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link popularity is so imperative that increasing it is a key to success

Increasing Link Popularity

Search engines are the gateway to the Internet; they are the first tool that potential customers use to find the products and services they need. This is why link popularity is so imperative. If the customers do not find your website, you have no possibilities of making any sales.

You’re probably wondering what the blazes is popular about a link! Well, in a word – plenty! Link popularity refers to the ranking assigned to your website by the search engines, and it determines the ranking your page gets when keywords are entered into a search engine. So, you’re probably wondering, how do I make my link popular?

Search engines are discretionary, giving status and ranking to sites that have links to their pages from related, quality sites. It’s a simple formula, but a very important one. Google created the system, and now virtually all the most popular search engines employ it to rank your web pages in their indexes.

The more commonly used your keyword is, the harder it will be to achieve link popularity, but without achieving this step, it is almost certain your site will never rank highly on any search engine. But don’t be discouraged; there are tried and true ways of achieving link popularity using the most competitive keywords.

There are a few things you should be aware of. The first is that just linking up with a large number of other websites will not achieve link popularity. In fact, it may have quite the opposite effect. This is particularly true when pertaining to websites that are nothing more than “link farms” – pages containing line after line of indiscriminate links. Search engines may aggressively discriminate against your website if you are associated with a link farm, so steer clear of them!

The next thing to bear in mind is the quality of the site you are linking to. Never link to a page you have reservations about your visitors seeing. The last thing you want your website to appear as is indiscriminate and cheap. Linking to sites of poor quality will only lessen your link popularity, if not completely destroy it.

So let’s get to what you need to do to achieve supreme link popularity and improve your rankings to stellar status on all the popular search engines.

The first step, and the fastest way to get your foot in the door, is to get a listing in a popular directory, such as Open Directory Project and Yahoo. If your site is business-related, you will want to be listed on Yahoo, and despite the fact that it will cost you around $300 a year, it will be money well spent. If your site is non-commercial, the listing will be free, but it will take time and follow-up to actually get it listed. Open Directory is gives you a free listing whether you are business-related or non-commercial, but be prepared to make a lot of follow-up inquiries before you see your site listed.

You are aiming to get listed in the highest level of appropriate category, and this just takes some common sense. For example, if your company ships Alpaca wool from an Alpaca farm located in the middle of Nowhere, Tiny State, do NOT submit your listing to “Retailers from Nowhere, Tiny State.” BIG MISTAKE! All you have to do is look a little deeper – and submit your listing to the “Fine Alpaca Wool” category. You will not only associate yourself with culture and quality, but you will be listed in a national category.

The next step after you have attained directory listings is to locate other quality sites that will increase your link popularity. Try to find sites that are in some way related to yours, so not only will your link popularity increase, but your customer base may also be expanded. You want to avoid your competitors and look for sites that are useful to your site’s visitors. Let’s look at the Alpaca Wool site example. Linking up to a site that sells knitting supplies would be helpful to your visitors, and the chances of the knitting supply site wanting to link up to your site are also greater. By linking to a related site that will be relevant to your website’s traffic, you are increasing both of your site’s business prospects – and both of your sites’ link popularity.

Not all sites want to link to other sites, so you will have to do some research when you are looking for possible linking partners. Google is an excellent starting place for your search. Make sure you enter keywords that you think quality customers will also enter to find your own site. Remember, your criteria are quality, highly ranked, non-competing websites that have a links or resources page. Go to these sites and objectively assess them. Look at the quality of the product, the graphics, and the ease of use. Then check out the other sites they are linked to, and determine if your own site would fit in with the crowd.

When you decide you have found a good prospect, you must set out to woo them. The first thing to do is to add a link on your own links page to their site. This is an essential first step; it shows good faith, and ups your chances significantly of their reciprocity. After you have added their link, you must contact the webmaster of their site. Since this is almost always done by email, you want to make sure it is immediately clear that your message is not junk mail. This requires that you tell them right off the bat that you have added a link to their page on your site. A hook like this almost always insures the reader will read on.

Next, be sure to be flattering and let them know how much you appreciate their website. Make sure you emphasize that you have actually visited their site, and that their site is not just a random pick. Give them the address of your links page, and ask them to check out the link for themselves. It’s a good idea to mention that they will not only benefit from the increased traffic your website will direct their way, but you will also increase their link popularity. Briefly, explain why link popularity is so essential, but do this in a sentence or two so you don’t sound like a professor! Finally, tell them you would greatly appreciate if they would reciprocally add a link on their own links page to your website.

