You should be able to understand the concept of link popularity easily. Google ranks you based on the quality of the website that has linked to you. So if a good quality website of good page rank has linked to your website, then your website will also receive a high rank.
Link popularity actually reflects in the Page Rank of your website. Also, you cannot always think that others will get back to you to link to your website. If you need back links for your website you need to get them created on your own. As the number of back links you create to your website increases, the better it would be for your site. Similarly, if the back links are from popular websites, your Page Rank would also improve as a result of link popularity.
The following are three steps that can help you to make an improvement in your link popularity:
You need to see to it that your website is worth linking to. In the flow of wanting to create enough links, you would have not given this point much importance. But, if your website has good content, which is relevant to your niche of readers, then, you stand a chance to get natural back links, without having to create them on your own. Also, if the content about that particular niche that you have included in your site is unique, then the number of visitors and the number of links would increase.
The quality of website that has linked into your site is very important in determining your link popularity. So, if a site that has the same niche as yours and a high Page Rank gets linked to you, it is always better for your website. There are several ways of getting the top links publish a link into your website, one of them being to buy the link.
The next point you need to consider is to build a large selection of link backs. Even if it is not based on sharing the same niche, links from other sites into yours is also valuable. You can view forums, blogs and activities in other websites and lave your comments there. This will help to create more links into your site, even if it is from not so relevant websites
One final piece of advice - Please do not artificially inflate link popularity of your website, by creating a network of smaller websites, that all point to your same website only. Instead, focus on the content of the main website and increase its ranking.