Off-page SEO is a type of search engine optimization that depends on off-site optimizations to improve a website’s or page’s rankings in relevant search results. These off-page SEO techniques occur outside your site and include link building, local citations, and more.
Search engine optimization (SEO) consists of multiple qualities, but the most important is off-page factors. Off-page SEO includes essential SEO factors that help you to rank better in search engines, like backlinks, and they’re huge parts of any digital marketing strategy.
For those who are new to Internet marketing, “off-page SEO” might not even make any sense.
Why does off-page SEO Techniques matter?
Off-page SEO is very helpful since it tells search engines that your website is important to others on the web. Every link you receive acts as support from another source.
This leads external sources to act as tie-breakers for websites that have the same quality as On-page SEO techniques, search engines have the best way to rank websites on search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, if we look at two websites with similar content, which site would rank higher?
If both sites use similar On-page SEO techniques, off-page SEO signals will help in determining which site ranks higher in search results.
Search engines like Google and bing measure off-page SEO factors, like the number and quality of backlinks to websites.
If one of the two websites has more backlinks from respectable sources, while the other site received no online mentions, the site with more backlinks (and better online reputation) will likely rank higher.
Search engines use numerous off-page and On-page SEO factors to determine how valuable pages are to searchers’ queries and return relevant results accordingly.
Always remember that a page without off-site optimization is like a wedding without invitations.
Off-page SEO Techniques Benefits
A successful off-page SEO strategy should generate the following benefits to website owners:
- Increase in website rankings: This is the major advantage of off-page SEO. The website will rank higher in the SERPs and drive more traffic.
- Increase in PageRank: Page rank indicates the importance of a website in the eyes of Google, and it is a number between 0 and 10.
It is the system invented by Larry Page and Sergey Brin and a reason that Google became so successful in showing the most relevant results to the searcher.
- Greater exposure: Higher rankings mean greater exposure since when a website ranks in the top positions it gets more links, more visits, and more social media mentions. It’s like a never-ending sequence of events where one thing leads to another etc.
- Establish Trustworthiness: Recently, Google introduced the concept of Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T), which plays an important role in rankings and is directly related to off-page SEO.
In simple terms, Google wants to rank websites that show expertise and authority, and one of the best ways to ensure that the websites picked up by the algorithms can be trusted, is through the number and type of incoming links.
Off-Page SEO Techniques Vs On-Page SEO Techniques
To understand the difference between the two, you first need to understand SEO.
SEO is not only important for getting high-quality visitors from search, but it’s also a way to improve the user-friendliness of your website and increase its credibility.
Search engines use complex algorithms to determine the pages they need to include in their index and their order in the search results. SEO is the way to communicate with search engines in their language and give them more information about your website.
SEO is made up of two major components, On-page SEO techniques and Off-Page SEO techniques.
On-Page SEO Techniques
On-Page SEO is a set of settings you can change on your website so that it is optimized for search engines.
The major elements of On-Page SEO are:
- Having optimized titles and descriptions
- Optimized URL Structures
- User-friendly navigation (breadcrumbs, user sitemaps)
- Optimized internal links
- Text Formatting (use of bold, italics, etc)
- Properly optimized H1 tag and other headings
- Image optimization ( size, proper names, use of ALT text)
- User-friendly 404 pages
- Fast loading pages
- Mobile-Friendly pages
- High-quality fresh content (the most important SEO factor!)
- External links
Off-Page SEO Techniques
Off-page SEO took its name since it has to do with techniques you can use outside the boundaries of your website.
On-page SEO has to do activities you can fully control but with off-page SEO it’s sometimes out of your reach. For example, you can easily ensure that your content has a good quality, but you cannot force someone to link to your website if they don’t want to.
Links are an essential component of off-page SEO. Before you start building or earning backlinks, you need to understand the different types of links, as well as the factors that influence the equity of a link to your website.
There are three types of links:
Natural Links are links that come to your website naturally and don’t need your team to take any action or conduct any outreach to earn the link. The person writing that content decided to link to your content, whether because they follow your brand or because he discovered your content via search.
Built links are links that come to your website from outreach, and your team needs to work to earn this link, by reaching out to webmasters, publishers, or journalists. You may have even promoted the content with an ad campaign, and provided it with the exposure that helped people uncover the content.
Created links are links that come to your website from self-submissions on directories, forums, or press releases. It is created by your team intentionally and without conducting any outreach. This off-page SEO tactic for link-building aims to register as a black-hat SEO practice because search engines look down on this kind of link building tactic.
When building-links, focus on natural or built ones.
You need to think about the equity, value, and authority passed by a link.
