Off page SEO tells Google what others think about you. If you have many valuable links pointing to your pages, then it is a sign that your pages are helpful to users. What’s more, if your brand is mentioned by many people online, then it proves that your website is active and you understand your target audience.
So how can you boost your rankings with juicy links?
A bit of sugar, spice and everything nice, of course.
Without further ado, here the most effective backlink building methods below.
Off page SEO refers to any efforts taken outside a website to increase its search engine rankings. While link building plays a huge role in off page SEO, there are more activities too, such as managing social media and writing guest posts.
The difference between off page SEO techniques and on page SEO techniques is that you have complete control over the on-page SEO, but you don’t have 100% influence over the off-page tactics. For example, you have to ask another website if you can write a guest post with a link to your site. But you don’t need anyone’s permission to optimize your title and description tags.
To state it simply: a successful SEO strategy involves both. But how much effort you put into off page SEO depends on a variety of factors such as your website’s authority (known as Authority Score in SEMrush), the keywords you’d like to rank for, your industry, your audience, and more.
Google considers many off-page SEO factors when deciding if to rank web pages. One of these factors is the number of links to your webpages, otherwise known as “backlinks”. Webpages with a high number of quality backlinks are viewed by Google as authoritative (remember I mentioned Authority Score in the previous section) and will rank high compared to competitor webpages with low or no backlinks.
This is because Google search is built on an algorithm known as PageRank (another term for Authority Score). It looks into the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a webpage. While some SEO experts think that PageRank is outdated, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed in 2017 that PageRank is still one of the factors used to produce relevant search results (if you use SEMrush, you’ll also see that Authority Score is still a big deal).
To strengthen your SEO strategy, you need a strong backlink profile, meaning a balance between your quantity and quality of backlinks. This entails linking your web pages to sites that are relevant to your brand, which in turn make your link building strategy authentic. When an auto insurance company webpage has 10 backlinks from a health blog, it is a sign of link manipulation (obviously the industries don’t match). But when the same auto insurance company webpage has 10 backlinks from 10 different car dealer blogs, then Google considers it authentic.
So how much effort should you put into off page SEO for your SEO strategy?
Like many things in SEO, it depends.
But what I can recommend is this: start with developing on page SEO and high quality content, monitor how it ranks over time, and then consider whether or not backlinks would help improve those rankings (compare your competitors to get an idea). It may be that you need a lot. Or you may rank with no backlinks. It always depends (an SEOs favorite phrase).
Earning backlinks from sites relevant to your web pages makes your link building strategy authentic and improves your ranking strength (Authority Score). The higher Authority Score you have, the stronger your content will be in terms of keyword ranking.
So, here are the off page SEO tactics you can implement to build a strong backlink profile.
Although this topic is highly debated, I am a true believer that when your social media audience loves your content, Google will also like you and rank you higher (Medium is a prime example). Social signals such as shares and likes indicate that you are producing high-quality content that resonates with the needs of your target audience. It results in many brand mentions by your fans which is a factor Google considers when ranking web pages for a search result.
To make the most out of social media marketing, ensure that you engage with your followers. Provide customer support both offline and on the social media channels where your target audience hang out. What’s more, create posts that help your prospects solve their challenges and reveal the story of your brand.
While most businesses use guest posts as a way to advertise their products (known as affiliate marketing), this won’t get you very far in terms of SEO. Readers often find such guest posts annoying and leave.
Instead, produce actionable, relevant, and high-quality guest posts that address the problems of the audience of that website with your desired keyword as the anchor text and link to that page that focuses on that keyword (this is how your build backlinks for a particular keyword). Creating informative guest posts builds quality backlinks, and generates organic traffic from other sites.
Influencer marketing involves working with influencers or people deemed as experts in a specific field to share your brand’s message with their audience. Influencer marketing is a powerful marketing strategy that can generate up to 11 times higher ROI as compared to other marketing strategies.
You can use influencer marketing to acquire high-quality backlinks by talking about influencers in your content. Everyone loves getting mentioned in other blog posts as an expert in a particular field. So when you inform an influencer that you mentioned him or her in your latest guide, then they are likely to link it to their articles if you ask them to.
Alternatively, you can approach an influencer and create a valuable article about a topic together and then share it with your respective audiences. Both methods tend to work well.
Brand mentions refer to your site URL or your brand name mentioned on another site without a hyperlink. They play an integral part of off-page SEO because they tell Google what others think about your business.
Getting brand mentions is a sign that you have authority in your industry. To gain authority, you should produce useful content that helps your prospects solve their problems. You should also write guest articles on relevant sites to access potential clients and to increase brand awareness.
By positioning yourself as an authority in your field, other websites will mention your brand in their content. And Google considers such mentions as a signal that you produce content relevant to users, which in turn ranks your own website’s content higher.
Digital PR focuses on publishing articles and securing backlinks from relevant websites and blogs. It also entails developing a relationship with journalists and editors to mention your brand in the press.
When done right, digital PR can increase your brand’s visibility online by driving referral traffic to your site. What’s more, it proves to Google that your website is legitimate, relevant, and active. To leverage digital PR, engage editors and journalists who are relevant to your industry to cite your business in their press releases.
Now that you have learned about the importance of off-page SEO in your SEO strategy, what are you going to do next?
I’m an expert SEO professional who can help you develop an effective off-page SEO strategy for your website. Through guest blogging, influencer marketing, and digital PR, I can help you build a strong backlink profile that will strengthen your ranking power. Get in touch with me!
Adriana Stein is an Online Marketing Consultant based in Hamburg, Germany. Originally from the US, she is a native English speaker and specializes in helping companies with their SEO & content marketing strategies, along with graphic design, brand copy and website development.