Understanding Link Popularity

A few notes about link popularity from Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link

In a SES NY session titled Link Building Basics, Debra Mastaler from Alliance-Link.com shared some knowledge on link popularity. Link popularity measures the quality and quantity of links pointing to a website. All of the major engines use it. It is considered an “off-page factor” and some common terms used to describe link popularity are:

  • Link pop
  • Link juice
  • Link reputation
  • Link love

There are four components of link popularity:

  • Link Quantity
  • Link Quality
  • Anchor Text
  • Link Relevance

Link Quantity is simply the number of links pointing to a webpage.

Link Quality is determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking to them. But as Mastaler points out, rankings aren’t determined by quality alone. To be sure the query is relevant to what the searcher is looking for, search engines need to use anchor text.

Anchor text is an endorsement of what’s to come. It is the clickable part of the link you see. It is also known as link text. For example, a proper use of anchor text would be:

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A common misuse of anchor text would be:

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While proper use of anchor text primarily enhances the relevance of the target page, search engines also consider it an important pointer to overall page relevance.

Link Relevancy is about links to and from contextually relevant or “thematically related” sites. Some tips:

  • Stay in your link neighborhood
  • Linking out and being linked to establishes where your site belongs.
  • Search engines read the text around links.
  • Links from contextually relevant or “thematically related sites” convey more authority...

What Are Authority Sites?

Sites that rank well, are well known within your niche and in general and have strong inbound links. (Check out any website’s inbound links at Yahoo! Site Explorer.)

So What About PageRank™?

PageRank™ is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to determine the quality factors of a page based on its inbound links. “Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important”.

Mastaler’s Tips for Optimal Linking Success:

• Link out!
Helps establish your community presence

Place links in content areas
Avoid navigation and sponsored areas

• Implement a wide array of linking tactics
Don’t use same tactic over and over

• Avoid sites that look like candidates for spam reports

• Understand all links have value
Determine traffic value for those blocking linkpop

Concentrate on securing links from authority sites

• Redirected links or links passing through third party sites (affiliates) will not pass link popularity

• Use consistent URL’s/redirect via 301

Visit Mastaler’s site at www.alliance-link.com and check out her blog, The Link Spiel for more information on link building.



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