Off-page SEO (also called off-site SEO) is key to establishing your website as authoritative online, and it is relatively easy to do, too!
Optimising your website for off-site factors involves improving the overall “popularity” of your website as perceived by search engines and people performing Google searches.
By improving your relevance and trustworthiness, you can establish yourself as authoritative and rank better. You can easily accomplish this by having a presence and linking back to your own website through other people, sites and pages.
By improving your relevance and trustworthiness, you can establish yourself as authoritative and rank better.
Although SEO is constantly changing, it is still recognised that off-site SEO plays a major role in your website’s ability to rank highly. Without good off-site SEO, you will struggle to reach the top spots on Google.
How I Can Help
Working as an SEO consultant for over a decade, I have slowly built up a vast roster of clients – both large and small – from start-ups all the way through to enterprise-level companies and have helped them optimise their websites to drive results.
Off-site SEO is something you can quite easily do for yourself; it does not require any specialist knowledge at all.
In this guide, we are going to cover off-site SEO in depth and go over how you can do it for yourself. If you would like any help with keyword research after reading through this guide, feel free to contact me or check out my blog.
As always, my team and I are here to help you with your off-site SEO and to get the most out of your SEO strategy.
Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Off-Page SEO
Most potential customers will have already formed their own opinion about your brand before they even visit your website.
These opinions are formed through product reviews, comments from friends, your marketing campaigns and any other sources of information on the internet. Therefore, off-page SEO is clearly important as it touches upon all of these things and more.
One common mistake made with off-page SEO is viewing it as only relevant to link building. Whilst link building is very important, it is not the complete story and off-page SEO has far more to it than this alone.
When building your off-page SEO, backlinks are a huge benefit, yes, but they are not the end-goal; the end-goal is to improve your visibility, presence and popularity by establishing yourself as authoritative and trustworthy.
There are many ways you can do this, and you need to give priority to a number of different off-page ranking factors to help boost your brand.
3 Simple Off-Page Ranking Factors
Some of the factors which impact your off-page SEO may surprise you! Here are 3 simple factors which you can easily begin working on.
Remember, off-page SEO is all about your brand’s image – you are trying to establish it as trustworthy and authoritative.
Providing Good Customer Service
The value of customer service cannot be understated… just look at the United Airlines debacle of 2017 for an example of just how much it can have an impact.
Poor customer service can easily damage your reputation and harm your SEO. Your central goal for customer service is to leave an impression on each individual that they got the very best assistance possible.
Depending on the size of your business, customer service may extend well beyond email and social media. If you work hard to ensure top-quality customer service, your off-page SEO will benefit hugely.
Putting Your Audience First
It is just as important to focus on where your content is being shared and interacted with as it is to match keywords to your audience’s intent, for example.
You need to put the needs of your audience before all else by researching what people are looking for online in relation to your brand’s product or service. You can use tools such as Keyword Explorer for this purpose.
Look into searcher intent by producing surveys, talking to your target market, reading reviews and looking through online discussion forums.
Being Responsive on Social Media
Social media is a priceless part of your off-page SEO, and delving into the world of social media is much easier than most people think.
Having a presence is important, but using it is even more important; you should be proactive on your social media accounts and work to help each and every person who posts a question, query or vents their frustration.
Be human, too. Consumers always want genuine interactions which don’t feel forced or robotic. By having someone who is dedicated to monitoring and managing your social media pages, you stand a better chance of success.
Link Building: The Cornerstone of Off-Page SEO
Although it’s not the be-all-end-all, link building forms a core part of off-page SEO and it is important that you spend time building quality backlinks.
When it comes to link building, there are three things which you need to focus on –
- Number of inbound links;
- Quality of these inbound links;
- Anchor text percentage; and
- Follow vs no-follow links.
Building a backlink profile is important because it enables Google to view your website and its pages as authoritative sources of content and information. Simply put, the more quality websites which link back to you, the higher Google will rank you.
Number of Inbound Links
This is by far the most important part of backlinking – the number of websites which have links within their content which point to your website.
When a page hyperlinks back to your website or some content on your website, it is viewed as a vote of confidence by Google. Basically, it is like that website saying “Hey, check out this awesome page to find out more about X.”
The more quality websites you can get pointing to your website, the better.
Your inbound links need to come from a wide range of different websites with unique domains. 10 links spread across 10 unique high-quality websites is better than 100 links from one website.
There are a number of tools which you can use to analyse your backlink profile and help increase your portfolio.
Quality of Inbound Links
I’ll say it again – off-page SEO is all about building a positive image for your brand! The websites which link back to you can influence this image massively.
You should be aiming for high-quality, authoritative websites which have a dedicated and trusting audience to be linking to you. If Google sees websites it already views as authoritative linking to you, it is going to start to view you as authoritative.
In contrast, if you have spammy, low-quality websites which trigger antivirus software linking to you… you get the point!
Links from well-established sites which have been around for a long time, have an authority within your industry and are relevant to your brand are what you should be aiming for.
Anchor Text and Anchor Text Percentage
When you make a hyperlink, the linked text is called anchor text and you should be using keywords as anchor text where possible.
Using keywords helps Google identify what the page being linked to is about. It also helps you rank for that keyword, too. Using click here, for example, doesn’t tell Google anything.
