At this point you should have a pretty good understanding of the purpose and importance behind SEO, as well as a solid foundation on the basics of keyword research and on-page SEO. As we move forward with learning SEO, we move into the next fundamental component of a good SEO strategy, known as Off-page search engine optimization (Off-page SEO).
What is Off Page SEO?
Off page SEO, also known as off-page or off-site SEO, is just as it sounds and refers to the techniques and effort taken outside of your website to influence and improve website rankings within search engine results page (SERPs).
In short, off-page SEO has to do with the promotional methods behind a website and/or brand and generally include the following:
- Link Building
- Social Media Marketing
- Brand Mentions
In the previous article, on-page SEO, I let you in on a little secret about how Google’s complex search algorithm determines site ranking. If you missed it, I’ll share it with you now, since that secret is still the formula we need to use in our off-page SEO strategy in order for us to unlock higher rankings in Google.
Expertise + Authority + Trustworthiness = Higher Rankings
Or also referenced as EAT, E-A-T.
That’s it! Class dismissed.
Okay, okay…I’ll explain further on how we use this super-secret formula to get our website ranking higher in google search results.
Why is Off-Page SEO Important?
In an effort to deliver high quality search results, Google and other like-minded search engines have referenced certain indicators that signal back to them whether a site meets that search criteria.
These indicators are known as ranking factors and Google uses over 250 ranking factors to determine the expertise, authority and trustworthiness of a website.
In our article covering keyword research, we identified the many variations of keywords and phrases used by people like you to search for the same product/service. By taking the time to identify these search terms and including them within our website, through on-page SEO, we were able to send a clear signal to search engines that our site content was relevant to a user’s search query. Making us an expert in the field.
As we continue in on our journey, we are left with two components in our super-secret formula that need to be addressed: Authority & Trust.
With over 250 ranking factors and the constant changing of search algorithms, it is well known within the SEO community that off-page SEO plays a major role in a page’s ability to rank.
Through the promotion methods of off-page SEO, the outside world (i.e. other websites and users) send clear indicators to search engines that a webpage is of value.
Think of it as a letter of recommendation.
What are the Benefits of Off-page SEO?
Because content alone does not help a website rank within search engines, off-page SEO remains one of the most effective ways to ensure higher ranks.
Through the successful implementation of an off-page SEO strategy, outlined in this article, you can expect the following benefits to your website:
- Increase in Rankings
- Increase in PageRank
- Greater Exposure
- Establish Credibility/ Trustworthiness
Off-Page SEO Techniques
Link Building is a form of third party referencing that proves to be the most effective off-Page SEO technique. Essentially, by building links to your site, you are attempting to collect as many votes (i.e. letters of recommendations) as you can, with the goal of outranking your competitors.
What is Meant by Link Building?
Link building basically means to build one-way links (also known as hyperlinks or backlinks) from other websites to your website. Search engines crawl these links to ascertain the authenticity and visibility of your website.
Even today when SEO and search engine algorithms have become extremely complex, most SEO experts like to spend the majority of their time in building these backlinks due to the guaranteed benefits it provides.
I love the way Adam Clarke writes it in his book SEO 2019: Learn Search Engine Optimization with Smart Internet Marketing Strategies, “When you think about it, links are the currency of the web. Each time a page links to another, it is a vote for the value of the page being linked to. If a page provides massive value to Internet users, it stands to reason it will be linked to from other sites. This is why links are such a strong factor in Google’s algorithm.”
Do Backlinks Still Work?
As Adam states it, these backlinks are considered to be an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Each backlink can be seen as a single vote of confidence regarding content on your page.
Along with analyzing other content on your page (such as length, authenticity, appropriate titles, keywords, etc.), Google’s algorithm determines the number of sources that have linked to your web pages in order to determine the ranking.
In addition, Google and other search engines take into account the quality (i.e. ranking) of the referrer. This is known as domain authority, or DA.
