SEO is an expansive, complex field that consists of so many different sub-topics and areas of focus. There are so many moving parts, making it easy to overlook certain priorities in your SEO strategy.
One of the most overlooked aspects is off-page SEO.
What Is Off-Page SEO?
Simply put, any actions you take outside of your own website in an effort to boost your search engine results page (SERPs) rankings count as off-page SEO.
The Difference Between Off-Page and On-Page SEO
To be fair, that doesn’t really explain much if you don’t know how on-page SEO works either. Search engine optimization, aka SEO, takes a variety of shapes and forms, but the most common elements consist of:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Alt text
- Internal linking
- URL structure
These are just some of the measures you can take to optimize your website and on-page content. But SEO shouldn’t stop just there. Even if you executed all of those flawlessly, there’s still a pretty good chance that your competitors will rank higher than you.
That’s because they’re working off-page to boost their authority. They’re working behind the scenes of their landing pages with other sites and brands to win more exposure.
Off-Page SEO Factors
A lot of off-page factors require some more hunting and effort than on-page ones, but the impact they make shouldn’t be ignored. Here are just a few ways to start boosting your SEO:
These are hyperlinks sending traffic from external websites to yours. When someone else creates a backlink, within context, to your site, that acts as a vote toward your expertise and relevance in reference to specific topic.
Search engines pay attention to these actions and see it as a reason to raise your domain authority, pushing you higher in their rankings.
There are three main types of backlinks:
- Natural links: These are links given without any direction or interference from the webpage owner. Say you work for a reusable water bottle company. If a travel blogger organically links to one of your products to show their favorite brand, that counts as a natural link.
- Manually built links: These require a bit more involvement on your behalf. Any backlinks that are a result of you deliberately link building with consumers or influencers fall into this category.
- Self-created links: These links are methodically added to an online directory, blog comment, forum, or press release with an optimized anchor text. Be careful with this type, as they can be viewed as “spammy” and may even lean into black hat SEO practices.
It’s widely known that there’s value in social media marketing nowadays, but not many people recognize the impact it can have on your SEO. When your social content earns likes and shares, that boosts your credibility in the digital eyes of SERPs.
A lot of what affects your ranking has to do with your authority on a topic. Google has evolved to start looking for credibility indicators on social channels as well. The digital world has grown past just webpages and URLs, so it would make sense to optimize your social media as well.
Branding isn’t a neat luxury meant to just make your business seem hip and current. It’s how your organization is perceived by your audience. And also by SERPs too, apparently.
Brand mentions, which are when someone references your organization or business without directly linking to you, are just as relevant to your off-page SEO tactics as backlinks.
Think of it this way: A brand mention can equate to a keyword, where the keyword is you. If enough people are talking about you online, whether on their own websites or over social channels, search engines will recognize your name.
Assuming your own website has your brand all over it, then you’ll become one of the top authorities on your brand, boosting your ranking.
Why Off-Page SEO Matters
There’s a lot to gain from a well developed off-page SEO strategy.
It Can Increase Ranking Potential.
All of that boosted credibility and domain authority leads up to a higher rank in SERPs. That coveted first place position isn’t won by well written web copy alone. You’ll have to leverage off-page techniques in order to be on that first page.
It Gives You More Exposure.
And that first place ranking isn’t just for bragging rights.
Exposure is how you increase your business, both online and off. You’ll earn more visits, more links, and more attention on social media if audiences are seeing your website offered before your competitors’.
On average, your chances of being viewed on page two of a search engine is nearly halved, according to a study by Advanced Web Ranking. Basically, to be seen, you need to make sure you’re up there in rankings.
Source: Advanced Web Ranking
It Can Boost Traffic.
The former two perks both come together for a great end product: better traffic. Backlinks are a great way to drive referral traffic.
The trust that one brand has earned from its audience can be transferred to you when they reference or recommend your business for any reason. So, you’ll be getting traffic both from SERPs and from other websites.
Your ranking potential and the amount of exposure you receive are all for the benefit of bringing more leads to your website as well.
So, yeah, we’ve circled back to your site, but it was off-page SEO that helped get us there.
Off-Page SEO Techniques You Need to Try
Off-page SEO isn’t something that just happens though. You’ll need to implement different tactics in order to really reap the benefits. Your goal should be pretty simple:
- Earn links from credible, authoritative domains.
