The old adage “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t exactly apply to websites.
Because no matter how much time you spend optimizing your website, it won’t be successful unless you give people a way to find it.
Luckily, we’ve put together an off-page SEO guide that covers all the latest tips, techniques, and strategies you need to rank #1.
What We’ll Cover:
- Off-Page SEO Basics
- Link Building for Off-Page SEO
- Content & E.A.T.
- Develop and Nurture Relationships
Off-Page SEO Basics
What is Off-Page SEO?
You’re probably thinking links, right?
While linking is an undeniably important part of this technique, it’s not all of it.
Off-page SEO refers to all the activities that take place outside your website to raise your site’s rankings.
That could well be a backlink. It could also mean increased social media engagement or branded searches.
So, how does that help your rank in search engines?
Basically, it tells search engines like Google how others feel about your website. The more (quality) links and comments pointing back to your site, the more likely Google is to assume it’s a quality site and therefore, rank it higher.
Why is it Important?
For the same reason, any other kind of SEO is important. it helps improve your rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Beyond that, it also builds brand-name awareness.
On-Page vs. Off-Page
On-page SEO focuses on improving your website so that it’s optimized for search engines. It usually involves the proper use of H1 tags, configuring a sitemap, making use of schema markup, and more.
Off-page SEO focuses on optimization techniques that happen outside of your website. It includes backlink-building, social media marketing, guest blogging, and more.
Link Building for Off-Page SEO
Link Building How-Tos
With link building, the goal is to get as many links as possible in order to rank higher than your competitors. The more backlinks you acquire, the better the authority. The most common link building tactics include:
- Business directory submissions
- Blog directories
- Article directories
- Forum signatures
- Posting to forums
- Link inserts
- Guest blogging
- Care studies
- Link exchanges
- Image link building
- Broken link building
- Unlinked mentions
Build a Robust Internal Linking System
A solid internal linking strategy prepares your site for external SEO activities. Basically, it forms a funnel effect.
If someone follows a link back to your site, you want to make sure that page is optimized and leads them to other pages on your site.
Remove Bad Links
You want to avoid bad links in your off-page SEO strategy, and remove them if you’ve already got them. For some off-SEO tips, this means staying away from:
- Overusing the same anchor text
- Any backlink designed to manipulate PageRank
- Article directories
- Automatically generated backlinks
- Bookmark websites
- Comment or forum spam
- Foreign language sites
- Irrelevant backlinks
- Links hidden in code
- & so much more
You can get the full rundown of bad links here. Removing bad links is an integral part of any off-page SEO endeavor. It helps clean up your backlink profile and position yourself as a more reputable site that search engines will view as worthy of ranking.
In short, it’s not just the links you gain. It’s also the links you avoid.
Create a Solid Backlink Strategy
This post is full of backlink strategies.
Your job is deciding which will work for you, and combining them into one cohesive online marketing strategy.
There are three main types of links: natural links manually built links or self-created links.
Natural links refer to organic links that are put on websites without the direct intention of manipulating the rankings of Google
Manually link building involves reaching out to influencers and website owners and asking to be linked by them.
There is also a variety of link attributes to consider:
- rel=”sponsored”: Designed to highlight sponsored and affiliate links.
- rel=”ugc”: Recommended for links that feature user-generated content.
- rel=”nofollow”: Provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines not to follow a link. However, Google treats this as more of a “hint” than a direct mandate.
Interested in learning more?
DIVE DEEPER: 32 Quick Ways to Boost Your Backlink Strategy
Monitor Your Backlinks
Part of staying on top of your external SEO is to keep tabs on how many backlinks you have and how many you gain over a period of time.
Using these, you’ll be able to see and monitor all the backlinks pointing to your website. This allows you to monitor the quality of the links and make sure they’re the ones you want, as well as make any corrections to broken links, etc.
For businesses that are reliant on local clients, local SEO is key. That’s why you need to optimize your Google My Business page and ensure consistency across the board when it comes to your contact info. These also act as important sources of backlinks.
Check for Broken Links on Other Sites
A broken link building off-page SEO strategy works like this: analyze the links on someone’s site (hopefully an influencer or thought leader in your niche), find any broken links and contact the site owner about them.
To really reap the benefits, prepare your own content that fills the broken link you found. That way, when you reach out to the site owner you can suggest it be filled with your article.
Or, simply ask that the site include a link back to yours in return for pointing out their dead links.
Why does this work? Because no one likes broken links, and too many 404 pages are a quick way to turn potential customers off your brand.
You’ve essentially done the work for them by evaluating their links, so chances are they’ll be more than happy to do you a favor in return.
Content & E.A.T.
Create Consistent, High-Quality Content
This one’s generally geared more towards on-page SEO.
But if you want people to link back to your site, you have to give them a reason.
Quality content is the best way to do that. Ensure that your website is loaded with relevant, interesting content that is of the highest quality will help keep visitors on your site.
