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In SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started, author Jill Whalen explains the importance of site rankings and why search engine optimization is necessary for increasing web site traffic. The course covers choosing the best keywords, performing keyword research, augmenting keywords with search-friendly site architecture, creating social media networking strategies, and measuring the success of an SEO campaign.
Once you have your on page SEO in good shape, you can't just rest on your laurels. It's time to get some links. In simplistic terms, link popularity is simply the measure of links that point to your website. It goes beyond the number of pages however. It also includes the importance and quality of the pages that link to yours as well as the anchor text they are using to link to you. Anchor text as you may recall are those words within the clickable part of any link. In addition, the search engines link popularity algorithms also take into account the age of the link, meaning that older links will most likely have more power than newer ones.
Search engines also try to take into consideration how relevant the content on the page that links to yours is. But this is difficult for them to do, as it's very subjective. Search engines put at least as much weight in what others sites say about your link popularity as they do in what you say about your own site through your content. The main reason they do this is, in very simple terms, because you can't be trusted. Well, not necessarily you, but web masters in general. It's human nature to try to gain every possible advantage in the search engines and because of that some people try to trick them with the information they put on their pages.
In other words, they spam the search engines. With link popularity as a major component in the search engines ranking formulas, it adds an additional layer of protection for them. Traditionally, when someone linked to a website, they did it because they liked the web site and wanted to recommend it to their own site visitors. Therefore, the sites with the most links were likely to be the best sites. Links to search engines are considered a vote. After all, would someone link to something that was icky? The bottom line for search engines is that lots of links pointing to a site is a signal that the site is probably good.
Unfortunately, as link popularity became such a large factor in search engine algorithms, like on page SEO it too got gamed. This makes it even more difficult for many web sites to get links, because people are sometimes linking for the wrong reasons. That is, they are linking just because someone else will link back to them, rather than linking because they like the site. Despite having being gamed throughout the years, link popularity is still an important component to how the pages of your website will rank in the search engines.
This is not going to change since it's been proven to help search engines determine the relevancy and importance of any given web page. Having a great website that goes above and beyond what others are doing is a critical component to gaining link popularity.
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