Improving SEO Off Page For Better Search Results
Securing authoritative backlinks and social media engagement can improve search rankings.
By Mark Swartz
Ranking higher in search results gives content more exposure. Paying search engines for better placement is one way to go. The other is to use on page and off page SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Off page SEO builds a site’s authority, a factor that search engines use in their ranking calculus. On page techniques speed up load times and make it easier to be indexed properly.
Pursuing off page improvements takes a while and could cost money. Be sure to understand the basics before getting involved.
Off Page SEO Explained
A lot can be achieved by making page content unique and relevant. Also by using popular key words and ensuring readability across platforms. All these are aspects of on page SEO.
Off page is different. It mostly happens away from the site. Google and competing search engines want to know what people think about a site. Therefore reputation and engagement matter.
Possibly the most influential off page SEO factor is the number (and quality) of inbound links a page garners. Search engines need to determine a page’s credibility. If a number of legitimate, relevant websites provide links to the page, it’s deemed trustworthy.
How to secure these external hyperlinked mentions? Contact some credible sites and propose mutual backlinks. There are other ways as well:
- Guest Posting: writing on other sites while providing a link back to yours. This is an excellent application of content repurposing to broaden exposure.
- Citations: inbound links from presence on review sites, directory listings.
- Updated Profiles: add a link to the site in all its social media profiles.
Getting a site or page liked and mentioned on social media moves the dial. Search engines look for this kind of attention.
So when posting new content, it should be announced via social media sites. Using a coordinating tool like HootSuite or SocialOomph simplifies things. As well, advertise the content on the site’s homepage. Co-marketing with complementary products and services can increase exposure quickly too.
Age of Website
This is something that search engines consider in organic ranking, yet there is little to be done about it. The older a website is the more authority it’s assumed to have.
This is mediated, of course, by the site’s content, freshness, layout, use of video and graphics, etc. So having a site laying around stale for more than a year won’t fool the search engine bots. Even small page revisions or updates a couple times a week make a difference.
Local is a sub-category of search that is vital for businesses and services. People hunt for plumbers, accountants and stores close by.
If a business is in Canada, use a .ca URL. Have a presence in online phone directories and local business directories. Basic listings are often free. Check that they’ve included the website link. It counts as an inbound from a quality site.
Avoid Useless Methods
As times change, so do search engine algorithms. Here are some older techniques that no longer have an impact:
- Commenting on other people’s blog posts: these comments rarely furthered the conversation. Often they were there to add links to the commenter’s website.
- Trying to be everywhere: No need to over-extend on social media sites. Some aren’t relevant to certain businesses. Or the demographics of users don’t fit.
- Social bookmarking: Reddit and StumbleUpon offer fleeting, limited exposure.
Put Away The Black Hat
Cheaters seldom prosper with search engines. Black hat methods get caught quickly and are punished harshly, with immediately lowered rankings.
Avoid paying for inbound links. Stay away from keyword-rich anchor text links from guest posts and articles. Block low quality backlinks from spammers by using a backlink checker tool.
Off Page Is Less Effective By Itself
Off page efforts are part of a complete SEO best practices strategy. However it’s important to put this into context. On page techniques are collectively more effective overall.
Consider pursuing off page tactics while tweaking on page SEO. The combination is sure to result in higher search rankings.