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  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

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    Promote Your Website - Part III Link Popularity Monday, June 30, 2003
    Promote Your Website - Link Popularity

    What is link popularity?

    The quantity of links in different websites pointing to your sites is called link popularity of your website. The more popular is your site the more links you get from other websites and vice versa.

    Why is it so important?

    Links from high traffic websites furnish you with constant stream of visitors. Other website marketing efforts i.e. email marketing, might give good influx of visitors while the campaign lasts but the quantity diminishes once the campaign is over. Links are a different story! Once a link is installed, it might start bringing a steady flow of visitors all the time, depending on the website where the link was placed.

    Link popularity is also crucial to search engine ranking of your website. Search engines, especially Google, claim that link popularity is one of the key factors that they consider in their search algorithm while indexing a website. What would be the rank of a website in a search result depend on its link popularity in a very big way.

    So, how can you conduct an effective link popularity development campaign and build traffic for your website?

    Content is the king

    Prior to start a link popularity campaign, you should seriously question yourself, what would be the reason for the other sites to post a link pointing to your website? Most high traffic sites are quite picky about putting links, and won’t do it without any apparent reason.

    If your site boasts quality content that the visitors of other sites might find valuable, chances are there that those sites would be interested in posting a link of your site on their relevant web pages. High quality content that gets updated regularly will definitely help you getting more links and subsequently more visitors. If even you are just a web store, you can still add much sought-after content to your site, such as, detail product information, articles related to the specific products, comparison tables, etc.

    If it is really difficult to get relevant content for your website, try getting a valuable tool that might be interesting for visitors and incorporate it to your website. You must have noticed that free search engine submission forms are common on Search Engine Optimization sites. Giveaways like e-books, white papers, articles and other freebies are also good for creating interest to a website.

    Submit website to various directories

    When your new website is up and running, first thing you should do is to submit your site to many search directories such as, Yahoo!, DMOZ etc. available on the Internet. Not only, this will help you get quality backward links to your site, this is also the fastest method for your site to get crawled by search engines spiders and get indexed by them.

    Don’t underestimate the value of the many regional and industry specific directories. Try submitting your site as many as possible relevant local directories. Examples of these directories are municipal business directory, local chamber of commerce directory etc.

    If you are a seller of, for example, metal related products; get your site enlisted in as many metal industry associated directories as you can manage.

    Get reciprocal links

    Since backward links are so important, building link popularity by exchanging links with other websites should be a priority in your online marketing effort.

    Which are the websites that you should consider to get backward links to your website? Your objective should be – not just having any backward link from any site, the sites that you are getting reciprocal link has to be relevant to the content of your website as well. First of all, if you get a link from a website which has nothing in common with your site, you, most probably, will not receive any traffic from that site. The second and most important issue is – the search engines, while calculating your website’s rank in a specific keyword search result, consider, mainly, the backward links which are relevant to your site.

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    Search engine Google uses a unique Page rank system to determine how relevant your website is. Your site's Page Rank depends on backward links to your site. However, if the page from where your website gets the backward link has more outbound links then incoming ones, the value of this link gets reduced. A link to your site will have the biggest impact on your Page rank:

    • If the page itself has a good page rank.
    • There are very few outbound links from the page.

    To check out your site's Page rank, download the Google Toolbar from http://toolbar.google.com/ and install. After that, go to your website. On the tool bar, you will see the rank of your index page in a scale of 0 to 10. The rating is considered good if it is five or more.

    Make sure, while exchanging links you select the websites that have page rank no less than yours.

    How to find the websites that you should swap links with?

    The easiest way is to check out the backward links to the website of your most prominent Internet based competitor or industry leader of your field. Other option is to run a search based on the most relevant keywords to your website and check out backward links to the first ten websites.

    In the search box of Google, Altavista and AllTheWeb type link: and then the URL of the site to view all the sites that have backward links to this site. Visit these sites to find the best one to exchange links and then contact them with a nice email.

    I will also suggest you to check out the number of visitors the site receives before offering a link swap. The tool that will help you figuring out the quantity of traffic a site gets, you can download from http://download.alexa.com/ by clicking on the button “Free Tool Bar”. This is also a very good tool to analyze web traffic. The tool also shows which other similar sites people tend to visit alongside with the site that you are viewing now.

    If a site gets significantly less visitors than yours, what is the point of having a link form that site?