Simply put, domain authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score which determines its E-A-T within search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher the domain authority of the referring website, the higher the value of the referring link.
This is why it is important to gain highly reputable links as opposed to lots of low quality (untrustworthy) links to your site, as they will prove to be of far greater value.
What are the Benefits of Link Building?
Along with improving search engine ranking, building links can also be useful in various other ways.
- Reaching potential business leads
- Improving brand visibility
- Encouraging traffic to your website
- Building relationships with customers
However, it must be noted here that Google discourages certain backlink strategies due to their large-scale misuses, such as submission of website to web directories and quid pro quo link building.
Furthermore, you must be aware of the concept of nofollow attribute, which may be present in the code of some links. This attribute basically tells Google not to trust the links present on the respective page, primarily because the owner of the page is unsure about the quality of the content (and links) on the page due to his or her lack of control over the content.
For example, blog comments, Wikipedia pages, and Yahoo answers. Google has also expanded the use of this attribute across article directories, press releases and advertisement banner spaces.
Link Building Strategies
Today, more than ever before, there is a need to understand and work only on those link building strategies that have the capability to yield fruitful results in terms of improving website ranking.
Let’s look at some of the hot link building strategies that are proven to produce high ranking results.
Produce Strong Visual Content
Provide strong visual content on your website, such as graphs, charts, photos, infographics, and videos. Be sure to provide content that is useful for the user and they will end-up creating tons of links for you, without even you having to worry about it. Each time a user shares your visual content to their website or on social media, your web page gets a link. It has been estimated that presenting useful information in visual form as opposed to text can improve the number of links by up to 4 times.
Procure Original Data, Research, and Studies
It may not be a straightforward task, but it is surely one of the top ways of gaining a lot of genuine backlinks to your website. Try to provide original and new data, research studies or surveys that may be useful for the targeted audience. People who are interested in this data will want to share it across different platforms including their websites, and the best thing about research data is that anyone who shares it will always provide a reference to its original source (your website in this case).
In order to provide such content on your website, you can conduct your own surveys, analyze existing data to make meaningful conclusions or combine different sets of data in a useful manner.
Ultimate Guide Packs
Remember two things. Firstly, people love to Google everything from fixing a doorknob to the science behind atomic bombs. Secondly, most website owners still prefer the outdated SEO rule of 500 words articles. Combine these two and you get the opportunity to create amazing content. Set yourself free from the outdated 500 words rule and create in-depth ultimate guides on your website. People love reading as well as sharing and linking such guides. An added advantage is that in-depth guides are usually considered far more authentic than small articles on the same topic, and hence more people like linking them on their websites.
You don’t have to worry about choosing extraordinary topics for this purpose. Simply choose any topic related to your website and start working on the ultimate guide pack. For example, if your website is about clothing or fashion, you can work on an in-depth guide to the latest fashion trends or a shopping guide for the summer or winter seasons.
Search Your Mentions
If you have been around (and famous) for some time, it is quite possible that your name has been mentioned across different websites even without you knowing it. Do your research and find those sources. Your name might be mentioned for a number of reasons, such as when quoting your data, talking about your products or mentioning your brand story. Simply contact the web owner and ask to convert this simple mention into a hyperlink. Different tools may be used for finding websites that talk about you.
Partner with an Influencer
It has been estimated that companies will be spending over $2 Billion by 2022 towards influencer marketing. Influencers can be very useful when it comes to selling products, increasing brand value or improving website ranking. Find the right influencer in your industry, ask him or her to link your website across all their platforms and start a giveaway campaign for their followers, as per pre-set terms and conditions.
Research Your Competitor
It is always a great idea to know everything about your competitor. But here, we are specifically discussing it in the context of the backlinks. With simple Google research, you can easily get insights into the backlinks created by your competitor. This will give you an idea about news places to create backlinks. Start by shortlisting a few places initially. Analyze how your competitor might have created links there. Use direct or indirect means of approaching these sources for your links.