You’re likely aware of many of the SEO best practices for your website: make your website content catchy, avoid being spammy with keywords, improve your site speed, etc. But are you up to date on off-page SEO practices?
Staying in the loop on the why and the how of off-page SEO is the first step on your digital success story. Let’s cover where you should focus on off-page SEO and some methods that will gear your site for great search engine rankings.
Where to Begin?
Before engaging in an ambitious off-page SEO undertaking, it’s best to make sure you’ve got the foundation laid.
Have you done all of your on-page SEO? Are your title tags in order? Do images have appropriate alt text? Is your site content generally user-friendly and encourages visitors to return to your site?
If you find yourself saying no, or you’re not convinced you’ve done all you can, then likely you’ll want to focus on your on-page SEO first. Speak to an SEO professional if you’re uncertain because you can do as much damage to rankings as good if you’re unsure of what your site needs.
Is your on-page SEO done? Great! Now let’s discuss what the heck off-page SEO even is, and why you should be doing it!
Search Engine Ranking Factors, Explained
Ever heard of ranking factors? According to Google, there are 200 factors connected to your website they consider in their ranking algorithm (Source: Brian Dean, backlinko.com). As with anything, some of these are more important than others.
Let’s focus on the off-page ranking factors and what they mean for you. Most of them are fairly obvious. Avoid creating spammy or unnatural links, along with any other so-called “black hat” SEO methods. No directory spam. Don’t allow your site to be hacked. Common sense, right?
Let’s discuss arguably the most important element of off-page SEO: the inbound link, the gold standard of great page rankings
By itself, a single link isn’t all that. But multiple inbound links across high-quality domains tells search engines that your site is trusted and popular. It is a clear means to increase your traffic and raise your search engine rankings.
How Can I Get High-quality Backlinks?
Abstract chaotic background. Creating high-quality links can be accomplished through a variety of methods. These methods are generally referred to as link building.
Unless you have some SEO experience, link building can quickly become a very shady business. It takes a team with the experience to ensure you’re getting legitimate inbound links pointing to your site.
And what will this team do to get you inbound links? Here are a few common link building methods:
- An experienced SEO team will likely have sources they can reach out to for guest posting opportunities. Rather than spamming articles on low-quality websites, these teams will engage in link-building outreach to create content that will appear on highly trafficked blogs.
- They can also track down unlinked mentions of your business’ website across multiple platforms and reach out to ask for a link back.
- Remember the directory spam we mentioned earlier? The good news is that not all directories are created equal. Submitting your website to relevant directories (such as Yelp or other local business directories) is a great way to generate a quality inbound link.
- Want to check competitor backlinks? Any competent SEO team can find what sites have posted links for your competitors. Armed with this information, you can reach out to the site owner and attempt to receive a backlink as well.
And while we’re on the subject of avoiding spammy links, here are a few things an experienced team will know to avoid:
- Private blog networks: A common black hat SEO technique, creating links on PBNs leads to nothing but headaches. An experienced SEO team will never allow your content to end up on sites like these.
- Paid links: While this used to be a popular practice, changes to Google’s policies have made this method verboten. Rather than wasting time and money buying pointless links, instead create high-quality content that will attract links naturally.
- Comment spam: Online forums and websites such as Reddit are great. But no one can stand spammers clogging up comments sections. If you’re going to create an account on a forum for your business, make sure the comments you leave are helpful. Try to post only on forums relevant to your business. If you post on unrelated forums, you could risk delving into black hat territory.
What’s the Benefit of Link Building and Off-page SEO?
As we mentioned above, links can help with your search engine rankings. If you aren’t ranking for certain keywords you’d like to rank for, this is how you can fix that issue. If the SEO team you’re working with has taken the time to create backlinks on commonly visited sites, you’ll likely see an increase in traffic. This is the benefit of off-page SEO and link building in general.
But here’s one thing to remember: Link building services takes time. Finding guest posting opportunities that are a natural fit for your website won’t happen overnight.
Links can take up to two months (if not longer) to index. Links are a vital part of your SEO strategy, but they shouldn’t be the whole focus. In the short term, you should create consistent and informative content on your website and make sure your on-page SEO is up to par. If you want to drive traffic short term, then focus on PPC and using Google ads to create brand awareness.
The most important thing to remember with your SEO strategy is that you must take a holistic approach. Spending all of your time on link building is a great way to raise site visibility, but it won’t matter if you’re website is low quality and outdated. If you aren’t encouraging site viewers to make a conversion, then all of your link building is for naught.
Similarly, if a well-designed site isn’t ranking well for relevant keywords, then your site traffic will suffer. Bearing this in mind, make sure you carefully research the team you decide to work with for your SEO needs. An experienced team can guide you on your journey to the front page, every step of the way.