Get your website to celebrity status and rank!
In today’s search algorithms, popularity types are one of, if not the main factor for rankings and on-page content is treated secondary, if not even tertiary. Links are obviously powering sites and they are being built by webmasters any way they can (Buy them, sell them, trade them and roll them). The biggest companies are guilty of buying more links than the average Mom and Pop can afford. It is so common, that Google has requested that competitors try and report text link buying.
While competitors reporting anything worries me (competitors can very easily fake lots of things), the idea is to potentially penalize sites buying and/or selling text links (of course this excludes links with tracking and Google’s own Adwords). But the biggest marketers push through this with no fear and believe that links are only helpful for traffic as well as rankings. In fact, many webmaster believe that if Google does not pass you traffic, links will. This is the way of the internet, promote, advertise and link websites to be found. “Do it or perish into oblivion”.
Plain and simple the emphasis is on popularity types and how they link to your website. Popularity can now be categorized into several types to differentiate:
- Link popularity: simply links coming into any website from any and all sources. This is a broad term as other popularity types will fall under the effect of Link Popularity because the link is the method.
- Industry Popularity: the relationship of a site in its known industry to the industry. Are the big industry sites pointing to the site? There are always a few blogs in every industry that stand out, and become celebrity blogs. Matt Cutts, Graywolf, Shoemoney, these are celebrity blogs they gain high industry traffic and link out to their industry. The “BlogRoll” becomes the popularity factor and passes far more power than any directory. Industry popularity focuses on a sites’ prominence in the industry, it can be effective, but it tends to make a group popular and misses the larger core of the industry, so this popularity needs to be factored appropriately. Problems with Industry popularity include blogroll spam, now very common and a potential cause for future devaluation of blogrolls.
- Social Popularity: very similar to Industry popularity, except here it is values passed from social sites like digg and del.icio.us. Multiple instances of a site on a social site are factored in the algorithms.
- Click Popularity: used lightly and in conjunction with analytics data to determine bounce rates. Since this is the least accurate measurement, it is believed to be used lightly in its importance for ranking. Click popularity is pulled mainly from the main search index and clicks are counted. Click popularity tends to me more of a theory and is definitely used in PPC campaigns to track and determine traffic patterns on sites.
- Blog Popularity: this one is a “throw in” and is related to Google more than other engines, Google places more emphasis and trust in blogs, mainly because they have almost grown up on them and because they feel the human element is there. You can negotiate this till the cows come home, but there is more than enough evidence to say that Google favors blogs and blog links over the more traditional website. So, in summary, Blog Popularity is the ratio of incoming links solely from blogs – in theory.
So, now that we have defined a few types we can consider gaining popularity. This is the most important part of any SEO campaign. In theory, if your website is popular, the mere mention of a similar word or a semantic version of the term, would result in a top rank in the search results. So on-page optimization can, and should, be weak while popularity factors need to be higher and trusted site links need to be acquired if the number of links coming into a site is growing.
Utilizing methodologies that produce traffic and connecting with industry related sites, is the strongest method to success. Link baiting works for some sites, but not every site is a viable site for certain industries. So treating every site the same in a marketing campaign would be wrong. Every industry has different factors for the top ranking sites, and knowing them is half the battle. Since modern search engines are concerned with popularity and not direct relevancy, we understand what every site needs to achieve without going to far and going back to the end of the results.
Alan Rabinowitz is the CEO of SEO Image, a New York based SEO and Internet Marketing company which focuses on corporate branding and positioning in search engines.