Do you like to think outside the box? Because off-page SEO is all about thinking outside your website.
Off-page SEO is any effort you take outside your website to improve your website's credibility and authority on search engines. This can include activities like building links from other websites, sharing your content on social channels, and engaging with your audience on social media.
The website's credibility and authority play a crucial role in improving a page's visibility on search engines, so focusing on off-page SEO will also positively impact your page's rank on search engines.
On-page SEO is all about improving your pages' quality, content, and user experience, whereas off-page SEO is vouching for your site and building credibility.
The average page at the top of Google search results has over 35,000 external backlinks, which goes to show how important this aspect of off-page SEO can be.
Also, there is a misconception that off-page SEO is only about link building and social media marketing. But there are many other factors like guest posting, forum participation, public relations, and online reputation management that also count towards your off-page SEO score.
In this article, we'll look at these tactics and some of the best practices for building a solid off-page SEO strategy. If you are new here and want a refresher, take a look at our SEO 101 post.
Without any delay, let's look at some of the best practices for off-page SEO.
What is link building
Link building is the process of placing links to your website on other websites. For example, your website has a blog post on tips for safe driving. A website manager at a car showroom company finds your article useful and copies the article link and shares it on their website in a blog post on a related topic.
Readers who want to learn about safe driving tips will click on the link and visit your website. Search engines record the number of users who visit through links on other pages and if there are a lot of people visiting this way, the search engines will consider your website as an important source. This is how the link-building process works.
Link building will happen organically for reputable or well-known websites. But for newly launched websites, this may not be the case. New websites can be hard to notice and don't get much attention, so owners of newly launched sites can ask content creators for more established websites to provide backlinks.
Over time, backlinks from reputable websites will help newly launched websites to gain attention and bring in more traffic.
Why link building
One of the objectives of link building is to improve your website's authority. Website authority is also known as domain rating, as it refers to the strength of the domain in terms of its ranking on search engines. It ranges from 0 to 100. The closer it is to 100, the higher the website's authority.
Links from authoritative websites to your website inform search engines that your website is a credible source and provides useful information to users. Search engines record this and increase your website's authority level.
How to build better links
These steps are for building links on other websites to your website. This involves finding other relevant websites on search engines and reaching out to the websites' owners to ask them to add links to your website.
When it comes to link building, remember the acronym CAR.
C stands for credibility: Linked websites should be trustworthy and a knowledgeable source for your audience.
A stands for authority: Linked websites should have a good website authority score.
R stands for relevance: Linked websites should be relevant to your content and your audience.
You can apply the same CAR criteria when you add links to other pages on your website. Let's see how, starting with relevance:
Step 1 - Relevance
Find websites that are relevant to your business. You can search for keywords or business names on search engines and pick from the listed websites for building your links.
Let's say you sell sports socks. You could find websites that sell sports shoes.
You cannot build links with other websites that sell sports socks because they are your direct competitors.
Step 2 - Authority
In the list of relevant websites that you saved, filter for high authority websites for link building and eliminate websites that don't have a high authority score.
You can use online tools to check the website's authority.
Before calculating the authority score for other pages, calculate your website's authority score. So if your website's authority score is 53, you should always build links from websites that have a score of 60 or above.
Step 3 - Credibility
Once you've filtered the websites that are relevant to your business and have a good domain score, make sure that the content on the websites is credible and reliable. If the website passes the website authority filter, the website is likely to be a credible source.
Once the websites pass the CAR criteria, you can focus on the process of building backlinks.
Step 4 - Write new pieces of content exclusively for building backlinks. Make sure the content is relevant to the pages you shortlisted for building backlinks and publish it on your website.
Step 5 - Find the contact details of the page owners to request backlinks. You can usually find their details in the site's about section or blog section. If not, you can search for the page name on LinkedIn or other social platforms and find out the page owner's contact details.
Share your articles and ask them to insert your article's link in some of their website's content. Links are usually are added to content pieces as anchor text.
This is an anchor text. It displays a phrase, not a URL, and clicking that phrase directs you to another website.
Note: Getting backlinks can be challenging. Keep repeating these five steps until you get good backlinks. Remember, quality is more important in link building than quantity.
Likewise, you can insert links to other relevant sources in your page content. Your readers will find them helpful for exploring more about the topic. You can also link to other articles within your website if you have relevant posts. This method is called interlinking.
Note: There are two types of backlinks: follow and no-follow links.
Follow link: A follow link is a default attribute in the HTML code that allows search engines to index the link and count it for the page's SEO score.
Build follow backlinks if you want search engine crawlers to consider the backlink for improving your SEO score.
No-follow link: A no-follow link is an attribute in the HTML code that informs search engines not to index the link for SEO, but the link still takes you to other website.
Use a no-follow link if you intend to give additional information to users and are not trying to improve SEO by building links.
Warning: Never buy or sell backlinks. Always follow the backlinking process for genuine backlinks. Search engine algorithms may penalize your website for suspicious backlinking practices.
Guest posting is publishing content on other websites to add value for their users. Readers of the other websites may also check out your website if your content delivers significant value to them.
You can reach out to the list of page owners you collected for link building and ask if they would be interested in posting your content on their page.
If they agree, post your content on their page with a couple of backlinks to your website.
Public relations (PR)
Public relations (PR) is the process of managing communications between the public and your brand through newspapers, magazines, and television channels, involving both online and offline media.
The goal of PR is to enhance the brand's visibility and reputation. This results in an increase in brand awareness and recognition and more searches for your company or product.
