Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the talk of the town amongst business owners, and for a good reason. How a business ranks on search engines like Google has direct implications on the number and quality of leads they can generate, and leads are the lifeline of any business because they lead to more clients or customers.
While much attention is often given to on-page SEO, off-page SEO is a critical component of any successful search SEO strategy.
If a site owner wants their site to rank well on Google and boost the brand's exposure and organic search traffic, it is essential to look beyond just the site and its content.
This guide discusses off-page SEO in great depth to help website owners get a good understanding of what it is, why it is so essential for improving their Google search ranking, and how to use it effectively to increase traffic to their website ranking and improve their brand identity.
What Is Off-page SEO?
The term "off-page SEO" (also known as "off-site SEO") involves actions that have been taken outside of a website to influence its ranking in search engine results pages or SERPs. Together with on-page SEO, off-page SEO includes many fundamental SEO factors that help a site rank high.
This means that if a website owner reached out to another site to ask them to link with them, this link building is known as off-page SEO because it occurred without the website owner having to make any change to their website.
If an action is not entirely under a site owner's control, then it is likely an off-page SEO tactic. An example would be posting an advertisement on social media. The company has no control over who can comment, what they say, or whether they share the post.
Off-site ranking optimization entails improving the search engine's and user's perceptions of a site's prominence, relevance, integrity, and authority. This is achieved by other reputable locations (web pages, websites, and people) linking to, or promoting a website to vouch for its quality.
Off-page SEO Relevance
Google considers many off-page factors when it decides how a page ranks. This means that focusing on optimizing content alone is not an excellent way to improve search engine ranking.
While search algorithms and the factors that influence how a site ranks are changing so often, the SEO community agrees that the relevance, authority, and trustworthiness that effective off-page SEO provides a website continue to play a significant role in a web page's ability to rank well.
It is true that Google's complete algorithm remains unknown, it is no secret that off-page SEO accounts for approximately 50 percent of the ranking factor weight. It is commonly assumed that link building is the only off-page SEO tactic that should be used to get an advantage over the competition.
However, branding, content marketing, social media marketing, citation building, and other similar strategies all play a significant role in a comprehensive SEO strategy.
According to the basic definition of off-page SEO, any changes made that do not involve making direct changes to the website, which includes the publishing of new content, are included.
These external signals aid both users and search engines in determining the authority or authenticity of a website. They are also used to determine whether a site is relevant and trustworthy.
Technical SEO also plays a vital role in an SEO strategy, as does on-page SEO, so it is important to understand the difference between on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO for Search Engines
To obtain a comprehensive understanding of what each term is, they are discussed individually below.
On-page SEO refers to the strategies that are employed on a website to help search engines such as Google and Bing to better understand and rank its content. It includes everything from creating SEO-optimized content to optimizing title, heading, and meta tags. It also includes optimizing images and internal linking.
As already discussed, off-page SEO refers to strategies that are implemented away from a website. Off-page tactics such as link building are commonly thought to be the most important.
However, they also include content marketing, podcast appearances, social media advertising, building local citations, receiving reviews, and more.
Technical SEO refers to the aspects of a website that have a direct impact on search engine crawling and indexing. Several people have argued that it is an example of on-page SEO. However, technical SEO has been widely regarded as a distinct discipline in its own right.
Canonicalization, site speed optimization, hreflang, structured data, and other techniques are all classified as technical SEO.
Trying to decide between these three types is akin to deciding whether to build the wall, ceiling, or foundation of a building. There is no other option.
Likewise, those hoping to improve their online ranking must work on all three aspects.
This article focuses on off-page SEO tactics and how to use them effectively.
Off-page SEO Techniques to Employ
Site owners who wish to improve their ranking on Google and other search engines can use an off-page SEO strategy in conjunction with on-page and technical SEO to rank at the top of search engine results pages. Here are some off-page factors to take into consideration when contemplating off-site SEO.
1. Link Building: Arguably the Most Important Off-page SEO Tactic
Given the importance of linking in Google's algorithm, building natural links should be the foundation of any off-page SEO strategy. However, it is essential to understand how to use link building effectively as an off-page tactic.
One of the significant purposes of off-page SEO is to increase the authority of a website or company. Links from authoritative websites can help establish a site's authority, as they boost confidence from one site to another.
