Off-page SEO refers to everything you can do, outside your website, to improve your rankings on search engines.
And this guide will teach you how.
- Off-Page SEO Basics
- Create Backlinks to Improve Off-Page SEO
- Improve E.E.A.T.
- Off-Page SEO Techniques
- Off-Page SEO FAQs
Off-Page SEO Basics
This section will explain what off-page SEO is and why you must understand how to master it.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO consists of the strategies that web admins implement outside of their sites to improve search engine position and rank higher in SERPs.
These activities include creating links, boosting branding, engagement, and social sharing.
In a nutshell, off-page SEO means working outside your site to prove to search engines that you are trustworthy and authoritative.
Why is Off-Page SEO Important?
If you want to learn SEO, off-page strategies are an essential part.
When Google crawls and evaluates your web page, it considers many points, including links and anchor texts.
Other factors are:
- E-A-T (updated to E-E-A-T in December 2022)
- Online reputation signals
- Social signals
- Branded searches
- And many others, including content quality and factors such as RankBrain.
What is the Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO?
On-page SEO refers to what you can do within your website (including adding optimized keywords within content, image alt text, meta title, and URL) to improve search engine rankings.
Instead, for off-page SEO, think of strategies you can perform outside your website, such as getting links and improving branding and online reputation.
Create Backlinks to Improve Off-Page SEO
Backlinks are probably the most crucial part of a successful off-page SEO strategy.
The reason? Google search results are based on the PageRank algorithm, which considers the quality and quantity of links pointing to a site. Although Google has removed the PageRank toolbar, it still uses it to scan web pages.
For this reason, there is a direct relationship between the amount of referring domains and the number of keyword rankings:
There are two strategies to acquire backlinks:
- Link Building (artificial backlinks)
- Link Earning (natural backlinks)
Artificial vs. Natural Backlinks
Before delving into each of these strategies, it is essential to understand the difference between artificial and natural backlinks:
- Artificial Backlinks: when you buy or exchange a backlink to your site to improve rankings.
- Natural (or Editorial) Backlinks: when a web admin spontaneously inserts a backlink to your site or page because he considers it useful for his users.
Now, let’s see a few effective ways to create links for your site:
Email outreach is one of the most effective ways to create relationships and links.
With this strategy, you contact people in your industry to inform them about your content.
If you’ve created something great (be it an in-depth guide, a product, a service, or a collection of stats), you can decide to seek out influential people in your niche to communicate with them.
There are several methods to search for contacts, like forums, directories, blog comments, or even Google.
Once you have a list of people, divide them into categories. First, the most important contacts, and then to follow, the most accessible ones.
Use different approaches to get in touch with influencers in your industry. If they are big ones, be sure to find a way to get introduced first before asking for something. For the middle and micro-influencers, you can use a template to contact them and ask for feedback on your content (to get a share or a mention in the form of backlinks).
Forums, Q&A sites, and online communities like Reddit are all excellent places to share your knowledge and promote your content.
While most of these links are “nofollow,” you should know that a natural backlinks profile has a mixture of both “dofollow” and “nofollow” links.
Blog comments are another great way to market your website and get links. Yes, commenting on most websites will give you only a “nofollow” link, but a meaningful comment will put you in front of a broad audience (especially if you are targeting a prominent site in your industry).
Do you know that Google used not to count no-follow links in the past?
But since September 2019, they announced the introduction of new tags:
- rel = “sponsored”: applied on sponsored content.
- rel = “ugc”: UGC means user-generated content. You can find this tag on testimonials, comments, or forum posts.
Pillar articles are your blog assets. They are usually long posts that include meaningful insights and analysis, along with the latest statistics and data.
There are no precise definitions for long-form and short-form content. However, most writers and digital marketers agree that long-form content usually contains 2000 words or more: blog posts, white papers, ebooks, and tutorials or how-to guides.
If your content is well-researched and contains valuable data, statistics, or infographics, it may attract backlinks from other websites in your niche.
In addition to further increasing website traffic, this also strengthens your inbound link profile. Armed with the right data type, you can even attract backlinks from high-authority websites.
Backlinko analyzed 900+ million blog posts with BuzzSumo and discovered that long-form content gets 77% more links than shorter posts:
Keyword-rich content and a robust inbound link profile directly contribute to your website’s search engine rankings. It tells search engine bots that you are here to deliver value to your audience.
If you post well-researched and engaging long-form content, your audience is likely to spend more time on your website. This improves website parameters such as bounce rate and time on site.
Writing a thorough, well-researched, long blog post takes a significant investment in time, resources, and capital. This effort and investment are evident to your audience as well.
