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Link Popularity - Your Key to a Page #1 Listing
by Michael Southon

Last week I was doing a search in Google under 'ezine advertising' and was amazed to find one of my own websites on the first page of results (position #4 out of 271,000).

So then I went to Yahoo and got another shock - there it was again at position #4 out of 274,000 results.

If you're wondering how I did it, the answer is I'm not entirely sure.

But my guess is *link popularity*.

What is link popularity?

Some years ago the major search engines realized that the best way to decide if your website has valuable content (and is therefore worth a high ranking) is to see how many other websites link to your site.

Link popularity was pioneered by Google but has now become a key factor in the algorithms used by most of the major search engines.

Would you like to know your current link popularity?

Here's a free tool that will check your link popularity in Alltheweb, AltaVista, AOL, Google, HotBot and MSN. This tool will also compare your link
popularity with your competitors': http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/

Now that you know your link popularity, you may be wondering how you can increase it.

Here are some commonly used strategies - some effective and some not:

==> FFA Sites

Free For All sites are websites that collect your email address (and send you a lot of junk email) and in return allow you to post a link on a website.

FFA sites are rather like a conveyor belt - new links are constantly being added and old links being pushed off. On Many FFA sites your link will last an hour or two at the most.

Even if your link stayed on an FFA site long enough to be indexed by a search engine, it is unlikely it would increase your link popularity. Search engines regard FFA sites as spam and they'll either ignore your link or penalize your site.

==> Link Exchange Programs

As with FFA sites, you need to ask yourself the same question the search engines ask.

Did someone link to your site because you have valuable content? Or did they link to your site as part of a mutual ploy to artificially raise each other's link popularity?
The search engines know how to tell the difference and some of them (Google for example) will actually ban your site for engaging in 'link farming'.

Another problem with this method is *link relevancy*. If the sites linking to you have content that is not related to your content, the search engines will not give much weight to those links.

==> Reciprocal Links with Individual Webmasters

This will definitely increase your link popularity, especially if you seek out link partners whose websites share the same theme as yours.

But this approach is time consuming - first you have to surf around looking for potential link partners, then you have to email them, then you have to confirm that they added your link and so on.

==> Writing Articles

This is the technique I use for increasing link popularity and it works very well.

Write short articles of 300 - 800 words and then submit them to the article announcement lists and the online article banks.

There are thousands of webmasters out there who need free content for their websites and you'll soon find your articles appearing on dozens, even hundreds, of different websites.

At the bottom of your article is your Resource Box containing a link to your website. It might look something like this:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
John Doe is the webmaster of yourdomain.com where he
offers cutting-edge tips on all aspects of web marketing.
To find more advice, tools and resources to help you
succeed in online business, visit: http://www.yourdomain.com
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Most webmasters will make the URL in your Resource Box an active link. If they don't, you should insist on it because it's part of the deal - they get free
content for their website and you get a free link.

This technique has two important advantages over other methods of raising link popularity:

(1) You don't have to clutter up your website with reciprocal links

(2) You don't have to invest huge amounts of time searching for link partners and then emailing them to request a link. If they like your article, they just
add it to their website.

Happy writing!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3 years. He has shown hundreds of webmasters how to use this simple technique to build a successful online business. Click here to find out more:
http://www.free-home-base-business.com/go2/ezinewriter.html
---------------------------------------------------------------------------


Measuring Link Popularity
By Sumantra Roy

"Which search engines use link popularity as a factor in ranking pages?" Well, that question has become pretty moot these days. Just about every spider based search engine uses link popularity as a factor. So, how do you find out how much link popularity your site has? And how do you know which sites are actually linking to you? In this article, I'll tell you how you can find out the link popularity of your site in some of the major search engines.

1. AltaVista

In order to find out the number of sites linking to the domain mysite.com in AltaVista, you would type in link:mysite.com in AltaVista's search box. If you wish to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com -url:mysite.com.

If you want to find out how many sites are linking to a particular page (say mypage.html) in the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com/mypage.html. Again, in order to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com/mypage.html -url:mysite.com.

Note that you should not type in the "www" or the "http://" prefixes.

2. AOL

AOL is a directory based engine. It takes its results from the Open Directory. Hence, the concept of link popularity is not very meaningful in AOL.

3. Direct Hit

There is no way you can find out the link popularity of your site in Direct Hit. This is because Direct Hit does not return the number of sites which match the search criterion.

4. Fast (http://www.alltheweb.com)

In order to find out the number of web sites linking to the domain mysite.com in Fast, click on the Advanced Search link. In the "Word Filters" section of the Advanced Search page, select "Must Include" from the first combo box. In the text box besides the first combo box, type in mysite.com. In the combo box to the right of the text box, select "in the link name". If you want to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, type in mysite.com in the "Exclude" text box in the "Domain Filters" section. Then, click on the "FAST Search" button.

In order to find the number of links to mypage.html in the mysite.com domain, you would type in mysite.com/mypage.html in the text box besides the first combo box. Again, in order to exclude links from within the mysite.com domain, type in mysite.com in the "Exclude" text box.

Note that you should not type in the "www" or the "http://" prefixes.

5. Google

In order to find out the number of sites linking to mysite.com in Google, you would type in link:mysite.com.

If you want to find out how many sites are linking to the page mypage.html in the mysite.com domain, you would type in link:mysite.com/mypage.html.

However, there is no way you can exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain from being counted.

Google considers www.mysite.com to be different from mysite.com. This means that typing in link:mysite.com will not include the links to www.mysite.com. If you want to find out the number of links to www.mysite.com, you have to type in link:www.mysite.com. And typing in link:www.mysite.com will not include the links to mysite.com either.

