Off-page SEO is an integral part of a successful digital marketing strategy.
To rank your website on Google, increase your brand’s visibility and organic traffic, you will have to look beyond your own site for SEO.
In this article, we are going to cover off-page SEO, why it is so important and the strategies you should be using to drive growth and traffic to your website.
What is off-page SEO?
In short, off-page SEO includes all SEO activities that happen outside of your website to improve your search engine rankings.
The common off-site SEO strategies include link building, content marketing, social media marketing, guest posts, podcasting and video marketing.
In short, any activity that doesn’t involve publishing content on your own website falls under off-page SEO.
These signals tell Google what others think of your site. They make your website trustworthy and authoritative. For example, when there are a lot of valuable websites linking to your pages, search engines will perceive that you have great content. The type of content that provides value for users.
As per Moz, off-site SEO gives a website authority, relevance and trustworthiness, which play an essential role in the page’s ability to rank.
Think of it as:
Your website – on-page SEO
Another website – off-page SEO
Why is off-page SEO so important?
Studies show that backlinks are the most critical element of off-page SEO.
Are you wondering why?
Backlinko’s study on the search engine ranking factors for 2020 found a direct correlation between the total number of backlinks and Google ranking.
Google has confirmed that they still use the PageRank algorithm as a ranking factor. The PageRank looks at the quality and quantity of backlinks directing to a web page.
Also, Google states that they use other off-site SEO signals to rank your website. Without off-page SEO, you will struggle to outrank websites that already have a higher authority. This is usually the reason why content from higher authority sites ranks higher than those with lower authority.
Here are the 6 off-page SEO strategies you should be using to drive success from SEO and to build your brand.
1. Link building
Link building is a process of getting quality inbound links to your website. It improves the search engine rankings of a page so that the user can easily find the site.
Backlinks pointing back to a URL signal the search engines (Google and Bing) that the site is a reliable source of information. Links from authority websites signal that the website should be easily visible to people searching for that information.
The relationship between Google rankings and backlinks, as per Moz.
There are two ways to acquire links. You can obtain them organically when people link to your content. Or it can be carried out purposefully, which is what smart companies choose when they invest in an SEO strategy to bring relevant traffic to their websites.
The benefit of link building as an SEO strategy is that it helps you stay ahead of the competition without having to spend on advertising.
The link building strategies that work in 2020 include:
These four link building strategies will work well for your small business if executed correctly. Acquiring high-quality links should be the top priority for your website to climb the search engine rankings.
Remember - stick to white-hat SEO strategies. Stay away from buying links from link farms or PBN.
2. Content marketing
The first thought that comes to mind when we think of content marketing is that it is on-page SEO. This includes creating and publishing content on your website.
But holistically talking, content marketing is a part of both on-page and off-page techniques. Publishing detailed content on your website is only one part of content marketing. The second part, of creating and publishing anywhere on the internet, also falls under content marketing.
When you write a guest post in an industry publication, that is also content marketing. Publishing an infographic, case study, or a survey that gets covered by a top-tier website is also content marketing.
When you create engaging and informative assets on your website, others would want to share and link to your content. You could go a step ahead and promote them to make it a part of off-page SEO.
The comprehensive content marketing matrix covered by Smart Insights.
The best content marketing tactics for small businesses that work as promotional strategies to build off-page signals are:
Content marketing is interlinked with social media, PR and link building. It helps to build your brand and boosts your website’s search engine rankings.
In simple terms, create great content and tell people about it. Find relevant media outlets to promote your content. Going a step ahead, you can consider integrating SEO with marketing automation for a broader content marketing strategy. Content marketing, SEO and automated marketing are critical components of an inbound marketing strategy that continuously bring relevant leads.
If you are wondering what to write about, a good starting point would be the frequently asked questions or case studies about how your product or service made a difference to the customers. For a more significant visual impact, a tool like Venngage can help you convert the article into an infographic.
3. Social media marketing
In this mobile-first world, 97% of digital consumers use social media every month.
In 2020, social media plays a vital role in how we use the web, search and social media for answers to our questions. Think about how often we use social media platforms as search engines or answer engines.
Although social shares do not affect the search ranking, you can still leverage social networks to engage with your audience. They can be used to increase the reach of your content. Treat them as discovery platforms that put you in front of your potential customers.
Google says that social signals do not affect the rankings.
Today, small businesses use social media as a customer service platform. When your customers want to speak to you or raise a query, they will reach out on social media. Use social as a platform for building brand advocacy and brand promotion that potential and existing users will discover in their sales journey.
Real engagement and shares on social media attract more attention to your small business. More attention to your content leads to more links and mentions. These off-page SEO factors have a direct effect on your rankings.
4. Guest posting
Guest posting contributes far more to your marketing strategy than being used to build links. Additionally, it is one of the commonly used and effective link building strategies as per a SEMrush survey.
When you write a guest post on a credible website, you gain more recognition while building authority. Undoubtedly, you get a valuable backlink in the author bio or the article itself. Adding to the fact that it puts your brand in front of a targeted audience and sends relevant traffic to your site. As per Google’s EAT score, it relates to producing relevant and useful content by people who are experts in a particular field.
Here’s a process you can follow to build links with guest blogging:
To modify the search, you can use other combinations such as:
And so on. You can also use Twitter’s advanced search to find websites accepting guest posts.
There are 850,000 podcasts right now, which makes them insanely popular. Did you know 51% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast once in their lifetime? Thirty-two percent of Americans listen to a podcast at least once every month.
Podcasts are becoming a viable part of the marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes. Not just that, Google has started to index podcasts and rank them.
The benefits of podcasts for a small business are:
When you are starting a podcast, consider adding transcription to convert audio into text. You can publish this bonus content as a blog post. What this does is, it results in additional content, which is a lot compared to a blog post. The reason is that podcasts cover more topics within a short time and you are generating two pieces of content (audio and text).
Businesses have started recognizing that successful SEO for brand building covers more than Google as a search engine. Target potential customers on platforms they choose to use.
6. Video marketing
Video marketing is becoming the de-facto content format online. It was no exaggeration when they predicted 2020 to be the year of video. The key statistics that prove our point are:
That shows video is much more than cute dog content. Consumers prefer watching videos to learn about a product than read the product description. They are using videos to make a purchase decision.
Video has high ROI.
Businesses have started using videos as part of their marketing campaigns.
Alongside, videos also boost the off-site SEO, as they drive awareness and bring traffic to your website. In the process, they enhance your off-page SEO reputation.
Once you create the videos, focus on video SEO. It will help your videos become more discoverable. Only posting and hoping that people find them won’t work.
Consider the following steps for your videos to rank better:
Consider promoting your videos to the right audience either organically or paid via social media. Leverage your email list to spread the word and share them with online communities.
A bonus tip – Along with using videos to get more traffic from YouTube and Google, utilize them to attract more traffic to your website from organic search.
Firstly, embed videos on your top-ranking pages.
Google has a video tab that shows you two results:
When someone clicks on the second type of videos, Google sends them to your website and not to YouTube.
Ahrefs used video marketing to get more than 25,000 visits to their blog from Google in three months.
There you have it: a list of six effective off-page SEO strategies to climb the search engine rankings.
These six off-site SEO techniques work for every website.
About the author – Afzal Khan is a certified digital marketing and SEO expert from India. He leads a digital marketing agency AfzalKhan.org. They specialize in offering result-oriented marketing and SEO campaigns for B2B and B2C companies. He has more than 15 years of experience of working with international and Fortune 500 companies. You can reach out to him on LinkedIn.