What is off-page SEO?
Off-Page SEO is a term for the collective set of activities that you do outside your website so as to build links that point to it. These links that point to your website are known as backlinks (links pointing back to your site). The main agenda for Off-Page SEO is to create quality, relevant and trustworthy backlinks. Off-Page SEO is comprised of a certain set of activities, also known as link building activities, including blogger outreach, forum posting and Q&A, broken-link building, blog commenting, influencer marketing, document and image submission, Wikipedia link submission, etc.
Why off-page SEO is important?
Google considers multiple factors before ranking a particular page/website and off-page is one among them. It is difficult to rank only via content; this is where your off-page or link building plays an important role. It, in a way, tells Google what others think about your site, and that is why having backlinks from a quality, relevant websites becomes important.
Off-page SEO involves building links from multiple sources. These links are of two types:
A do-follow link is a default link type that allows Google bots or spiders to pass link juice or value to the link or webpage that is linked to. For e.g.: If a renowned fashion magazine, let’s say X, adds an article to their website and gives a do-follow link to relevant business, let’s say Y, it means that X is giving some of their own value to Y. This value helps Y achieve a better PageRank and rank better on SERP. The best way to use a do-follow link is to add a relevant keyword as the anchor text.
Google observes the number of do-follow links you get to your website and from the number of separate domains you get it from. The more the number of do-follow links from multiple and relevant domains, the more the value that is being passed.
This is what a do-follow link looks like:
<a href=”https://www.infidigit.com”>INFIDIGIT Consultants</a>
A no-Follow link type means Google bots or spiders will not follow such links. They won’t pass any link-juice or value to the page where that is linked to. As no link juice is passed, no-follow links won’t have any influence on rankings. No-Follow links were introduced in an attempt to stop web spam.
This is what a no-follow links look like:
<a href=”https://www.infidigit.com” rel=”nofollow”>INFIDIGIT Consultants</a>
Why Do You Need Off-Page SEO for Your Website?
Off-page SEO helps build a website’s recognition and domain authority. Without it, your site will continually rank below other websites that already have a more substantial lead. While links are not the only off-page signals that Google’s algorithm applies to rank a site, it is perhaps the most vital of the lot.
However, there are many other off-page SEO techniques or tactics that you should be practising. This will help to gain success from off-page SEO content marketing and help in brand building.
To put it simply, brands would struggle to rank at competitive search terms without off-page SEO.
What are the important factors to consider while doing off-page SEO?
Below are some of the off-page SEO factors to consider:
- Domain Authority
- Site Traffic
- Link Type
Domain authority is a measurement metric or score that was created by Moz to give an overview of a site’s performance. When doing off-page activities it is important to consider domain authority. Domain authority, or simply DA, represents the quality of a website. If a backlink leads from a website with higher DA to a website with lower DA via a do-follow link, it helps the lower DA website have a better page rank and rank well in SERPs.
It is important to get links from higher DA sites; however, it is more important that these sites be relevant to the one you want to link to. For e.g. If you get a link from a fashion brand with a high DA to your website which is all about a car dealerships, it will not make sense, and excessive irrelevant backlinks can trigger algorithms for a penalty.
When doing off-page activities like forum posting, bloggers outreach, etc. it is important to understand how much traffic these sites/people can drive towards you. For e.g. if you wish to do a blogger outreach activity or forum submission, you will check those site’s traffic with a chrome extension like SEO Meta in Click. Once you confirm that the amount of traffic the site receives is substantial enough, you can proceed with the activities.
There are two types of links that we build while doing link building or off-page activities. They are dofollow and no-follow Links as elaborated above.
Importance of Obtaining Relevant Backlinks and How to Get Them
Whenever the question ‘what is off-page SEO’ is asked, backlinking is one of the first answers. Backlinks have played a crucial role in elevating the SEO rankings of websites above and beyond.
Over 100 billion searches on Google are made daily that have products or services like their search queries. Most of the clicks from these searches are driven by over 200 ranking factors decided by Google, and backlinks are one of them.
Natural links to your website that are present on any website with a good enough domain authority act as a vote of confidence from these websites for yours in the eyes of Google. It helps search engines trust the content on your website more.
Off-page SEO works to make sure that your backlinks are strong and visible to search engines. But how do you get relevant and user-friendly backlinks from authoritative websites? Here are some of the most effective ways:
Building Broken Links
When people are organically visiting your page via search results, they are expecting to see the content they searched for rather than a 404 error. Broken link building is one of the most efficient off-page SEO techniques to ensure that your website remains accessible to people. Conduct backlink analysis and contact the owners of the website to let them know about any broken links. This might help you in securing authoritative backlinks on the website you helped out.