The primary goal of link building must be to obtain high-quality links from authoritative websites. Always prioritize the quality of the links over the number of links included. It is essential to understand the gap in links between a business's site and the site of its competitors.
It is true that link building as an off-page tactic entails more than merely targeting authoritative sites and getting an authoritative site to link with other sites is no easy task.
When building links, there are a few important factors to take into consideration. They are:
The site's authority
Finding unique domains
No-follow versus do-follow
Here is a more in-depth explanation of these factors:
The importance of authority in links has already been established, but what gives a website more authority over another? An authority score is often used to grade the quality or authority of a site.
It takes into consideration the quality and quantity of its domain's backlinks, the number of referring IPs and domains, follow versus no-follow links, its organic search traffic, and its number of users.
Google used to provide public PageRank scores, but it has stopped doing so. While there is no exact copy of PageRank, there are a few equivalent metrics available, one of which is Ahrefs' URL Rating.
On a scale of 0 to 100, UR reflects the quality of a target URL's backlink profile. Web owners can copy and paste the URL of a web page into Ahrefs Site Explorer to see its authority score.
The quantity of linking root domains that point to a business's website is an important metric of link-building success, even more so than the number of backlinks it has.
Several studies have found a strong link between the number of linking domains and increased rankings. As part of an SEO strategy, website owners should focus on domain diversity.
Backlinks function as votes. If a website receives off-page SEO links, it is a reflection of the quality of its content or business. However, not all votes are the same.
The website or web page's relevance is also an important consideration, so business owners should aim for natural links that are relevant to their website or content.
If a pharmaceutical company gets a link from a science blog, it carries more weight than a link from a finance blog or website. Choosing between authority and relevance depends on each case, and most experts are conflicted on which matters more.
However, the relevance of a link is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on a link-building tactic.
There is a definite correlation between the traffic to a website's referring pages and their ranking. This indicates that web pages with more organic traffic carry more weight than much less traffic, so web owners should aim to include natural links to pages that receive high traffic volumes.
Suppose a business wishes to replicate its competitors' backlinks or use a link-building strategy like the Skyscraper Technique. In that case, it can quickly do so with organic traffic to prioritize and use links from some of the most valuable pages.
While it is sensible to prefer links from popular pages with lots of traffic, there is no evidence suggesting that links from less popular pages with little to no traffic are worthless. If the ages have relevance and some degree of authority, they should be pursued.
The words on a page that users can click onto take them to another web page are referred to as anchor text. Backlinks with anchor text related to the web page's overall topic are likely to influence its rankings.
Unfortunately, using white-hat methods to build links doesn't give website owners much control over the anchors of the links they earn. However, guest blogging is an exception to this rule.
Fortunately, most people tend to link in relevant and natural ways. If an article is about food, the possibilities of someone else linking with food-related anchor text are high.
No-follow Versus Do-follow
Because Google does not transfer PageRank across no-followed links, it is important to prioritize the creation of followed or "do-follow" links.
The majority of links on the internet are followed links. However, some websites, such as Forbes, "no-follow" most or all outbound links. Therefore, if the webmaster is actively building links from a specific website, it is essential to ensure that their outbound links are followed.
To do this, the no-follow Chrome extension can be installed. It showcases no-follow links on a web page.
No-follow links can also be filtered, so only do-follow links are seen, which is helpful when prioritizing backlinking.
The truth is that no-followed links still have value. They can generate referral traffic, which can help SEO indirectly. However, if a website owner is putting a great deal of time and resources into link building, prioritizing these efforts is an excellent idea.
2. Content Marketing
Most people think of content marketing as an on-page tactic in the form of the creation and publishing of content on a website.
However, when viewed holistically, content marketing encompasses both on-page and off-page tactics. Creating high-quality content on a website is only one aspect of content marketing, and any content that a website owner makes and publishes anywhere on the internet qualifies as content marketing.
This includes guest posting on someone else's website and publishing infographics linked to by a major newspaper. Apart from guest posts and infographics, the creation of whitepapers, surveys, studies, eBooks, and research papers all count as off-site SEO content marketing.
Content marketing is an off-page SEO tactic that is closely related to social media, link building, and public relations, as well as brand building.
In simple terms, if a website owner has a quality piece of content, they should share it with others.
3. Public Relations
Public relations (PR) and SEO were often thought to be two separate marketing disciplines, but they have recently been viewed as one marketing venture.
