Link Popularity is based on the premise that people link to good sites, and it must be good if a lot of people link to your site. If other sites link to your site in plain English, your site is popular, so it is helpful and deserves a ranking boost, so people can find it faster and easier.
The popularity of links is not just unique to Google but has been adopted by the vast majority of search engines.
Link popularity is just one of the many factors (good content, number of pages, text, anchors, internal links, static URLs, keywords, meta tags, and many, many others) that are used to calculate your location on a search result page.
PageRank (PR) is specific to Google and is a proprietary algorithm that is trademarked. In the formulas used by Google, there are many variables, but PageRank is mainly affected by the number of links pointing to a page, the number of internal links pointing to a page on the site, and the number of pages on the site.
PageRank is strictly focused on the number of links and is directly affected by the linked pages’ PageRank.
Link Popularity in Google places greater emphasis on the quality of links (ex. links from sites related to yours by topic or by industry rank much higher than links from non-related sites).
PageRank is specific to a web page, not to a website, as the name suggests. There is a PageRank on each page on your site and each one is different, based mostly on your linking system. Generally, but not always, on your main page, the goal is to achieve maximum PageRank, the one people hit when they first enter your site.
Installing the Google toolbar in Internet Explorer (the “official” way), installing a PR checker extension in Firefox, or using one of the many online utilities, such as one at http://www.bsleek.com/tools/link popularity.php, can check the PR of a page (which also checks Link Popularity and presence in DMOZ).
PageRank is only one of the variables influencing Link Popularity in Google.
The heart of Google’s software is considered to be PageRank (PR), developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. An equation of over 500 million variables and 2 billion terms is solved by PageRank. Instead of counting direct links, PageRank interprets a link from Page A to Page B as Page A’s vote for Page B. PageRank then evaluates the significance of a page by the number of votes it receives and by the PR of the voting page.
The point of using dummy text for your paragraph is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters. making it look like readable English. There are two types of incoming connections that can contribute effectively to increasing the popularity of your link:
1. Links from other websites that concentrate on the same keyword sentences that you use. In other words, if a website that can be found in search engines links to your website using a search phrase such as “corporate cd-rom presentations” and your website is actually specialized in the design of interactive media, such as CDs or DVDs, that link will help your popularity of the link. But if it’s about selling onions on your site, then the link mentioned will be useless.
2. Links from relevant categories in industry-specific directories and portals in major directories. DMOZ (who feeds data to many others) is the most important main directory and is the hardest to get into. Submission is free and your site is actually being reviewed by individuals. Waiting times are in the order of months, so my advice is submitted and forgotten. The directories specific to the industry are very significant. For example, if you create interactive media and list your site under the appropriate category in a directory dedicated to graphic design or media, then search engines such as Google will pick it up as an incoming link and increase the popularity of your link. It’s very helpful for your potential visitors to list your site in such a directory, and this is what Google is trying to emulate with its software. Remember, there are no people checking your pages with Google and many others, but software that operates under very specific and strict rules (algorithms).
It can be unilateral or reciprocal for both types of links I described above (“you link to me and I link to you”).
Today, reciprocal connections are the subject of controversy and misconceptions. Many people think that the easiest way to get them is to exchange links with sites, new people learning about link popularity are under the mistaken belief that they must have links on their site that are reciprocated. Many others are still saying that reciprocal links are dead and that not only will you not gain any benefit from them, but your PR (Page Rank) will decrease (as the SEO circles say, your page will “leak PR”).
Both camps aren’t completely right. You definitely do not need to get reciprocal links, but if you want to, you can. Remember, the helpful ones are links pointing to your site. It’s great to have links pointing from your site to other sites because they help your visitors find related things, but if your site doesn’t lend itself to linking to other sites, then don’t do it by any means. First and foremost, you need to do what’s right for your business or hobby and your visitors to the site.
Links from websites that have nothing to do with yours will certainly not help you gain popularity for links but may lead to a temporary increase in PR (PageRank).
Why bother if the PR (PageRank) boost is only temporary?
Even if temporary, you should try to increase your PR (PageRank) because when Google sends Googlebot, its indexing robot, to spin your website, the bot is advised not to crawl your website too deeply unless it has a reasonable amount of PR (PageRank). But you need Google to look at all of your pages to increase your overall PR (PageRank) and to have all your keywords from all your search pages available because the number of pages and the internal links affect PR (PageRank). But if only a few pages are indexed, Google will not see your internal links and keywords, so you see, it’s caught 22 and the best way to win this is to start working on your incoming links as early as possible in the game.
You can use the following search with the three main ones (Google, MSN, and Yahoo!) to see which pages on your website are actually indexed by the search engines: www.yourdomain.com, where www.yourdomain.com is the full address of your website. There is no space between the site and the address, otherwise, the words site: and www.yourdomain.com are actually searched for.
To get a glimpse of the Link Popularity of your site, use the following Google and MSN search: link: www.yourdomain.com. Again, there is no space between the address and the link: With regard to this, there is a common misconception. People think that space is the right format, as it could produce a lot more results. It’s wrong, as the space format merely looks for www.yourdomain.com and the word link: but it won’t actually show you who’s really connecting to you. To Yahoo! The full URL, including HTTP://, will have to be used.
Please note that it is possible that Google will not display all the links to your website stored in its database. Panic, don’t. It has been reported that this is reminiscent of the paranoia of Google when the execs of the search engine did not want competitors to figure out how to track Link Popularity.
“Please do not waste your cash on submitting your sites to “hundreds of FFA sites” as a word of caution. Today, Free-For-All sites are not treated as quality links. This strategy could have worked years ago, but search engines are constantly trying to stop any activity that they consider to be spamming, designed to inflate numbers artificially. Actually, this is a wonderful thing, as it keeps the internet a fair and happy place.
Two more words of caution:
1. If you read articles related to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), please make sure that you read things as late as possible, as things change.
2. Major search engines, Google, in particular, keep their algorithms (rules) secret. Therefore, you’ll probably wonder why you read so many different, sometimes conflicting, opinions. The answer is simple because little is actually known to the public about a search engine’s deep inner workings.
In general, the average site does not need to obsess over the popularity of links. Contrary to popular belief, link popularity constitutes only a portion of the ranking algorithms of most search engines. Google arguably places more emphasis on incoming links at this point in time than most other engines. How much these actually enhance the ranking of a site is debatable and really depends on the site. It also relies on the words in the anchor text that are placed (the clickable portion of a text link). From my personal experience, for many sites, only a few highly relevant connections with strong anchor text can go a long way towards link popularity.