You can attract many low-value links from spammy or untrustworthy websites, but they won’t help your business rank well in search results, that’s why it’s important to focus your off-page SEO link-building efforts on trusted websites that have links with excellent equity.
They are six factors that affect the equity passed by a link include:
- The anchor text which is used to link to your site
- The age of the link of your site
- How many links are they on the linking page
- How is the relation between the linking site’s subject matter and yours
- The trustworthiness of the linking site
- The authority of the linking site and that of the linking page
If you use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and more, you can evaluate the potential link value of a site.
Off-Page SEO Techniques to rank in Google
As mentioned above, Off-page SEO depends on activities that can be performed outside the boundaries of your website. The most productive off-page SEO techniques are:
- Link Building
- Social Media Marketing
- Brand Mentions
- Customer Reviews
➡ Link Building
Link building is the most effective technique. By building links to your website, you are trying to gather as many ‘votes’ as possible, which will help you to bypass your competitors and rank higher.
For example, if someone likes an article, and references it from his/her website or blog, this action is like telling search engines that this page has good information.
During the ranking process, search engines give consideration to deciding which pages to show on top of the results for the term ‘Off-Page SEO’.
Over the years webmasters have been trying to build website links to get higher rankings and ‘invented’ many ways to increase link count.
This enforces search engines to add more rules to their algorithms and start differentiating between good and bad links.
Let’s see the difference between these two and why it’s important.
A bad link is a link generated by webmasters for the sole purpose of tricking search engine algorithms.
The most known examples of bad links are:
- Blog Directories: It is something like yellow pages but each entry has a link pointing to a website.
- Forum Signatures: Many people were commenting on forums for the sole purpose of getting a link back to their website, and these links were included in their signatures.
- Comment link: It is the same concept as forum signatures, like where you would comment on some other website or blog in order to get a link back. Even worse, you could use keywords instead of using your real name so instead of writing ‘comment by Alex Chris’, you wrote ‘comment by SEO Rules’.
- Article Directories: By publishing your articles in article directories you could get one or two links back to your website.
Some article directories accept only unique content while other directories accept anything from spin articles to already published articles.
- Shared Content Directories: Websites like ‘hub pages’ allows you to publish content and in return, you can add a couple of links pointing to your websites.
- Link exchange schemes: Instead of publishing content you can get in touch with other webmasters and exchange links. In other words, I can link your website to mine and you could do the same. In some cases you can even do more complicated exchanges by doing a 3-way link: I link to your website from my website and you link to my website from a third website.
So, if you find that the above links are not useful, what is a good link? Here you can find a summary of the main characteristics of good links:
Good links are those coming from trusted websites. One of the basic concepts you should understand about links and link building is that besides being a matter of quantity, it is a matter of quality too.
In other words, the sources you are getting your links from are more important than how many links are pointing to your website.
Good links are coming from related websites. For a link to be valuable it has to be given by a related website. For example, if you blog about SEO, a link coming from a related blog is more valuable than a link coming from a fashion blog. Moreover,
Good links have relevant anchor text. Anchor text is the text description of a link and it gives search engines a big hint about what the target page is.
Anchor Text Example
For example, if a post has a link with the text ‘what is off-page SEO’ is more important than a link with the anchor ‘click here’.
Good links don’t have a ‘nofollow’ tag attached – During their attempt to fight spammy links and in order to give webmasters a way to link to a website without passing any ‘link juice’ (like ads), search engines introduced what is known as the “nofollow link”
There is a special tag ‘vote of trust’ that you can add to a link to tell search engines not to count the particular link to the referenced website.
It was done to help you link to other websites from yours without taking the risk of being caught for selling or exchanging links. In terms of off-page SEO, search engines ignore links that carry the ‘nofollow’ tag and have no influence on your rankings.
For Google, links pointing to your website have to be natural links.
A website owner or blogger likes another website or blog and naturally adds a link to its owner’s blog.
This certainly happens but you have to try really hard to get to this point. Sometimes a link may have many incoming links because other webmasters find its content interesting and I also link to other sites in my articles because I find their content interesting.
From the reader’s point of view, a link is more valuable than from the search engine’s point of view.
This is one of the ways to build links to your website that adhere to Google guidelines.
The most effective link-building techniques are:
1. Publish link-worthy content: This may sound overused but it’s very important for two reasons.
First is that great content will get you natural links if you know how to promote your page correctly to the right people (using social media marketing – more on this below).
Second, if you manage to secure links without having good content, your page won’t rank. What’s more important than links is to have content that satisfies the user’s intent. If you don’t have good content and links, you won’t be able to rank.