Go through this process with as many appropriate sites as you can find, bearing in mind the criteria of quality and non-competitiveness. After you have emailed all relevant sites, be sure to check these website frequently to see if they have added a link to your page. Give it about a month, and if no link appears, try another charming email. Then give it another month, and if your site is still absent from their links page, it’s time to remove their link from your own links page. The only time you want to pursue a link further than this is if you believe a site is crucial to your link popularity and your business needs. Just remember to keep all your communications complimentary and cordial.

Then set up a schedule to check your ranking in search engines frequently to see if your link popularity has improved. This is not achievable in the blink of an eye. It will take some time and a good deal of work. There is no way around the labor-intensive quality of improving your link popularity, which is why search engines regard it with such importance.

By the way – make sure you have a beautiful, streamlined site or you will never persuade anyone to link up to you. Be prepared to keep plugging away at this process, as long as it takes, until you achieve link popularity stardom!

Creating a Brown Paper a Practical Guideline

Creating a Brown Paper a Practical Guideline and Presentation Slide Show

This post includes a presentation on how a Brown Paper workshop can be run – it explains what a Brown Paper is and how to ‘create’ one in a workshop setting.

General Guidelines for a Brown Paper Exercise

  • In identifying which processes to ‘brown-paper’ consider what information you would like to get from the exercise as well as clearly defining the beginning and ending points of the process – the scope of the activity is important.
  • Start at a suitable level – usually departmental to start with. Gain experience before mapping going to larger scale.
  • Select those people who know the most about the process – the process-owners or the people who do the work day-to-day. These people are the true experts in how the job is done and through the thousands of everyday interactions and activities they do have a deep knowledge of what works and where the problems are.
  • Also include those people who are key interface points into and out of the process the ‘customers’ of what the process delivers or suppliers of what the process consumes.
  • The accuracy of the BP must be verified, both by the owners of the process and those impacted by the process.
  • Bringing in more people from the organization also increases awareness of the BP activities, builds buy-in, and begins to develop better interdepartmental knowledge and teamwork.
  • Evaluating the BP begins by looking at the process flow as a whole & studying individual components. Asking what this process component achieves and whether it adds value to the sum total.
  • At this point we can now make judgments and suggest ideas on the strengths and opportunities inherent the process. What is this BP telling us about how we carry out this task?

The BP also serves as a presentation tool to convey findings, strengths, opportunities, and ideas for process improvements. It is a wonderful tool to explain what is going on in an organisation and even better when explained by those whose day-to-day job is to carry out the process.

Tool Kit Brown Paper

Download a PDF of this post here: Toolkit-RACICharting

RACI Analysis Presentation Slide Show

This is an updated slide set that I used to outline the RACI (responsible, accountable, consulting and informed) process to clients at the start of the RACI work-shop I have written a guide to this in more detail and posted to the Blog on this link: RACI Analysis a Practical Guide Suggest you print it off then look through this slide presentation.

How to do a RACI Charting and Analysis – a Practical Guide

This is a post from the main forum on RACI Analysis

This post is to find on: RACI Analysis Tutorial

How to do a RACI Charting and Analysis – a Practical Guide

RACI is an acronym that stands for: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. A RACI chart is a matrix of all the activities or decision making authorities undertaken in an organisation set against all the people or roles. At each intersection of activity and role it is possible to assign somebody: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted or Informed for that activity or decision.

When you hear these types of comments in and organisation a RACI Analysis may be overdue:
‘My boss always overrules my decisions whenever she wants’
‘The approval process for even the simplest item takes so long today’
‘It seems everyone is putting together a spreadsheet on the same data’
‘Things are always slipping through the cracks’
‘I have the responsibility, but not the authority, to get the job done’

Definitions of the RACI categories: –

  • Responsible: person who performs an activity or does the work,
  • Accountable: person who is ultimately accountable and has Yes/No/Veto,
  • Consulted: person that needs to feedback and contribute to the activity,
  • Informed: person that needs to know of the decision or action.

