Improving the Link Popularity Of Your Site

Feb 13 08:20 2005 Sumantra Roy Print This Article

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Link popularity,Guest Posting 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 a method
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 site.



1) Submitting your site to Free For All (FFA) pages

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 removed.

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) 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.



3) 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
popularity :-)



4) Posting to Message Boards and Discussion Lists

Another moderately effective method of increasing the link
popularity of your site is to post to online message boards. At
the end of every message that you post, you can sign off by
mentioning your name and the URL of your web site. If the
message board allows it, you can even include a short
promotional blurb about your site at the end of your posts.
However, make sure that the individual messages that are posted
to that message board are archived in static HTML pages (i.e.
the URLs for the individual messages should not contain a "?").
Otherwise, the search engines will consider these pages to be
dynamic pages and may not spider these pages and hence, will not
be able to find your link.

Email based discussion lists which are archived on the web in
static HTML pages can also be used to boost the link popularity
of your site in a similar manner. In this case, the signature
file that you use with your email program should contain the URL
for your web site.



5) Starting a Link Contest

A good method of improving the link popularity of your site is
to give away prizes to other webmasters if they link to you. The
prizes that you give out should ideally be something which other
webmasters will find valuable enough to want to link to you, but
which do not cost you too much. For instance, if you publish a
newsletter, and have unsold ad inventory, you can give away some
free advertisements in your newsletter to the winners. If you
sell a software (or an ebook), you can give away a free copy of
your software or ebook to the winners, since it doesn't cost you
anything to produce an additional copy of digital goods like
software and ebooks.

Link contests work best if you run the contest on a continuous
basis and if you declare new winners frequently. If you run the
contest for a few months, and then stop it, the webmasters who
had linked to you will all remove their links. However, if you
run it on a continuous basis, and declare new winners every
month or so, the webmasters will have the incentive to keep
their links to your site.

Also, make sure that you require all participants to have a link
to your site either in their home page, or in an internal page
of their site which is linked to their home page. Also ensure
that the page which contains the link is no more than two levels
deep from their home page (i.e. it should not take more than two
clicks to go from the home page to the page containing the
link). If they don't do this, the search engine spiders may not
index the page which contains the link to your site, and hence,
may not find your link.



6) Writing articles and allowing them to be re-published

This is by far one of the best ways of improving the link
popularity of your site, and one of my favorites. Whenever I
write an article on search engine placement, I first publish it
in my newsletter and then I publish the article in my site as a
separate web page. I also submit it to the following article
submission sites:

http://www.ezinearticles.com/add_url.html
http://www.ideamarketers.com
http://www.marketing-seek.com/articles/submit.shtml
http://certificate.net/wwio/ideas.shtml
http://www.web-source.net/articlesub.htm

Many webmasters and ezine publishers frequent these article
directories in search of articles. Submitting my articles to
these directories gives them the opportunity of re-publishing my
articles. While I have had some success with each of the above
directories, by far the best among them is the ezinearticles.com
directory.

Now, at the end of each article, I mention that people are free
to re-publish the article as long as they include my resource
box (i.e. my bio) at the end of the article. I always include
the URL of my site in the resource box. This means that whenever
someone publishes one of my articles in his/her web site, I have
another site linking to my site. Also, many ezine publishers
archive their ezines in their web sites. If they have
re-published my article in a particular issue, I again get a
link.

Writing articles is also an excellent viral marketing tool. As
some webmasters and ezine publishers publish my articles, other
webmasters and ezine publishers will read my article. Some of
them, in turn, will publish my article, which will again be read
by other webmasters and ezine publishers, some of whom will
publish it... and so on.

Also, since only web sites related to mine would be interested
in publishing my articles, all these links tend to come from
related sites, which, as I mentioned earlier, are more valuable
than links from unrelated sites.

Writing articles, of course, has another very important benefit
- if you write good articles, it makes you known as an expert in
your field. This helps to improve your credibility, which makes
people more comfortable about buying your products or services.

Some notes about writing articles:

i) I have learnt through experience that some webmasters will
publish other people's articles and will display the complete
resource box but will not link to the URL mentioned in the
resource box. In order to prevent this, you need to explicitly
state that the article can be published only if the URL
mentioned in the resource box is linked to your site.

ii) Your resource box should not be too long - it should be no
more than 6 lines long, formatted at 65 characters per line.
Otherwise, other webmasters and ezine publishers will hesitate
to publish your article.



7) Submitting to the directories

This is by far the most important step as far as improving the
link popularity of your site is concerned. As I mentioned
before, what is important is not only the number of links to
your site, but also the quality of the links to your site. No
links are as important as links from some of the major
directories like Yahoo!, the Open Directory etc. However, Yahoo!
currently requires a payment of $299 per year in order to list
any commercial site. Paying them $299 per year just to improve
your link popularity is probably not cost effective. But, the
Open Directory is free, and you should definitely get your site
listed in the Open Directory.

Also, you should submit your site to as many of the smaller
directories as possible. You can get a list of such directories
at
http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Internet/World_Wide_W
eb/Searching_the_Web/Search_Engines_and_Directories/.



8) Exchanging links with other webmasters

The single-most effective 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. This is called reciprocal linking.

However, the problem with this method is the sheer amount of
time it takes if you were to do it manually.

If you decide to do this manually, you can easily expect to
spend hundreds of hours on this activity alone.

Here's what you need to do:

i) You need to use the search engines to find sites related to
yours that are not direct competitors by typing in some keywords
that are related to your site.

ii) You also need to find sites that link to your competitors.

iii) You need to visit these sites and see if they actually
exchange links.

iv) If you decide that you want to exchange links with a
particular site, you need to find out exactly how it wants you
to link to it from your site.

v) You then need to manually add a link to this site in your
site.

vi) Then, you need to find out the email address of the owner of
the website and send the owner a personalized email requesting
that he/she adds a link to your site in return.

vii) In many cases, you will not be able to locate the email
address of the owner simply because the owner has not published
any email address on the site. In that case, all the effort that
you had put into evaluating whether or not the site is suitable
for exchanging links will have been a waste of time.

viii) If you do manage to locate the email address, you need to
send a personalized and customized email to the website owner.

ix) You then need to wait and see whether this site is willing
to exchange links with you.

x) If the site is not willing to link to you, you need to remove
the link to the site from your site. Once again, all the effort
that you had put into evaluating the site, linking to it and
sending an email to the owner will have been a waste of time.

You have to repeat the same process all over again for the next
site that you want to exchange links with.

Obviously, there has to be a better way. And there is!

Luckily for you, I have developed a ground-breaking new software
called LinkExplore that completely automates the entire process
of exchanging links with other website owners, thus saving you
hundreds of hours of your time.

I had originally developed the software for my own needs but
later decided to make it available to other website owners as
well.

Go to the following URL to learn more about the software:
http://www.LinkExplore.com/t.php?4901

Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected
search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. hAVE Sumantra's
Company place your site at the top of the search engines. Visit:
http://the-easy-way.com/main.html For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE NEWSLETTER: http://the-easy-way.com/newsletter.html

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About Article Author

Sumantra Roy
Sumantra Roy

Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected
search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. hAVE Sumantra's
Company place your site at the top of the search engines. Visit:
http://the-easy-way.com/main.html For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE NEWSLETTER: http://the-easy-way.com/newsletter.html

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