This is in contrast to AltaVista which includes links to the www.mysite.com domain when you try to find the number of links to mysite.com.

6. HotBot

There are two methods of measuring link popularity in Hotbot.

In the first case, in order to find out the number of sites linking to mysite.com, you can type in linkdomain:mysite.com. In order to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you can use linkdomain:mysite.com -domain:mysite.com.

Make sure that you do not use the "www" or "http://" prefixes when you use this method.

However, this method cannot be used to find out the number of links to specific pages in your site, i.e. you cannot use this method to find out the links to the page mypage.html in the domain mysite.com.

In order to find out the number of links to specific pages, choose "links to this URL" from the "Look for:" drop-down combo box and then type in the complete URL (i.e. http://www.mysite.com/mypage.html) in the search box. In order to exclude links from within the mysite.com domain, type http://www.mysite.com/mypage.html -domain:mysite.com in the search box after choosing "links to this URL" from the combo box. Note that for the second method, you need to use the "http://" prefix.

Lastly, you should note that in the second method, typing http://www.mysite.com will only find links to the home page of the www.mysite.com domain. If there are some sites which have linked to some of the internal pages in your site rather than your home page, this will not be included in the link popularity count.

7. IWon

The method of measuring link popularity in IWon is the same as the first method in HotBot. However, unlike HotBot, IWon does not have an alternative method which can be used to measure the number of links to specific pages in a domain.

8. Lycos

In order to measure link popularity in Lycos, first click on the Advanced Search link to the right of the search box. To find out the number of sites linking to mysite.com in Lycos, you would type in ml:mysite.com in the search box. If you wish to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in ml:mysite.com -h:mysite.com.

If you want to find out how many sites are linking to a particular page (say mypage.html) in the mysite.com domain, you would type in ml:mysite.com/mypage.html. Again, in order to exclude links from pages within the mysite.com domain, you would type in ml:mysite.com/mypage.html -h:mysite.com.

Note that you should not type in the "www" or the "http://" prefixes.

9. MSN

The method of measuring link popularity in MSN is almost the same as that in Hotbot. The first method is exactly the same. For the second method, click on the More Options tab, type in the complete URL in the "Search the web for:" text box and choose "links to URL" from the "Find:" drop-down combo box. However, unlike Hotbot, you cannot eliminate links from pages within the same domain using the second method.

Note that the More Options tab is displayed only after you search for something in MSN. It is not displayed in MSN's home page.

10. Netscape

Netscape is a directory based engine. It takes its results from the Open Directory. If no results are found in the Open Directory, it takes its results from Google. Since it is a directory based engine, the concept of measuring link popularity is not all that meaningful. You can type in link:mysite.com to measure the number of links to the domain mysite.com. In this case, Netscape will simply take its results from Google.

Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at the top of the search engines, go to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com/t.cgi?1195 For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE newsletter by going to http://www.1stSearchRanking.com/t.cgi?1195&newsletter.htm


Does The Number Of Links On A Page Affect Ranking?
by Jon Ricerca
http://www.SearchEngineGeek.com

Lots of research has focused on inbound links to a site, but little has focused on the number of links actually on a page (outbound or to other parts of a site). Many SEO gurus have recently been talking about something they call "PR Leak" which seems to be a theory that the more outbound links you have, the more your page rank on Google "leaks" away. That concept isn't found in the academic papers published by the founders of Google, but does seem to be accepted by a majority of SEOs. I decided it was time to take a look at the number of links present on a page and how that number correlates with ranking.

The methodology: I gathered the results of the queries that were naturally performed last month by myself and three associates using the two leading search engines and analyzed them. I counted the number of links on the page (references to "href") and tabulated the results against the ranking of the URL in the search results. The tabulated results were finally converted into a normalized "ranking correlation." The results for each of the two leading search engines were kept separate so that we could discover any differences between the two leading search engines for this factor.

The resulting graphs show the results for groupings of number of links normalized into a number between -100 and
+100 showing the likelihood of being ranked higher/lower.
A value of +100 shows that all 10 rankings were in the proper order to show that pages of the studied value ALWAYS rank HIGHER than pages of another value. A value of -100 shows that all 10 rankings were in the proper order to show that pages of the studied value ALWAYS rank LOWER than pages of another value. Numbers in between show the varying likelihood of rankings proportionally between - 100 and +100.

That is the number you see on the Y-axis. On the X-axis, we have the number of links found. They are grouped into sets of 10 in order to increase the statistical significance with the amount of data we had available to analyze. Here are the graphs for the two leading search
engines:

http://www.SearchEngineGeek.com/graphs/dey01.gif
http://www.SearchEngineGeek.com/graphs/deg01.gif

The number of links were grouped in this way in order to increase the number of data points available.
Unfortunately it also reduces the precision of the results. One is able to see that 91-100 links rank much higher than 1-10 links, but you are unable to see if 77 links rank differently than 79 links (for example).

The result is very conclusive. Both leading search engines rank pages with more links much higher than pages with fewer links! Once again, it appears that the SEOs touting the "PR Leak" theory are simply wrong. If their theory held any weight at all, we should see the exact opposite.
Pages with more links should rank lower on average.

Notes:

1. There was no exercise to attempt to isolate different keywords. I merely took a random sampling of the queries performed by myself and three associates during the month.

2. This is merely a correlation study, so it cannot be determined from this study whether the leading search engines purposefully entertain this factor or not. The actual factors used may be far distant from the factor we studied.

Jon Ricerca is one of the leading researchers and authors of the Search Engine Ranking Factor (SERF) reports at SearchEngineGeek.com. For access to the other SERF reports, please visit:
http://www.SearchEngineGeek.com [TOP]

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