Link popularity describes the process whereby many search engines will use the number and type of links pointing into a website as a measure of its importance.
Links, in the form of hypertext links, from other domains into a website can therefore be a determining factor on how well a site will perform within the ranking results. This factor was pioneered by Google as part of its ranking criteria to enable more established sites to perform well and to make it harder for new, or temporary sites, to manipulate the results.
As a result, the need to develop links into a site can mean that new sites will initially find it hard to obtain rankings, particularly for the most competitive terms, whereas the likes of Amazon or the BBC can dominate the results. Some companies will try to artificially inflate links into a domain by creating ‘link farms’ between many unrelated sides. However, the simple truth is that links are difficult to establish effectively. A site with good content and high awareness will attract links naturally, whereas most will need to build links as part of a long-term strategy.
There are 4 types of links to consider:
- Internal – these are links from pages within a website pointing back to the home page. These can contribute to the link popularity of a website if they are structured in the most effective manner.
- Free – these are links that are added to a third-party website for free, in such cases where sites are building their own content to attract traffic. Example sites may be general information directories, business directories or subject specific sites that wish to provide a service to their visitors.
- Reciprocal – these are links that are agreed between two websites so that both gain some benefit from the links between each domain. More sites are now requesting reciprocal links as the importance of links has become more prominent.
- Paid – some very popular sites will now also make a charge for a link to be added, either as a one-off listing fee or on an annual basis.
Links that are created should point to the direct domain of the recipient site and they should also be placed on other well-established or relevant sites. The page content should be related to the subject of the linked site and, ideally, the link should be in the form of a text link, rather than graphic, with the text itself including a relevant keyword or phrase, such as ‘search engine marketing specialists’.
We recognise the importance of link building as part of a search engine optimisation strategy and we offer a link building package to clients, if required. We can also advise clients on how to find and build links themselves. Contact us now by phone for an initial discussion or complete our online enquiry form for a FREE website assessmentor for more information.