First, we need to understand what it is: the short answer is that off-page SEO covers all of your SEO strategies that happen outside of your own website. Before social media was really a thing, it was thought that off-page SEO was mainly just link-building (where you add links on your site to partner or relevant websites and they reciprocate), but as other avenues of marketing have grown, other efforts play a role in building off-page SEO.
The difference between on- and off-page SEO is easy to think about if you divide it into two buckets: strategies or tactics implemented on your website are considered on-page SEO, while strategies and tactics implemented on another website or platform (looking at you, social media) are considered off-page SEO.
Why Does Off-Page SEO Matter?
In the most simplistic answer, off-page SEO matters because those strategies send signals to both users and search engines that you’re legit. It’s almost like having someone vouch for you in the eyes of Google, even if that person vouching is you behind your social media or other marketing efforts.
Search engines are looking for authorities on the subjects for which people are searching. By bolstering your efforts in the form of social media, reviews, writing a guest post on someone else’s website, speaking on podcasts (to name a few), you are signaling to Google that your site and content is relevant and can trusted.
Off-Page SEO Strategies to Consider
Arguably the foundation of off-page SEO practices, backlinks (when someone links to your site/content) is key to your off-page SEO strategy because Google heavily weighs this factor in their rankings. They are looking at quantity and quality of links back to your site. Backlinks from other relevant and trusted websites further secure your own position as an authority. Remember, quality matters too, not just quantity. Think of quality backlinks as votes of confidence in your work!
You’re very likely already involved in some sort of social media efforts, so you may have a leg up in this one already. Social media is another avenue to share your content and position yourself or your business as an authority and drive people back to your website. With that in mind, the number of followers you have, or the number of shares your posts gets, is not a ranking factor, according to Google.
Social media efforts should still be considered important, though, because they raise brand awareness and serve as places for your ideal customer to learn more about you. There is also an opportunity to engage with potential customers when you actively maintain your social presence and emerge as a thought leader.
There is also a customer service aspect. Honestly, I think the only reason I still have Twitter is for this reason. I frequently use it to reach out to brands directly when I need help. Flip that around and you can use your social platforms to assist customers. I also recommend claiming and maintaining your Google My Business profile, especially if you are a local business.
Your social media efforts ultimately factor into your overall brand presence, so actively engaging in a professional way will serve your greater marketing efforts.
Brand Building and PR
This tactic may seem old-fashioned, but it’s important. At the end of the day, you have to get the word out to increase brand awareness and (hopefully) searches for your brand or business. It’s important to drive traffic to your site and reenforce your position as a thought leader and authority in your space. Efforts might include some form of paid advertising, but some good ol’ fashioned outreach to relevant partners can also help you tackle content marketing. Don’t forget about influencers, either! It might make sense to have a paid influencer write about your product in an effort to amplify your content, but make sure to do your homework and partner with someone who makes sense for your business.
I used to consider content marketing as blogging on my own site, but really it encompasses so much more! Sure, adding regular blog posts to your own site is great on-page SEO, but think about guest writing or guest speaking on someone else’s platform or website. Look for strategic partners where your service or product ties into their marketing efforts and then cross-promote.
It’s also important to think beyond the written word, i.e., blog posts. Maybe it’s getting featured on a partner’s YouTube channel, or guest speaking on a podcast about your service/product or industry. If you created an awesome infographic, share it. The more avenues you explore to share your expertise and knowledge, the more you will emerge as an authority and search engines will recognize that.
With all that in mind, it’s important to make sure that these outlets are relevant to your brand, business or industry. While I would very much love to appear on a podcast about baseball, that doesn’t do much to solidify my efforts in the world of WordPress or web design.
Your online reputation matters and positive reviews are a huge signal to potential customers and to search algorithms. Claim your profiles on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp! and engage with those reviews. If you had a positive experience with a client, it’s worth asking them to leave you a review. Positive reviews reenforce your brand, so while it may feel uncomfortable to ask for them, don’t be shy! It’s important to cultivate positive customer experiences. Having them documented online via third-party websites can be a powerful off-page SEO tactic which is often overlooked by businesses.
Off-page SEO may seem involved and it can be because of all of the possible tactics to explore. There are factors not entirely in your control, which can be frustrating, but the effort made to cultivate your business or brand’s reputation can yield big SEO results. The more people vouch for you, the higher you will rank in the search engine results.