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How to improve your link popularity with internal, incoming & outgoing links

Last Update: Friday, October 31, 2003.

In this article I show you how to improve your link popularity with internal, incoming & outgoing links, which will in turn improve your search engine rankings.

Link popularity, which refers to the number of links pointing to and from related sites, is considered by many search engine experts as the most important element of a site's relevance in search engines.

If you're not sure what your site's link popularity rating is, then use this link popularity check tool to check your link popularity rating in the top search engines.

There are three types of links that will increase the link popularity of your site; internal, incoming and outgoing links.

1. Internal Links

Internal link popularity refers to the number of links to and from pages within a site.

Make sure you cross link your important related pages back and forth. By doing so, you are telling search engine spiders that those are the most important pages of your site.

Cross linking your pages also helps the search engine spiders find and index your most important pages quicker, especially if some pages are buried deep within your site.

2. Incoming Links

Incoming link popularity refers to links pointing to a site from other related sites. In addition, there are two types of incoming links:

a. Links From Sites You Control
You can control your site's theme by setting up several small related sites. Then cross link them all together, including links back to the main site.

Select keywords that describe the theme of the main site and use those same keywords to link to the main site from the other sites.

The reason for doing this is because some of the major search engines, such as Google, place a great importance on the text used within links.

b. Links From Sites You Do Not Control
There are three ways of finding sites to link to yours.

i. Find Sites That Link To Your Competition

Did you know that search engines can tell you which sites link to your competition? To find out, visit your favorite search engine and enter, "link:" followed by the competitors domain name (with and without "www").

For example, "link:theirdomain.com" and "link:www.theirdomain.com." (Quotation marks not required)

To check the link popularity of your own sites, simply replace "theirdomain.com" with your own domain names.

ii. Find Link Partners In Web Directories

Do not forget that all the sites listed in the same category as yours in the major web site directories, such as Yahoo!, LookSmart and the Open Directory Project, are ideal link candidates too.

Once you have compiled a list of related sites, add a link to them in your site. Then send an email to each site owner informing them that you have linked to their site and politely ask them for a link back to your site. Don't forget to tell them about the benefits of exchanging links in this manner.

iii. Find Sites That Accept Site Submissions

Another way of finding sites to link to yours is to find sites that accept site submissions. To find such sites, visit a search engine, such as Google, and search for:

"add url" "your keywords"

Replace "your keywords" with those related to your site. Include the quotation marks to ensure the search engine only return pages with the exact search phrases you enter.

Also try replacing, "add url" with one of the following sets of search phrases:

add site, add link, add a url, add a site, add a link, submit url, submit site, submit link, submit a url, submit a site, submit a link.

In addition, you can also find site submission pages by searching for the actual page. So, try replacing the "add url" search phrase with one of the following page names:

addurl.html, addsite.html, addlink.html, addaurl.html, addasite.html, addalink.html, submiturl.html, submitsite.html, submitlink.html, submitaurl.html, submitasite.html, submitalink.

add-url.html, add-site.html, add-link.html, add-a-url.html, add-a-site.html, add-a-link.html, submit-url.html, submit-site.html, submit-link.html, submit-a-url.html, submit-a-site.html, submit-a-link.

add_url.html, add_site.html, add_link.html, add_a_url.html, add_a_site.html, add_a_link.html, submit_url.html, submit_site.html, submit_link.html, submit_a_url.html, submit_a_site.html, submit_a_link.

You could also try replacing the ".html" extension with others, such as ".htm," ".shtml," ".cfm," etc.

3. Outgoing Links

Outgoing links refers to links pointing to other related sites from your site.

Search engine spiders will crawl your site's outgoing links and determine that the content of the sites you link to are related to the content of your own site.

Search engines like sites that link to related content, especially "authoritative hubs" that other sites "suggest" (i.e. link to) as a reference for information on a particular topic.

Link Keywords

It is important to name your internal and outgoing links carefully. Since keywords are important in determining the relevancy of a page, it is essential that they are used throughout a page.

The page title, headers and links should always include the keywords describing the page.

Therefore, I suggest that you always name a page using the keywords relevant to the page. In turn, the visible link text used on other pages to link to the page should use the same keyword phrase as the page name.

For example, if the title of a page is "Link Popularity." Then the page name should be "link-popularity.html," or "link_popularity.html."

Make sure you include a hypen or underscore between each word. This will ensure that search engines index each word as a separate keyword. There's no difference to using a hypen or underscore.

Do not pack all the words together. For example, "linkpopularity.html."

You should also make sure that all links to that page use the link text, "Link Popularity."

You notice how everything fits together?

Link Quality

Studies have shown that the quality of the links is just as important as the number of links to your site.

The types of sites you should concentrate on getting links from include major search engines (Google), popular web portals (MSN), web directories (Yahoo! and the Open Directory Project), high trafficked sites (eBay and Amazon), news sites (CNN), weblogs, and sites related to your site's topic.

Search engines consider links from major search engines and web portals as big votes of confidence for your site.

Incoming Links Mistaken As Link Popularity Boosters

There are two types of incoming links that some people mistake as links that will boost their link popularity;

  • Pay per click advertising links, such as Overture and Google AdWords Select.

  • Affiliate program provider links, such as Commission Junction.

Such links never link directly to your site, so they will not help your link popularity rating. These types of links actually point to their own site, which then redirects the visitor to the correct site. They are used for tracking purposes.

However, if you host the affiliate program software on your own server and the affiliate tracking links point to your web site, then those links will count towards your site's link popularity.

Link Exchanges And Farms

A word of warning! Never ever use links from link exchange sites and link farms.

Link farms are networks of heavily cross linked pages on one or more web sites, with the sole intention of improving the link popularity of those pages and sites.

Many of the top search engines consider such links as spam, so stay clear of these types of links.


Do not underestimate the influence link popularity plays in the ranking of your web pages. It is actually possible to achieve top rankings almost entirely on link popularity alone. So, spend time improving your site's link popularity.

If you want to save time and effort, I recommend using a link finder and management tool, such as Arelis.

Good luck with improving your link popularity!

Internet marketing expert.About The Author: Michael Wong is a respected internet marketing expert, and the author of a leading search engine optimization guide, numerous marketing tips, and reviews of marketing tools and ecommerce software.
Publishing Rights: You may republish this article in your web site, newsletter, or ebook, on the condition that you agree to leave the article, author's signature and photograph, and all links completely intact. Full instructions on how to copy and upload my photo to your server.

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