When it comes to SEO, there are two main approaches you can take: on-page and off-page SEO. In this guide, we will cover the basics of off-page SEO, its importance, and the ways you can implement it into your SEO strategy.
What is Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO includes all the actions you can take to improve your SEO rankings without changing the content or structure of your website. This means that using this approach will have you focus on outside factors that can increase your brand’s reputation and generate organic traffic.
What is the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO?
The main difference between on-page and off-page SEO is in the approach. On-page SEO focuses on optimizing different aspects of your website to increase search engine rankings. This can refer to the content you post or the internal structure of your website, where it shares some overlap with technical SEO.
Off-page SEO, on the other hand, aims to build your brand’s reputation and the authority of your domain. This is primarily done by generating links from other websites, though it can also take the form of off-site marketing and social media.
What Falls Into Off-Page SEO?
There are many aspects of off-page SEO, but in this guide, we will mainly focus on the following three:
- Brand advertising
- Social media
- Link building
Using this three-pronged approach is guaranteed to give you great results, both in search engine rankings and organic traffic.
Why is Off-Page SEO Important
Even though search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and changing which factors determine rankings, off-page SEO remains as important as ever. This is because the trustworthiness, relevance, and authority your content generates will always play a major role in your SEO score. In fact, research shows that off-page SEO likely accounts for as much as 50% search engine ranking score.
Off-Page SEO Guide
1. Offer Top Quality Products or Services
It goes without saying that your job of creating a comprehensive SEO strategy will be much easier if you have a top-quality product or service to offer. The more word-of-mouth buzz and positive reviews on retail sites you can generate, the more visits your website will have to begin with. However, this can only happen if you focus your attention on creating the best product or service possible.
If you already have a product you’re offering, consider improving on it based on the complaints people have about your competitors. For this, you can use third-party websites such as Amazon. The insight you get from reviews can be invaluable during this process.
If you plan to put out a new product, start by asking yourself which potential problem can you solve for the customers. Aim at offering the most benefit, while being ruthless with finding potential flaws in your ideas.
2. Customer Service
One of the most fundamental aspects of any business is good customer service. For your brand, this can take the form of an online help and FAQ section, a phone number to contact support or both.
Helpful customer service will not only make for more pleasant customer experience, but it will also serve as a good source of offline PR.
3. Consider Using Newsletters
A newsletter can be an automated and cost-effective way of reaching out to your audience. The ability to choose is crucial for this method to be successful. You will need to give your visitors full control over opting in or out of receiving the newsletter. Not doing this is only inviting search engines to flag you for spam.
Make sure your newsletter is relatively short and easy to digest, but still offers relevant and interesting information. Ideally, it will also have content not featured on your website to encourage more visitors to sign up.
You should send the newsletter sparsely enough so they don’t turn into spam, but frequently enough so your audience stays up to date with any changes to your website. If you can, try to time the delivery according to your target audience’s local time.
1. Leverage Social Media
Even though Google might not take social media shares into account when ranking search results, it’s still easy to see why a large number of shares and other interactions can have a positive effect on your SEO score. The more your content gets shared, the more people get to see it and the higher the chance they will visit your site.
With that in mind, it’s important to note that it’s not just the number of shares that plays a role here. The engagement rate of your content on social media (likes, comments, etc.) will also have a strong effect on your organic rankings.
There are two sides to cultivating a positive social media image. First, you have to make sure you actually post content worth sharing. Your posts need to be informative and engaging. Providing relevant and useful information in your posts greatly increases the chance your audience will want to share them.
Second, you should strive to be available, kind and proactive when it comes to answering questions and comments. This is somewhat similar to the customer support aspect we mentioned above. Even if you’re unable to answer a question or provide a service a visitor is looking for, don’t be afraid to direct them to a competitor. This will only help build your reputation even more.
2. Build Connections With Influencers
This strategy refers to working together with influential bloggers or social media personalities and having them promote your products and services. Since these influences can sway the opinions of large numbers of followers, your products or services get to reach a potentially large part of the untapped audience.
There are several ways of getting influencers to backlink to your content. One of them is to quote an influence or mention their name and brand in one of your posts. If you reach out and let them know you featured them on your website, chances are good you can get a link back in return.
Another way is to work together with an influencer in creating valuable content or a useful product. While you’re co-promoting your content, you will be able to reach an audience that may otherwise never get in contact with your brand.
On a smaller scale, you can also use your social media fans as brand ambassadors. Reach out to fans who frequently mention your company in their posts or take pictures with your products. Inviting them to create posts and photos for your official account will expose your brand to their followers.
3. Revisit Forums and Discussion Boards
When it comes to this method, generating backlinks is less of a priority. The goal here is to showcase your expertise in your niche and build relationships with other creators and influencers in your chosen field.
Participating in forum discussions will help you build rapport in the community. Creating an official profile and answering user questions will quickly build your domain authority and get you positive attention from other users. Sites like Quora, Stach Overflow and Yahoo Answers are already considered to be high-authority sources, so creating thoughtful and valuable content there will surely build your reputation as an expert.
1. Don’t Guest Blog Solely for Links
One of the oldest forms of online marketing is still well and alive today and it is a very important SEO technique. Getting your blog post published on a well-known and reputable site is a great way to generate quality backlinks and build your domain’s authority. But this method requires a careful and considered approach.
When approaching other website owners with pitches for guest blog posts, make sure you start from a position of creating a mutually beneficial relationship. The more it looks like you’re simply trying to get links to your site out there, the harder it will be to land guest posts and build rapport with other people in your field.
Even if a guest post isn’t an option, you will gradually gain a reputation of an expert, as well as hone your pitch. Eventually, you will land a guest post and the links will come. Just make sure you don’t make them the sole focus of your approach.
Here are some tips that may help you get your foot in the door:
- Send a personal email to the target blog’s editor, so you can establish a connection on a human level.
- Make sure you actually have expert knowledge of the subject you want to write about.
- Take a look at their blog archives for ideas on what topics to pitch.
- Enclose a portfolio of your previous posts or links to works published on other websites.
- Make sure you outline what benefits your guest post can bring to the website’s audience.
2. Perfect the Art of Comment Blogging
Going to someone else’s page and leaving a comment with a link back to your website used to be a quick and cheap way to generate a large number of backlinks. However, now the practice has been mostly abandoned due to Google’s crackdown on comments with links but no actual original content.
It’s still possible to get backlinks this way, it just requires a slightly different approach. You should look for comments containing unanswered (or not properly answered) questions. Trying your best to provide a reply with a helpful and well thought out answer will have a dual benefit.
First, you will help the person asking the question, thereby building your reputation as an expert in your field. Second, you will be able to leave a link back to your website without being flagged as spam by Google. Ideally, leave a link to a page or blog post on your site that covers the answer in more detail.
3. Take Advantage of Broken Links
This strategy might require a bit more work, but thinking outside the box can result in an unexpected number of backlinks. What you essentially need to do is look for broken links and contact the owners with the intent to fix them.
The links don’t have to all lead to your website. You can also check for broken and even outdated links to your competitors and offer to link to more recent content on your site. Overall, this method will not only help you generate a good number of backlinks but will also help other website owners and their visitors by removing 404 pages and streamlining the user experience.
Following the methods outlined above and you should notice a marked increase in your website’s SEO score. Just don’t forget that off-page SEO is only half of the work. The only way for your website to reach its full SEO potential is for you to focus equally on on-page and off-page SEO. This way, you will set yourself up for long-term organic success.