Making your website popular
The last pillar of SEO is what we call popularity, others are using the word authority. It refers to sources talking/mentioning your website. In fact what you have to consider is that as a website owner you are in control of:
- the content on your website.
- the technology running behind your website.
If search engines were just ranking your website according to those criterias it would mean that a lot of companies/organizations will be able to control the SERP listing. As a result, search engines needed a way to rank websites with a "neutral" additionnal criteria in order to judge the relevancy of your content, this is what we are refering here as popularity.
Most of the time popularity will refer to what we call backlinks, which represent the links posted on third party websites pointing to yours.
Consider the thing as the following one, if a website has a link pointing to my website it means that this website is voting for me. Technically what is happening is that an active link will be followed by the robots and of course will define a relationship between the two websites.
In terms of visibility you can imagine that the more links a website has then the more popular it is.
Note though that the same rule apply for links within the same website, the link organization you have for your website is indicating how popular your internal pages are. This is why most of the time the home page of your website is receiving the most traffic. This is because it is getting a lot of links coming from the clickable logo, the footer of your pages, the home logo within your breadcrumb...
As you can imagine a lot of individuals/organizations/companies are trying to get links from the maximum third party websites as possible and as a result search engines are banishing some behaviours or at least not giving any credits from links coming from some websites.
Here the basic rule of thumb is really to try different techniques in terms of link acquisition and make the mathematics at the end of the month with web analytics solutions. In fact what you are going to care about is the number of leads and conversions coming from those links. For example getting 100 links from unqualified directories does not make sense in comparise to 1 good link posted on the town hall website where your company is located in brining you qualified prospects everyday.
How to check my popularity?
Checking the popularity of your website is probably one of the most difficult thing to perform with open source technologies. The reason is that in order to be able to identify how many links are pointing to your website, you will need to be able to analyze
all the websites which are pointing to yours. As you have no idea which one they are you will probably have to parse them all... which is impossible as it will cost you too much money. This is where you need to go and use some services out there that
we already mentioned which will charge you a fee for it, some of them are giving you partial results, some of them will give you some results for free but you will know they are incomplete, for example that's the case of the Google Search Console.
You can also use your web analytics solution or analyzing the log. It won't tell you the number of links but the number of active links which brought you traffic.