Removing broken links, optimising content, conducting keyword research to identify you are targeting your customers’ search queries, fixing issues with your page load speed – these are tried and tested tactics in any search engine optimisation strategy.
But, if you want to get technical about it, all those elements written above fall in the ‘on-page’ SEO category. They are efforts you take within your own website to prepare it for Google and try to increase your rank on the search engine results page through organic forces.
So, what’s ‘off-page’ SEO, apart from the obvious definition of tactics taken outside of your website. And how much does off-page SEO really matter in digital marketing?
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Off-Page SEO In A Nutshell
When Google decides the hierarchy of the results in the SERPs, it takes into account various ranking factors that are descriptive of the websites’ user experience, relevancy to the query, and site quality.
A lot of these ranking factors are ‘on-page’, meaning they target key issues that are found on the site itself. However, Google also looks outside the borders of the website to gain an even better sense of what the website is, who it is for, and how good it really is.
Optimising for these off-site ranking factors mostly involves tactics that improve your site’s popularity, trustworthiness, relevance, and authority, both for the user and the search engine.
Does Off-Page SEO Really Matter?
It does, and quite a lot! While Google doesn’t (and probably never will) tell marketers exactly how much each ranking factor weighs into the grand scheme of ranking, we can deduce the importance of off-page SEO if we just consider how Google runs its business.
In short, Google wants to offer its users a good user experience. When you search for something on the search engine, you don’t have to worry about having to click on dangerous links or end up on pages without relevant content. You know that Google values quality content, trustworthy sites that will help you address your needs.
So it stands to reason that in order to offer these quality sites, Google must look at the site’s reputation outside of the boundaries of the site itself. Off-page SEO factors are very telling of a site’s reputation if you consider that, at least in theory, sites don’t have full control over them.
For instance, you can have great content because you’ve put in the work, hired amazing writers, and are conducting a quality content strategy. But, outside of your site are the user reviews (one of the off-page SEO factors), which you can’t really control. People will share their experiences with you, your brand, product, and services.
So, does that mean off-page SEO is completely out of your control? Not exactly, as there are plenty of tactics you can use to improve your off-page SEO and boost your ranking on the results page.
Below, we’ll look at the main off-page SEO ranking factors, and how to approach them in your overall digital marketing strategy.
1. Link Building
Building links is one of the main tactics in any off-page SEO strategy. Search engines rely on backlinks, in particular, to get a better sense of your site’s quality, so a site that has many high-quality backlinks has the potential of ranking a lot better than a site of equal quality, but little to no such links.
There are three main types of links, depending on how you earn them:
- Natural links – it means others link to your website without you having to ask for it. For example, if you conduct market research and provide some insights into your industry, others may link to that research when writing about a similar topic. You’ve earned a natural link simply by providing quality content;
- Manually-built links – these are the ones you earn through various link building tactics, such as when you’re running an influencer marketing campaign and the influencer links to your site on in a blog post or their social media;
- Self-created links – these are the ones you create through various means, such as setting up a profile on an online directory relevant to your business (such as Tripadvisor if you have a cafe). While they can add some fuel to your link-building tactics, it’s important not to focus too much on them, as they’re not nearly as powerful as the other two.
While internal links help users navigate through your website, these backlinks could potentially bring additional high-quality traffic to yours, from reputable sources. There are many other great benefits of building links, but not all links are made equal. Google will look into certain factors when deciding the quality of a backlink:
- How popular the site that hosts the link is
- Whether the linking site’s blog post or content is related to yours
- The anchor text used to link to your site
- How trustworthy is the linking site
- The other links on the web page
So it’s important to focus your link-building tactics on earning good, high-quality links from reputable sources for any backlinking strategy to truly work. Some different ways to do it can include:
- Influencer marketing
- Blogger outreach
- PR campaigns to encourage media coverage
- Offline events that will also gather some media attention
- Guest posting, etc.
2. Be Active (and Good) on Social media
Another off-page SEO technique to add to your strategy involves social media. Not just a phase or trend anymore, social media has the potential of genuine, real, amazing business results – in fact, now you can even sell directly on Facebook and increase your revenue without a lengthier consumer funnel.
While it’s not necessarily true that activity on social media helps you rank higher in the search engine results pages, being active on these platforms and growing a community around your brand helps improve trust and loyalty.
Additionally, you need to ensure that brand mentions can count as links, meaning that when you are active on these platforms to the extent where people start tagging your name, you’ve essentially earned a natural link.
