Search engine optimization (SEO) is a two-part process. On-page SEO tactics involve setting up your web pages properly with the right keywords, tags, etc. and including valuable, relevant content in order to rank higher on search engine result pages. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the common off-page SEO tactics so that you can put together a complete SEO strategy to help your company be found online more easily by buyers.
Off-page SEO refers to the tactics that are applied away from your website that can help it rank better. In more simple terms, it’s helping boost your site’s popularity and build a better reputation. Unlike on-page SEO, which is almost entirely in your control, the effectiveness of your off-page SEO efforts is up to the public. If they find value in your site and send others to it, you will be rewarded by search engines with a better ranking. Off-page optimization can be intimidating because success is more outside of your control. However, it’s by no means less important. According to SEO Made Simple, 60% or more of your results are directly correlated to off-page optimization.
Importance of Backlinks to Off-Page SEO
One of the top ways for your site to receive a “seal of approval” from the public is through backlinks — links from other websites to your own. When someone links back to your site, it’s like a positive review that vouches for your site’s credibility. Search engines reward credible sites that provide quality information with a higher ranking.
With backlinks, quality is more important than quantity. Just because your site has a high number of links pointing back to it doesn’t mean it will automatically rank better. Just like your goal is to be a credible site with good information, you want the sites linking to yours to be credible and informative as well. A previously used technique was to utilize link farms, which were websites with little or no content created for the sole purpose of backlinking to other websites to improve their SEO. However, search engine algorithms can now recognize attempts to use link farms to improve ranking, and search engine companies may punish websites that utilize the technique with a lower ranking.
The best results will be generated when you get links from reputable sites with high domain authority. Domain authority is a metric that refers to a site’s likelihood to rank. Think of it as a site’s “power.” When you do a search, the sites that appear at the top of the results have the highest domain authority.
Not all off-page SEO tactics revolve around link building. Citations are mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on other web pages that do not include a link to your website. Citations are examined by search engine algorithms and can be leveraged to make your site rank above your competitors’. If all other factors are equal, the business with the highest number of citations will likely receive the highest ranking.
The HOTH identifies three kinds of citations: local directory citations, rich media citations and social citations. Local directory citations include those on Yellow Pages, Yelp, Foursquare and even local chamber of commerce or business association pages. They have a major influence on local SEO results but help with global SEO as well. Rich media citations are those that include geo-tagged photos and videos, and social citations are those found on social media sites. SEOmark also points out that citations can be included in press releases, article/post bylines and Q&A sites. Perform an audit of your company, and get your citation out to as many of these sources as possible.
The important thing to remember with citations is to be consistent. Your citation should be the same every time regardless of the site on which it is located. The format itself isn’t important, but using the same format for every listing is critical. Keep this in mind to ensure some listings don’t use abbreviations while others do or some phone numbers include spaces while others don’t. Search engines want to display listings that provide accurate information, and consistent citations serve as a way for Google, Bing and whatever else to verify that your information is correct and up to date.
Another popular off-page SEO tactic is to utilize social media. It not only promotes brand awareness but also is an easy way to build links on sites with high domain authority. There are hundreds of different social media sites that can be utilized, but it’s especially helpful to be present on the industry giants. The networks that get the highest usage include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
When you set up your profiles, you will be able to provide links to your website. In addition, the networks make it easy to share content like blog posts with followers. As noted in our article on social media, it’s not about how many followers you have but the quality of followers and the way they interact with your posts. In the case of off-page SEO, the goal is to get them to share your posts to help grow your visibility and reputation. Having an active social media presence will allow you to put your content in front of more people (especially ones who will post links to your website on their high-authority sites).
Focus on Content
We’ve stressed it time and time again throughout our various posts: content is king! Here is yet another example. People provide links to websites that are informative and interesting. In order for them to link to your website, you’ve got to provide them with good content. For this reason, a common SEO practice is to have a routinely updated company blog. Blog topics can range from company news to industry insights. The latter will likely resonate more with prospects. Remember, the modern buyer isn’t influenced by sales pitches. They don’t need you to tell them how great you are. They do the research to decide for themselves. Read our post on content marketing to learn more. The sooner you can start producing quality content for your site the better.
You can put your content in front of more people faster by utilizing press or news release services. Sources such as Newswire will take your press releases or articles and distribute them to thousands of journalists and news/media outlets. If those sources think your content is valuable to their readers, they will post it, which will help you build an audience and increase your links and citations.
Off-Page SEO Summary
Your company website will earn an improved search engine ranking when other high-quality sites provide natural links to it. Just remember, it’s a process that is more of a marathon than a sprint. It takes time for your site to gain traction and take off. However, dedication to producing quality content will eventually get you to where you want to be. There are also some short-term tactics like providing citations and establishing an extensive social media presence that will help.
SEO as a whole is a complicated process. It changes constantly, and if you aren’t up to date on the latest industry trends and practices it can be an uphill climb.
Have additional questions about SEO or want to learn even more? Call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us. You can also visit the SEO/SEM section of our blog.