Long-form content based on semantic SEO strategy positions you as a brand that cares about your audience and wants to add value to their lives. This, in turn, helps you gain the trust of your audience and builds brand credibility.
Off-page optimization provides Google with an indication of how users perceive a specific site and, above all, the brand and business behind it.
It is because websites with high-quality content and valuable information are more likely to:
- be linked from other sites;
- obtain shares on social media (Facebook likes, Tweets, Pinterest shares, etc.);
- be placed in browser bookmarks;
- receive mentions among communities of like-minded users (e.g., forums and blogs);
- get your content placed in SERP features;
- be included in voice search results;
- be featured in Google Discover feeds.
So, you should work on improving your Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T acronym), which represents the three fundamental parameters used by Google quality raters to evaluate web content.
Avoid duplicate pages and focus on building relevant and informative articles.
High-quality content means satisfying search intent with in-depth articles that make users stay more on your site, which helps improve dwell time, bounce rate, and click-through rate.
In a few words, focus on delivering the best user experience possible (paying attention to the core web vitals of your pages and website architecture, including checking HTTP status codes).
Here are some practical ways to improve E.E.A.T.
Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader In Your Niche
You’ll grow a more robust audience and create more quality connections if you first establish your experience in your brand niche.
The more experience you are given, the more value will be attached to the content you produce. Ultimately, this will result in more people sharing and linking to it.
Make sure your content is relevant and authoritative. Participate in AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit and Q&A on Twitter to solidify your reputation and gain a more loyal following.
Provide Quotes and Interviews
Do you want to make your name known? One way to do this is to encourage people to ask you for quotes and interviews.
Not only it will give you a way to establish experience, increase name recognition, and expose yourself to a new audience (or them to you), but your interviewer will most likely include a link to your site.
It also works in reverse. For example, if you were making a collection of expert tips and needed quotes from experts in your industry, you would reach out to them and offer them the opportunity to participate in exchange for a link to their site.
Off-Page SEO Techniques
Creating links is the best-known off-page SEO strategy for improving search engine rankings.
Still, many other factors, such as online reputation signals, branded searches, and social signals, can be used.
Whether you are getting linked or unlinked brand mentions, it can help your website SEO.
If someone mentions your business with a link, it is helpful in search engine rankings.
But how can an unconnected mention be worthwhile?
One of Google’s patents shows that even unlinked mentions are taken into account by their algorithm to calculate the positioning of pages in search results.
If you think about it, it is a logical concept. A user is writing an article and mentioning your brand but not linking to it, which means he still considers it important. The only difference is that this mention will not bring referral traffic.
So work on your authority online to get more mentions, in general.
And if you wish, you can follow this strategy to research unlinked mentions and ask to get them linked to your website.
Social signals are all those engagement actions (shares, likes, comments) that your content gets on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Today, we know that social signals have a relationship with search engine rankings, but they do not directly affect them.
Social media can help your Google SEO indirectly because the more your content is shared, the wider the audience can reach, increasing the chances of being read, saved, and eventually linked.
With that in mind, social media marketing can also be a powerful marketing weapon. Here are some practical ways to increase social shares:
- Place buttons on your website to help users share your content. If you are not into coding, there are a ton of social sharing plugins available for WordPress. I use the SocialWarfare plugin. It’s light and does not impact the site’s loading speed. The well-designed buttons are completely customizable and can display share counts, including tweets.
- Write irresistible headlines. You have more chances to get your content shared, with beautifully crafted headlines. Consider using lists, numbers, and cliffhangers.
- Write great content. It may look like classic advice, but great content gets shared, while bad content does not. So, invest in producing the best content you can create.
- Use attractive media. Consider using SEO-friendly images, interesting infographics, and quote-picture overlays that are easy and fun to share.
- Properly format your content. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, subheadings, and bold text. All these practices help readers better digest your content.
- Refresh content. When you see content decay, it is probably time to update your old content.
Online Reputation Signals
Testimonials and reviews are one of the most important off-page factors for local SEO and for positioning in the results of the Google Snack Pack (also known as “Local 3 Pack”):
In general, the more positive and authentic reviews you get on the Google My Business listing and trusted third-party sites (such as Trustpilot or G2), the only more likely you are to reach the ‘snack pack’ position.
Note: On the other hand, negative reviews have the opposite effect.
Google My Business is a free service that Google offers for listing your business. It’s basically how you want your company to appear on Google search and maps.
If you want to rank for keywords with local intent, claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile is one of the most critical off-page SEO factors.
Off-Page SEO FAQs
Q: What are the main techniques of off-page SEO?
