External factors of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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You site’s search page ranking depends on both internal SEO factors and external SEO factors.

In this article, we will focus on the external SEO factors.

Few people really know the exact algorithm that search engine uses, since that secret formula is kept proprietary. This algorithm changes from time to time and differs from one search engine to another. Google is the dominant search engine at this time and should be the one we should focus on. The below techniques are just some of the techniques people are using to increase search engine ranking. The technique of building incoming links and having good content is by far the most important and is well agreed by the web communities as being important. For some of the other techniques, it can be effective, but is debatable as to the extent of its effectiveness. It may work well for some sites and not work too well for others. It would be wise to give it a try and then analyze your traffic patterns via server logs and Google Analytics to see whether they are effective or not.

Incoming Links

One of the more important external factors that determines your search page ranking is how many people are linking to you and by whom. It is both quality of the links as well as the quantity. This is also known as “link popularity”. You want deep, contextual links from other websites. “Deep” means that they do not just link to your homepage, but rather to internal pages of your sites that may be within directories and subdirectories. Contextual means that you want links from websites of related topics and with surrounding text that talks about the subject of your page.

More info…
Link Popularity – Chris Beasley

Good Content

The techniques mentioned here will work best when you got good “value-added” content that people are looking for. By virtue of having excellent content, people will naturally link to you even without you asking. And they will be more likely to link if you do ask. Also they will also more likely to “social bookmark” your site such as Facebook “Like” it, Google +1 it, Digg it, add it to Delicious.com, submit it to StumbleUpon, and so on.

Social Network Bookmarklets

Add social networking bookmarklets such as AddThis.com or individual social buttons. If a visitor likes what they read on your site, they might “bookmark” it with one of the many social networks, giving you a temporary boost in traffic. Social networks includes sites like Digg and Delicious.com and StumbleUpon.com

Forums Signatures and Leaving Comments

This means participating in forums and posting replies or comments to forum thread. Most forums will let you have a “signature” appended to the bottom of your post where you can put a link to your website.

Although in some forums, the “signature” link may be attributed with the “nofollow” attribute in which case it would not have any benefit in terms of search engines. Even if the link was not “nofollow”, search engine generally do not consider forums with high “authority” numbers and does not get much weight to links in forums.

But humans who see the link may see click on the signature to visit your site.  And if they like it, they might add it to their social networks or blog (in which case you get another link).

See Sitepoint article “10 Rules for Driving Traffic Using Forums“.

The same is true in regards to commenting on other people’s blog.  Leaving comments also refers to posting comments to other people’s blog. As Darren of ProBlogger.net mentions, leaving comments on other people’s blog may help increase your traffic. Often times (but not always), when you leave comments, it will ask for your name and your website URL. When your comment is displayed, it will show your name with a link to your website.

Directory Submission

You can get your site listed in various “directories”. There are many different types of directories, and you should evaluate which directories to submit to. How valuable this is and whether this effort is worth the time is subject to debate.  More info about directory submissions.