It’s all about popularity. In high school, quality of life was determined by how popular you were within your social group. That same principle applies to the quality of life of your website; the more solid your link popularity, the more successful your site will be.
I’ve mentioned this before (and will probably do it again), search engines are mimicking human behavior in order to determine the credibility of a site. Just like voting for the prom queen, search engines depend on us to tell them what we think is cool. The way I cast my vote now is by linking to the site/s I like. If I had a website in high school, you better believe I would have links all over the place to Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Body Glove, and Wilson Phillips.
Chris Sherman defines link popularity as “the number and quality of the incoming links that are pointing to your site.” The trick is to actually get other sites to link back to yours. So make your site important, then other sites will want to link to yours. And voila! Your page rank improves.
Link building is one of the most difficult parts of search engine optimization because it is based solely on human labor. You have to find relevant websites that reach your target and ask for them to add a link to your site. The old school way to do this would be to send an email – people are less responsive when contacted by email. Be more creative in your requests to ensure that you are building relationships, as suggested here.
I’d like to relate this to Ronald from Can’t Buy Me Love. He knew what he had to do to become popular and he was willing to put in the work. He made himself relevant (tearing off his sleeves in true 80’s fashion), talked to all the cool kids and, of course, introduced a new dance that changed the school forever. I hope that all of us could put ourselves out there like Ronald in order to gain link popularity.
Before you start seeking for websites to link to, I recommend reading “A Linking-Campaign Primer” by Eric Ward.
One of the simplest ways to find good links is to search for your target keywords and look at the top results. Since the pages ranked well, they are important for the terms you are interested in. You can also look into what pages are linking to your highest competitors’ websites and ask for links on their sites, just like Cady Heron latched onto the “plastics”.
Check out more in our next post about how buzz.io makes it all happen.