How do you define "link popularity?"I talk daily with SEO/SEM firms,
content creators, interactive agencies, marketing firms, ad agencies, PR firms,
and with other consultants. It’s amazing how varied people’s beliefs are with
regards to link popularity, but as different as they are, all share a common
purpose.Search ranking.I rarely have a conversation related to link building
or online publicity where the topic of search rank does not come up.
Some very astute people think link popularity is purely an external numbers
game: get all the links you can. The more astute know that "trust" is where it’s at.It’s all about
trust.But finding consensus on a definition of "algorithmic trust" is a
complicated thing.The way one site earns trust will be different than how
another site must earn trust.And a site that has already earned some degree of
trust often sees the residue of that trust benefit new pages on their existing
Example? I rank first for the term
link bait strategies, but that page is almost brand new. Without having one
single link from other sites pointing to that page, that page ranks first for a
very competitive term (1,010,000 matches).Why?
In the movie Meet The Parents, Robert DeNiro talked to Ben Stiller
about the "circle of trust."You were either in or you weren’t.I’ll use this
analogy with Google. Google trusts my site.It’s old, it’s naturally
linked.It’s never played on the dark side of the street. In contrast,
Search Engine Land is a new site. It’s still earning its way into the circle of
trust, which means despite articles getting many links, they still might not
rank, as Danny’s written
The circle isn’t a physical place.You don’t get a membership card or access
to the Google Jet.What
you get is a sort of reputational benefit of the doubt that your new
content will be as trustworthy as your existing content has proven to be.Your
own content algorithmically vouches for your own new content.In this case,
algorithmic trust had nothing to do with external inbound links.It had
everything to do with previously earned on-site trust.
In the course of seeking new links and publicity for new content on an
existing site, don’t ignore your already trustworthy content as a driver of
reputation for the new content.If you are in the enviable position of already
having high rankings, if you’re in the circle of link trust, leverage it.
I see strong evidence that once you gain circle of trust status with any
search engine, on-site factors like title tags and keyword anchors are also
given more trust.Sometimes link popularity is right in front of you.
Eric Ward has been in the link building
and content publicity game since 1994, providing services ranking from
linking strategy to a
monthly private newsletters on linking for subscribers,
The Ward Report. The
Link Week column
appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.