    While looking for websites to swap links, don’t forget about your partners, suppliers and buyers. These sites are capable of bringing major traffic and are indeed relevant to your site’s subject matter!

    Your link popularity campaign should also include the following methods. However, mind it, these techniques require tedious work from your side.

    Issue Press Releases

    Press releases are a good way of exposing your website to mass and increase your link popularity. Whenever you are coming up with a new product or service, overhauling your website, adding new elements to your site or conducting a seminar, etc. you should issue a press release. It is also a very cost effective method of getting publicity for your site. To broadcast your press release you can use one of the free media release sites: http://www.prweb.com

    Write Articles

    If you are dedicated to popularize your website, you must have substantial knowledge of the subject related to your website. Why not, write articles on your subjects of expertise and circulate them on the Internet and post on your website? Apart from this will add good content to your website, if other websites and newsletters publish your articles, you will get free publicity and increase your link popularity.

    Build an Affiliate Program

    If you sell a product or service through your website, you should seriously consider developing an affiliate program for your site. An affiliate program is when a visitor from your affiliate’s site comes to your site using the link that you provided to the affiliate and buy something; the affiliate will get a commission from you. The affiliate program can expand your business substantially. Since your affiliates require posting your links on their sites, this increases your link popularity as well.

    Participate in Discussion Groups and Forums

    This is also a great way of increasing your link popularity. There are literally thousands of discussion groups and forums on every conceivable subject on the Internet. You should actively participate in some of them, those which are most relevant to your area of expertise. The signature along with your website address that you post there while asking a question or answering to a question also boosts your link popularity.

    Link Exchange Programs

    You can also participate one of the link swap programs available on the Internet. Unfortunately, most of the automated link exchange offers that you receive through them are random and irrelevant to your site. But, however, I would suggest you to give them a try, as chances are there that you still might receive some good offers. You can also actively search for sites to swap links in their directories.

    Development of link popularity is an on going process. You have to work on this constantly. But, the outcome that you might achieve from your endeavor also could be significant.

    Promote Your Website - Part II Search Tools Friday, June 20, 2003
    Promote Your Website - Search Tools

    Many companies after spending a substantial amount of money on the development of their websites assume that once the website is published on the Internet, people will flock onto it and, therefore, do not take website promotion as seriously as the development part of it. Today, with millions of websites around, no matter how great your website is, if you don’t promote it effectively, you will not get the visibility that your site deserves.

    Effective promotion of a website starts with submission of the site to various search tools available on the Internet. There are two different types of search tools – search engines and directories. Search engines index their listings based on the information retrieved by their spiders that crawl through the Internet following links constantly looking for new websites. The directory listings are compiled by human editors from the URLs submitted to the directory. If your website is listed in the directories you can be sure that the spiders of different search engines sooner or later will index your site. That’s why you should start submitting your website first from search directories.

    Search Directories

    Among all the search directories available on the Internet, Yahoo! and DMOZ are the most important ones.

    Open Directory Project or DMOZ

    DMOZ is the second largest human compiled search directory on the Internet after Yahoo! Open Directory Project is a huge web directory of Internet resources. All submission to the directory is evaluated by volunteer editors. There is no fee to be paid to get an inclusion in the directory. As a human edited directory it might take more than a month to get your site evaluated. Once you are listed in the DMOZ, within two weeks to two months your website will start appearing on search engines like AOL Search, Teoma, HotBot, Google, Lycos, AllTheWeb, Excite, Go2Net and a number of regional search engines. At present around 354 different search engines and portals use data from Open Directory Project. This is one of the main reasons why you must consider submitting your website to DMOZ.

    Submitting your site to directories is a bit trickier then submitting to search engines.

    Following rules are common for almost all directories:

    • Check to see if your website is already in the directory
    • Write an objective description of your website
    • Search out the specific subcategory from the directory hierarchy
    • Follow the rules of submission as specified

    Make sure you follow these rules while adding your website in DMOZ. This will improve your chance to get your website accepted and reduce the processing time.

    Yahoo!

    Yahoo! is by far the number one destination for Internet surfers. Although the search results for Yahoo! is provided by Google, many people still prefer to browse through Yahoo! directory to find whatever they are looking for. This makes an inclusion to Yahoo! directory quite valuable for ecommerce sites. Yahoo! presently charges yearly fee of US $299 for each web site submitted. The fee is nonrefundable, which means if for some reasons Yahoo! declines to add your website in its directory you will not get your money back! The only thing Yahoo! guarantees is that the editors will look at your submission within seven days and send you an answer.

