Link Reputation - How to Improve Search Engine Rankings

One of the most overlooked strategies to improve search engine rankings is building your link reputation. This link popularity strategy is just as important or equal to creating keyword rich content pages.

What is link reputation?

This is defined as the anchor text or link text of a backward link. Anchor text is the text contained within the link and backward links (inbound links) are web sites that contain a link to your web site.

1. For example many folks would use "click here" in their link text i.e.

click here
(remove periods before the a)

2. instead of using "Affordable Web Site Design" i.e.

Affordable Web Site Design
(remove periods before the a)

The format in No 2 will more quickly improve your search engine ranking.

How does it work?

The number of links pointing to your site (link popularity) WILL increase your search engine rankings. However the quality of the links make a larger difference. A fast way to improve search engine rankings is to use keyword rich text for links within your site and for links pointing to your site (backward links). Therefore when contacting other web site owners, specify what targeted keyword phrase you want them to use in your link text.

How to boost link reputation for your web site

1. Create a list of targeted keyword phrases for any of your web pages. Research keywords or keyword phrases that are the most relevant to the theme of your site. Use tools such as or the overture suggestion tool ( to find the most popular keywords that people are entering into the search engines.

2. Enter these keywords into a popular search engine such as Google to see how many competing sites there are. If it's a popular keyword you probably will find millions of web sites. Therefore, while researching you need to drill down a little deeper to find keywords that are not so popular. Ideally you want to select keywords that are in high demand (receive a lot of searches) but have low supply (few competing sites).

3. Compare the number of back links - use a link popularity tool (i.e. to compare the number of back links for those competing sites you found based on your keyword research.

You can also use this tool to find out how many back links there are to your own site and how popular your competition is.

4. Research the sites that are linked to your competition - use a back link tool, such as on the Google tool bar, to find out which sites are linking to your site and to your competition.

5. Contact other sites - web sites that are already linking to your competition may be open to linking to your site. Write them a polite email, asking them for a link to your site. You should already include a link to their site. This will help them want to link to yours. You can easily retract it if a link is not reciprocated. Include the exact link text they should use. This should include the targeted keywords based on your above research.

6. Use other methods - not all web site owners will reciprocate a link. Therefore use other methods such as writing articles or e-books that contain your links. Then distribute these freely to online publications. This will result in many high quality links to your site.

If you design or maintain your site based on link reputation, your search engine rankings will increase faster than if you had just focused on link popularity.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of

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