A RACI analysis is useful for:

  • Workload Analysis – when used against individuals or departments overloads can be quickly identified,
  • Re-Organisation – to ensure that key functions and processes are not over looked,
  • Employee Turnover – newcomers can quickly identify their roles and responsibilities,
  • Work Assignment – allows duties to be redistributed effectively between groups and individuals,
  • Project Management – allows for flexibility in matrix management situations allowing for the right balance between line and project accountabilities,
  • Conflict Resolution provides a forum for discussion and resolving interdepartmental conflict,
  • Documents the status quo – the output from RACI is a simple yet effective method of documenting the roles and responsibilities in an organisation.

How a RACI exercise is done:

  • By Identifying the functions and processes within the organisation or department and describing the key activities taking place. Avoid obvious or generic activities such as; attending meetings.
  • By Describing each activity or decision by using a suitable action verb. Examples: Evaluate, Record, Monitor, Collect, Develop, Publish, Authorize, Schedule, Determine, Prepare, Approve, Inspect, Report, Decide, Write, Operate, Update, Conduct, Train, Review or Plan.
  • When the action implies a judgment or decision (for example, evaluate, monitor, inspect, and review) create a phrase to indicate the primary outcome. Examples: Monitor service desk customer requests to identify training needs. Analyze call statistics to identify product problems.
  • The activities or decisions to be made should be short and apposite and apply to a role or need, not to the specific person currently carrying out the task.
  • Create a Matrix with roles along the top and activities or tasks down the left side and in each of the table cells enter the appropriate RACI code.

When the analysis is done and the RACI matrix populated, any ambiguities need to be resolved. The Matrix is reviewed and questions are asked of the data pattern to explore what it is telling us. The way to do this is to proceed along the vertical and then the horizontal axes in turn and for each column or row asking: If I find … then what does this mean?

Vertical Analysis

  • Lots of R’s: Is it possible for the individual(s) stay on top of so much? Can the activity be broken into smaller, more manageable chunks?
  • No empty spaces: Does the individual(s) need to be involved in so many activities? Are they a ‘gatekeeper’ or could management by exception principles be used? Can (C)onsulted be reduced to (I)nformed – or can things be left to the individual’s discretion when something needs particular attention?
  • No R’s or A’s: Should this functional role be eliminated or have processes changed to an extent where resources could be reassigned?
  • Too many A’s: Does a proper ‘segregation of duties’ exists? Should other groups be accountable for some of these activities to ensure checks and balances and accurate decision making throughout the process? Is this a ‘bottleneck’ in the process—is everyone waiting for decisions or direction?
  • Qualifications: Does the level of the person fit the requirement of this role? Are too many senior personnel involved for routine decision making that could be deployed downwards?

Horizontal Analysis

  • No R’s: Who is doing the job and getting things done? Are there too many roles waiting to be approved, be consulted or informed. Whose role is it to take the initiative?
  • Too many R’s: Is this a sign of ‘over the wall’ activities?
  • No A’s: Why not? There must be an ‘A.’ someone must be accountable for the thing happening – the buck stops with this person.
  • Too many A’s: Is there confusion with too many fingers in the pie? It can also create confusion because every person with accountability feels they have final say on how the work should be done.
  • Too few A’s and R’s: The process may slow down while the activity is performed or the procedure may be outdated and can be streamlined if not needed.
  • Every box filled in: Do all the functional roles really need to be consulted? Are there justifiable benefits in consulting all the roles or is this just covering all the bases?
  • Lots of C’s: Do all the roles need to be routinely informed or only in exceptional circumstances – too many in the loop can slow the process down?
  • Lots of I’s: If they are too many people are involved—usually too many C’s and I’s can dramatically slow things down.

Change Management Issues

Developing RACI charts surfaces many organizational issues because it reconciles the three elements of roles and responsibilities:

  • Role Conception: what people think their jobs are,
  • Role Expectation: what others in the organization think another person’s job function is and how it should be carried out and,
  • Role Behaviour: what people actually do in carrying out their job?

RACI is a useful tool which can become overused and be a catch all for all types of problems so be sensible about the level of granularity for the definition of tasks/activities. Take it to a deep enough level that it is meaningful and at a level of that is sensible – who is responsible for making the coffee is not required. It is also important to stay focused on the original reason for undertaking the RACI exercise and ensure that this goal is achieved. Rather than creating a perfect RACI covering the organisation in exquisite detail be realistic and understand that 80% of the reality of a situation will be more than the organisation ever knew before the exercise was started.