Create Engaging Infographics
Infographics can help you in generating 37.5% more backlinks than a blog. You should definitely try this link-building tactic to attain more backlinks.
What are the different types of off-page activities?
Now that we have you caught up on the basics of off-page SEO, we shall explain the various activities you must take up to improve your chances of ranking well on Google SERPs. Here is a list of crucial off-page SEO activities and how to go about them:
Broken Link Building
Users do not like to be redirected to other pages or find non-existent 404 pages when they visit your site. And so is the case with other site owners too. Broken link building is about finding such broken, outbound links on other sites within your niche, alerting them to it, and offering them your page link as a worthy replacement. But why do broken links occur in the first place? Broken links are created when a site’s web hosting expires, its assets are mishandled during the migration or a link is misspelled. You can easily spot broken links by conducting a simple backlink analysis on a site you want to be linked by.
Bloggers have a lot of clouts these days as they command huge fan followings or reader bases. By conducting some research online or using professional off-page SEO services, you can work alongside influential bloggers to reach their followers. Sponsored posts, online giveaways or promotions, ambassadorships, podcasts, product reviews, blogger events, etc. all fall under this category. Keep in mind that the bloggers you are interested to work with must be a good fit for your business and be somewhat of an industry or domain expert or pandit to help you in your off-page SEO efforts.
Being active on various online discussion forums is a great way of getting people to notice your brand. Helping people find solutions to various problems and discretely linking to your site wherever appropriate (without overdoing it) or leaving comments on others’ posts with optimized anchor text in your signature is key. Make sure to create complete and interesting profiles on such sites before engaging in the above-mentioned activities.
This is an extension of posting on forums as various online platforms now use the simple but effective question-and-answer or Q&A format to attract users. Being active on Quora, Yahoo Answers, etc. is a great way to boost your online presence and direct users to your site. The more helpful and genuine the information you give out, the better your reputation as a helpful participant gets. This will only lead to more users making their way to your site and converting to customers/buyers. Just make sure that you track down the forums relevant to your domain or find Q&A threads that are thematically or topically beneficial to you.
Social bookmarking involves searching for, saving, and sharing sites or pages that you find interesting using social bookmarking sites. Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and other social bookmarking sites are quite popular today. Again, it is important to find sites that are relevant to your niche and promote your content there. Being tagged on such sites can lead to a feature on Google SERPs. People who make their way to your site from such social bookmarking sites do so because they found you there under topics they are interested in. You can also add social bookmarking buttons on your site to make this off-page SEO process simpler.
Image submissions are another important off-page SEO technique used today, visual content is the most consumed and popular kind. Image submission is to do with submitting the images you use on your site (including infographics) on various image submissions or sharing directories/sites. Selecting the best image file format, size, description, alt text, etc. also falls under this category. Photobucket, Flickr, imgur, etc. are examples of such sites.
Certain sites like Scribd, SlideShare, etc. accept informative documents in specific formats (like PDF or docx) to help users who are looking for articles on specific subjects. Submitting interesting content on relevant, popular topics within your niche in the form of simple, well-formatted documents is a great way of attracting users. Branding your content, including a few keywords in it, submitting your content to multiple sites, etc. are other good off-page SEO practices you can observe here.
An influencer, as the name suggests, is anyone with the ability to impact user behavior or purchase decisions. They may have a large following on various social media channels like Facebook or Instagram, their blogs, online publications, etc. Celebrities, industry experts or thought leaders, bloggers and digital content creators, micro-influencers (regular people who have gained a large fan following thanks to their knowledge on a specific topic), and others can be called influencers depending on their relationship with their followers. Product placement in the content they create, recommendation, review or demo posts, etc. can have a prominent effect on the way your brand or your products and services are perceived.
A well-maintained social media profile on various channels is a must for any upcoming business. Engaging with your customers as often as possible, keeping them in the know about future sales, new launches, etc., addressing their queries or grievances, asking for their feedback, sharing viral but relevant content created by you are all important social media marketing measures. Although social media links are usually of the no-follow variety, they are still important and can do your off-page SEO efforts a great deal of good. Make sure to include social media sharing buttons on your site/blog too.
Newsletters are perhaps the simplest yet most overlooked off-page SEO tactic. Keeping your user/customer base informed about your latest product or service offering, events, and sales, etc. can pay off like no other. While you can include content that you posted recently on your site in them, keeping your newsletters short but informative is best. You can also author content specifically for newsletters. Ensure that they are attractive and compelling and sent at a time when readers are most likely to open them.
Content marketing is one of the most popular types of off-page SEO techniques and can help your website achieve many goals. Defining the goals of your content marketing campaigns will influence what type of content you generate and help you in creating an effective content strategy.
