off page seo

Off Page SEO (2021)

In this post you’ll find out:

The Complete Guide To Off Page SEO in 2021

As you continue your journey to learning SEO, you will no doubt come across off page SEO before long. Off page SEO refers to actions taken outside your website to improve your ranking positioning in search engines.

Whilst off page SEO will likely be improved through natural progression and development of your website, understanding how to influence and improve off page SEO can pay dividends.

In this post, we take a deep dive into off page SEO and guide you through why it’s important, the factors that influence off page SEO, and the techniques used by the experts that you can leverage to improve your rankings.

What Is Off Page SEO?

Off-page SEO, which may also be referred to as “off site SEO” is the actions that are taken outside of your website to improve its rankings in search engines.

One of the fundamental aspects of off page SEO is backlinks, which can be seen as ‘votes’ for your website from other sources; but it goes beyond links alone.

Why Is It Important?

Despite all the changes made to search engine ranking algorithms throughout the years, the benefits that effective off page SEO can bring to a website can still have a significant impact in helping a website rank.

Unlike on page SEO which is predominately dictated by changes you make to your website, off-page ranking factors are dictated by the behaviour of other websites and channels.

For this reason, search engines use off page SEO factors like backlinks to determine a user’s perception of a specific website’s relevance and authority.

First, Make Sure Your Website Is Link Worthy

Before venturing deeper into the world of off page SEO, it’s important to make sure that your website or page is properly set up for link building to maximise the value of your efforts.

Here’s how you can ensure your website is ready to start optimising:

  • Structure your internal pages in a logical way that ensures each topic has its own page.
  • Use blog posts to support your main topic pages.
  • Interlink all of your internal pages where relevant.
  • Ensure that you have basic on page SEO in place.
  • Clean up and broken pages (404s) on your website.
  • Make sure your website can be crawled and indexed by search engines.
  • Ensure your website provides a good user experience.

Off Page SEO Factors

Whilst links are often heavily prioritised, there are other off page SEO factors that website owners should be aware of when working on the optimisation of their site.

Building links from other websites and sources is the core of any off page SEO strategy. Search engines use these links to determine the quality and authoritativeness of a particular website.

As they are from an independent external source, backlinks act as a sort of vote of confidence for the website they are linking to. As a bonus, they can also pass referral traffic from the linking website to your own.

It’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily the number of backlinks that determines how much impact they will have, Google and other search engines are now intelligent enough to take other factors into account such as:

  • How popular the website linking to your website is
  • How new the new link is
  • How relevant the link is
  • The anchor text that is used for the link
  • The number of other links from the linking site
  • How trusted the linking site is
  • If the link is marked as “nofollow”

NAP Citations

NAP citations are mentions of your business online that show your name, address, and phone number (hence, NAP).

NAP citations are unique in the sense that despite being an external factor, you do have a high level of control over them; with most citation platforms allowing you to add a website URL, logo, description, and social media links at a minimum.

These citations are one of the most powerful local search ranking factors and also provide valuable information to users, so you don’t want to overlook them.

Google My Business and Bing Places are two extremely valuable citations that website owners can claim for free, other citation sources to check out include:

  • Yelp
  • Hotfrog
  • Cyclex
  • Scoot
  • Yell
  • Europages
  • Thomson Local
  • Business Magnet
  • 192.com
  • UK Small Business Directory
  • Find The Needle
  • Kompass

Citations can be an effective way to validate your NAP with search engines and improve local rankings. To avoid confusing users and search engines, ensure that all information is kept up to date and is consistent across your citation profile.

Reviews

Not only are positive reviews a great way to attract new customers, but they can also give your rankings a boost too!

Don’t forget that negative reviews can be an opportunity to rectify a poorly performing part of your business. Use these reviews constructively and reply accordingly.

Also, human nature being as it is, people naturally expect good service and are therefore rarely inclined to post any review. That is the reason that companies have systems set up to automatically collect reviews. Amazon are masters of this.

Have you ever wondered how the heck these companies get thousands of great reviews? Now you know!

On the flip side, if you’ve had poor service, you’re gonna want to vent! Enter negative review. I’ve seen smart web agencies really drill down on poor reviews and turn the situation around very well. There are 3 key takeaways to this;

  • Your processes need some serious tightening up.
  • Your customer service systems are failing.
  • You can tell which companies have addressed this, by the proportion of of positive reviews in their more recent history.

Again a local SEO factor, Moz found that the quantity, diversity, and velocity of reviews on a Google My Business listing can have a positive impact on rankings.

