your Site’s Link Popularity
Building your Site’s Link Popularity
What is Link Popularity?
Link Popularity refers to the number of links pointing to your
site, from other sites on the web. The Search Engines consider your
site important and rank it higher if several other sites link to
Type in your domain name in the box below and hit the 'search'
button, to find out the link popularity of your site.You can also
search for this on Google by typing in the following command -
The above command gives you a selective list of links, usually
from PR4+ link pages. For a more extensive list, you may search
the following syntax -
History behind Link Popularity and Google PageRank
Web, by its very nature is based on hyperlinks, where sites link
to other prominent sites. If you take the logic that you would tend
to link to sites that you consider important, in essence, you are
casting a vote in favor of the sites that you link to. When hundreds
or thousands of sites link to a site, it is logical to assume that
such a site would be good and important.
Taking this logic further the Google founders, Sergey Brin and
Larry Page formulated a Search Engine algorithm that shifted the
ranking weight to off-page factors. They evolved a formula called
PageRank (named after its founder Larry Page) where the algorithm
would count the number of sites that link to a page and assign it
an importance score on a scale of 1-10. More the number of sites
that link to a page, higher its PageRank.
Google’s PageRank is important because it is one of the primary
off-page factors that influences your page’s ranking in the search
engine result pages.
PageRank in Google's own Words
Google explains PageRank as follows
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by
using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's
value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page
B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than
the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes
the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves
"important" weigh more heavily and help to make other
Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which
Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important
pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google
combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to
find pages that are both important and relevant to your search.
Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page
and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content
of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for
For more information on Google PageRank, go to
Benefits of Building Link Popularity
Building Link Popularity is one of the most important and critical
aspects of any effective Search Engine Optimization campaign today.
The ‘off-page’ factors such as link popularity, PageRank and Anchor
Text in incoming links play a major role in your site’s ranking
in the search engine results pages (SERP).
Search Engines consider your site more important if more links
point to your site. Building link popularity improves the PageRank
of your web pages (Read more about PageRank). The higher the PageRank
of your website, the higher its importance for search engines and
higher it gets ranked in the search engine result pages. Search
engines also take into account the PageRank of the pages that link
to your site and its industry relevance to your own industry. Links
from higher PageRank pages and industry relevant sites give your
site a higher value.
Note: Search Engines need to ‘learn’ all the links you have created
pointing to your site, in order to reward your website. Patience
Types of Links
There are two types of links you can establish on the web. One way
is to trade links (Link Exchange), where you give a link from the
links Page on your site to the partner sites. The second method
is to establish ‘only-incoming’ links also called ‘one-way links’
or ‘Non-Reciprocal links’.
Only incoming links are the links established on the other websites
where you do not need to link back to them.
There are various compelling reasons and methods to establish such
one-way links which include linking back from a different website
that you may own, publishing articles on sites, content syndication,
listing in trade directories and giving out press releases in news
Link exchange is an easier way to establish links from other websites
to your website. In link exchange process, you trade links with
prospective partner sites by offering a link to their site from
your own site. This method is a fast way to establish several hundred
links to your website. However, it may not get you great benefits.
Only Incoming Links vs. Link Exchange
Google developed the PageRank algorithm to provide authentic and
quality information while making it difficult for webmasters and
site owners to contaminate the search results by artificially inflating
The new algorithm came into effect with the launch of Google in
1998. Google’s PageRank was based on the logic that more the number
of sites that link to a page, higher its PageRank.
As Webmasters realized the importance of PageRank, they found ways
to artificially inflate their PageRank by manipulating direct link
exchanges. This defeated the very essence on which the Google PageRank
algorithm was build. To counter this, Google has constantly been
fine-tuning and updating its algorithms. Read about Google’s latest
The search engines are aware that a large number of sites are deploying
link exchange campaigns to boost their site’s PR. Search engines
are working towards fine-tuning their algos to discount direct link
exchanges in order to preserve the effect of their link popularity
related algorithms and rationalize artificially inflated links popularity
While the algos are yet to reflect this change, we believe that
it may happen soon enough. In the long run, we recommend investing
your resources in an ‘only-incoming links’ campaign for your website
which is likely to benefit your site more as opposed to a direct
link exchange campaign.
Important Parameters to Consider while Building Link Popularity
Some of the important parameters that you need to consider while
establishing links with any website are discussed below:
PageRank or PR of the Linking Page
PR of the linking page is one of the most important factors. PR
of the linking page determines how much value of importance is passed
on to your page. Higher the PR of the linking page, higher the value
you get. The home page PR is not as important, but it is an indicator
of how much PR a linking page may jump to, in due course of time.
For instance, if the PR of the site’s link page is 0, but the home
page PR is 6, then, there is a bright possibility that in a month
or two, the link page PR may also jump to a PR of 4 or even 5 due
to the internal linking structure of the partner site. While sites
would be happy to give out links from a PR 0 page, you can estimate
that in two months time, this link page can jump to a high PR, giving
you great value in the future.
