So tell the truth, were you popular in high school? Did you have a lot of friends, and a wide social circle? Were you an athlete? Did your accomplishments extend far outside the halls of your alma mater to neighboring schools and counties? If so, then congratulations; you’re probably in the minority of those reading this article. What does this example have to do with link popularity you ask; more than you think.

Just as in high school, on the World Wide Web, your website is known by the company it keeps. Link to the wrong site or “hang with the wrong crowd” and you could be ostracized by the search engine community before you even begin. Achieve quality inbound links from a wide range of popular kids on the internet, however, and watch your site’s online profile soar. Sounds simple, and it is, if you know what to do to climb the online social ladder that is Link Popularity.

But before we get to that, what exactly is Link Popularity? Simply defined, Link Popularity is a measure of the quantity and quality of other web sites that link to your site on the internet at any given time. It is considered an off-the-page criteria that is greatly utilized by search engines to determine the overall importance and quality of your site to the online community. Because of its impartial nature, a site with a very high number of incoming links is usually viewed as highly relevant to the online community at large and thus highly visible within relevant search engine results. Whereas a content-poor site will attract fewer incoming links and thus hold little value to the same visitors.

What is the current link popularity of your site today? Take a moment to enter your site url at popular free link tool www.linkpopularity.com, then come back for the rest of this article…..

Still there, good! The results probably weren’t what you had hoped for though, where they? Not to worry; probably the biggest threat to you obtaining a high link popularity score for your site is relying on old information. To that end, below is a quick 10-step CURRENT process that can be implemented immediately to increase your site’s overall link popularity:

Step 1 – SUBMIT YOUR SITE TO OPEN DIRECTORY (DMOZ) AND YAHOO – Although neither of these sites are the 800 lb. gorillas they used to be, any link from these sites is going to increase your online profile immediately and very visibly. Find your appropriate category in both sites and submit for free with DMOZ and invest the $299 for a yearly indexing with Yahoo. Although DMOZ is still incredibly slow in adding new sites, keep at it, find the appropriate editor and send him cookies or flowers if necessary (couldn’t hurt?) then be patient.

Step 2 – ADD YOUR KEYWORDS TO THE LINKING ANCHOR TEXT – When at all possible, try to have an on-point relevant keyword phrase used as the linking text within any inbound link your seek for your site. If all you can manage is your site name or your url, that is certainly fine. But if you are selling toothbrushes to Eskimos, then “Eskimo toothbrushes for sale” as the linking keyword phrase from one site to yours is always the way to go.

Step 3 – WRITE ARTICLES AND SUBMIT PRESS RELEASES – Hey, look what I am doing right now! I could be watching ESPN, but I am writing this article instead. Write articles and submit press releases when you have a personnel change, introduce or upgrade a service or product or when you have a topic of interest you wish to share with the online world web community. Don’t have a blog? Get one! This is a simple way to get your articles and press releases out for indexing and review. Make sure to include links to your site where appropriate and watch your link popularity grow and grow.

Step 4 – FIND OUT WHO LINKS TO YOUR COMPETITORS – Go to Google.com and enter this into this search query: link:www.yourcompetitor.com. Do the same for Yahoo by entering linkdomain:www.your-competitor.com -site:www.your-competitor.com into the search field. Seek out the sites linking to your competitors and convince them to link to you instead. You win TWICE with this approach. You gain a quality link and an increase in your overall popularity while your competitor LOSES a link and achieves a lower popularity score in return.

Step 5 – CREATE AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM – Nothing generates quality, inbound links to your site faster than an established, commission-paying affiliate program. Whether your site is product or service-based, an affiliate program can be just the thing that takes your site and its link popularity to new heights. Visit www.CommissionJunction.com or www.LinkShare.com to set-up a new affiliate program of your design today and watch your online profile grow by leaps and bounds.

Step 6 – DEEP LINK YOUR SITE – This step is vastly overlooked by even the most savvy of online marketers initiating a new link popularity campaign. Make sure that links you seek out or solicit don’t just link to your home page, but ALL pages of your website. This process has numerous benefits including expanding your overall online link profile as well as generating unique Google PageRank values for each and every one of your site’s pages instead of just your home page.

Step 7 – SIGN UP ON GUESTBOOKS AND FORUMS – If you don’t participate in forums on your site topic or remember to sign-in when visiting a new site for the first time, now is the time to make such actions a habit. Always post a message or participate in a forum thread whenever possible and include a link to your site in your signature where appropriate. These “sig” files do get indexed and really add up, especially if the site forum in question is something highly regarded in your specific industry.

Step 8 – CONTACT RECIPROCAL LINKS BY PHONE NOT EMAIL – You would be shocked how successful this really is. More people are inclined to respond to your request when you introduce yourself by phone and let them know that you were visiting their site. Tell the person you are linking to their site, asking permission of course, and then politely ask for a link back. Cement the request by following up by email; then wait for the links to roll-in (oh, and get rid of the form letters; they don’t work!).

Step 9 – AVOID LINK FARMS AND LINK EXCHANGES – Reputation on the web is more important than ever. Again, just like friendships in high school, it’s better to have fewer higher-quality links to your site than hundreds of off-point, non-relevant links that do nothing to enhance the overall experience of the online community. Stay away, far away, from companies promising you hundreds of links to your site overnight. At best you don’t need the links, and at worst, you could be banned by the major search engines altogether.

Step 10 – DOWNLOAD THE GOOGLE TOOLBAR – This very simple technique allows you to view all potential link partners by the very important Google PageRank score (1-10) that is viewable in this browser. Use the toolbar to keep tabs on your own site’s PageRank score, than seek out complimentary, highly relevant linking partners that have a Google PageRank score of 6 or higher whenever possible. Convince a handful of high Google PageRank sites to link back to you and watch your site take off.

Remember, just like in high school, you and your site will be known by the company kept. Follow the simple, ten step plan outlined above, and you will be well on your way to achieving real, measured, lasting success online. Be the popular site on the block today; it’s easier then you think. Go ahead, be popular!

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