Additionally, positive reviews on other independent review websites are likely to feature a brand mention, these can be shared on social media and the review platform itself and will generally have a profile page for your business with a link back to your website.

Collecting reviews is more difficult if you are an affiliate site because your business is sending customers away from your site (even if you get them to open in a new tab). This is an issue we will investigate in an upcoming post.

Got an email list? Slapped wrists if you haven’t!!

Gently nudge your lovely subscribers and ask them if they wouldn’t mind leaving you review.

Video

With 1 billion hours of video watched every day, YouTube is now the 2nd largest search engine. Second only to Google (who conveniently, own YouTube).

Despite this, few website owners fully capitalise on the power of video content which can be hosted on a video sharing platform like YouTube and then embedded onto their own website.

Video has several benefits to your off-page SEO strategy including:

  • Content with supporting video may be considered more link worthy.
  • Videos can be optimised to appear higher in search engines, attracting more views, website clicks, and brand recognition.
  • Likes and shares of your video create positive signals to Google.
  • Video-sharing platforms like YouTube have their own profiles which allow you to provide a link back to your website. URLs can also be added in video descriptions.
  • Videos are highly shareable which creates mentions across social media channels (hey, have you seen this?)
  • Comment sections on video platforms may create brand mentions.
  • Longer dwell time on your website

Guest Blogging

Chances are, you are an expert in your field. Rather than keep all the knowledge to yourself, why not share it and earn favour and recognition with other audiences interested in your niche?

Guest blogging is an excellent way to use another website as a medium for sharing knowledge and promoting your products and services to a brand new audience.

Of course, the website you are blogging on should be within your niche to ensure relevance; it also helps if it has an engaged base of website visitors! Please don’t put something irrelevant like commenting on a gardening blog and then linking to a gambling site. That’s very black hat.

As a result of your hard work, you’ll usually receive author credits and a shiny backlink from the website in exchange for the blog you have written from them. Sounds really easy yes? Welcome to the real world. There are quite a few quality blogs that charge you to post content. They do it to maintain the quality of their own blog.

Social Media

Whilst social media is said to not directly impact rankings, it has been hypothesized by credible studies that there is a direct correlation between websites with higher rankings and websites with more shares on social media platforms. Bear in mind that these links are usually no follow.

As well as allowing you to develop a profile including a backlink on all high profile channels, social media posts support SEO by pushing your content out to a wider audience.

If the content is relevant and useful to them, the chances of it being shared increase. As a result, more people see your content, more people follow your page and the cycle continues.

Your business may also benefit from unlinked brand mentions on social media platform comment sections.

Unlinked Brand Mentions

As you develop your website further, over time you will find that mentions of your brand start to appear across the web. Whilst unlinked brand mentions can still have a positive impact on your off page SEO, adding a hyperlink allows you to maximise the value of the mention.

Facebook Group can be a great way to get Brand Mentions but be prepared to work consistently at this. Add value and don’t spam.

As links come, these are one the most natural and easy to attain because the website owner likely already knows your business and has a genuine reason to link to your website.

Whilst it is still debated how beneficial unlinked brand mentions are for SEO, those in favour often cite a Google patent for their “Panda” algorithm which mentions that links taken into account for rankings include “implied links” which are described as “a reference to a target resource”.

In most cases, simply asking them to link the mention of your brand to your website in order to benefit users and allow them to find out more will be reason enough for it to be implemented.

Even if they do not provide measurable value in terms of SEO improvement, brand mentions are a positive sign that your business is being referred to on the web and can be capitalised on to generate more links to your site (see the strategy below).

Link Building Techniques

Whilst you can generate natural backlinks over time by creating consistently high-quality content, the reality is that if you really want to succeed; some level of strategy and outreach will be required. I personally hate doing outreach but it must be done. It can seem like a thankless task sometimes but remember it’s a numbers game.

Here are a few techniques that can be used to generate more backlinks to your website.

Reviews & Case Studies

If you leave a review for a product or service that your business uses, include your website URL where possible. Not only does this secure a backlink for you, but it also increases the credibility of the review for the recipient.

Similarly, if a supplier asks you to feature as a case study for their business, ensure that they include a link back to your website when introducing you in the case study.

Create a Unique Resource

New content is added to the web every second. On WordPress alone, over 70 million new posts are published each month. With so much noise, it’s important that you stand out if you want to generate relevant, natural backlinks.