- Generate mentions of your brand.
- Boost shares of your content.
There are plenty of techniques to help you reach those objectives.
Build a Strong Social Media Presence.
Just as often as people search for restaurants or brands to meet a particular need, they’ll often cross reference the recommendation on social media.
If someone’s looking for Korean BBQ, the company with great content showcasing their food on Instagram is probably going to win out over another who has three photos of their storefront on Facebook.
Social media not only helps SERPs find you. It validates your products, services, and expertise to your audience.
We live in an age of interactivity, so being responsive is just as important as being present. Consumers love it when their favorite brands respond to comments and engage with their feedback. Doing so can make your brand feel way more authentic, human, and relatable.
Leverage Relevant Influencers.
It’s very likely that most of your audience is either engaged with or follows at least one or two influencers, if not more. Influencers leverage their presence and popularity on social media platforms, engaging with their niche audiences daily.
Many actually partner with brands, introducing their followers to products and services that they may have never come across on their own.
Smart marketers know that collaborating with these media leaders will lead to more exposure and qualified leads. It only works, however, if your brand matches their brand. If you choose to pursue influencer marketing, make sure that your business is relevant to their audience, and vice versa.
Nail Your Brand Image.
Your brand image is what people will associate with your business, so you’ll want to make it a good one that’s relevant to what your organization does. Your image has to be unique, tailored, and recognizable in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Through your brand, you can build a reputation of being quirky, original, clever, or maybe even controversial. That reputation should be a key element in drawing your audience in.
However you want to spin it, make sure that it’s consistent through every aspect of you organization and relevant to your industry.
Write Killer Guest Posts.
If you have the opportunity to write a guest post, make sure you’re not abusing it. Write relevant, informational content that’s actually going to provide value to the audience and the organization you’re writing for.
First of all, it’s just good manners. They’re giving you a window to earn some exposure, so follow through on your end.
But the main reason in doing so should be to establish your organization as a leading expert on the subject. If you write something truly impactful in a guest post and earn a backlink to your own website, then you’re building up your credibility and authority in someone else’s ballpark.
Just make sure you’re not too on the nose about it. Turning a guest blog post into an advert for your product or services will turn off an audience and also probably earn you a bad rep with the website owner.
Invest In Link Building Campaigns.
We already touched on what link building looks like, but there’s a lot of potential in developing campaigns around the practice.
Backlinking is one of the greatest contributors to your rankings on SERPs, so it’ll pay off in the end to really explore all the different ways to leverage it.
Create content that is worth linking to and, eventually, those natural links will start developing organically. If you decide to invest in influencer marketing too, then you can earn some manually built links also.
Just remember: quality over quantity. Hundreds of backlinks don’t count for anything if no one clicks on them because they’re not relevant or feel inauthentic.
Don’t Neglect Internal Linking.
As important as backlinking is, internal links are just as critical. How do you think all of these other website owners are going to find your content?
An organized internal linking system will make it easier for visitors to identify content that meets their needs and, hopefully, add it to their own content.
Make sure that your pages are optimized, clean, and easy to navigate. This way, if someone follows a link back to your site, they’ll be able to keep going without facing any real obstacles. They’ll be able to move from one page to another seamlessly.
Engage in Forums.
This does not mean plug your links into comments and forums.
The priority should be interacting with industry communities to establish your brand as a knowledgeable thought leader. Get the word out there that your brand knows what it’s talking about.
Make a point to leave relevant comments in the right circles where your name will get recognized. Other participants may notice and do a bit more research on your business, sparking a chain of events where you’ve earned a natural link on their blog.
Avoid throwing your hat in on conversations where you don’t exactly have that much authority. Doing so can undermine the credibility you’re working so hard to build.
Host Contests and Giveaways.
Another great way to get people talking about you is a sweepstakes event. People are always interested in a chance to win free goods, so come up with a contest or giveaway campaign to spark interest in your business.
The information on your website, an event page, the chatter over social media channels, and even the winner posting about their success are all opportunities for links to generate organically.
Off-Page SEO Checklist
There’s a lot to creating a great plan for your new off-page SEO strategy, so we’ve created a checklist to make it easier.
There’s really no denying it at this point; your SEO marketing efforts are incomplete without proper off-page SEO techniques. No business can afford to overlook it.