Because it is the ideal way to earn authority links at scale, digital PR has quickly become the link-building tactic of choice for several SEOs.
Individuals can use public relations tactics to endorse a great story and its associated linkable assets, and as a result, they can earn a large number of links.
PR makes a significant contribution to off-page SEO signals in ways other than merely assisting in link building. An excellent public relations campaign can also boost brand awareness and increase the number of brand searches as a result.
It also brings a company's name to the attention of its target audience to get them talking about it while also increasing referral traffic.
PR establishes a company as a thought leader in its industry and aids in the development of trust signals, which promotes off-page optimization and helps websites rank better in search results.
4. Brand Building
It is now common knowledge that Google rewards well-established brands, so much attention should be given to building a strong and effective brand.
Therefore, brand building should be an important part of a business's overall marketing and SEO strategy, and an important off-page SEO tactic.
Branding building contributes to the development of a website's online authority, helping it rank high in search results and users' eyes.
Here are a few things to consider regarding brand building.
An improvement in brand searches is one of the most powerful indicators that a business is building a successful brand. This could include searches for the company's name, merchandise, or domain name.
Business owners can enter the brand name into the Keyword Overview tool to get an idea of how its branded searches have changed over the years.
Brand-building efforts are also important because of brand SERPs.
SERPs are the search results that appear when a user searches for a brand name. These search criteria are critical touchpoints for both users and technology and are thus essential for any business.
Business owners should be monitoring, assessing, and working to improve them on a regular basis.
The first page of results that appear for the search query shows how well Google understands a particular brand and the subsequent two or three pages of results show Google's evaluation of the brand's credibility. Because of this, it has become a critical off-page SEO tactic.
5. Local SEO
Local SEO is a comprehensive discipline of SEO. However, a few elements include important off-page SEO tactics, two of which are citations and Google My Business (GMB).
A citation is an online reference to a business that usually includes the business name and its name, address, and other details such as the business phone number. Citations may be considered digital business listings.
Local businesses hoping to rank well for geographically focused search terms on standard SERPs cannot dismiss the importance of citations, as they can be regarded as one of the most important off-page ranking factors.
Consistency is one of the most important ways to win with citations, as inconsistent citations indicate a lack of coherence. Therefore, it is critical that business owners take the time to ensure that all their NAP references correspond.
6. Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business is an important part of almost any local company's online presence, and it can be easy to overlook the fact that optimizing a web page and having it rank on Google's map pack is an off-page SEO tactic.
This is because GMB is not a company's website, and all efforts that concentrate on anything other than the site are considered off-page. The truth is that if a business does not appear among local GMB results, one of its competitors does.
Because for years, SEOs have used spamming forums and other UGC platforms to create links (more as a way to build poor links), many people's attention has shifted away from forums entirely. However, as previously stated, off-page SEO involves more than just links.
Forums can add value to a marketing strategy. Rather than using forums for link building, a different approach should be used.
Web owners should consider using them to get actively engaged in conversations about their particular expertise, in order to establish themselves as a specialist.
Few other platforms allow users to engage in constructive communication with potential clients who are already inquiring about what the business has to offer, and this is an excellent way to start building a good rapport amongst the target market.
With a little dedication and determination, a business can quickly develop a solid community and degree of confidence from forum members.
Forums such as Reddit and Quora are important large-scale channels to use, but smaller niche-specific forums can be just as impactful.
Because forums have dropped in popularity, there is a good possibility that competitors steer clear of them, which makes achieving success through forums that much easier.
8. Social Media
Social media has a significant impact on how consumers use the internet and look for solutions to their questions. They are even used as a kind of search engine where users can have their questions answered.
However, social media advertising does not have a direct impact on a brand or website's ranking on a search engine. Consider social media platforms to rather be search engines and platforms where users can go to discover or find out more about the brand. Social media presence can help businesses gain recognition from potential clients.
These platforms are also frequently used as a means of providing customer service. A customer can contact a company with a question or query, often first through social media as opposed to other points of contact.
Maintaining a strong social media presence, communicating in a professional manner, and treating social media platforms as another channel to grow a brand that both prospective clients can use as a component of their sales journey is critical.
Good social media presence can affect search engine rankings because as businesses gain more popularity on these platforms, more people visit their website, which helps improve rankings.
9. Content Syndication
To supplement their own original articles, a publication company may look to syndicate content from other sources. They do this because it is much simpler than constantly creating new content.
