What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO tactics communicate to search engines that your website is important to others on the web.

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be divided into two different strategies: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Many see off-page SEO as synonymous with link building, but it goes well beyond that. In this guide, we’ll touch on all the elements of off-page SEO, including techniques, best practices, and the value of off-page SEO implementation.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page search engine optimization (SEO) refers to all the tactics you can implement outside of (or beyond) your website to help you improve your search engine rankings. Simply put, while on-page SEO happens on your site, off-page SEO focuses on search engine optimizations anywhere outside your site.

Off-page SEO tactics include link building, guest blogging, citation building, content marketing, social media — all of which are essential components of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Off-page SEO tactics are immensely valuable in communicating to search engines that your website is important to others on the web. For example, if other pages link out to your website, search engines will assume that you have valuable and relevant content to share. So, even if your on-page SEO strategy is excellent and on-par with a competitor’s efforts, how much you invest in off-page SEO could be the deciding factor for whether you’ll rank higher on a search engine results page.

Why is off-page SEO important?

Google has multiple ranking factors that define your website’s position on a search engine results page (SERP). Your website needs both on-page SEO and off-page SEO if you want a chance at ranking well.

 

Off-page SEO gives Google a good indication of how a broader audience perceives your website. Think of it as an influencer giving your website the ‘thumbs up.’  If other sites link to your website, your site could be seen as authoritative and important. Why else would people be linking to it?

 

Having both inbound links (links from a website to your website) and outbound links (links from your website to another website) on your website will increase your chance of ranking high on Google or other search engines. If a website with more authority than your own links back to you, you’ll be seen as authoritative, too. If enough authoritative sites link out to you, your site’s domain authority will increase over time.

 

The role of backlinks

Even though backlinks aren’t the only factor to consider, they’re certainly important. Google search uses an algorithm called PageRank, which evaluates the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to a web page. Some SEO professionals believe Google no longer uses PageRank, but Google confirmed that it still matters and uses it internally.

Google aims to deliver the best results based on user intent. Backlinks or links to your website act as a popularity score. The more high-quality links you have pointing to your website, the more popular your site will be. These links help elevate your authority, but one needs to be careful with how they go about building backlinks.

Furthermore, if your website or content has regular social media mentions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, you’ll generate more traffic and, therefore, boost your rankings.

How to assess the quality of your off-page SEO

Off-page SEO quality is assessed based on the following three factors:

The number of domains pointing to your website

In the early days of SEO, it was all about the quantity of links pointing to your website. The goal was to build as many links as possible. It wasn’t about the quality or how those links were used.

Fast forward to today, and the concept is the same. The more links to your website, the more likely your website is going to rank higher. However, what has changed is importance of the quality of the links and how many people use those links to visit your site.

It is no longer just about the number of links to your website but rather how many referring links (people who use the links to visit your website) are pointing to your website.

Brand mentions

Branding is becoming a vital component of SEO. Why?

  • First off, if your website ranks in the top three positions in search engine results pages but no one knows who you are, why would they click on your result? You won’t necessarily have their trust or be perceived as the authority.
  • Secondly, think of brand mentions as if they are links to your website (inferred links). The more quality mentions your website and the business receives, the more trusted and popular your business becomes to search engines.

 

What is brand building?

Brand building is the process of generating awareness and promotion of your business using strategies and campaigns to create a unique and lasting perception in a customer’s mind.

Seth Godin once said, “a brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” To survive in today’s marketplace, a company needs to build a brand, not just a business.

Why is brand building important for off-page SEO?

Picture this, you’re looking for a product or service and perform a search on Google. The results page shows you content that’s all basically the same, so which one will you click on? Most likely the one whose brand you’re familiar with. This is how bigger brands stay on top and why you should make brand building a priority.

Google and other search engines have always given preferential treatment to bigger brands. Most of us are guilty of it, too — it feels safer to go with what we know rather than delving into the unknown. Smaller brands need to earn twice as many links as bigger brands to rank similar terms on a SERP.

If you don’t have brand recognition, you won’t rank high on a search engine results page, leaving your company in the dust.

 

How to approach brand building

1. Let Google and other search engines know you exist.

For Google to even know that you’re a brand, you need an About page with as much detail as you can. Make sure to put a real address on your website, as well as a phone number or contact point.

2. Be active on social media.

If your company is not on social media in this day and age, you may as well pack up your pocket watch and hop on your horse-drawn carriage.

Social media gives companies a way to connect with their audience regularly and have a better relationship with their consumers. There are a few ways you can strengthen your brand presence on social media, including repurposing your content across various social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can even make your employees your brand ambassadors on social channels and cross-promote your content.

3. Have excellent customer service.

Poor customer service can very negatively affect your brand. One terrible review could turn away hundreds of customers. Make sure to go out of your way to solve problems for customers. The happier a potential customer is, the more likely they are to convert and promote your brand.