Case studies, original research, different opinions about a topic, and generally content that is unique and unbiased are examples of link-worthy content
2. Guest posting on other websites: Guest posting is a well-known method of getting links to your website. It is a simple idea:
- First, find websites that accept posts from guest authors
- Then pitch them with your ideas
- Now you will get the posts published with a link pointing to your website
The problem is that webmasters over-abused this method over the years, which forced Google to add rules to their algorithms to detect and de-value guest posting links.
If they are coming from trusted websites that also have a lot of content on their own and not just guest posts, they will still have value.
3. Asking for links: It is another popular technique for building links. I don’t usually prefer this method but I get many emails per day asking for links.
The idea is that you find related websites, email them and then ask them to link to your content. The chances of getting positive replies are limited so for this method to work, you’ll have to send a lot of emails.
I don’t prefer this method for many reasons but many people are using it and it works if you’re willing to do it on a scale.
4. Linking to other websites from your content: It is a better version of the above method, and it is based on linking to other websites from your content and emailing them to let them know about it. Webmasters like to receive the link and return the favor.
This is different from a link exchange (which is against Google guidelines) because it’s their choice to return the link and it’s not part of a deal or a paid agreement.
5. Publishing link-worthy visuals: It is an old technique that still works well. Its idea is to publish great visuals on your website (infographics, statistics, graphs, illustrations, charts) that people might find useful to add to their content with a link to the original source.
➡ Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is part of ‘off-site SEO’ and can be considered a form of link building.
There are a few things you should know about social media marketing and off-page SEO:
Google officially states that social signals (likes, comments, shares on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or else) don’t directly impact rankings since they can easily be manipulated or paid for and they don’t represent an accurate picture of how popular a social posting is.
It is important to be noted that almost all of the links you get from social media sites are “nofollow”, which means that they are ignored by search engines.
So, artificially getting thousands of likes will not help your website at all. But, when a post gets real attention on social media or goes viral, this will have an indirect impact on your rankings.
Popular posts are those seen by thousands of people and it is more likely for webmasters to link to your post from their blogs.
Another way to think about how to use social media for link-building purposes is that when you publish a post, it will only be seen by your followers and if it doesn’t start ranking high in the results no one else will read it or find it on the Internet and it will get lost in the billions of published pages.
On the other hand, if you promote each of your posts on social media and reach a larger audience, more people will read it and some people may link to it.
If you want to take it a new step, you can optimize your social media campaigns to target people that are more likely to link to your post, rather than showing your posts to a general audience.
To sum up, if used correctly social media can indirectly help off-page SEO.
➡ Brand Mentions
Google likes brands and prefers to rank branded websites on top of the results. The reason is the same as Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Brands are more reliable and trusted by users and this leads to a better user experience and happier Google users.
Brand mentions differ from link building, and social media marketing since brand mentions do not necessarily have a link pointing to your website. These mentions can be about your brand in forums, articles, reviews, or social media networks.
Google crawlers can ‘pick up’ these signals and then evaluate them to create a more accurate picture of how your brand is perceived by other people.
Another part of your off-page SEO strategy is that you should find positive mentions of your website, products, or authors and make sure you respond to negative or misleading comments.
If a brand is linked or not, it still has some value.
➡ Customer Reviews
Customer reviews have a role to play in your rankings, whether it is for your business, website, services, or product reviews. Besides, they are the most effective off-page SEO technique for local online marketing.
The majority of reviews have the ‘nofollow’ tag attached but if they are coming from trusted websites (like Google My Business, Yelp, etc), they can impact your local rankings in a positive way.
When you are selling products or services, claim your business profile on all major review websites, and then ask your customers to publish reviews.
Adding reviews in your off-page SEO will help you gain more exposure on search engines and build trust with your users.
How to do off-page SEO techniques for your SEO campaign?
Now and after we established how important off-page SEO is to a website’s success, we can go deeper into the specifics of how to improve off-page SEO.
1. Link building
The most popular technique of off-page SEO techniques is backlinking which aims to create natural links to your page.
Getting credible websites to link back to your website has two main benefits: driving traffic to your site and helping in determining your rank. Links from reputable sites are very beneficial to your website. These benefits occur since links are the primary way to navigate the internet and they can improve your users’ experience. Besides, with links, your users can easily navigate to other information they find relevant.
Moreover, links are the simplest way to measure the expertise, authority, and trust of a site. That’s why Google considers links as a part of search ranking factors.
But to convince others to link to you, you can try any (or all) of the following off-page search engine optimization strategies to start.
- Join an association that could be an industry, or the local Chamber of Commerce. Always make sure that your company gets a link on the association’s website.
- Creating quality content, like high-quality blog posts, infographics, videos, and more are excellent ways to draw clicks and natural links to your site.
