The goal of every search engine is to return the most relevant results for the visitor’s search query. Although they all use different, often top-secret algorithms, the basic premise is that a page will show up in search results because it mentions the terms that were being searched.
Of course, many websites use the same keywords, so search engines also consider off-site factors when deciding whether to rank one web page higher than another. Mainly, the number of links that point back to that website from other sources, and how reputable are those sites.
Off-page SEO is about building online authority – trust and reputation – for your website. The more trustworthy your page appears to be, the higher your page will rank in search engine results.
Authority used to be determined simply by back-links – how many other websites linked back to yours. Off-page SEO used to be just a fancy word for “getting more links.” There are lots of bad ways to build links for SEO, and search engines quickly learned that the site with the most back-links was not always the most relevant result.
Here are five modern techniques for improving off-page SEO:
Link building is essentially the practice of building inbound links to help give your website authority. Modern efforts of getting other reputable and authoritative websites to link back to yours require earning links through multiple channels, instead of just generating loads of back-links from just any website. Understandably, this requires marketers to stop thinking about off-page optimization as just link “building” and instead as link “earning.”
Compelling Content Marketing
Yes, optimizing for off-page SEO is content marketing. After all, without content it’s hard to earn those links. The best way to earn relevant links from other sites is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity online, particularly with your target audience. The more useful, relevant and compelling your content, the greater the odds that someone else will find that content valuable too, and link to it in their blog or social media posts.
Your content must align with your target audience – the persona that represents your ideal customer – and ultimately help them solve the problem or answer the question that they’re online searching for in the first place.
Co-marketing defines the efforts of lots of cross promoting, networking and community building. It’s a partnership between two or more complementary companies in which both companies jointly market each other’s content, products or services. This could be writing guest blogs, or mentioning others’ eBooks on your social channels.
What’s nice about co-marketing is that you have access to one another’s social networks, prospects, leads and/or customers, which ultimately increases your reach. And what better than to have one or more companies brag about the content that you create, especially since it benefits them too?
Social Media Marketing
Social media has only recently been considered a part of off-page SEO. Before, social media marketing was often done inappropriately (still is by some today). Users or businesses essentially spammed social networks and followers with sales pitches instead of putting real thought and work into creating compelling, conversational messages. To them social media was just one more way to get back-links. Today, social media marketing has evolved into a medium for brands and consumers to have real conversations.
You may think of PR as just an announcement that blasts multiple news sources. However, a well-planned and optimized press release can produce great results from off-page sources. Be careful to promote genuine and ethical dialogue driven content to improve a brand’s organic search engine results. Effective PR outreach should include more than the traditional publication channels. Develop a list of bloggers, industry influencers, and social media leaders to send your content to.
Your website’s authority is only partly based on analysis of the sites that link to you. The way you diversify authority for your website is through the conversations people are having about your brand and the references they make to it.