The Basics of Off-Page SEO: An Introductory Guide
Once upon a time, there was a guy named Jack. Jack was building his website, creating amazing-well researched content for his website blog, and following all the standard checklists for content to rank on SEO. However, much to his dismay Jack was barely getting any measurable traffic on his website.
Wondering where Jack was going wrong?
As a matter of fact, while Jack was following the on-page SEO checklist effectively, he was completely oblivious of the off-page SEO ranking factors. If you don’t want to be like Jack, here are the basics of off-page SEO that you must know.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO includes all sorts of search engine optimization techniques that are beyond your own website. These include efforts that you take beyond the boundaries of your website that contribute to its ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
It includes everything from online mentions, to influencer and social media marketing, to guest posting that lets search engines like Google understand the quality of the content on your website.
Consider off-page SEO as a search engine’s referral system or word-of-mouth. Depending on how other digital entities across the globe read your content, a search engine, like Google decides how valuable your content is. The more recommendations or referrals you get, the higher Google would rank you.
In the digital world, the strongest form of referral or recommendation, therefore, is a backlink. If another website considers your content informative enough to be linked to, then Google knows that your content is indeed good in terms of quality. In fact, based on Google’s algorithm, there’s a direct correlation between the total number of backlinks and the website ranking.
That brings us to the question of how off-page SEO is different from all the efforts that Jack was putting in to rank his content.
On-Page versus Off-Page SEO
As the name suggests, on-page SEO are efforts that you put “on your website” to rank better while off-page SEO culminates efforts beyond your website or “off your website. Needless to say, on-page SEO is completely under your control and you can continuously work on it to rank better. However, off-page SEO is not really under your control. In fact, sometimes, you end up getting backlinks to some of your content pieces without any dedicated effort towards it and just by the sheer information you provide on your website.
That being said, on-page SEO efforts will start showing some results as soon as you start putting content on your website. You’d start ranking for certain keywords even if you’re too low on the ladder. On the contrary, off-page SEO takes time to kick-in. It is only when you have a considerable amount of content on your website that you can expect to get some backlinks from other websites.
Why does Off-page SEO matter?
You’d be wondering that if off-page SEO is not really under your control, you should you even bother about it. Instead, you could just let it happen on its own and focus only on on-page SEO, that’s completely in your control.
First and foremost, while you can’t entirely control off-page SEO, you can put in efforts to drive better link building and off-page optimization. More importantly, off-page SEO has an extremely crucial impact on your rankings. It is almost impossible to compete for keywords on content merit alone. While you may be generating amazing high-value content, off-page SEO factors are the only way to guide a search engine that the content on your website is actually credible.
You’d be surprised to know that sometimes average content with more backlinks ranks higher than data-driven content with lesser or no backlinks.
3 Essentials of Off-Page SEO
Link building is the bread and butter of off-page SEO. This can be credited to the fact that Google Search algorithms to date use PageRank for ranking your content. PageRank is an algorithm that decides the credibility or ranking of your website based on the quantity and quality of the backlinks pointing to it. This is why you’d find that most Wikipedia pages rank on the top for most searches your make. That’s because everyone prefers to link back to Wikipedia to elaborate on certain terms they mention on their site. In fact, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed in 2017 that they’re using PageRank in ranking and there has been no statement to counter this ever since.
So, the number of domains or websites that point to your website and the authority of these websites are one of the most impact factors in influencing your ranking. You can get backlinks by generating quality content, guest posting, joining forums, etc.
Building Brand Credibility with EAT
For the unacquainted, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. E-A-T is the process of establishing your brand’s value by adding content by thought leaders and influencers on your website. While many think that E-A-T is taken care of simply by adding an author bio section to blog pages, there’s a lot more to it.
In fact, E-A-T is also an off-page SEO effort and not just something you build on-page. This comes with brand mentions. If more people are talking about your brand, quoting your company that Google establishes you as a subject matter expert. Social media brand mentions or even non-linked mentions on high authority news websites help.
For improving your E-A-T, sending out press releases to get coverage from leading media organizations helps. In addition to that, getting good online reviews also helps in boosting your E-A-T. These may even include recommendations from experts in the industry. For instance, if an industry expert mentions your site as one of the top sources they use for your data, it significantly impacts your E-A-T, thereby impacting your SEO.
Don’t forget your Local SEO
Another off-page SEO tact is working on your local SEO. Google has a section dedicated to “near me” searches. For instance, if you search dentists near me, Google shows up clinics within your proximity. This is done by Google local SEO algorithm.
Google My Business(GMB) is a free profile that you can make on Google that helps in boosting your local SEO. Needless to say, your GMB profile is not only extremely crucial in local SEO but also help you in building better off-page SEO credibility through ratings and reviews.
To Sum Up
Off-page SEO has innumerable factors that you can work upon to rank better. This article is just an introduction to nudge you towards considering off-page SEO efforts as well while optimizing your website. After all, as Wendy Piersall has rightly said, “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
And off-page SEO is the most impactful way of telling Google that everyone else is loving you.