- Reach out to journalists and bloggers as possible sources for their writing, or asking them to host something you’ve created, provides future opportunities for you to earn links to your website.
- Promote your content on social media to help it gain traction. Post appropriate content, like blog posts, infographics, and more, to social media channels. Optimize your posts for discoverability too, like using hashtags on Twitter.
Some links are more weighted than others. For example, links from influencers in your audience’s community have much more authority than those from spam sites.
Those high-quality links tell Google that you’ve earned the recognition and that your site knows its material, this will make Google rank you higher.
To make sure that your off-page SEO strategy is performing well, regularly check your backlinks. You can use tools to analyze the backlink profiles of your and your competitors’. Those are some of our favorite backlink tools:
When applying your off-page SEO techniques, understand during building links the reason you’re building them for, which is that you can have a more significant presence and reach the people that you think your services and products would help them.
All the best off-page techniques in the world won’t mean a thing if you don’t have quality content. Content is what keeps users on the page, and if your audiences find it not valuable, they won’t stick around.
With enough links, you might generate lots of traffic, but that traffic will never turn into conversions if there is nothing worth looking at on your page. Your content is what convinces your audience that you have all their answers!
Blogging is an excellent way to generate linkable content for your brand.
Blogs are the only place on the web with a constant stream of long-form content.
Your audience can comment and share your content on your blog, this makes it easier to get noticed and start generating natural links and brand mentions.
With the continuous posts, you will be a knowledgeable leader in your industry, and your audience will look to you first for information about recent updates and trends, as well as how-to guides and informational articles.
3. Social media marketing
Social media links don’t impact rank, but their sites are some of the best places on the web to generate awareness for your brand.
Brands that have a strong presence on social media feel open and approachable, which is something that nowadays is becoming more and more important for businesses.
If a brand is not easily approachable it comes off as abrasive, besides, when users can’t easily access information about it, this will bring its trustworthiness into question.
Let your brand come across like a friendly neighborhood corner store instead of appearing as some aloof entity. You can do that by being active on social media sites and by starting a blog where you can let your audience get a feel for your brand’s flair.
Always generate content that is relevant and easy to read, and respond positively and sincerely to comments on your blog and your social media pages. Doing this will help your brand feel and look like a group of people instead of a robot.
4. Influencer marketing
The emphasis on links as a method of accomplishing off-page SEO leads many people to assume generating links is the goal of off-page SEO.
However, the real goal of off-page SEO techniques is to boost ranking so that people can find your contact and purchase from you. This is done since Off-page SEO creates positive engagement with your brand through links, reviews, social media, or brand mentions.
Off-page SEO techniques are ones you can’t control, not without being considered black-hat, and no one wants to wear a black ha, that’s why they can be tricky.
There’s no more confident way to plummet your brand’s credibility or your rank than with black-hat SEO methods like paying employees to post positive reviews or buying links to your site, and since you can’t control off-page SEO in the same way you control the on-page elements of your site, off-page SEO can be a frustrating waiting game where you can’t do anything except hoping to have a response from your audience is positive. If it’s negative, you should re-evaluate your SEO strategy to see what’s working and tweak what’s not.
Here are 2 ways to combat negative reviews and improve your products and services and generate more reviews.
- Implement changes that will resolve the valid concerns of those negative reviews
- Reach out to your customers and ask them for a review after a purchase
You can also reach out to online influencers by having someone well-known endorse your brand, you’ll effectively boost your audience’s trust.
5. Writing for publications
Writing for external publications is a great way to show that you have authority in your industry while promoting your own business’s service. This kind of publicity gives you a huge potential to attract customers. Besides, it can give you a collection of writing you can show to other publications to encourage them to have you start writing for them.
6. Social bookmarking
Social bookmarking is the process of submitting your content to sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, Tumblr, and others. These sites split their content to seem to belong to certain niches, this can be used to appeal to customers in the specific demographics that you want to target. Make sure to research the audiences and rules of each site before you submit any content.
You want to offer actual value with your content, instead of making communities look spam.
Conclusion around off-page SEO techniques
Off-page SEO has the same importance as on-page SEO. You should do both If you want your SEO campaigns to be successful.
When working with link building, try to get links from hard-to-get places instead of thinking about easy ways. The value of a link increases with the increasing difficulty of having it.
In the past, It was easy to get thousands of links and rank higher, while nowadays you need to give special attention to the quality of your content.
I advise beginners to first concentrate on creating a great website with valuable content and then start working on your off-page SEO to get links that can make a difference in your rankings.
Try each method separately to find out what’s working best for your website and concentrate on doing it consistently, and you’ll see a positive effect on your rankings soon enough.
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