Off-page SEO techniques

Link building may be the most common tactic for off-page SEO, but there are a few other off-page SEO techniques you can utilize to improve where your site ends up on search engine results pages.

Top tactics include content marketing, local SEO, social media, influencer marketing, and guest blogging.

 

 

Content marketing

In the fast-paced world in which we live, social media and email marketing seem like great ways to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But if you want to build brand awareness that sticks, there is so much more value in the long game of content marketing. Simply put, content marketing is the creation of online media to generate interest in your product or business. This purpose of the content doesn’t necessarily have to be sales-driven. In fact, it’s better if it’s not.

With content marketing, you establish your brand as an authority in the industry and put your product or brand at the forefront of their minds when making a purchase or using a service.

 

Off-page SEO strategies and content marketing go hand in hand

Incorporating a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy into your content marketing plan is essential. It’s all but impossible to find an audience for your content without SEO. You can do this easily with on-page SEO strategies by researching keywords, using them in your headlines and subheadings — but something that is often overlooked is off-page SEO.

This is a much longer game to play but ultimately the most rewarding one if implemented correctly. Off-page SEO simply means that you’re putting in the work to get more authoritative websites to link back to yours. This kind of linking tells the user and Google that your website is valuable and an authority on the subject at hand. The simplest way to do this would be by link earning.

 

What is link earning?

As previously mentioned, link earning (or link building) is the process of generating quality content with the idea that websites and brands will link (backlink) to it because of its quality. It is a free method of gaining new consumers to your website.

Earning links is the by-product of having good quality and reputable content that others will refer to and link back to. Earning links offers more value to your off-page SEO because if a high-authority website with an excellent domain ranking, such as Forbes, links to your website, this tells their reader (and Google) that you are trustworthy.

While earning links might be a simple task, it’s not easy. It takes time and requires creating quality content that adds value to others and other websites. Essentially, you want to be a credible source that provides consistent and useful content worth citing and linking back to for other companies in your industry.

 

How to create credible content

It’s been often said that people don’t have the time or attention span to read long pieces of content. However, research has shown that this is not the case. In fact, the types of content that rank the highest on Google’s search pages tend to be longer pieces of over 2,000 words.

But more than that, long-form content often results in more backlinks. Good long-form content tends to be more useful and comprehensive than shorter content, and the more useful and comprehensive it is, the more value it provides. So it’s more likely that high-ranking websites will link back to you.

 

How to go about content marketing

A great way to get backlinks to your site from others is via content syndication. While Google is not a big fan of duplicate content, syndicated content is okay, as long as the original piece is referenced and linked back to. If you can reference your own content, a syndicated article can be a driver of referral traffic and a way to improve your rankings and organic traffic performance.

 

Is your content good enough to share?

The shareability of your content also comes into play for off-page SEO as good quality content increases the likelihood of backlinks. Your content promotion should also work in tandem with each other. Your social media should be promoting your newsletters, which should be filled with links to all that good quality, long-form pieces you’ve created. And, hopefully, this will result in the high-quality backlinks you are looking for.

Local SEO

Local SEO is all about increasing visibility for businesses that serve their customers face-to-face. Local SEO makes it possible to find these businesses within a nearby geographic, physical location. It uses tactics to rank up in search based on your location.

The search results that are served to the user are based on specific keywords or your device’s location. Smartphones dominate internet browsing, and because of the small screen size of mobile phones, Google only displays the top three results when searching for a local business.

By harnessing the power of local SEO, you can drive traffic to your site, increasing popularity and improving your ranking in Google search. The following are local SEO components.

 

1. Reviews and citations

One example of a review or citation would be a restaurant having a presence on review sites such as Yelp or their social media platforms. Or even going as far as putting up signage in your store asking people to visit your social media platforms. This encourages reviews, which allows you to engage with your customers.

Citations are one of the main factors in local SEO. Citations are an online mention of a business that features the name, address, and phone number (NAP). The most popular citation pages are Google My Business, Bing Maps, Facebook, and Yelp.

Generally, people want instant answers to their questions and usually expect the best to be on top. To appear in those top three greatly desired results, it is important to leverage both local SEO and off-page SEO to generate leads.

 

2. Business listing optimization

Optimizing your business listing allows your business to become more discoverable, keep customers informed and boost consumer confidence.

For example, your Google My Business, Facebook, or Yelp listing should contain all the essential details, such as business operating hours, contact details, and a link to your website. It also allows you to share updates on your business. Lately, this feature has shown its importance more than ever before. Your customers often start their search with Google. The first set of results would be location-based (map listing), and keeping your customers informed of changes in operating hours or temporary closure is important.

Businesses with a Google My Business account generally have more credibility and build increased trust levels with their customers.

