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Author: John Buchanan

Internet Day Newsletter Article
Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Link Popularity in a Box

Over the past two years, link popularity has become the new buzz word of the search engine promotion arena.

With virtually all of the major engines now incorporating this criteria into their ranking algorithms to at least some extent, many Webmasters have found their once high-ranking sites have fallen to less than spectacular levels.

Achieving that No. 1 ranking now requires not only the perfect mix of content and keywords, but also a site that is deemed popular in the eyes of the all knowing search engines.

This brings us to a question: "What is the best way to increase my site's link popularity?"

Many systems have sprung up that are geared toward helping Webmasters increase their site's link popularity. Let's take a look at some of them.

1. Link Farms

Link Farms sprang up rather quickly. With link farms you generally agree to upload a number of pages to your site that link to a random list of other sites. In return, your link is added to this list of sites and are uploaded to other sites creating instant link popularity. Sounds good and it worked for a while, but the search engines soon caught on to this. Now most search engines either ignore pages that are members of these link farms, or in some cases (such as Google), they will simply ban you for being a member of such a system.

2. FFA Pages

FFA Pages or Free For All Link Pages are sites that allow you to submit your link to them free. All it costs you is a bunch of junk mail in your inbox. FFA pages have a preset number of links that can be on the page at any given time. As newer links are added, the older links are pushed off. Theoretically, these could help your
link popularity. Unfortunately, your link rarely stays on the list long enough to be of any real help. Numerous programs have sprung up, both PC and Web-based, that will submit your site to a large number of FFA pages. The problem here is that so many Webmasters have become a member of these programs that you would need to submit your site every hour for it to be of any real benefit to you.

3. Reciprocal links

Reciprocal links are link exchanges between Webmasters. These are by far the most productive types of links you can get. Not only will they increase your link popularity, but you will generally generate a good amount of traffic from them as well. There is one big problem with reciprocal links and that's time. It can take a great deal of time to hunt down other Webmasters willing to trade links with you, e-mail them asking for the exchange, then deal with the actual adding of the links for the Webmasters who agree. Then you have to keep track of who has your link, their contact information, etc. The solution to this problem is a wonderful piece of software I ran across about a year ago called Zeus.

Zeus is a software program that was designed to automate the task of finding reciprocal links for you, leaving you free to concentrate on your business, customers and promotion. It's sole purpose is to crawl the Web and find sites that match your
criteria, and then get them to link to you.

In the beginning, you simply train Zeus as to what type of sites you are looking for, then you set it loose. He will crawl from site to site through links scanning sites and deciding if they meet your criteria. If they do, it adds them to his database and grabs the contact info.

Once you've acquired a good database of sites, Zeus will build you a directory of all the sites that met your approval separating the directory into themes for easy navigation. Once it has built your directory, it will e-mail all of the Webmasters for the sites in your directory letting them know of their new links and requesting a reciprocal link in exchange for better placement in your new directory.

Not only are you on your way to creating stellar link popularity for your site, but the links pointing to you will be virtually permanent and from quality sites that are similar in nature to your own which will bring you qualified traffic.

Article by John Buchanan, author of the book "The Insider's Guide to Dominating The Search Engines" and publisher of a free monthly newsletter "The Search Engine Bulletin." Visit him at for more information or to sign up for the newsletter.

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