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Off-page SEO is one of the essential parts of a successful SEO strategy.
If you want your site to rank on Google and increase your brand’s organic traffic, you’ll need to look at more than your on-page SEO strategy.
Off-page search engine optimization is not just about links.
It goes deeper than that. For example, brand mentions (your site URL or brand name mentioned on another site without a hyperlink) are an integral aspect of off-page search signals.
As smart bloggers and content marketers, we usually start with on-page SEO.
But we don’t stop there. Because, to a large extent, the things that matter to Google often happen away from your web site.
Depending on your marketing goals, the time you spend on off-page search engine optimization will vary.
Dr. Peter Meyers from Moz observed that many web site owners spend about 30% of their time on off-page factors, and 70% on on-page factors.
For other web site owners, those percentages are reversed.
Off-page SEO simply tells Google what others think about your site.
For example, if you’ve got a lot of valuable links pointing to your pages, search engines will assume that you’ve got great content – the type that provides value for users.
Otherwise, why would people waste time linking to it?
People only cite, reference and share content they like.
Even in a Cement and block business, if your product is helpful and affordable, you’ll get a lot of word of mouth referrals from your current customers.
Search engine optimization can be scary, especially when you don’t know what steps to take to rank your fresh content pages in Google top 10.
But, if you can develop a basic understanding of on-page and off-page optimization, you’ll be way ahead of your competition.
If you’re ready, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about off-page search optimization.
We’ll share what it is, how it works, and how to use it to increase your site’s visibility.
WHAT IS OFF-PAGE SEO
Off-page SEO also called “off-site SEO” refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
Along with on-page SEO, these include several of the factors of basic SEO that help a site to rank.
Optimizing for off-site ranking factors involves improving search engine and user perception of a site’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority.
Though many people associate off-page SEO with link building, it goes beyond that.
Many activities that don’t result in a standard link on other sites are important for off-page optimization.
On-page search engine optimization happens within the site, while off-page SEO happens outside the site.
This is accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet (pages, sites, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website, and effectively “vouching” for the quality of your content.
WHY IS OFF-PAGE SEO IMPORTANT?
Think about off-page SEO as building your site’s domain authority.
Without this, your site might struggle to outrank websites with higher authority.
While search algorithms and ranking factors are constantly changing, the general consensus within the SEO community is that the relevance, trustworthiness
and authority that effective off-page SEO affords a website still play a major role in a page’s ability to rank.
Higher authority websites tend to rank better than those with low or no authority because search engines consider them more credible, relevant, and trustworthy.
You want to signal that many people trust, share, and reference your site to search engines.
Links are one way to show that, but you can’t focus on link building alone.
There are many other off-page SEO techniques you can use.
Links and off-page SEO
Building backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO.
Search engines use backlinks as indications of the linked-to content’s quality
so a site with many high value backlinks will usually rank better than an otherwise equal site with fewer backlinks.
There are three main types of links, defined by how they were earned: natural links, manually built links, or self-created links.
Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of a page owner.
For example, a food blogger adding a link to a post that points toward their favorite produce farms is a natural link.
Manually built links are acquired through deliberate link-building activities.
This includes things like getting customers to link to your website or asking influencers to share your content.
Self-created links are created by practices such as adding a backlink in an online directory, forum, blog comment signature, or a press release with optimized anchor text.
Some self-created link building tactics tend toward black hat SEO and are frowned upon by search engines, so tread lightly here.
Regardless of how links were obtained, those that offer the greatest contribution to SEO efforts are generally those that pass the most equity.
There are many signals that positively contribute to the equity passed, such as:
The linking site’s popularity
How related the linking site’s topic is to the site being linked to
The “freshness” of the link
The anchor text used on the linking site
The trustworthiness of the linking site
The number of other links on the linking page
Authority of the linking domain and page
How to avoid Google penalties for unnatural backlinks.
Backlinks are really important, especially if you want to sustain your site’s ranking position.
