Link popularity plays an important role in the search engine game, especially when it comes to Google. Without other sites linking to you, you're unlikely to climb to the top of the search results, but it needs the links to get the links – in other words, it needs to show the other webmasters that it is worthy of a link.
If you are a new site with no inbound links and with zero page rank, chances are most webmasters will not link to you (even if you have some good content), assuming that they will harm their PR by linking to you. So how can we overcome this problem? Before you groan in defeat, let me explain.
1. Submitting your site to ODP is a good start. (Open Directory Project). But remember ODP mostly list sites with unique content which may be of use to searchers. Remember that. Contemplate it. Become one with it. In other words, if your site is simply an affiliate banner farm, either create more content, or don’t bother trying to submit.
2. My site is a banner farm. What should I do? Try submitting to Yahoo! Yahoo! has two ways to submit a site to its directory: priority submission (this will cost you $600 for an adult site and takes seven days to get in, and Basic Submit (where the chances are you won't get listed).
3. You also can ask for some links from related small directories by doing a search for them on Google, using a search such as “your keywords" + "directory" or "your keywords" + "directories."
4. Become a content provider in your focus area, and get your articles posted across the Net in related areas with a link to your web site.
5. Set up an affiliate program, which is an excellent way to boost link popularity. AssocTrac is a good example since you host it on your own server. Affiliate services that require your affiliates to link to their server will not help your link popularity rating.
More Helpful Tips
1. Concentrate on related and important links only. Sheer numbers are no longer important. What's important is that the more popular sites on the Web link to your site, as well as making sure that the links pointing to your site are relevant to your topic area.
2. Consider setting up separate theme-oriented domains and link all of your domains together.
3. Create a testimonial page, and write a brief testimonial about any Web site that you'd like to get linked to your site. Inform the site of the testimonial, and encourage them to link to the page.
4. Offer awards on your site, and give out little graphics that link back to your site.
5. Visit the Reciprocal Linkage Topics area of Webmaster World forums and look for new ideas for building link popularity
Some Real “Don'ts”
Don't make the mistake of thinking that link popularity isn't important or necessary. High link popularity combined with some basic keyword optimization is sometimes all it takes to achieve top rankings. It's crucial, in many cases, to the success of an online business.
Don't use redirects on those sites pointing back to your main site if you create separate theme focused sites for the purpose of boosting link popularity. Rather, create a mini site at the new URL with several pages of good, solid content, and then visibly link back to the main site.
Don't participate in link exchange programs or link farms. Google will ban sites that participate in link exchange programs, and many of the other major engines have also expressed their dislike of artificially created link popularity.
Don't share the same IP address for each domain if you interlink multiple domains that you own. All domains should have unique IP's.
Don't bother with free-for-all pages. Many bulk submission products submit to these. Generally the only thing these pages will guarantee is an increase in spam email if you participate
If you have done these steps right, you probably have gained some acceptable PR on your site by now. Now it’s time to use your link popularity to gain even more links… Stay Tuned!