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Off-page SEO is all the factors that take place outside of your website, which has an impact on your organic rankings with search engine result pages (SERPs). These off-site SEO ranking factors boil down to relevance, trustworthiness, and authority: the three pillars of Search Engine Optimization.
This can be accomplished by getting other reputable places on the internet (like pages, websites, people) linking to your content or promoting your website. In this article, we will provide information and tips to face head-on the off-site SEO challenge.
Why off-Page SEO?
For a page to rank better on the SERPs, it has to match the search engine ranking algorithms. These ranking algorithms are ever-changing, meaning the tactics which worked a couple of years ago will no longer work.
Let's see this through an example. A couple of years ago, Google used to rank the sites highly with as many backlinks as possible, but now this tactic will get your site to rank extremely poorly. Algorithms changed, and the sites that tried to trick the system ended up facing severe consequences.
That being said, there's no way of knowing how exactly Google's algorithm works to rank websites and content. But after extensive research and studying the search engine ranking factors, we can say that more than 50% of the ranking factor goes to off-page SEO.
In the real world, people earn their reputation by their work and by being recognized by reputable entities (scientists, professors, celebrities, etc.). It's the same principle on the internet. In order to get to the top of the SERPs, you need to be recommended/mentioned by reputable sources. This is done by providing direct links to your website and by mentioning you on their platforms. This builds trustworthiness, authority, and relevance to your site/content, which are the fundamentals of SEO.
Reputable Link Building
Reputable link building can be known as the heart and soul of off-site SEO. A site with high-quality content with many backlinks will rank better on search engines when compared to a similar page with fewer backlinks. There are three main ways to build your links: natural links, manually built links, and self-created links.
This type of links is given without any action taken by website owners. People would see your content and then would share that content on their own platforms. For example, a travel blogger adding a link to one of his favourite coffee shops he encountered while he was in Europe.
This is the type of links you, as a site owner, should focus on building for your site. These links are given purely on the basis of user satisfaction. Producing quality informative content that people would benefit from is key to getting these links.
Manually Built Links
These types of links are acquired by engaging in link-building activities. This includes the site owner making deliberate efforts in order to acquire backlinks. This will include guest blogging, sharing your content on social media, or simply asking website owners to link to your site. The following infographic by Neil Patel shows the numerous ways of manually building your links.
These types of links are made by adding backlinks in online directories, forums, blog comments, or through press releases with optimized anchor texts. However, some of these link-building techniques are frowned upon by search engines as it falls under black hat SEO. It's better to think about this because if Google adds a penalty to your site, it's very difficult to recover from it. Regardless of how links have been obtained, the highest contribution to SEO comes from the links with the highest equity. Link equity is a ranking factor based on the value and authority passed from one page to another. These include but not limited to:
- The linking site's popularity
- How related is the content of the linking site
- Anchor text is used on the linking site
- The trustworthiness of the linking site
- Number of another linking site
- Domain and page authority
Brand mentions can be either linked or unlinked regarding ranking factors. This was mentioned indirectly by Google in one of its patents which states that "people often cite brands and content without any linking, and we think that those mentions deserve to be used as a ranking factor along with linked mentions."
A few ways of getting these mentions are by writing guest posts, being a guest on podcasts, or going viral (easier said than done). By using tools like Google alerts to track new competitor mentions and jump on the conversion when needed.
Note that linked mentions have a higher impact on off-site SEO ranking than unlinked mentions. Therefore it's better to reach out to the people who mentioned your brand to make it clickable.
This is a free business profile that you can create on Google. When you search on google for restaurants, the results that show up are taken from Google My Business. However, just having a GMB profile will not get you here. Optimizing the Google My Business profiles to appear on the SERP snippet is recommended. If you intend to appear on google for local queries, the most critical off-site SEO factor will be to claim and optimize your Google My Business Profile.
Positive, genuine reviews on your Google My Business profile and trusted third-party sites will give you a higher chance of appearing on the SERP snippets on google. The higher your reviews on the internet, the better your chance of appearing higher on organic searches. Negative reviews will have the opposite effects.
Officially Google states that social signals are not a direct ranking factor for SEO. The main reason is that it's fairly easy to manipulate social signals. You can buy thousands of social shares with a couple of dollars and things that are easy to manipulate, so don't make a reliable factor for ranking.
That being said, genuine social shares do have a positive influence on your ranking, however indirectly. Real social shares lead to newer audiences, which leads to your content, meaning more traffic, more links, and more mentions. These are all known off-page SEO factors that directly affect your ranking.
Off-page SEO seems harder than on-page SEO because many factors are not directly under your control. The harder it is to earn, the higher chance of ranking higher. To rank better on Google SERPs through organic search results is to play the SEO game by equally managing the off-site and on-site SEO. When creating content, first optimize it for the user rather than trying to focus on tricking the algorithm.