Focus on Unique Content
The most intriguing content is unexpected.
So don’t be afraid to create pieces that are funny or shocking. According to Moz, content that creates emotions like awe and anger is far more likely to be shared.
But uniqueness doesn’t come from tone alone. Offering a new opinion, thought, or breakdown of a subject is unique. Including original images is unique. Changing up the format is unique. When it comes down to it, what you really don’t want is for your content to sound just like everyone else.
Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Niche
You’ll grow a stronger audience and create more quality connections if you first establish your expertise in your brand niche.
The more expertise you’re given, the more value will be assigned to the content you produce. Ultimately, that will result in more people sharing and linking to it.
To establish thought leadership, make sure your content is relevant and authoritative. Participate in AMAs (as me anything) on Reddit and Q&As on Twitter to solidify your reputation and gain a more loyal following.
Offer Your Expertise to Universities
Google is all about high-quality, reputable links. This is why generating as many .edu links as possible is a great way to increase your rank.
To do so, reach out to universities and colleges to offer your expertise. Look at any programs that align with your business or industry, and offer any resources or reference material you have that would be helpful.
Create an Outreach Campaign
Make sure your content reaches the right people by creating an outreach campaign.
If you’ve been participating in social media and industry-related conversations, you should be aware of some of the major influencers (and more importantly, they should be aware of you.)
If not, a little research will uncover any major bloggers or thought leaders in your niche. Once you’ve penned a piece that you think will interest them, send an email or direct message to see if they’d be interested in sharing your post.
I recommend keeping a Google spreadsheet of all relevant influencers for each category of your business. And remember – always follow up! An initial email can easily end up in the trash bin, so always have a follow-up email ready to go.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to personalize the email right from the beginning. The more it sounds like a canned letter, the more likely it is to end up in the trash (or worse, spam). This means you’ve got to do your research on all your recipients. It sounds tedious, but just takes a couple of minutes per person and you’re good to go.
Create Original Guides, Posts and Studies
An original study, checklist, or how-to guide is great for building backlinks as part of an off-page SEO strategy.
If your content is original and relevant, you’re much more likely to gain links because the internet isn’t already saturated with the information.
So, if you do an original study with original data, bloggers and writers will likely cite it. Which means they’ll have to include a link back to your original study.
It doesn’t necessarily mean taking on a major workload; running a survey through Google Forms or Survey Monkey can help you collect the necessary information.
Here’s a simple trick—writing a review or testimonial on a peer’s product is an easy way to gain a link and propel your off-page SEO strategy.
Why? Because they’ll most likely include a link back to your website with your review.
Guest blogging has long been one of the most effective ways to build links.
To get started, you’ll need to follow a few steps:
- Clearly identify your niche.
- Fill your blog with quality, industry-related posts.
- Identify top bloggers in your field and any publications they’ve guest blogged for.
- Look for any related blogs with a “submit post” or similar option.
- Once you’ve identified a few to pitch for, clearly state to them your expertise, your idea and a link to your own blog.
Here are a few guest blogging statistics:
- Guest posting ensures an 80% increase in both organic and referral traffic.
- Guest posting brings 3x more leads closer to conversion.
- 6% of bloggers publish guest posts on other blogs as part of their core blogging efforts.
And remember; quality is especially important here. Don’t throw together a blog simply for the links. Take your time and craft a solid piece for your guest blog, and the links will follow.
It’s no secret that video is the newest – YouTube alone receives over 30 million visitors a day.
This makes it an ideal means to get your name (and link) out there.
Start by simply including links in your channel and video descriptions. It’s the second-largest search engine in the world (not to mention owned by Google), which means your videos should be treated like any other optimized content.
Include keywords and make sure your videos are high quality. Build your page with relevant videos and links to more in-depth content, and you’re likely to see a big return.
Slideshare often gets overlooked, but it can be a valuable addition to your off-page SEO plan.
Why? Because Google really likes SlideShare.
So make sure your account is optimized with keywords and links to your website as well as your other social media accounts.
If you have the capacity to create high-quality images (and especially infographics), you should absolutely do so.
Not just because they’re quickly one of the best ways to relay information – 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%) – but because they’re also effective at leading customers to your site.
Optimize your images accordingly and require attribution in your creative commons agreement; that way, when someone shares your image a link will be included on every page the image is on.
Monitor Roundup Posts to Identify Similar Content
Roundup posts are useful for many reasons; the most obvious being they keep you up-to-date on the happenings in your industry.
But beyond that, it’s a great way to monitor what kind of news is relevant and create posts that fit.
Then, it’s a matter of reaching out and pitching your post to the author of the roundup.
Once included, you’ll gain exposure to multiple new audiences.
Develop and Nurture Relationships
Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Google has spoken: no, social media is not a direct ranking factor when it comes to SEO.
But when it comes to SEO outside of your website, it’s certainly an indirect one.
