Link Popularity

Paul Boag

You may have heard the phrase link popularity but what is it and how does it work?

Link popularity refers to the number of links pointing to and from related sites. It is consider by the majority of search engine experts to be the most important element of a site’s relevancy in search engines. In other words the better your link popularity the higher you will appear in search engine results for related keywords.If you’re not sure what your site’s link popularity rating is, then use this link popularity check tool to check your link popularity rating in the top search engines.

There are three types of links that will increase the link popularity of your site; these are outgoing links, internal links and incoming links.

Outgoing links are links which you have on our site linking to third party sites.

The search engines will check these sites and use them to judge what your site is about. The logic is that sites you link to will in some way relate to the content matter of your own site.

Search engines like sites that link to related content. This is especially true when the search engine "recognises" these sites as being an authority in your subject area. For example if you sell cars you are better linking to a site like BMW than you are to Bloggs cars down the road.

Incoming link popularity refers to links pointing to your site from other related sites. There are two types of incoming links:

Cross linking sites under your control

By setting up several small related sites you can control the way a search engine perceives your content. Select keywords that describe the theme of the main site and use those same keywords to link to the main site from the other sites. Finally, cross link them all together and including links back to the main site.

Linking from sites you do not control

There are three ways of finding sites to link to yours.

  • Sites that link to your competition – To find out who links to your competition simply visit your favourite search engine and enter "Link:" followed by your competitors domain name.
  • Find Link Partners In Web Directories – Do not forget that all the sites listed in the same category as yours in the major web site directories, such as Yahoo!, LookSmart and the Open Directory Project, are ideal link candidates too.

Once you have compiled a list of related sites, add a link to them in your site. Then send an email to each site owner informing them that you have linked to their site and politely ask them for a link back to your site. Don’t forget to tell them about the benefits of exchanging links in this manner.

Find Sites That Accept Site Submissions

Another way of finding sites to link to yours is to find sites that accept site submissions. To find such sites, visit a search engine, such as Google, and search for:

add url" "your keywords"

Replace "your keywords" with those related to your site. Include the quotation marks to ensure the search engine only return pages with the exact search phrases you enter.

Internal link popularity refers to the number of links to and from pages within a site.

Make sure you cross link your important related pages back and forth. By doing so, you are telling search engine spiders that those are the most important pages of your site.

Cross linking your pages also helps the search engine spiders find and index your most important pages quicker, especially if some pages are buried deep within your site.

It is important to name your internal and outgoing links carefully. Since keywords are important in determining the relevancy of a page, you should make sure these links contain descriptive keywords. When possible ask those linking to you to use wording chosen by you for those links. That way you can ensure that incoming links contain the keywords that best describe your site.

Studies have shown that the quality of the links is just as important as the number of links to your site.

The types of sites you should concentrate on getting links from include major search engines (Google), popular web portals (MSN), web directories (Yahoo! and the Open Directory Project), high trafficked sites (eBay and Amazon), news sites (BBC), weblogs, and sites related to your site’s topic.

Search engines consider links from major search engines and web portals as big votes of confidence for your site.

There are two types of incoming links that some people mistake as links that will boost their link popularity;

  • Pay per click advertising links, such as Overture and Google AdWords Select.
  • Affiliate program provider links, such as Commission Junction.

Such links never link directly to your site, so they will not help your link popularity rating. These types of links actually point to their own site, which then redirects the visitor to the correct site. They are used for tracking purposes.

A word of warning! Never ever use links from link exchange sites and link farms.

Link farms are networks of heavily cross linked pages on one or more web sites, with the sole intention of improving the link popularity of those pages and sites.

Many of the top search engines consider such links as spam, so stay clear of these types of links.


Do not underestimate the influence link popularity plays in the ranking of your web pages. It is actually possible to achieve top rankings almost entirely on link popularity alone. So, spend time improving your site’s link popularity.

If you want to save time and effort, I recommend using a link finder and management tool, such as Arelis.

Good luck with improving your link popularity!