Content is frequently syndicated across sites that are part of networks owned by television or radio groups. However, publishers are beginning to use this to increase the amount of content that goes live on their site daily. Syndication can help organizations to improve their reach and readership.
A brand's online reputation is incredibly important to its success, and users are more inclined to use a service or buy a tried and trusted product. 93 percent of users have admitted that reviews have a significant influence on their decisions when it comes to buying.
When it comes down to it, off-page SEO is all about building a company's brand and generating signals that depict it as a reputable business that deserves a top SERPs ranking.
A company that has received positive feedback on third-party platforms such as Trustpilot is establishing itself as a brand. Good online reviews boost conversions and consumers' trust in the brand.
11. Influencer Advertising or Marketing
Influencer marketing is another off-page SEO method, as it does not deal directly with a business's website and takes on a variety of forms.
A few years ago, the strategy was solely about bloggers doing sponsored content. This is changing now, as influencer marketing becomes more about YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
Businesses should use influencer advertising to build links only if these are nofollowed links. Influencer marketing can be a fantastic way to build a brand, intensify content, and reach more customers.
Like online reviews, influencer marketing helps a brand establish trust because consumers want to know that a brand's products do precisely what they say they do. If someone like them recommends the products, they are a lot more likely to buy them, so this is an off-page SEO tactic that can truly boost sales and brand identity.
It can also serve to improve a brand's prevalence on social media platforms, which are search engines in their own rite.
Events are another great item to add to an off-page SEO marketing strategy.
The number of online events occurring on a daily basis, such as webinars, is greater than ever before, and they can help businesses to build their brand.
Thanks to the pandemic and the growing digitization of activities, more people are working from home and conducting most of their tasks online, so hosting online events is a great way to reach people during this period.
Online events help to engage audiences and can help to create a buzz about the company and its products or services, which subsequently drives other off-page SEO factors such as social engagement and even links.
A great way to host online meetups is using Meetup.com, a search engine that helps users find local online events.
Do not rule out using events as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. They do need time and effort to set up effectively, but when done correctly, they can create brand recognition that may be hard to get using other methods. Events are also an excellent way to get PR coverage.
Podcasts are extremely popular right now, and their audience is growing every month. In reality, 44 percent of people in the US have listened to a podcast at least once in their lifetime, and 73 million people tune in on a monthly basis.
They are important, and businesses that are not incorporating them into their marketing strategy may be missing out on significant opportunities.
Because most companies are not making use of podcasts as part of their strategy, this is a great off-page SEO tactic to use to achieve a competitive advantage. New audiences can be reached through podcasts, and business owners can share their expertise to gain visibility on search engines other than Google.
Apple Podcasts is another search engine where users can search for podcasts, allowing them to find applicable podcasts using keywords that they enter. Other such search engines include Google Podcasts and Listen Notes.
Organizations that acknowledge that off-page SEO covers search engines other than just Google are inevitably those that find success in building a strong brand and discovering ways to reach their potential market regardless of the platform they use.
14. Guest Posts
Guesting posting involves writing content for another website. When done correctly, it can play a part in a marketing strategy in ways other than simply for building links. It is all about composing content in a way that provides value to the audience of that website.
However, it remains one of the most effective off-page factors for link-building. This off-page SEO strategy can help a business owner put their brand before an intended audience, send relevant traffic to its website, and establish a business owner as an expert in their field.
Links should not be the only purpose for guest posting, but they are a great added bonus if they do occur.
The ultimate focus of guest posting is to reach new viewers, get in front of the traffic on a related website, and build the brand. When approaching this off-page SEO tactic with this mindset, it can become an extremely beneficial way to improve traffic to a website.
The Bottom Line
Search engine optimization comprises three essential components, namely on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
In order for businesses to maximize their website traffic and improve their brand, it is essential to use off-page SEO efforts as part of a diversified approach to their SEO marketing strategy.
Building a successful brand is essential for SEO success. Off-page SEO has changed from focusing purely on driving signals that influence search engine rankings to becoming more about optimization, creating content, and building a good rapport on search engines other than Google.
To stand out from competitive markets, employing off-page strategies is crucial and can be the difference between establishing a unique brand and becoming just another item on a search engine results page.
Business owners can benefit from going in with a brand-first approach to make impactful use of off-page SEO tactics.