A: The main techniques of off-page SEO are link building, content marketing, and social media marketing. You can also do guest posting, podcasts, and video marketing.
Q: What is the most important part of off-page SEO?
A: Link building is the most important part of off-page SEO. Quality backlinks improve your website’s authority and help it rank higher in search engine results pages.
Q: What is the main purpose of off-page SEO?
A: The main purpose of off-page SEO is to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and search engine visibility. It also helps build relationships with influencers and industry leaders who can help direct more visitors and customers to your site.
Q: How often should I do off-page SEO?
A: Off-page SEO should be an ongoing process. You should strive to build relationships and create content regularly as part of your overall SEO strategy. Additionally, you should keep track of new trends in the industry and use those to your advantage.
Q: What are two types of SEO?
A: The two types of SEO are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-Page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages, while off-page SEO focuses on strategies to build relationships and increase website visibility online. Both are essential for achieving the best possible search engine rankings.
Q: Is off-page SEO still there?
A: Yes, off-page SEO is still relevant and important for improving search engine rankings. While it isn’t as important as on-page SEO, off-page SEO can help build relationships with influencers and industry leaders who can help direct more visitors and customers to your site. Additionally, link building is still one of the most important off-page SEO factors. It helps build website authority and increase search engine visibility.
Q: How is an off-page SEO calculated?
A: Off-page SEO is generally calculated through the analysis of links pointing to a website, including their quality and quantity. This can be done manually or by using tools such as Moz’s Link Explorer or Ahrefs Backlink Checker. Additionally, factors like online reviews and citations also play an important role in off-page SEO.
Before You Go
Thanks for reading this far!
Now that you have learned a lot about off-page SEO and why it’s crucial to work on it to boost your site rankings on search engines, why don’t you take some time to learn more about on-page SEO?
This 5000 words guide covers everything you need to know about it:
Now, it’s over to you.
Have you found this guide helpful?
Would you like to recommend particular strategies?
Did you spot an error in this post?
Please, share your views in the comments below. Thanks!
Lisa Sicard says
Hi Erik, thanks for the tips on Reddit. I’ll be joining that group. Reminds me of Quora with the questions and answers. Great tips on how to generate more links off-site. Thank you.
Erik Emanuelli says
I’ve been a Reddit fan since 2011, Lisa!
Glad to read you liked the tips in this post.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
Lisa Sicard says
Hi Erik, I also read somewhere that EAT means having your phone number in your footer, do you agree with that one? Thanks.
Erik Emanuelli says
I think in general you should have visible your contact details.
But I don’t see any phone number in the website of prominent SEO figures such as Backlinko, for example.
Lisa Sicard says
Thanks Erik. Appreciate the answer. I didn’t want to have my phone going off with spam or sales pitches 🙂
Tom Caklos says
This was a really great read Erik! Always love to learn new things about SEO. One thing that I am really curious about is about establishing E.A.T – I wonder what kind of algorithm Google uses to determine that “this person is legit, let’s push him up” and “this one is not an expert, let’s try the other site”. I think backlinks definitely play a big role in that – but still.. I’d love to one day find out about all the secrets of that algorithm haha 🙂 Anyways, keep up with the great content Erik 🙂
Erik Emanuelli says
good to hear you liked my off-page SEO guide! 🙂
We’re in the same boat. I really would like to discover the secrets of Google algorithm too, some days.
I’ve visited your site, I loved the video that starts when you land on it.
One question, tough. Why is it working on desktop, but not on mobile?
Thanks! My website is currently under reconstruction – so even an actual video is just a placeholder. However, I will have there an animated showcase of my presentation design work 🙂
Also thanks for the heads up! I didn’t know it is not playing on the mobile!
Erik Emanuelli says
Good to hear it, Tom. 🙂
I look forward to seeing your site live!
Vishwajeet Kumar says
Great and very informative post. SEO is a very dynamic world. Since Google always and frequent changes its algorithm so, we need to adapt strategies according to it. Off-Page SEO plays a crucial role in ranking a site in search engines. This post will definitely help newbies.
Erik Emanuelli says
you’re right about Google algorithm changes.
Luckily, there are some constant factors that we can follow over time.
Thanks for your positive comment. 🙂
Corey Hinde says
This is a very well written article Erik – thanks so much. I’m right into backlinks at the moment – all good if I share this article in my recent backlink article on my blog?
Erik Emanuelli says
thanks for the positive feedback.
Really appreciated, seen the efforts made to create this kind of guides.
And that would be great! I’d love to read your backlink article. 🙂
Winfred Acken says
Great post. very informative and detailed. Thanks for sharing.
Erik Emanuelli says
You’re welcome, Winfred.