How To Increase Your Site's Link Popularity For Higher Search Engine Rankings

Link popularity refers to the number and quality of links pointing to a webpage. It is an extremely important method of improving your site's relevancy in search engines.

The logic behind link popularity is broken down into two parts:

  1. Quantity of Links - A link from page A to page B is a 'vote' or 'recommendation' for page B. Therefore it is logical to conclude that a webpage with 10,000 links pointing to it should be more relevant than one with only 10 links pointing to it. So try to get as many websites to link to yours as possible.
  2. Quality of Links - A vote from an authoritative source should carry more weight than one from unknown source. For example, if you want to improve your search engine rankings, which are more likely to give the best advice - search engine optimization experts or car mechanics?
    So try to get as many links from authoritative websites as possible. These include:
    1. major search engines such as Google.
    2. popular search portals such as MSN.
    3. popular web directories, such as the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory or Dmoz.
    4. high trafficked sites, such as eBay, Amazon, and CNN.
    5. trade associations.
    6. trade magazines.
    7. industry experts.

The two most important websites to get links from are the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory. Google will crawl and index sites that are listed in either, or both, of these directories.

I have seen websites achieve top rankings in Google merely with links from Yahoo! and the Open Directory and no other sites. It clearly illustrates the influence those two web directories have on Google.

There are three types of links that will increase the link popularity of your site; incoming, internal, and to a lesser extent, outgoing links. Let's take a look at each one in more detail.

How To Improve Your Incoming Link Popularity Rating

Incoming link popularity refers to links pointing to a webpage from other people's websites. It goes without saying that recommendation from a third-party should carry more weight than one from the site's owner, simply because the third-party recommendation should be less biased.

For this reason, search engines give incoming links the most weight out of the three link popularity factors.

There are three ways to find websites to link to yours.

1. Free Tool For Finding Out Your Site's Link Popularity Rating

My free Link Popularity Checker offers instant, online reports of a site's link popularity rating in 4 top search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Teoma (Ask Jeeves)

2. How To Find Websites That Link To Your Competitors

The best way to get other sites to link to yours is to ask them politely. And the best way to find likely candidates is to ask those sites that link to your competition.

To find out which websites are linking to your competitors, visit a search engine and enter, "link:" or "links:" followed by a competitor's domain name (with and without "www").

For example:

In the AllTheWeb, AltaVista and Yahoo! search engine, use:


This should return a list of websites linking to your competitor. To check the link popularity of your own sites, simply use your own domain name.

Do not forget that all the sites listed in the same category as yours in the major web directories, such as the Yahoo! Directory and the Open Directory, are ideal link candidates too.