by Karon Thackston © 2003 http://www.copywritingcourse.com
Link popularity. The term has flooded ‘Net over last year, and everybody is in a buzz trying to build link popularity for their sites. But do we really understand what link popularity is, and how it works best? If not, you’re about to find out.
Debra O’Neil-Mastaler of Alliance Link (http://www.Alliance-Link.com) is here to give us ins and outs of link popularity and how to ensure your linking strategies accomplish your goals.
KARON: Hi, Debra! It was such a pleasure to meet you in Atlanta for Jill Whalen’s Search Engine Conference. Thanks for agreeing to give us some link popularity tips today.
DEBRA: Thanks, Karon… you, too! It’s my pleasure to be here.
KARON: Here’s way I see it. While those who work professionally in search engine optimization field understand importance of link popularity, many small business owners are just now coming into "know." Tell me why link popularity is so vital to success with SEO.
DEBRA: The short answer is because search engines, especially Google, use link popularity in their algorithms to determine a Web site’s ranking.
Web sites are given a link popularity score based on quality and number of external links pointing to them. Generally, when someone says he wants to increase his site’s link popularity, he is referring to number of quality links pointing at his site. While this is a good strategy and an important step, it is just that -- a step in overall SEO process.
KARON: You mentioned link quality. There seems to be some controversy between those who say links don't have to be relevant, they just have to exist, and those who say that links must be from sites that could somehow be associated with your own site. Tell us truth, Debra... which one is it?
DEBRA: The truth is, if I had answer to link relevancy, I’d be basking in sun somewhere with Buff Boy on an extended first class vacation, counting zillions I made from my tell-all link popularity e-book instead of working…
KARON: I like sound of that! So, tell us what you see as truth. : )
DEBRA: The most truthful answer is -- I don’t know if links have to be relevant. I don’t have any definitive answers or truths to tell, and I don’t know anyone that can, except search engines of course.
KARON: So, what should people do about trading links or adding one-way links off their sites?
DEBRA: Here’s my two cents: If it makes sense for you to link to a site in a complementary industry, then do it. Your visitors will appreciate helpful content, and other site may link back to you. People return to sites with products they want and resources they can use; if it makes sense to have links to pages that complement your products, then do it!
While I don’t advocate linking to a bunch of non-related sites, I don’t believe there’s a penalty involved for linking to a couple of quality sites outside your niche. Most people/businesses have sites they like or a cause they want to support. Promoting these sites shows community spirit and establishes corporate personality.
Add these hyperlinks to a “links we like” section on your resource page. Separating non-related links is helpful because it wouldn’t dilute your sales message or confuse your visitors.