Content marketing plays a crucial role in helping websites achieve their off-page SEO goals. Creating targeted content, generating organic and healthy backlinks, and creating buzz for the website go hand in hand in a competently created content marketing strategy.
Local SEO (GMB & Citation)
Local SEO plays a key role in helping rank your website high for local search terms. A local citation is the mention of your brand online. This mention can be in a blog, an industry-specific website, a business directory, a PR release, or any other locally relevant website.
Local citations are also a part of off-page SEO practices and are a ranking factor in local SEO for websites. Google My Business (GMB) is an extension of local SEO, where your business listing shows up on Google for relevant local search terms.
Any form of audio content like podcasts was not considered an SEO asset by Google until very recently. Knowing your way around making podcasts SEO-friendly can be of significant help in your off-page SEO strategy.
For instance, Google’s NLPs are now very capable of detecting verbalized keywords. This can also help you organically advertise on your podcast to gain more visibility on the search engine. Additionally, having a strong and recognizable voice in your podcast can also help smooth things out for Google in detecting these keywords. Another trick here is to transcribe your podcasts properly. Transcripts are going to play a crucial role as they will be primarily used to match a podcast with search queries.
Types of links for Off-Page SEO
Natural links are when other bloggers, webmasters or site owners redirect links to the content on your Web page because they believe it would prove useful for their readers and would add substantial value to their site or page. Other website owners sharing your content naturally happens only when your content is top-notch and high quality with authority in the respective domain.
Built links are manually obtained links to gather with considerable efforts. This means that one has to invest time and energy contacting other site owners, webmasters and bloggers to feature your content, either through links or guest blogging. To obtain built links, you need to have substantial reach and recognition in the market.
Created links, as the name suggests, are created by the site owner to have search engines think that their links are relevant and important. There are several kinds of self-created links, such as backlinks on a forum or blog comments. There are good and bad backlinks that can help or hinder your SEO rankings.
Benefits of Off-Page SEO
Here are some definite benefits of off-page SEO to keep in mind when formulating a strategy:
Boost in Rankings
Off-page SEO can help brands boost their SERP (Search Engine Page) ranking. The higher your rank, the better your site visits, the better your click-through rate.
Increase in PageRank
PageRank is different from SERP rankings. PageRank refers to a numeric score between 0-10 awarded by Google to your website based on several metrics, including the overall page experience. The quality and number of links used plays a significant role.
Diverting traffic to your site so you have an influx of visitors that can be used as leads to convert down a funnel is one of the benefits of off-page SEO techniques.
High Google ranking factors go a long way in establishing trust between visitors and brands. This can be achieved through off-page SEO activities.
How Can We Avoid Penalties for Unnatural Links
Backlinks can significantly impact the performance of your website. However, it is a two-edged sword as unnatural backlinks can invite penalties from Google.
Recovering from a Google penalty can become a major hurdle for websites, as it tarnishes the website’s image for the search engine. Over the past few years, Google has changed its vision from seeing backlinks from high PR websites to those having a strong impact. Google now prefers user optimization, valuable and authoritative content, and user intent. The purpose of search intent has overpowered high CTR websites.
Google has not clued in the SEO community about any particular processes for avoiding penalties. However, there are a few practices that can help your website stay wary of these penalties and avoid the hassle of dealing with them. Let’s take a look at these practices
User Optimized Content
Putting your users at the forefront when creating any type of content goes a long way in avoiding Google penalties. Gone are the days when techniques like keyword stuffing would go unnoticed. To optimize the content as user-first, you must prioritize the value of content rather than its sale value. Promotional content should be minimized, and useful content must be prioritized. Integrate as much useful data into your content as possible for the covered topic. This will keep you safe from getting penalized by Google for any techniques that the search engine might consider unethical.
When you have conducted a thorough backlink analysis, you should start working on diversifying your anchor texts. This means that your content should use different phrases for keywords, diversified terms, and brand names. This practice ensures that Google sees your links as natural. Using the same anchor texts across several posts will signal the search engine that your links are manipulative or unnatural. This can lead to penalties from the search engine giant.
Remove Low-quality Links from Your Website
Always ensure that the links on your website are from high-domain authority websites. Conduct a full backlink analysis and ensure that low-quality links are removed, and no-follow links are organically blended into the link profile. This will make the backlinks appear natural to Google.
Off-Page SEO may seem easy when compared to on-page SEO or technical SEO, but there are many factors that are not under your control. Things like waiting for the verification of your accounts on various forums or sites, your posts, comments or submissions going unpublished due to them not meeting site requirements, etc. can mean that you must start over. However, if done right, off-page SEO can boost your search rankings substantially.
For more such insights on search marketing, check-in with us often.
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