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Importance of Link Popularity in Internet Marketing and SEO

The search engine marketing industry has had "tons" of discussion on the importance of building links, or link popularity.  What is link popularity or link building?  In summary, it is collecting web sites that link to your site, and having that become known to the search engines.

Next question, "Why is that so important?".  Well, search engines feel that if lots of businesses link to your site, you must be doing something really well in your business.  Your business is popular, other businesses think highly of you, and more.

Your business must be an authority on whatever it is that you market!  "No problem", you say.  "I'll just get a lots of other businesses to link to me."  Well, that used to work.  But search engines got smarter and figured out that it doesn't matter so much how many links there are to your site.  What really matters is whether the links that point to your site are in a related field, and that the businesses linking to you are "important".  So now popularity and relevance come into play.  It isn't quantity, but quality!

Linking on the Internet is similar to networking in business.  In the same way a business would network at mixers, chamber events, social clubs, the newspaper, and on radio, an Internet business must network with other related Internet business.  Your "linkage" is your "relationship factor" or your "sphere of influence" on the Internet.

Two Business Men Shaking Hands

Image of Wire Mesh to Show Many Links

Multiple Hand Shakes Create an Authoritative Impression

Each Link is a 1:1 Relationships

Many Links Form a Strong Mesh.

Many Links Create a Impression of a Strong Unified Business

We don't wish to downplay the importance of many links from related businesses.  It all helps.  However, the higher the page rank of the site linking to you, the more weight that will carry.  Conversely, just having many, many unrelated businesses link to your site can actually hurt your ranking.  This is known as "link farming" and is a form of spamming.  We caution you to look out for organizations who promise increased link popularity using those kinds of approaches.

Reciprocal Linking is form of linking in which related or complimentary sites are found and you link to them.   Once linked to them, you ask for a link in return.  This form of linking helps build popularity even though the sites linking to you may only have modest traffic.


What Linking Strategies Are Good Strategies?

Building quality, complimentary links to your site is hard work.  Below are a few general strategies we take to help boost link popularity.  Most of these can be applied to your business.

Image Composite Showing Directories, Affililate Programs, and Press Releases

Bulleted Icon Orange w White Arrow Be sure you are listed in important directories like ODP, Froggle, Yahoo! Directory, and Business.com.  Look for directories that you can use that have a high page rank in Google.  See our page on the importance of Local Directories and Yellow Pages.
Bulleted Icon Orange w White Arrow Set up a Reciprocal Link program with other webmasters.
Bulleted Icon Orange w White Arrow Publish press releases locally and on the Internet.
Bulleted Icon Orange w White Arrow Write a whitepaper or an industry article giving businesses the privilege to use it in exchange for a link to your site.
Bulleted Icon Orange w White Arrow If you have a marketable service or product that others can use, establish an Affiliate program and compensate those who can help you market your products.
Bulleted Icon Orange w White Arrow If you have a unique service that others can use, and if you can provide it through the Internet, allow people to link to it on your site.

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