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Link popularity

Link popularity ("link pop") is a measure of the quantity and quality of other web sites that link to a specific site on the World Wide Web. It is an example of the move by search engines towards off-the-page-criteria to determine quality content. In theory, off-the-page-criteria adds the aspect of impartiality to search engine rankings.

Link popularity plays an important role in the visibility of a web site among the top of the search results. Indeed, some search engines require at least one or more links coming to a web site, otherwise they will drop it from their index.

Search engines such as Google use a special link analysis system to rank web pages, which effectively calculates the eigenvalues of the modified adjacency matrix. Citations from other WWW authors help to define a site's reputation. The philosophy of link popularity is that important sites will attract many links. Content-poor sites will have difficulty attracting any links. Link popularity assumes that not all incoming links are equal, as an inbound link from a major directory carries more weight than an inbound link from an obscure personal home page. In other words, the quality of incoming links counts more than sheer numbers of them.

To search for pages linking to a specific site, simply enter the URL (without "http://www.") on Google or AltaVista this way:

link:domainname.com/greatwebmaster/highqualitypage.html

To search for pages linking to a specific URL, you may also use the link.all: command on AllTheWeb, such as:

link.all:domainname.com/greatwebmaster/highqualitypage.html

Inktomi has a linkdomain: command that can also be used to measure link popularity, particularly at HotBot, or MSN Search:

linkdomain:domainname.com/greatwebmaster/highqualitypage.html

Here are some strategies that are considered to be important to increase link popularity:

To increase link popularity, many webmasters interlink multiple domains that they own, but this is false play, as such links are not independent votes for a page and are only created to trick the search engines. See Spamdexing. In this context, closed circles are often used, but these should be avoided, as they hoard PageRank.

See also Hyperlink Reciprocal link -- Link exchange -- PageRank Search engine optimization -- Spamdexing -- Zipf's law

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