Aside from blog posts and pages, here are some additional content types you may consider to set you apart from your competitors.

  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers
  • Research
  • Surveys
  • Videos

Thought leadership pieces are another excellent method of gaining credibility with your target audience. Whether you are featured or create the piece, interviews, podcasts, events, and round up posts can all boost your profile and generate natural links.

The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper technique is a backlink method that was first developed by Brian Dean of Backlinko.

Fundamentally, the technique is straightforward, consisting of finding content that is well linked to, creating a better version, and then promoting your new content to the right people.

In practice, the Skyscraper technique takes time and effort. The more competitive your industry is, the more difficult this method will be to implement effectively. So good luck with that, especially if you are in a finance vertical – you’re gonna have to work very hard.

Follow the steps below to capitalise on this proven link building strategy:

  • Find high value content in your niche that has a strong backlink profile.
  • Create something better – more detailed, more thorough, and better designed.
  • Reach out to the right people – approach leaders in your niche to link to your asset, particularly if they’ve already linked to the high value page identified originally.
  • Be prepared for plenty of knock-backs but keep going – it’s worth it.

Blogging

Blogging is a proven and reliable method of attaining backlinks to your website. More importantly, these backlinks are highly likely to be relevant to your niche.

It takes time, but can offer a plethora of benefits to your business. As well as backlinks, blogging helps generate traffic, show expertise and authority, share knowledge, and increase brand recognition.

Once your blog post has been published, you can leave it in the hope that it generates backlinks naturally; but you might be waiting a while.

Follow the steps below to increase the chances of achieving links to your post.

  • Request indexing of your post within Google Search Console
  • Share the blog post on all your business social media channels
  • Send the blog post out to your email marketing list
  • Ask bloggers in your niche to consider linking to the post
  • Offer your blog to round up posts on the same topic
  • Contribute to resource pages on the same topic

Blog Comments

Blog comments are a type of self created link that can be frowned upon by users and search engines if poorly implemented.

If you are a member of a forum, directory, blog, or other online community, it’s likely that you may join the conversation from time to time and post your own comments.

Most online communities allow you to have a profile with a URL and also include URLs in comments. Where relevant and useful to other members, adding a link to your website can drive referral traffic as well as adding a backlink to your website.

It’s important to note that most forums will mark URLs within comments as “nofollow”, this is a signal to search engines to tell them not to count the link. However, it’s up to search engines whether or not to follow this instruction.

Broken link building is an effective and fairly low effort link building strategy that can help you score relevant backlinks whilst also improving the web.

As sites are abandoned, URLs are changed and hosting expires – broken pages plague the web. For any website that links to a broken page, the user will be served a 404 not found error; not a great user experience.

Fortunately, there is a way that you can capitalise on these broken pages:

  • Conduct analysis on the outbound links of a website in your niche.
  • Identify any outbound links which are heading to a broken page (404).
  • Alert the website owner of the broken link. Ideally, offer them a replacement resource (on your website) that they can link to as an alternative.
  • You should already have done this on your own website, as part of on page seo work.

Off-Page Techniques to Avoid

Whilst all the methods for link building we have mentioned in this post can be implemented without breaching Google’s terms of service, other methods you may come across are designed to deceive search engines into attaining higher rankings.

Commonly referred to as black hat SEO methods, these strategies go against the terms of service enforced by search engines and can result in ‘manual actions’ from Google which can significantly reduce or even completely eliminate the visibility of your website in search engines until the issue is resolved.

If you are looking at developing the off page SEO of your website in a way that complies with Google’s terms of service, avoid any of the following:

  • Deceptive redirects Adding unnatural redirects to funnel users to your page instead of the page they wanted to visit.
  • Hidden links Adding hidden links to your pages from other pages of your site or external websites.
  • Link farms Submitting your site to a group of websites that all link to one another for the sole purpose of increasing rankings.
  • Link exchanges Building relationships with other sites for the sole purpose of including reciprocal links between each other’s websites.
  • Buying links Paying for a backlink to your website. Either with money or by providing a service or product in exchange. Some SEOs still use and vouch for paid links but we would urge caution to ensure you do not get penalised.

Need Help With Your Off Page SEO?

We hope this article has helped you understand the power of off page SEO and given you the knowledge required to start building quality links to your website.

Off page SEO can be extremely time consuming and without the right tools and expertise, your efforts may be wasted. If you are looking for an great SEO company to help with your online marketing, get in touch with us today to arrange your no-obligation consultation.

Similar Posts