Search engine optimization (SEO) is the backbone of most digital marketing strategies. A high search engine ranking gives you more visibility and increases your website traffic. This, in turn, boosts brand awareness and helps you attract potential customers. But a lot of times, businesses focus so much on-page SEO that they completely forget about off-page SEO strategies. Both work together in your SEO performance.
This prevents them from reaching their potential, as off-page SEO plays a major role in search engine rankings. There are various ranking factors that ensure your website remains at the top of the SERPs. For that, you must go beyond on-page optimization and prioritize off-page SEO as well.
To develop an effective off-page SEO strategy, you should understand what it means and why it is so important.
Understanding Off-Page SEO
Google receives more than 3.5 billion search queries every day. Therefore, it is crucial to grab a spot on the first page of Google search results to reach your target audience. On-page and technical SEO ensures that your website shows up in relevant search results. However, it is off-page SEO strategies that will take your website to the top of Google search results.
Simply put, off-page SEO refers to the techniques you use outside of your website to improve its search engine rankings. A comprehensive off-page SEO strategy focuses on building a powerful inbound link profile for your website. You can achieve this by attracting authentic and high-quality backlinks.
Google wants to deliver the best search experience to its users. Therefore, they tend to prefer websites that are relevant and reliable. An effective way of showcasing your website’s reliability is through your inbound link profile. It helps search engines understand what others think of your website and if it genuinely deserves a high ranking in search results.
It is important to note that a large number of backlinks doesn’t necessarily guarantee a high search engine ranking. Google takes into account various other factors to evaluate the quality of your links.
Some of these factors include:
- Domain Authority of the linking website
- The inbound link profile of the linking website
- Topical relevance of the linking web page to the linked website
- Anchor text of the link
It is crucial to attract links from authority websites that are relevant to your niche. Make sure you don’t get too many backlinks from the same domain. It might come across as manipulative and can trigger a manual penalty. Finally, you should also optimize the anchor text of your inbound links.
It’s now time to outline a solid off-page SEO strategy that will help you reach the first page of Google search results.
Off-Page SEO Strategies
As discussed previously, off-page SEO strategies should focus on strengthening your link profile and reputation. For that, you’ll need to identify link building opportunities. Also, you should use tactics such as social media marketing and influencer marketing to reinforce brand authority.
Here are some off-page SEO strategies that you should implement for a higher search engine ranking:
1. Develop High-Quality, Link-Worthy Content
You might wonder how content creation is related to your off-page SEO strategy. It is essentially a part of on-page SEO. However, in the absence of insightful and valuable content, you can’t tempt others to link to your website. When you deliver unique and top-notch content, others will want to share it, thus increasing your reach and fetching you some natural backlinks.
Therefore, having a proper content strategy in place creates a strong foundation for your off-page SEO strategy. When developing content for off-page SEO, you don’t need to restrict yourself to conventional blog posts and FAQs.
To create share-worthy content, you should start by finding topics that are successful in your niche. You can use the BuzzSumo content analysis platform for this. You just need to enter a keyword, and the tool will show you a list of top-performing content related to that keyword. The performance will be rated based on the number of shares and engagements.
Image Source: BuzzSumo
You can also conduct a search of your competitor’s URL to see which of their content pieces are performing well. All of this data will help you understand what kind of topic and content format performs well with your target audience. You can then use those insights to create high-quality, share-worthy content for your off-page SEO strategy.
If you’re not entirely aware of all your competitors, you can use the SpyFu competitor analysis feature. This tool helps you find the top competitors of your website, so you’ll even be able to identify competitors that you weren’t aware of before.
You will also be able to figure out which of their content is performing well. Based on that analysis, you can come up with your own high-quality content. This could be in the form of blog posts, infographics, or even videos. Such insightful content may also earn you some valuable backlinks.
This off-page SEO strategy helped WordStream earn backlinks from various high-authority websites including CNN and HuffPost. They identified two relevant topics that would pique the curiosity and interest of their readers. Additionally, they ditched the traditional approach of writing blog posts and created two separate infographics on internet privacy and Google failures.
To maximize reach, they approached relevant influencers who shared the content with their networks. The infographics helped WordStream earn a total of 3500 backlinks, out of which 79 were from authoritative websites including Wikipedia. This wouldn’t have been possible in the absence of unique content that was worth sharing.
Image via WordStream
2. Perform a Backlink Audit
A backlink audit is one of the most essential components of your off-page SEO strategy. Publishing high-quality content is an effective way of earning healthy backlinks organically. However, it is important to keep track of all of the backlinks that you’ve earned. This is because some of them may be harming your SEO as opposed to helping it.
To see your backlinks, you can use the Google Search Console. By clicking on “Links,” you’ll be able to see all the backlinks coming to your site. You have two options to analyze these backlinks. One is to manually open each link and check its value and health. While this option may sound thorough, it can be very tedious if you have a large number of backlinks.
The other option is to use a link analysis tool such as SpyFu’s Backlink Checker. This lets you see all of your backlinks along with important metrics like domain strength and the number of organic clicks. So you can identify low authority or harmful websites that are linking to you.
Image Source: SpyFu
You can also analyze the backlinks of your competitors using this feature. Seeing their backlink profiles can help you set benchmarks of your own.
Based on this audit, you’ll be able to figure out where you stand against your competitors. From the list of sites linking to them, you can pick out the relevant ones and reach out to them for backlinks or guest post contributions. To build a diverse link profile, you should try to contribute guest posts to multiple blogs instead of writing numerous times for one website.
3. Audit Your Backlink Anchor Texts
In 2012, Google rocked the SEO world by rolling out the Penguin update. The primary purpose of Penguin is to penalize websites that use manipulative backlink schemes. This has made it extremely important to include anchor text optimization in your off-page SEO strategy as well.
The quality of anchor text determines the authority and relevance of a web page and applies to both backlinks and internal links. While you have control over your anchor text to prevent over-optimization, other websites linking to you may not necessarily be careful about what anchor text they use.
So you’ll need to audit all of the anchor text for links coming to your website and identify the ones that aren’t helping your off-page SEO strategy. Use the backlink checker tool to identify the anchor text that people are using to link to your pages. You’ll need to reach out to websites that are using less than ideal anchor text and request that they make some changes.
Backlinks that use your brand and product names as anchor text establish the authority of your website. But too much of it may look suspicious as well. So you’ll need to make sure that people are using a good mix of your target keywords, brand name, and other relevant phrases to link to you.
As you can see in the screenshot below, there is proper anchor text optimization with the phrase “monitor your competitors.” This is extremely relevant to the title of the article it links to and therefore, helps with off-page SEO.
Image via SpyFu
4. Leverage Influencer Marketing
Influencers are gradually becoming every brand’s favorite marketing tool. It is highly recommended that you integrate them into your off-page SEO strategy. They have the power to increase the reach and visibility of your content, boosting your brand visibility in the process.
This will result in a surge of organic traffic to your website. This, in turn, leads search engines to believe that your website is quite popular in a specific niche and therefore, helps your off-page SEO strategy.
When an influencer shares your content, it is likely to be shared further by their followers. This establishes your brand as an industry expert and fetches you several organic backlinks. Also, most influencers have high-authority websites and blogs. When they feature your brand on their blog and add a link to your website, it strengthens your inbound link profile.
An off-page SEO strategy will only yield positive results when it is integrated seamlessly with your on-page and technical SEO efforts. By researching your competitors’ backlinks, you can discover link building opportunities and even come up with better content ideas. This can help you gain traction and stand out among your competitors.