Top Off Page SEO Factors

This is the second article in a series on search engine optimisation. In this article we will go over all the factors you need to optimize outside of your site to get the best search engine rankings. This article focuses mostly on SEO for the google search engine as this has the lions share of the search market

Key Positive Factors:

  • Page Rank
    Page rank is a numerical value assigned to your pages by google based on the page rank algorithm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank. Page rank is calculated by looking at how many pages link to you and what their page rank is.
  • Back links
    Back links are links to your page from other pages on the internet. You need as many back links as possible. However you will get the most benefit from backlinks from popular sites on a similar subject area as your own. In this area quality is more important than quantity.
  • Backlinks from high ranking pages
    The best back links to get are ones from pages which feature highly on google themselves. Inbound links from sites considered authoratitive in your subject area will benefit you most
  • Speed of back link growth
    Google pays attention to how quickly your page aquires backlinks. You should attempt to grow your backlinks naturally. Any attempt to aquire thousands of backlinks in a very short space of time by mechanical means such as automated directory submission will be recognised and penalised.
  • Anchor text of back links
    Google considers the text used to link back to your site as very important when it is deciding what search terms you should rank well for. However if all of your backlinks contained the same text you will again be penalised. Try to vary the text used to link back to you as much as possible while continuing to use the keywords that are most important to you.
  • Age of back link
    The older a back link is the more attention will be paid to it. An older link indicates that your site is important enough to be continually referenced. This is also a way in which google attempts to filter out mechanically generated links and paid for links.
  • Frequency which backlink text changes
    The text of any individual back link should be changed as little as possible. Google sees frequently changing backlinks as likely mechanicaly generated and will give them lesser importance.
  • Number of outgoing links
    Your pages should have as few outgoing links as possible. Outgoing links pour page rank out of your site. You can share page rank amongst the pages of your site by linking between them. Any outgoing links take away a share of the page rank you could be dividing amongst your own content.
  • Position of backlink in page
    Google also pays attention to the position of a link in it page. Links higher up the page arew considered more important than those lower down. Try to get your backlink as high on the page as possible.
  • Keywords/Title/Subject matter on referring page
    The subject area of the page backlinking to you is important. If the backlink is on a page with a cinsiderably different subject to your own the link will not be of any benefit to you. Aim for backlinks from pages on the same subject with similar keywords in the title and page body.
  • Image/image map/javascript backlinks
    There is no benefit from having backlinks encoded as javascript as google will not count these. Image or image map backlinks are also of little use.
  • Directory submissions
    A good tactic for generating a steady stream of backlinks is directory submission. Research directories on subjet matters close to your own. When submitting to directories it is important to vary your site description and title as well as the anchor text used to link back to you. Getting your site on DMoz is also highly beneficial if you can get past the screening process. When searching for a category to submit your site to aim for one as deep in the directories category structure as possible while making ure that your site is suitable for the category.
  • Age of referring site
    The older the page and site backlinking to you the better.
  • Page traffic
    Google uses aexa web rankings and data it gets back from the google toolbar to determine how much traffic your site gets. The more traffic you get the better you rank. You can also use a server like google analytics http://www.google.com/analytics/ to provide them more information about how many people visit your site and how they use it.
  • Page selection rate
    Google keeps track of how often it places your page in a search engine ranking page and how often people click to go to it. The more often people click on your page in the search engine ranking pages the better. A good way to maximise your selection rate is to have a concise title that acurately describes your page.
  • Site bookmarked
    Using google toolbar google can now tell how often people bookmark your page. A person bookmarking your page is a considered a thumbs up a regards its content and value. The more your bookmarked the higher you'll rank.
  • Time people spend on your site
    Again using tools like google toolbar and google analytics google can now tell how much time people spend on your site. The more time they spend the better. Google also pays attention to how people leave your site. If they stay for a while and leave via a link on your page this is good. If they close their browser down this is neutral. If they leave by clicking the back button this is bad as it indicates that they did not find your page useful.
  • Domain registration time
    The longer you register your domain for the better. A domain registered for five or ten years is unlikely to be a throw away domain and spammers rarely plan on using the same domain for a long time.

Key Negative Factors

  • Short lived back links
    You will be penalised for having an ever changing collection of short lived back links. In this sort of situation google will likely believe you to be buying inbound links to skew their page ranking algorithm.
  • No back links
    You need atleast one backlink to stay on googles records.
  • Low quality back lnks/web rings
    Although google states that you will not be penalised for being linked to from low quality or spam sites some experts in the field of SEO feel that this is not true. Do not ever link to low quality or spam spam sites and if any of these sites are linking to you try to get the link removed.
  • Unreliable server
    Google toolbar provides google a lot of info on how reliable your site is. If your site is offline a noticable percentage of the time you will be heavily penalised.

Conclusion

The key to maximising your benefit from off page factors is to aquire a regular modest number of high quality links from sites which provide information on the same topic as you. Aim for backlinks which will be permanent, backlinks which dissapear in a week are at best no benefit to you and at worst a hindrance. Pay attention to who else is linked to on the same pages that backlink to you and make sure your site is online 99.99% of the time and loads quickly. Do all this and you will start climbing the rankings quickly.

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