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February 2003 Issue Prepared for: Schantz Inc. customers and friends

In this Issue
Do's and Don'ts for Building Your Site's Link Popularity
MSN Testing Faster Search Service
Last Month's Issue

Do's and Don'ts for Building Your Site's Link Popularity
By Robin Nobles & Brent Winters

Link popularity plays an important role in the visibility of your Web site. Without other sites linking to you, you're unlikely to climb to the top of the search results. In fact, some engines require at least one or more links coming to your Web site or they will drop you from their index.

Unfortunately, there are no free rides when it comes to building link popularity. It takes hard work and dedication, but it certainly is worth the effort. After all, how many poorly optimized sites have you seen that are in the top 10 rankings, when the only thing going for the site is a strong link popularity? Optimizing the content of your page with tools like WebPosition Gold's Page Critic is certainly critical, but you must combine this with link building.

So, let's look at some do's and don'ts to consider when trying to build your link popularity.


1. When you visit related sites, look to see if they offer guestbooks or forums. If they do, post a message, and include your URL in your signature.

2. Concentrate on related and important links only. Sheer numbers are no longer important. What's important is that the more popular sites on the Web link to your site, as well as making sure that the links pointing to your site are relevant to your topic area.

3. List your site in one or more of the major directories such as Yahoo!, Looksmart, and Open Directory Project. Open Directory is free, so it's a good place to start. Also, see if your site is relevant to a particular area, and submit it to the guide. WebPosition's Page Critic provides good tips for getting the most from your directory submissions.

4. Visit Google and search for your competitors. Start visiting the sites that are linked to your competitors, and write to see if they'll consider linking to your site.

5. Create a list of links before you ever contact sites for linking purposes. If the company sees that you've already added their URL to your list of links, they'll be more apt to add your link on their site in return. Again, concentrate on related links only.

6. Consider what other fields are related to your particular industry and concentrate on getting links from those areas. You won't want to add competing sites to your link page, but you probably won't mind adding links to sites that aren't direct competitors. For example, if you have a site that sells needlework kits, you won't want to list other sites that sell needlework kits. However, you probably won't mind linking to sites offering related products, such as sewing baskets, books on needlework, or online sewing classes.

7. Consider setting up separate theme-oriented domains and link all of your domains together.

8. Offer a discount on your goods or services for anyone who agrees to post a small graphic on their site that links back to your site.

9. Create a testimonial page, and write a brief testimonial about any Web site that you'd like to get linked to your site. Inform the site of the testimonial, and encourage them to link to the page.

10. Or, write testimonials of particular products, and sign the testimonial with your name and URL. Send the testimonials out to the individual companies, and tell them how much you've enjoyed using their products. Many companies will place testimonials in particular areas of their site, and they're delighted to get rave reviews about their products.

11. Offer awards on your site, and give out little graphics that link back to your site.

12. Set up an affiliate program, which is an excellent way to boost link popularity. AssocTrac is a good example since you host it on your own server. Affiliate services that require your affiliates to link to their server will not help your link popularity rating.

13. Visit the Reciprocal Linkage Topics area of Webmaster World forums and look for new ideas for building link popularity

14. Become a content provided in your focus area, and get your articles posted across the Net in related areas.

15. Are there any professional organizations related to your industry? If so, do they have pages of links?
16. Develop a plan for boosting link popularity, and then stick to it. Pledge to get so many new links a week. Consider hiring a high school or college student at minimum wage to work for you, if needed.

17. The best link analysis tool on the market is Optilink. It will analyze your own Web site's complete linking structure along with your competitors and show you exactly what areas you need to work on.
While exchanging links with popular sites is important, be aware that with Google, the more outgoing links you have, the more your link popularity score may be reduced. Therefore, links to your site are more influential when you do not have to link back.


1. Don't participate in link exchange programs or link farms. Google will ban sites that participate in link exchange programs, and many of the other major engines have also expressed their dislike of artificially created link popularity.

2. Don't make the mistake of thinking that link popularity isn't important or necessary. High link popularity combined with some basic keyword optimization is sometimes all it takes to achieve top rankings. It's crucial, in many cases, to the success of an online business.

3. Don't use redirects on those sites pointing back to your main site if you create separate theme focused sites for the purpose of boosting link popularity. Rather, create a mini site at the new URL with several pages of good, solid content, and then visibly link back to the main site.

4. Don't share the same IP address for each domain if you interlink multiple domains that you own. All domains should have unique IP's.

5. Don't bother with free-for-all pages. Many bulk submission products submit to these. Generally the only thing these pages will guarantee is an increase in spam email if you participate.

In Conclusion
Devote some time and energy to the building of a solid link popularity for your site. Not only will it help your site in the rankings, but it will more than likely increase your traffic as well.

MSN Testing Faster Search Service
MSN announced testing a new version of their search site that will return results 65 percent faster. It displays no banner ads and reduces other clutter from the screen. The move is obviously in response to Google's growing popularly.
MSN Puts Faster Search On Trial

Last Month:
Last month we talked about several important topics including:
Finally -- A Cost-Effective Way to Track Your Sales
FirstPlace Software Has Moved
Search Engine Marketing 102: Boosting Prominence
Yahoo Buys Inktomi
Google Gets Froogle
If you missed these or other key discussions, you can find the back issues at:

Other Resources:
FirstPlace Software, Inc. produces several products, including WebPosition , the first software program to report your search positions on the major search engines and to help you improve those positions

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