This article was contributed by Alan Webb from ABAKUS Internet Marketing, a long time friend of mine in this industry with a unique grasp of the International Search Marketing Industry.
A buzz phrase for some time now in SEO circles has been 'Link Popularity'. Rightly so as well. Google were the first to include link popularity into their ranking criteria in the form of PageRank and were closely follow by inktomi driven search engines as well as others that had the capability to factor in link popularity.
Then came the inevitable. If the ranking criteria could be manipulated, then you can bet it would be. Link spam became a plague first on guestbooks, then forums and finally blogs. Also of course, there were a great number of link farm schemes and huge link networks. Google reacted well it has to be said, and eventually discounted a large majority of the guestbook link spam, some forum and a lot of the linkfarm and organised link network shenanigans. Also my research has shown that Google now counts multiple links from a single domain as just one link when it comes to PageRank and for the ranking algorithm. Hence a sitewide link is no better than a single link on a homepage.
Therefore it is not the number of inbound links that are important, but the number of different domains that link to you.
It is very important to remember that. Especially if you are using Google for your backward link checking. I am fairly confident I can pronounce
"Link Popularity" is dead, long live "Domain Popularity"!The Google backward links feature is far from ideal nowadays for link research. Webmasters who use the backward link feature on Google should drop it immediately if they are serious about getting the real picture on inbound links.
If you must use Google for your backward link checking, be sure to discount all links from your own domain and just count one link from those domains linking to you. You can do that, or you can be savvy and go elsewhere for your linkage research, such as Yahoo!.
Fortunately, Yahoo! search have far more options and features when it comes to checking backward links. It also however has an extra search option called linkdomain. But lets look at what you can do with Yahoo!s link: command.
The simplest form is a basic link:http://www.yourdomain.de/ Or even link:http://www.ihredomain.de/sub_page.html (note: you need the 'http://' for this feature to work).
Here you get the total number of links going to the particular page specified after the link: command. It is not filtered in anyway and is far more comprehensive and accurate than the Google backward links option. You can however make it even more relevant in that you remove your own internal links (NOT an option on Googles link: feature). To do this you simply add the ˆsite: option. For example in Yahoo! try the following:
Here you get all those pages that are linking to your specified page from an external domain. Far more important than internal linkage numbers.
Of course you can use this to analyse your competitors links quite effectively, in fact I should imagine it will be used more on competitors sites than your own. I would recommend you do check your own however and follow a few of the results links to see what anchor text / alt attribute text is being used and importantly if it is ideal.
There is as mentioned another option at Yahoo! called linkdomain: This option for me is the most powerful of all link research type options on any search engine. What this does is tell you what domains are linking to ANY of our pages (or your competitors).
Eg. linkdomain:www.yourdomain.com (note: there is no http:// in this search option)
Now we have a list of all external domains that link to your site. You also however have your own occasionally so it is time to use the exclude filter again. linkdomain:www.yourdomain.com -site:www.yourdomain.com
You can add multiple exclusion filters so for example if a competitor has a sitewide link on a huge website, rather than clicking though hundreds of pages, exclude the domain but don‚t forget to count it once (don‚t forget it is the number of domains not the number of links that count!)
Eg. linkdomain:www.yourdomain.com -site:www.yourdomain.com -site:www.sitewidelink.com
The above will show just those domains that link to you without showing your own site, or the site which has a large amount of links to you (sitewidelink.com).
This is very powerful. It means you can quickly check those domains that link to your own (to check link text) or those of your competitors (find potential link partners for your own site). It is far more accurate than the Google backward link feature and makes researching for a link campaign that much easier.
Also, do not get all uptight about accepting only links from high pagerank sites. Diversity is more important now as for a start if all links to your site are PageRank 5 and above this is not natural linkage and might well raise a flag at Google (I know if I was Gogle I‚d check for this). More links from different domains without being fussy about PageRank will help a great deal. If you are going to buy links. Take the cheaper one link option than a sitewide link. In my experience it works just as well.
I hope you all enjoy a successful domain popularity campaign!