Here are a few tips on improving your social media activity to drive better off-SEO results:
- Engage with your followers directly – comments, reviews, brand mentions, these are all opportunities for you to engage with your followers directly. Most brands only keep an eye on their direct messages, but consumers might take a more public approach to engage with you;
- Reach out to influencers – many influencers come with an amazingly active social media following, so it’s a very good idea to reach out to them and ask them to help you spread the word regarding your product or service;
- Offer something meaningful – consider social media as opportunities to actually give your audience something, and don’t just post whatever comes to mind. Results are much more impressive when brands use social media to encourage direct engagement, as opposed to simply posting links from their website. Focus on videos, images, and even live videos to offer your following content that is exclusive to your social channels.
3. Become a Blogger
If blogging is a way to add additional high-quality content to your website, that’s good for on-page SEO, but you’re ignoring the off-page component.
It’s a good idea to share some of your wisdom and unique insights into your industry with readers/followers that turn to other websites. For one thing, it’s a way to build manual links that are still seen as more reputable than online directories.
But, it also helps to build trust with new audiences through sharing your expertise. When you write a blog post for another platform, it’s important to consider:
- The target audience of that platform
- The topics you can offer more insights and personal experience
- Adding genuine value for the reader
- Finding a way to sneak in your expertise and brand strengths, but without coming across as too ‘salesy’
Also, don’t just turn to any WordPress blog for this task. Remember, the websites you associate with are indicative of your own site quality, so it’s essential to contact high-quality blogs and platforms with good traffic to ask if they’d be interested in hosting a column written by you.
4. Be Active on Forums
Forums like Reddit, Quora, or industry-specific forums are powerful tools you can use to discover what your potential customers are talking about.
Marketers can turn to these threads to identify the pain points of consumers, or even pick up a few keywords that would be worth targeting on the site, right in the title tag, but it can also help you promote your brand.
Of course, there’s an art to it. You can’t simply reply to a consumer question with ‘my brand has the answer, click the link here’. Instead, try to offer them a more detailed explanation or insights that will genuinely help them.
For instance, let’s say you offer landscaping services. You can go on these forums and look for people who have any questions, doubts, or other queries about your industry, and start talking to them. But, you’re not looking for the ‘do you know a good landscaper?’ kind of threads.
Instead, you’re looking for people who need help, such as:
- Tips on how to make their garden thrive
- Guidance on choosing the best soil for particular plants
- Answers on how pricing in the landscape industry works
- Stories about bad experiences, or frustrations with other landscapers
Once you identify these threads, you can add your two cents. Try to forget that you’re trying to promote your business, and think of yourself as just another forum user with a bit more knowledge and expertise of the industry. Once you fully answer their questions, you can of course give a shoutout to your own business, but never make your business the focus point!
5. Try Influencer Marketing
We know we mentioned reaching out to influencers as part of the link-building tactics to try, but in today’s marketing landscape influencers hold so much weight that it’s worth looking at how this specific off-page SEO technique helps your page ranking.
Around 89% of marketers say influencer marketing ROI is as good or even better than other marketing channels. You can find influencers in every industry imaginable, all of whom bring something very important to the table:
An engaged audience.
By collaborating with these influencers, you are achieving two main things:
- You improve brand trust by the association alone. People trust the influencer to make them good recommendations, and if they recommend your brand, that trust is transferred to you
- You get an influx of website traffic, from people who have a genuine curiosity or interest in what you have to offer
Influencer marketing has amazing potential, but some smaller brands may find it a bit outside of their abilities to strike deals with individuals with a very large following. Well, the good news is that you don’t just have to target the big fish!
Micro-influencers are those who might have a smaller audience base, but they are also more likely to put in the effort to make the partnership work. They come with a good enthusiasm and an audience that feels more personally connected to them, so the message of your brand can be a lot more effective!
So don’t feel disheartened by not collaborating with influencers who have 1 million followers. Even those with just 5,000-10,000 people tuning in to their posts and messages have the potential of helping you meet your off-page SEO and even revenue goals.
Can We Help?
SEO, in general, is a long term effort that doesn’t usually come with fast results. This can ring even more true with off-page SEO techniques, which though can be guided to an extent, can take a few months to generate actual results and improve your page rankings.
Australian Internet Advertising is here to make sure those months of waiting aren’t for nothing, with personalised SEO strategies designed to help your business grow, reach the right people in the search engine results pages, and earn more revenue.
We offer great SEO packages so you can choose the exact type of SEO service you need for your business. If you want to learn more about our SEO services, and what we can do to help, reach out to us online or call our team at 1300 304 640 for a chat.