Some ways to use PR include:
Business launch: If you are starting a new company or opening a new office in another city, good press is one of the fastest ways to get more attention for your new business.
Product launch: The press always has a space for exciting products that can benefit people. Tell your product's story and how it will change people's lives when you are launching a new product to get more attention. For digital publications always ask for a link to your product page from the news website.
Partnerships: Partnerships are newsworthy as they allow the press to announce two or more brands working together to transform the business ecosystem and bring more value to people through their products and services.
Investment: Investing in new ventures or new ideas is news worth spreading. This reflects the brand's vision, and people when they buy a product, they know this brand is owned by you. Next time when you make investments in good ventures, you know what to do.
Thought leadership: Thought leadership is all about giving people useful information and ideas without any call to action or expectation. If you work at a wealth management firm, your thought leadership might be tips for picking the right stock for investment, how to plan a monthly budget or other advice on handling finances.
Best practices for PR
Find the right journalist to cover your story. Not every journalist covers brand stories.
Journalists get tons of stories every day and your story has to stand out to get published. So, craft your stories carefully and articulate your points clearly.
Provide useful assets like high-quality photos, logos, and facts to make the journalist's work easier.
PR is a continuous process. It's not just about a single piece or article, but a series of messages that gain readers' trust. So focus on building a good relationship with the press and journalists as they can be beneficial to your brand.
Off-page SEO is not restricted to links. In influencer marketing, industry experts or celebrities endorse your brand and ask their followers to check out your brand or use your product. Usually, influencers have many followers on social media, and since these followers believe the influencer, they may consider checking out your brand and using your products. This will attract more visitors to your website.
Find the right platform for your business. If your business is B2B, consider LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. If your business is B2C, Instagram and Facebook work well.
Find influencers who are relevant to your business. Reach out to them through the proper channels. Most influencers display their contact information on social channels.
Set your budget and marketing goals clearly.
Measure your marketing progress by giving a unique code to influencers so they can ask their followers to visit your website through that link.
Forums and community management can be the best way to get quality leads, build meaningful relationships with your followers, and improve your SEO score.
Forums like Quora and Reddit allow users to form an online community for shared interests, add people whose interests align with community goals, and ask questions and exchange their thoughts with other community members.
You can join relevant communities by typing terms related to your business into a forum search (say Quora), finding the active spaces, and clicking follow. For the sports socks business, you can type "sports" to find communities on Quora. (In Quora, online communities for shared interests are called spaces)
Once you are accepted and can participate in the spaces, post relevant and valuable content, encourage members to ask questions, answer those questions, and build a better relationship with members.
After winning their trust and friendship, you can share your page articles or backlinks on the forum and ask members to visit your website and check out your products.
Reddit, popularly known as the front page of the internet, is another good option for boosting your off-page SEO score. Here are some of the best practices to market your brand on Reddit:
Create an account for your brand. Find a username that includes both your brand name and keyword. If you sell sports shoes and your brand name is Strong, you might try to get the username: StrongSportsShoes. Redditors who search with keywords can find your product even if they aren't looking for your brand specifically.
Create a meaningful community using subreddits. Subreddits are online communities focused on specific topics. If you sell sports shoes, you can form a subreddit community for athletes or sports enthusiasts.
Keep in mind that communities are intended for attracting like-minded people and not for sales pitches.
Some popular content types on Reddit are: ask me anything (AMA), blogs, news, GIFS, and videos. Create an AMA related to sports, share sports news and blogs, and keep the community fresh and active.
Once you build a solid community, you can share some links on your community to your product page or suggest users try your product for their next game.
Social media management
4.2 billion people use social media (53.6% of the total world population). So by using social media, your brand can reach every corner of the earth.
Note: Social media activities don't directly influence your SEO score as search engines don't crawl your social media pages.
A solid social media presence builds your brand's reputation, bridges the gap between your brand and its customers, and encourages your social media followers to visit your website, positively impacting your off-page SEO score.
To do's on social media
Content repurposing: Create rich content on your website and repurpose it for each medium. You can convert parts of your blog into images and post them on Instagram, or you can make your blog content into videos and post them on YouTube.
Understand the purpose of each medium and repurpose your content accordingly.
Content repurposing helps you to deliver your message more effectively to your audience.
Plan your posts: Find out when your brand's engagement rate is highest on social media. It may be a specific day or time, and it may vary with each platform. Figure out the timing that works best for you, and plan your posting schedule accordingly.
Audience engagement: Talk to your customers on social channels and ask about their experience with your brand. Listen to their problems, solve them, and engage with them in messages and comments.
Online reputation management: Let's face it. People judge your brand based on your online reviews. The only way to build a good reputation is by actively responding to your customer reviews, especially the negative ones.
Responding to reviews is a sign that you're actively listening and trying to provide a better customer experience.
Add your business to Google my Business and encourage your customers to write reviews. Show your gratitude for good reviews and respond to negative reviews professionally. You can also build your reputation on social channels, like Facebook, where people can write reviews.
Zoho Marketing Plus is a unified marketing platform for all your marketing needs. It comes with tools to manage all your social channels in one place and see all your messages and comments on a single screen so that you can engage with all your audience from one app without toggling between tabs or setting up integrations with third-party tools.
There are other tools in Zoho Marketing Plus to manage your email campaigns, create and send surveys, host webinars, and events, and measure all your marketing progress with powerful analytics.
All the marketing tools in Zoho Marketing Plus talk to each other so that you can focus on talking to your audience and building your off-page SEO.