If you are selling red leather chairs, then anchor text should use those keywords. You can add in words such as best or these, or add in your brand’s name, so long as keywords are present it will help you rank.
Although you want to be targeting keywords, you don’t always have control over anchor text – don’t worry! Whilst targeting keywords is better, there is still value to be had when a good quality source backlinks to you without using keywords.
You should aim for a mixed percentage of different anchor text, too –
- Branded anchor text (e.g. anchor text which uses your brand’s name);
- Generic anchor text (e.g. click here, go here, visit this site);
- Naked links (e.g. http://yourwebsite.com/blog/blog-title);
- Keyword-rich anchors (e.g. red leather chair).
The percentage breakdown of these anchor text types depends on your brand. What works for one website may not work for yours, and you should have a play around and see what works for you. If you want a hand, feel free to contact me!
Follow vs No-Follow Links
Backlinks connect the various dots of the internet together and help drive up site traffic, but not all links are equal in the eyes of Google.
Google uses a metric called PageRank to calculate link points, and link points come from “dofollow links” – these are links which Google’s web crawlers follow and index. They are links which provide a page with SEO value and improve page authority.
There are also “nofollow links” which have rel=”nofollow” attached to the URL. Simply put, these bring traffic but hold no SEO value in the eyes of Google… Google simply disregards them.
Dofollow links are harder to get and are usually handled by a webmaster. With the absence of rel=”nofollow” parameter in the URL, Google is instructed to crawl and index them.
You need a balance of both dofollow and nofollow links to enjoy long-term off-page SEO success. With too many dofollow links, Google will view your website as spammy and not trustworthy, even if you’re not! It is a delicate balance – both too many links from low-quality sites and too many exact-match anchor text backlinks can harm your off-page SEO.
When it comes to backlink building, it is better to have a natural profile of links which aren’t too heavily focussed on keywords. Although some keyword backlinks are good, relying too heavily on these can lead to being penalised by Google… it’s all about your ratio.
The Natural Link Profile
A natural link profile is not just about backlinks, a natural link profile is influenced by three primary factors –
- The types of link which point to your website (blogs, directories, articles, social media);
- How quickly the links were acquired (all at once, or slowly over time); and
- Anchor text percentage distribution (keywords, natural, exact match).
Google wants its search results to be as natural as possible, and so your link profile is important. Google’s algorithms can easily identify when a site’s link profile is natural, and there are penalties for sites which stray away from this.
Building a natural profile is the most difficult part of off-page SEO, however, it’s by far the most important… always think quality over quantity; where your links are coming from is far more important than the amount you have.
Your page ranks higher when it provides value, and you provide value by having a website full of quality content which is easy for other sources to link to you.
My Off-Page SEO Services
Building an off-site SEO strategy takes time, and most of this time is focussed on backlink building. By analysing your current backlink profile, I can work with you to draw up a comprehensive off-page SEO plan by –
Performing basic checks
I have several tools at my disposal which I can use perform diagnostics of your current backlink profile. From here, I will have a clearer picture of the current state of your off-page SEO and where improvements can be made.
Covering the basics
The best off-page SEO strategy begins with the sources you currently have at your disposal. Your social media pages are the first port of call, followed by online directories and repositories where you can post your information for free.
Beginning the expansion
I will work with you to draw up a content strategy for the acquisition of extra backlinks. Being featured on high-authority websites and guest posting is key to building your backlink portfolio, and I can work with you in deciding which sites to target.
Analysing your competitors
With the tools at my disposal, I can also analyse the backlink profile of your competitors – we will be able to see where your competitors are sourcing their backlinks and use this information to keep you ahead of the game.
Making sure you get credited
Sometimes, sources will mention your product or use your content without properly attributing it to you through a backlink. I can track these lost backlink opportunities down and ensure that you get the credit you deserve.
Reaching out to new sources
Collaboration is key when it comes to backlink building and off-site SEO. Together, we can analyse backlink outreach opportunities and options for collaboration with other companies operating in your industry, or websites related to your product or service.
Getting Started with Off-Page SEO
Although some aspects are challenging – primary backlink building – off-page SEO is something you can do for yourself.
If you are willing to put in the time and effort to build a strong, positive online presence, create quality content and reach out to websites for collaborative opportunities, there is no reason why you can’t dramatically improve your off-page SEO.
I recommend starting with your own sources – social media, blogs, free directories etc – and working from there. Whilst working on your own sources, you can learn the basics of off-page SEO which will put you in a better position when reaching out to high-authority sources.
Want a Helping Hand?
Off-page SEO is something you can do for yourself if you’ve got enough time to do it properly. If you don’t, however, I always recommend reaching out for professional help.
As with any other aspect of SEO, off-page SEO needs to be done properly. There is a huge scope to cause serious harm to your website’s rankings if you don’t do it properly. This is why so many businesses outsource their SEO.
As a professional SEO consultant, I know the ins and outs of off-page SEO and have worked with various clients operating across a variety of industries and niches.
By working with me, we can create an SEO strategy which will deliver measurable results over time.
If this sounds like something you may be interested in, feel free to get in touch for a quick chat. Alternatively, you can view the rest of my SEO services or check out my blog to learn more about SEO.
Even if you’ve only got a few minor questions, I am here to help and am always happy to pass on my knowledge to help you get ahead with your SEO.