It goes like this: you write a great piece of content and share it on Facebook (or Twitter, LinkedIn, what have you).
Because it’s great, this content generates many shares and links (and as we know, links are a direct ranking factor.) The number of links and shares it’s gaining registers with Google, causing the content to move up in the SERPs.
In order to capitalize on the indirect benefits of social media, you need a solid strategy, presence, and content plan.
There is a lot that goes into creating a respectable social media presence for your brand. A few key elements to keep in mind are the following:
- Be consistent – Post high-quality content regularly and interact with your followers by responding to comments.
- Be proactive – To generate brand trust and create loyal customers, you need to be viewed as more than just a seller of goods or services. You need to be recognized as a reliable source for the online community that you are in.
- Be human – When you are answering questions and comments, always write in a natural-speaking way. No one wants to talk to a robot, so don’t talk to your audience like one.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media, but incorporating these off-SEO tips into your strategy for SEO outside of your website can go a long way.
Follow this guide below to learn how to start your social strategy.
Connect With Influencers
What’s an influencer? Someone with an almost cult-like following – usually on social media – whose posts generate hundreds, even thousands of likes and shares and command a fiercely loyal audience.
And you can tap into that audience using influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is reaching out and exposing your brand to a whole new audience through a social media influencer.
Think about it; if someone you trust recommends a new brand to you, you’re probably more likely to take their advice than random Google searches.
That’s the core of influencer marketing, and it generally involves a 3-step process:
- Identify an influencer
- Reach out to them
- Convince them to participate in or share a piece of your content
The result? More links to your pages from quality sources.
Read more about how to target and contact influencers in the article below.
Reach out to the Media
Another way to get included in quality publications? Reach out to journalists with recommendations.
Sites like Help A Reporter (HARO) are designed specifically for this.
Through it, journalists submit requests for contributions on a certain subject. If it matches your expertise, respond with an answer and a request to link back to your site.
Contact the Right People
To follow up on my last point, make sure you’re finding the right people to contact.
This begins with your initial research. Make sure that as you find your influencers, you’re looking at more than just follower count.
Look at how engaged the following is, and who they are. Just because someone operates in the same industry doesn’t necessarily mean that their target audience is the same as yours, so take the time to narrow down only the most relevant influencers.
Once you do have them, it’s time to find the right person to contact.
Don’t rely on generic info@ emails; really dig into their website and available information to identify the person most likely to help you get a link on their page.
Comment and Interact on Forums and Blogs
This connects in a way to thought leadership.
While commenting itself won’t automatically gain a link (don’t do comment links), it will get your name recognized in important circles.
So, identify popular blogs in your industry, and make a point to leave comments.
Same with popular forums like Reddit and Quora. If you have a relevant comment to add, do so. It may catch the eye of the blogger or influencer who may be reading.
Participating in industry chats will help your name recognition and begin to build relationships with influencers who may link to you in the future.
Hold Events and Giveaways
Staging an event or giveaway is a great way to generate press and interest in your business.
And if you put information on your website, it’s also a great way to generate links back to your event page.
Link to Others – And Let Them Know
It’s natural to include links to others in your content.
You do it because you find that content particularly relevant or useful to your audience and helps support your article.
So why not let the author know? Not only will it help build a relationship, but they may return the favor with a link to your site in the future.
Get More External Links, without Sacrificing
Believe it or not, you can achieve quantity without sacrificing all those other SEO to-dos that keep you in line. In fact, I’ve designed a full-on off-page SEO strategy that helps you get 50 links a month using just 6 steps.
Many of them are listed on this off-page SEO strategy resource you’re reading right now. But if you want a concise resource to share with your team, this is it. From unlinked mentions to pitching stories, you’re basically guaranteed to earn tens of links each month to help build out a robust backlink profile worth emulating.
And if you’re looking for another strategy, here’s one that helped Brian Dean of Backlinko garner more than 1,000 links!
You don’t have to be part of an organization literally dedicated to backlinks to achieve this, either. It’s totally approachable, and one anyone can implement if they have the gusto.
Quality Links Reign Supreme
Not all external links for SEO are created equal. You want to partner with sites that have got attention for all the right reasons so you get the best links for SEO.
And that’s exactly what link building is really about: relationships. You provide content to work with, they link back to you, and vice versa. For your off-page SEO strategy to work, you’re going to need to focus on powerful links for SEO, which means securing quality professional relationships (even over the web).
Wrapping Up the Off-Page SEO Checklist
An off-page SEO strategy is an integral part of optimizing your website and attracting an audience.
The strategies above will help you put your own linking plan in place and build relationships that will ultimately end in an increase in links for SEO and web traffic.
And keep in mind, there are many more options.
The most important thing is to find out what is effective for your niche.
We help websites build thousands of links for SEO each year. If you need help with your off-page SEO strategy, reach out or leave a comment.