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Increasing Link Popularity

===================================================

Increasing Link Popularity

===================================================



Search engines are the gateway to the Internet; they are

the first tool that potential customers use to find the

products and services they need. This is why link

popularity is so imperative. If the customers do not find

your website, you have no possibilities of making any

sales.



You're probably wondering what the blazes is popular about

a link! Well, in a word - plenty! Link popularity refers to

the ranking assigned to your website by the search engines,

and it determines the ranking your page gets when keywords

are entered into a search engine. So, you're probably

wondering, how do I make my link popular?



Search engines are discretionary, giving status and ranking

to sites that have links to their pages from related,

quality sites. It's a simple formula, but a very important

one. Google created the system, and now virtually all the

most popular search engines employ it to rank your web

pages in their indexes.



The more commonly used your keyword is, the harder it will

be to achieve link popularity, but without achieving this

step, it is almost certain your site will never rank highly

on any search engine. But don't be discouraged; there are

tried and true ways of achieving link popularity using the

most competitive keywords.



There are a few things you should be aware of. The first is

that just linking up with a large number of other websites

will not achieve link popularity. In fact, it may have

quite the opposite effect. This is particularly true when

pertaining to websites that are nothing more than "link

farms" - pages containing line after line of indiscriminate

links. Search engines may aggressively discriminate against

your website if you are associated with a link farm, so

steer clear of them!



The next thing to bear in mind is the quality of the site

you are linking to. Never link to a page you have

reservations about your visitors seeing. The last thing you

want your website to appear as is indiscriminate and cheap.

Linking to sites of poor quality will only lessen your link

popularity, if not completely destroy it.



So let's get to what you need to do to achieve supreme link

popularity and improve your rankings to stellar status on

all the popular search engines.



The first step, and the fastest way to get your foot in the

door, is to get a listing in a popular directory, such as

Open Directory Project and Yahoo. If your site is

business-related, you will want to be listed on Yahoo, and

despite the fact that it will cost you around 0 a year,

it will be money well spent. If your site is

non-commercial, the listing will be free, but it will take

time and follow-up to actually get it listed. Open

Directory is gives you a free listing whether you are

business-related or non-commercial, but be prepared to make

a lot of follow-up inquiries before you see your site

listed.



You are aiming to get listed in the highest level of

appropriate category, and this just takes some common

sense. For example, if your company ships Alpaca wool from

an Alpaca farm located in the middle of Nowhere, Tiny

State, do NOT submit your listing to "Retailers from

Nowhere, Tiny State." BIG MISTAKE! All you have to do is

look a little deeper - and submit your listing to the "Fine

Alpaca Wool" category. You will not only associate yourself

with culture and quality, but you will be listed in a

national category.



The next step after you have attained directory listings is

to locate other quality sites that will increase your link

popularity. Try to find sites that are in some way related

to yours, so not only will your link popularity increase,

but your customer base may also be expanded. You want to

avoid your competitors and look for sites that are useful

to your site's visitors. Let's look at the Alpaca Wool site

example. Linking up to a site that sells knitting supplies

would be helpful to your visitors, and the chances of the

knitting supply site wanting to link up to your site are

also greater. By linking to a related site that will be

relevant to your website's traffic, you are increasing both

of your site's business prospects - and both of your sites'

link popularity.



Not all sites want to link to other sites, so you will have

to do some research when you are looking for possible

linking partners. Google is an excellent starting place for

your search. Make sure you enter keywords that you think

quality customers will also enter to find your own site.

Remember, your criteria are quality, highly ranked,

non-competing websites that have a links or resources page.

Go to these sites and objectively assess them. Look at the

quality of the product, the graphics, and the ease of use.

Then check out the other sites they are linked to, and

determine if your own site would fit in with the crowd.



When you decide you have found a good prospect, you must

set out to woo them. The first thing to do is to add a link

on your own links page to their site. This is an essential

first step; it shows good faith, and ups your chances

significantly of their reciprocity. After you have added

their link, you must contact the webmaster of their site.

Since this is almost always done by email, you want to make

sure it is immediately clear that your message is not junk

mail. This requires that you tell them right off the bat

that you have added a link to their page on your site. A

hook like this almost always insures the reader will read

on.



Next, be sure to be flattering and let them know how much

you appreciate their website. Make sure you emphasize that

you have actually visited their site, and that their site

is not just a random pick. Give them the address of your

links page, and ask them to check out the link for

themselves. It's a good idea to mention that they will not

only benefit from the increased traffic your website will

direct their way, but you will also increase their link

popularity. Briefly, explain why link popularity is so

essential, but do this in a sentence or two so you don't

sound like a professor! Finally, tell them you would

greatly appreciate if they would reciprocally add a link on

their own links page to your website.



Go through this process with as many appropriate sites as

you can find, bearing in mind the criteria of quality and

non-competitiveness. After you have emailed all relevant

sites, be sure to check these website frequently to see if

they have added a link to your page. Give it about a month,

and if no link appears, try another charming email. Then

give it another month, and if your site is still absent

from their links page, it's time to remove their link from

your own links page. The only time you want to pursue a

link further than this is if you believe a site is crucial

to your link popularity and your business needs. Just

remember to keep all your communications complimentary and

cordial.



Then set up a schedule to check your ranking in search

engines frequently to see if your link popularity has

improved. This is not achievable in the blink of an eye. It

will take some time and a good deal of work. There is no

way around the labor-intensive quality of improving your

link popularity, which is why search engines regard it with

such importance.



By the way - make sure you have a beautiful, streamlined

site or you will never persuade anyone to link up to you.

Be prepared to keep plugging away at this process, as long

as it takes, until you achieve link popularity stardom!


About the Author: Charles Preston is President of Click Response a website marketing firm that focuses on better ROI for small businesses and affordable search engine optimization solutions. Search engine optimization and compelling marketing copy is the key to small business success online. Visit http://www.clickresponse.net/Search/default.htm




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