Identifying Total Number of Links on the Link Page
The value your web page gets from a linking page is equal to the
total PR value of that page divided by the total number of outgoing
links on that page. Getting a link from a PR4 page that has only
20 outgoing links is much better than getting a link from a PR4
page that has 60 outgoing links. With the same philosophy, it is
better to get a link from a PR2 link page that has only 10 outgoing
links than getting a link from a PR4 page that has over 100 outgoing
links. It is therefore as important to evaluate the total number
of outgoing links on a links page, as it is, to evaluate the PR
of the linking page. This is where many people often falter, as
they usually insist on getting a link from a high PR page, but if
that page has 100 outgoing links, your page would only get 1/100th
of that value.
Search engines give high importance to links pointing to your site
from your own industry segment as opposed to those from an un-related
industry. For instance, a hotels and reservations website is likely
to benefit more from links pointing from a related industry site
like travel, vacation packages or cruises, than those from an unrelated
industry like a drug site.
Industry relevance also needs to be given a high weight while creating
resource directories. For example, if you have a site related to
hotels, then you can create a resource directory related to your
business that could be pertaining to travel, tourism, cruises, vacation
rentals, vacation packages, car rentals, food and beverages etc.
Most sites offering links have several categories listed on their
sites. Try and get a link from a category that closely matches your
own industry. For instance, if you have a site related to hotels,
then, on your partner site, a tickets site for example, try and
identify a resource directory pertaining to hotels, resorts, reservations,
vacation packages, travel, tourism, food and beverages etc. If the
concerned site has a directory on hotels, you should request a link
in that category, as a link from that page would be relevant to
a hotels site, thus getting you more benefits. An algorithm called
“Applied Semantics” determines the industry relevance of a page
within a site. Applied Semantics algorithm studies various keywords
on a web page and tries to determine the industry or business segment
of each page. Applied Semantics estimates the industry segments
that are relevant to a particular page. If the link to your page
is coming from your business specific segment, then you are likely
to draw more benefit.
Anchor Text is the visible hyperlinked text on a web page. Since
anchor text is very important, make sure that your most important
keywords appear in anchor text from the link pointing to your site.
You should try and work with at-least 10-20 keyword and link text
options. If you are creating a large number of links using only
one standard link text, then the search engines are likely to detect
a pattern. It is possible that future algo updates may do away with
all repetitive and similar looking links to your site.
You can also refer to our article on Anchor Text Optimization for
Try and find link partners in Search Engines like Google and Yahoo,
and check if the links page is already indexed in the search engines.
Search Engines frequently re-index the pages in its database. They
are likely to detect your link faster on a page already existing
in their database as compared to a ‘yet-to-be indexed’ page. The
safest way to check is to copy the prospective link page URL and
paste it into Google Search. If the page is indexed, Google would
show a result in response to your search, otherwise it would respond
with a ‘no result found’.
The robots.txt file
robots.txt is an exclusion file that contains specific instructions
for search engine robots regarding the content they are not allowed
to index. Links placed on a page that the search engines robots
are not allowed to index, would not benefit your site. Considering
the importance of robots.txt file, it is a good idea to study a
site’s robots.txt file to identify the excluded pages before approaching
a site for establishing links with your site. Read our article on
Working with robots.txt file.
Dynamic Link Pages
You should also watch out for any link pages that are generated
dynamically. Chances are that such pages would not get indexed soon
enough, which means that a link from such a page would not benefit
you. Some dynamic link pages are intentionally generated in such
a way so as to prevent them from getting indexed. Some unscrupulous
webmasters do this to trick you to prevent any PageRank leaking
from their site to yours. Links from such pages therefore do not
give you any benefit.
Java Script Link Pages
It is also important to identify pages that are generated through
Flash or a Java Script, as Search Engines cannot read flash pages
or the links embedded within flash. These are some of the tricks
unethical webmasters use. While a site can claim to have placed
a link to your web page, in effect they are not giving you any benefit.
A link that is first re-directed to another page within your partner
site before pointing to your site is a re-directed link. You should
watch out for such links, as search engines do not give weight to
re-directed links. It is very unlikely that your site would draw
any benefit from a re-directed link.
Avoid getting links from framed sites as search engines cannot read
texts within frames. A link placed on a frame site would not get
your site any benefit, as search engines would not be able to recognize
such a link.
It is important to evaluate the depth of the directory of the linking
page. Avoid getting links from pages that are embedded in a very
deep directory or pages that are more than two directories deep
(e.g. www.domain.com/dir1/dir2/dir3/linkpage.htm is not a good link
page). Deep directories seldom earn high PR. They are also slow
in getting indexed, if at all.
Building Link Popularity is a great way to help your site gain
competitive PR. Links from other sites also sends direct human traffic
to your site. Observing a little care in developing links will go
a long way in getting your site rank high in search engines.
About the Author
Harjot Kaleka is an
SEO Copywriter at www.SEOrank.com,
a leading Search Engine Optimization services company. She has a
Masters degree in Mass Communications and Copywriting.