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Off-Page Search Engine Optimization

Off-Page SEO is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Building backlinks to your site from quality sources can boost your Google performance significantly.

What is
Off-Page SEO?

Off-Page SEO refers to any SEO efforts being made outside of your website to improve your search engine results rankings.

The main method used in this technique is to build links back to your website from other high authority domains. Google should then perceive your website being referenced by others in your niche as being a positive signal and reward your rankings accordingly. A simple way to understand this is to imagine that you’ve recently arrived at a new school. You meet a fellow student and ask “Who is the most popular kid in school,” and their response is ‘Jimmy’. You then bump into another student and ask them the same question and they too respond, ‘Jimmy’. At this point it’s starting to become clear that the most popular person at school may indeed be Jimmy. After all, relevant sources seem to be pointing to the same person and making it clear that Jimmy is in fact the most popular kid in school. Google uses similar information when deciding what websites should be on the first page, the second page, in 3rd position or 10th position. The more reputable sources that point to your website as an authoritative reference of information, the more confidence Google will have in your site to place it prominently in the search engine. That being said, not all endorsements (links) are created equal. A website that is well established and trusted by Google will give your site a much larger boost than sites that have little relevance or trust. In fact, links deriving from untrustworthy and/or irrelevant sites can damage your site’s reputation and weigh it down.

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Why is Off-Page SEO Important?

In Google’s early days, the algorithm for ranking was a lot more basic. Google’s criteria was simply about finding the keywords on a website and combining that with link data.

Sites that had the most links from websites across the internet, that also contained the specific keywords on their pages, were the big winners. Consequently, webmasters and Search Engine Optimization marketers would keyword stuff their sites with white text on white backgrounds and would buy or create thousands of links regardless of domain authority of the referring websites. Google got smarter and these manipulations that sought to “game the system” became less effective and in some cases, penalized. Today, Google rewards backlinks that are relevant and authoritative. Google also takes into account a multitude of other factors such as On-Page SEO factors. Google places a lot of importance on the On-Page properties of a website in assessing rank. As a result, the importance of backlinking as a strategy to win online has decreased. The mistake some vendors are making is to completely discount the importance of off-page. While many other factors certainly matter, off-page SEO is still incredibly important and carries an estimated 50% of the ranking factor as per Moz.com. In fact, some vendors offering an SEO service exclusively focus on the on-page factors; such as SEO optimizing the meta information on their website, or focussing efforts towards on-going content production. This is either because they believe on-page is most important or they don’t have the resources to do off-page work. While it is true that great content marketing can find itself linked to naturally, for the most part links need to be made manually.

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Best Off-Page SEO Strategies

Most companies will choose to outsource their Off-Page SEO work because they do not know how to, or do not want to spend hours creating backlinks . While there are many ways to generate links, we’ll offer up a few common practices:

Business directories exist like the yellow pages and 411. Websites like these allow you to enter in your business information, name, address, phone number, description and URL. These all count as links. Some are “do-follow” links, some are “no-follow” links, but regardless, a good and natural link profile contains all of these. One thing to focus on is ensuring that your name, address, and phone number are consistent across the board, which is a key ranking signal for your Google Maps Optimization or otherwise known as Local SEO efforts.

No matter what industry you’re a part of, there’s a handful of websites dedicated to opening up public feedback about your business. If you’re in the trades, homestars.com would be a great example of a site for tradespeople. If you’re a medical professional, RateMDs.com would be a great site to be listed on.

One thing that may make sense is to reach out to other businesses in the same industry that do not compete with you directly and offer them content as long as they credit your website. This could be in the form of blog posts, competitions, “how to” guides, or really any piece of content their readers would find engaging.

Without the help of professional Off-Page SEO tools you can ‘Google’ your competitors and take a look at where their business is featured on external sites. This is a good idea of the kinds of sites you should be reaching out to to try and get backlinks to your own site.

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