Link Popularity

Link popularity is a measure of the number of hyperlinks pointing to a website. It is mainly determined by the PageRank algorithm (developed by Larry Page and Sergei Brin – founders of Google Inc.).

Determination of link popularity

The basic measurement principle is: The more links refer to a website, the higher its weighting or link popularity. This results in an order of results in the search engines and the links to more important pages with high link popularity are displayed higher up in the results list. The PageRank of the linking page is taken into account. The higher this is, the more valuable the backlink is. Websites with a high PageRank pass on more link juice.


Link popularity

Moz, for example, introduced an internal ranking factor for evaluating link popularity with MozRank.

Distinction from Click Popularity

In contrast to link popularity, click popularity includes the user’s click behaviour in the ranking process, in that only the clicks made by the visitor to the page count for the rating instead of all websites linked in the document. However, this ranking system is susceptible to manipulation because it can be influenced from outside.

The ranking based on the PageRank algorithm and thus on the link popularity brings with it several points of criticism. It is criticized that the pure link counts more in terms of ranking than the actual interest of the readers. In addition, link popularity is very susceptible to manipulation, for example by buying or exchanging links. As part of the excessive link building, attention was often no longer paid to the topic relevance of the links, which meant misleading information for the user.

Originally, the idea behind link popularity was that only those pages that offer added value get a lot of links. So it was a quality index. With the use of manipulative methods, however, the quality of the websites increasingly took a back seat, while primarily websites with many purchased or exchanged links reached the top of the rankings.

Supersession by domain popularity

Link popularity is now increasingly being replaced by so-called domain popularity. The difference is that with Domain Popularity, multiple links from the same site count as only one recommendation. Accordingly, pushing a website through countless links from the same website is no longer possible without restrictions, as was usual in the context of link popularity.

Importance for Search Engine Optimization

Google no longer bases its rankings exclusively on link profiles – too often in the past, they were manipulated using methods that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines to achieve a higher ranking. For a long time, spam comments in blos and forums, entries in web catalogues and directories, links from social bookmarking services and similar dubious methods were common practices to build as many links as possible within the shortest possible time, regardless of the quality.

However, Google has gradually expanded its algorithm in recent years. In the course of major algorithm updates, which were referred to by names such as ” Penguin “, ” Panda ” or ” Hummingbird “, this was changed in such a way that the link profile became just one of many ranking factors. A high link popularity or, in the meantime, domain popularity is still of great importance for search engine optimisation and should by no means be neglected. However, only quality counts in this area today. This means:

  • Links from off-topic blogs are viewed very critically.
  • A one-page link profile, e.g. B. consisting only of do-follow links or only of keyword links is highly noticeable.
  • Buying links is frowned upon and will result in the relevant pages being penalized if it is found out.
  • Spam links, web directories and social bookmarking are no longer important for clean link building. Theoretically, it can make sense to sprinkle a few of these links into the link portfolio to build up a natural link profile, but this is controversial.
  • Ideally, links should primarily result from content with added value that other site operators consider worth linking to.

However, it is worth noting that there are still search engines whose algorithms are based on link popularity, such as the Chinese search engine giant Baidu. This is based on the original Google algorithm but has not followed the updates of recent years. If you want to optimize your site for the Chinese market, you should take a closer look at link popularity.


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