Much has been written about link popularity and many a Webmaster will have spent hours or even days figuring out how best to improve their standing. If we concentrate on the top search engine such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN, we find that link popularity is calculated as part and parcel of their complex algorithms and basically represents a measure of how many web pages link to a particular site. This in turn suggests how to establish an order of rank when viewed against sites that compete in a similar area. Yahoo and MSN have both lagged behind Google when it comes to utilizing link popularity, but in light of stiff competition, they have had little choice but to re-jig their algorithms.
The Google Page Rank tool can help to shine some light on the popularity of your pages, but should not be considered a comprehensive mirror of link popularity. Firstly it’s perhaps worth noting that Google only updates the page rank every 3 or 4 months. Therefore if your pages are not yet ranked it may be that Google has not yet got round to doing them. Furthermore, getting a page rank of 0 (zero) doesn’t mean that your website totally stinks. Page rank 0 simply means your site is in the system and awaiting a more meaningful score once Google has had time to monitor and ascertain how your site measures up.
We all talk heavily about Google as this engine is currently responsible for much more potential traffic than any other. Many Webmasters have built up inbound links with only this one search engine in mind. But gaining links to a website is a good idea regardless of any search engine algorithm. The old fashioned idea of cultivating link partners as a means to gain traffic from the click-throughs still has plenty of merits. The general rule to remember is that generally speaking – any link is a good link.
Developing a successful link strategy can take a lot of time and effort. One common mistake is to jump to conclusions too quickly. As Google moves at its own pace, anything done to a website today can take a number of days, weeks, or months to show up. Much depends upon whether we are talking about new pages or modifications to old established pages. Often search results will move from being top 10 to nowhere and perhaps back again. New pages are particularly volatile. This is because Google recognizes that new pages will have little by the way of links to them and so effectively grants a pass. After approximately 30 – 40 days Google checks to see if any links have been built to the page in question. Failure to gain any links suggests the page will be relegated to Google’s supplemental listing, while those with links will remain in the main index. Generally, it appears that any new page will take up to 90 to 180 days to gain some degree of page rank after first going live.
There is no real secret to gaining link popularity and in turn page rank. Unless you adopt a ridiculously spammy approach 9 times out of 10 your efforts will be rewarded with some positive movement. The approach you take can vary from simple link exchanges, article syndication or by targeting directories. There are of course many other approaches, but the main thing is to take action and to keep it going over the long term. A high level of focus lasting for just a short period can on occasion do more harm than good. Google is looking for gradual but sustained increases in links to your site. If your efforts only move your site slightly up the rankings then this only goes to prove that your efforts have been too small for the area in which you compete. The only real option is to revise your strategy and double your efforts.
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Paul Coupe is the lead designer/developer with Zoom Online.
Zoom Online – Providing total online solutions. Contact: email@example.com