    Should you consider submitting your site to Yahoo!?

    It all depends on the kind of business you are in. Some sites receive an overwhelming number of traffic from Yahoo!, others hardly receive anybody. My suggestion: list your website in Yahoo! directory for a year and see the outcome. If you feel comfortable with the result you are receiving – continue. If the result is not satisfactory you can always cancel their service after one year.

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    LookSmart

    Although it is the third largest directory on the Internet as a search portal LookSmart is not that popular. However, it provides directory listings to MSN search, About.com, Infospace, Inktomi and others. It is probably still the best way to get high ranking in MSN search. LookSmart is a fee based service. You pay US $49 submission fee for the site review by their editors and 15 Cents for each click through. Pay per click minimum monthly payment is US $15. For noncommercial sites LookSmart has a partner directory named “Zeal”. Zeal is a community directory for Internet surfers. To submit a site to Zeal you first have to become a member by passing a quiz test. The reason I am mentioning Zeal here is – you can actually submit noncommercial portion of your site to Zeal and receive an appearance in all of the places that LookSmart listings show up, without paying a pay-per-click fee.

    Other Directories

    Other small but notable directories that you should consider are joeAnt, GoGuides and Gimpsy. Don’t expect large traffics from these directories; however, they will help enhance your link popularity. Link popularity is a concept which means- how many sites have links pointed towards your website. Link popularity is important because your website’s rank in the search results depends on it in a big way.

    Search Engines

    Search engines use special programs to crawl the Internet and index web pages. These robot programs are called “Bot” or “Spider”. Spiders crawl up the Internet using links. That’s why it is so important to have back links to your website. When you make a search, the search engines show you the results that are retrieved from the servers, where all the indexed web pages are cached. Only when you click on a link from the search result you see the real web page.

    The most important search engines are Google, Altavista, AllTheWeb, Teoma, Lycos and MSN, HotBot, AOL Search, etc.

    Google

    No doubt that Google is the best search engine available on the Internet today. According to Google, they have indexed over 3.5 billion pages up to now! More Internet surfers are prone to use Google because it has great search enhancing functions, and you can always expect relevant and quality search results.

    You can submit your link using Google’s Add URL page located at http://www.google.com/addURL.html. However, if you have links pointing towards your site on other websites, you can be sure that Google’s spider, Googlebot will eventually come and index you site. Contrary to popular believe once your site is indexed, there is not need to resubmit your pages to Google, even if you updated the pages. If, although it is not necessary, you submit your website to Google, submit only the index page, it will find the rest of the pages using the links anyway.

    Altavista

    Once powerful, Altavista started to loose grounds to other search engines in a big way. Submitting to Altavista is fairly simple! From the home page click on the “Submit a Site” located at the bottom of the page. There are two choices for you: either you can choose the “Basic Submit” service, which is free or for an immediate inclusion, you can choose the “Express Inclusion” service.

    To prevent automatic submission of URLs, on the submission page Altavista added submission code that has to be inserted manually along with the URL. The Express Inclusion service costs US $39 for the first URL for six months.

    AllTheWeb

    This search engine is becoming quite popular lately. It has a very large database. AllTheWeb has very sophisticated search functions like searches for pages linked to a given page, searches within URLs or page titles, and searches limited by page size. It provides search results and technology to Lycos and Ebay. Submission to AllTheWeb is quite easy. Use the following link page to submit your URL: http://www.alltheweb.com/add_URL.php If you need an express inclusion, you have to use “Lycos InSite“ service of Terra-Lycos. The rate is US $35 for a full year inclusion.

    Teoma

    If you care about Teoma, a much hyped search engine, which is actually an additional search engine of Ask Jeeves, you can use its paid inclusion program located at http://ask.ineedhits.com/sitesubmit.asp?id=30270. It charges US $30 per year for first URL and US $18 for additional each.

    Inktomi

    You may not heard about Inktomi, but many popular search engines use the results from Inktomi such as AOL, Excite, Go.com, HotBot, IWon, Overture to name a few. For secondary search result even MSN uses it! Yahoo! recently bought Inktomi. Which means that very soon even Yahoo! might give priority to the search results coming from it. Inktomi provides a paid inclusion service. Inktomi sells its inclusion service exclusively through its reseller partners. You can find them over here: http://www.inktomi.com/products/web_search/submit.html The fee is US $39 per URL for a year and US$25 for subsequent URLs.

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