But we can’t talk about off-page SEO without mentioning Google penalties and unnatural links.
The truth is that links can significantly affect search performance – for better or worse.
If you ask pro bloggers which factor they think has the strongest impact on search rankings, many of them will say “links.”
Top brands, small businesses and blog owners are also into link building.
Data from MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report found that 59% of companies have done external link building.
You want to avoid Google’s penalty as much as possible, because recovering from a penalty can be daunting and very difficult.
Many things that used to interest Google — such as links from high PR sites — no longer have that strong impact.
Google is now more concerned about user optimization, user intent and valuable content.
The focus is no longer on the search phrases people use, but their purpose for using that particular phrase.
A full backlink analysis can help you pinpoint which links are good or bad for your site – and how to stay off Google’s penalty radar.
The search engine giant hasn’t yet clued the SEO community into any step-by-step process for staying safe.
However, there are things you can do to ensure that your site isn’t penalized.
These best practices have helped me generate more blog visitors to without experiencing any penalty due to unnatural links and over-optimized anchor text.
i). Create content and optimize for the users first:
You probably already know what this means. The question is, are you putting your users first?
To truly put users first, forget about mentioning your keywords several times in the post, especially if it doesn’t flow naturally.
Putting users first goes beyond keyword usage. Sometimes you may not outright target any keyword, yet somehow your content looks too promotional.
Users don’t like to be sold. Instead, help them by creating valuable content.
As much as you can, integrate data into your blog posts, and use visuals to convey your message clearer.
If you help them with great content, they’ll want to know more about you.
ii). Diversify anchor texts:
After conducting a full backlink analysis and seeing where your links are coming from, you should next work to diversify your anchor texts.
Diversifying your anchor texts simply means using different keyword phrases, brand names, and generic terms so that Google will view your links as natural and not manipulative.
After all, if you didn’t do anything fishy to get the links, then your links shouldn’t all have exact match keywords in their anchor texts, right?
When diversifying your anchor texts, make relevance your top priority.
Google will analyze your link based on the topic of the referring page and how thematically consistent it is with yours.
You know that it’s impossible to control where you get links from. Anyone can share your content and link to it however they please.
Since you can’t control your anchor texts or where the links come from, you should use your brand name as anchor text more often.
If you’re a social media expert and you’re interviewed by a car blog, you should use your brand name as anchor text.
That’s because these topics — cars & social media — aren’t thematic or closely related
and Google uses the anchor text of external links to the page to judge the quality, relevance and usefulness of any link gotten from there.
Last, but not least, make sure that you get links from high-quality sites, disavow low-quality links from thin pages,
blend nofollow links into your link profile to make it natural and publish fresh content to increase brand mentions.
Off-page SEO includes any signals that tells Google and other search engines that your site is valuable to your audience.
You can’t ignore off-page SEO these days, but it is essential to recognize that it is about so much more than link building.
It’s high time to get off your site and to network with other industry bloggers and site owners if you want to increase boost your search engine ranking.
Understand that Google Penguin and other algorithm updates weren’t primarily targeting search results that didn’t have tons of incoming links.
Off-page SEO has shifted from a core focus on driving signals that impact ranking factors to focusing on optimizing, creating content, and ranking on other search engines aside from Google.
You should always use white-hat link building strategies to improve your off-page optimization.
However, you need to prepare your website to receive authority link juice as you work hard to build and earn links.
Make sure your site is easily navigable.
When it comes to creating a better content experience, it all boils down to answering user’s questions.
Start by identifying the questions asked by your ideal customers.
Above all, search engine optimization is not a hit-and-run marketing approach. You should approach it knowing that the efforts you put in today will pay off in the future,
ultimately increasing your search engine rank and leading you to the success you desire.
Most of all, be consistent and patient and you’ll gradually climb to the top of Google’s results.
Now it’s your turn
Which other off-page SEO best practices do you think are important for improving organic search rankings?
What are your thoughts on the intersection between SEO and your social network presence?