Last week I was doing a search in Google under 'ezine advertising' and was amazed to find one of my own websites on 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, answer is I'm not entirely sure.
But my guess is *link popularity*.
What is link popularity?
Some years ago major search engines realized that 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 algorithms used by most of 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 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 same question 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 difference and some of them (Google for example) will actually ban your site for engaging in 'link farming'.