 

3. Listing suppression

Listings do, however, get suppressed from time to time  — usually when it is not up to standard. It is important to include every possible field when completing the Google My Business profile, for example. Duplicate listings, however, can cause major confusion for a search engine, which in exchange lowers your search rankings.

 

4. Online review monitoring

Reviews are very important for customers when it comes to choosing a business. In fact, 94 percent of consumers said a review persuaded them to stay away from a business. If you actively gather, monitor, and respond to reviews, you’re letting your customers and potential customers know that you care about feedback and that you’re interested in improving the overall experience.

Social media

Social media is an interactive digital tool that quickly allows people to create and share content with the public. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram are some of the most popular social media channels.

There’s a strong correlation between the social signals a piece of content gets and how its corresponding website ranks on a search engine results page. Examples of social signals are likes, dislikes, shares, votes, pins, views, etc. — i.e., metrics that help showcase a certain piece of content’s popularity and reach.

Social media can impact your SEO in many ways, including increasing online visibility and traffic to your website, give you more authority and brand recognition, maximize your content distribution and content lifespan, as well as improve local SEO.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a great way to build and grow brand mentions and reach a wider audience. The extended reach helps to build your brand online. Influencer marketing is when a brand collaborates with individuals with established credibility and an audience on social media platforms to discuss, review or mention their products or services.

According to a 2019 survey, a whopping 93 percent of marketers were practicing influencer marketing. For a few years, influencer marketing was all about celebrity endorsements and bloggers doing sponsored posts. Think about Nike and Michael Jordan, Nespresso, and George Clooney.

Today, influencer marketing happens across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Influencer marketing can be a great way to build your brand and is just as important as building more links, boosting your content, and reaching new audiences.

It’s important to note that links within sponsored content violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, so don’t use influencer marketing as a way to build links; instead, keep your focus on growing mentions and the resharing of your posts.

Guest blogging

Guest blogging walked so that social and influencer marketing could run. It’s one of the earliest marketing strategies on the web, and it is still a very effective strategy today. Approximately 409 million internet users read about 20 billion blog pages monthly.

It’s exactly because of this popularity and effectiveness that publishing a guest post on a blog is a valuable off-page SEO tactic. Guest blogging is the practice of writing and publishing a blog post on a third-party website or blog to promote your brand.

When you publish a guest post on a popular (and highly ranked) blog, you can link back to your site in the article or your author bio.

Here are some tips on how to land guest posts:

  • Establish a personal connection by addressing the blog’s editor by name when you reach out.
  • Introduce yourself briefly and say why your post would be useful.
  • Pitch a topic that is in line with what the blog is looking for.
  • Familiarize yourself with the guest posting guidelines.
  • Include links to your best-published work online.

The main strategy behind off-page SEO is to get backlinks from highly ranked sites that point back to your site. So, remember, when looking for sites to guest post on, first assess the site’s quality and how much traffic that site gets. We mentioned earlier that it is the quality and number of users directed to your website and not just the number of links.

How to assess the quality of a website or blog

A quick tip would be to use a backlink checker tool like the Moz Link Explorer. A free Moz account will allow you to perform ten of these searches per month. To start, create a Moz account. Once done, go to the link explorer page, copy the link of the domain that you want to review, and paste it into the URL box. Click the ‘get free link data’ button.

Results will load as a set of stats, including:

  • Page authority (score out of a 100).
  • Domain authority (score out of a 100).
  • Linking domains (number of domains linking to the page/website).
  • Inbound links (total number of links – remember, a website can link to a page multiple times).
  • Ranking keywords (the number of keywords that the page ranks for).

When looking at the above data, you want to see a high page and domain authority score; the closer to 100 the score is, the more valuable the backlink from the site to your site will be.

Each off-page SEO activity plays a significant role in your overall SEO strategy. As part of a successful off-page SEO strategy, you need to focus on your link building, improve your branding and appearance efforts, create compelling content and increase your social media presence. Building a strong online presence across various platforms while using off-site SEO techniques will also increase your brand’s overall reputation and authority and support your on-page SEO efforts.

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Off-page SEO glossary of terms

Domain authority (DA)

A score that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages.

Page authority

An idea of how a specific page on your site will rank on search engine results pages.

Follow links

Follow links allow search engines to follow them and reach a website.

Nofollow links

Nofollow links include a small piece of code that lets search engine bots know not to follow the link.

Inferred links

Lexical references that connect topics and keywords to a brand, website, or page.

Unique domains

A unique domain is the name of your website.  No two websites can have the same domain name.

Spam score

Spam Score is a metric that predicts the possibility of subdomain spam on a website.

Link farms

A group of websites that all hyperlink to each other to increase SEO rankings.

Press release

An official media statement, written by a public relations professional, announcing something newsworthy.

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