links you will need to find and send requests to 4 -5 times as many sites as you expect to reciprocate. One of the ways to to get positive reply is to provide the link first and ask for link back. I don't have to tell you how time consuming it can be - finding the sites, finding site description and creating and uploading links pages. Checking later if sites are reciprocating and then removing sites that decided not to reciprocate. When I started my first link exchange page I did it all manually and it took tons of my time. I knew that I can automate some parts of this process. So I've searched for some link exchange software or web based application that could help me.
After reviewing few of them I decided to go with LinksManager . It satisfied my main requirements towards link exchange process:
- Has a directory with websites that want to reciprocate (it helps to email people who already interested )
- I can review sites manually, but adding it to my pages is a matter of seconds. Click of a button - and it adds link with its description automatically to my link page.
- It sends an email to the webmaster as soon as I add website to my link page, asking him to reciprocate. (Another great time saver)
- I can build my links pages categories very fast through web based interface and then it automatically uploads it to my site. LinksManager also can provide you with link pages to be hosted on their server, something like http://www.linkmanager.com/yourname, but I prefer to host it on my own site especially since LinksManager does all the upload for me.
- It checks regularly if websites in my directory are providing a link back. So I don't have to visit all those sites myself again and try to find my link. From LinksManager admin area I can see on one page all sites that are not linking and can delete them easily if they do not wish to reciprocate.
- I don't need to install anything on my PC. Everything is web based.
- Another great factor is money - it is much cheaper than other link exchange software, and it has free 30 days trial. So if you are not happy you can drop the service. I have been using LinksManager for 6 months now and seen great results on my sites, so I am sure I made a right choice.
Part two. Link popularity improvement
So you build up your links pages and convince some websites to exchange links. As I said in the beginning of the article - link popularity is a measurement for number of links to your site from other websites on the Net. Your link popularity will grow once search engines will find those pages on other websites that have link to you. It might take week or months before search engines will spider all those websites that you exchanging links with. You can help the process by submitting exact locations of those pages to search engines yourself. But actually those pages will be found anyway as soon as your own website will be spidered, because search engine crawler is following links placed on your own site, so it will follow the link to the website and will find your link there.
So to finalize - you might see first results of your link exchange efforts after 3-4 weeks from the start and full results in about 3 months.
Good luck in your link exchange efforts, and you can start your own exchange now by linking to us!