What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is work done in an SEO campaign away from the website itself. The primary activity of off-page SEO is link building.
Off-Page SEO and Link Building
Link building — creating and optimizing links from other websites back to your website — is arguably the most important aspect of an SEO campaign. Google’s algorithm has always placed a great deal of weight on the quantity and quality of links pointing to a domain. When a website has a lot of links from reputable websites, especially ones in the same or related niche, it signals to Google that the website has content worth sharing.
Although a website’s inbound link profile is crucial for SEO, most small and midsize organizations are very deficient in that regard. Without a well-organized SEO campaign, few websites are likely to link to a website. But this is good news in a way. If a small or midsize organization invests in a link building campaign, it can separate itself from the pack of competitors and achieve higher organic rankings across a wide array of keywords.
For local SEO campaigns, link building requires special focus on websites in the target geography, such as chambers of commerce, local news websites and blogs, and local trade organizations. In addition, local SEO campaigns look especially hard for links from review websites.
The value of an inbound link is highest when it comes from a website with high authority — that is, a website with a strong reputation, lots of traffic and excellent content. Links from sites that are relevant — that is, sites in the same or related industry — are definitely valuable, but links from not-so-relevant sites also can be very helpful if the site is prominent (think HuffPo).
Managing an off-page campaign’s link building activity must balance quantity with quality. Links from poor quality websites, or sites that are completely irrelevant, can actually hurt rankings, as Google sees such links as attempts to manipulate its algorithm. Google’s Penguin update, introduced in 2012, was primarily aimed at stopping questionable link building tactics. Since then, SEOs have had to pay very careful attention to how they cultivate links.
Because so many links prior to 2012 came from bad sources, link recovery has become a standard part of many off-page SEO campaigns. The purpose here is to either have bad inbound links removed or update those links to make them suitable for today’s optimization. The main problem with bad but fixable links is anchor text. Prior to 2012, SEOs tended to use the same keywords in link after link, something that Google deemed “unnatural” and manipulative in its Penguin update. Immediately after the update’s release, the SEO pendulum swung hard in the other direction, and keywords were removed from inbound links at a fast and furious pace. Today, a certain amount of effort is needed with some websites to alter anchor text and thus turn neutral to negative links into positive ones.
What Is Off-Page SEO in Addition to Link Building?
Off-page SEO can also involve social media marketing. Social media is a valuable means of distributing content, getting a website on the radar of influential people in a niche. When your content receives such attention, influencers may link to your web pages and lift those pages — and your entire site — in organic rankings.
The most sharable type of social media content tends to be blog articles, videos and image-heavy content. Few social media influencers are likely to link to your product and service pages, but they are very likely to link to engaging, visual content that is useful and original. As a result, off-page link building often relies on content marketing to develop strong on-page content in the form of blog posts, infographics, instructional video, slide presentations and other types of content that go beyond the usual targets of an SEO campaign, product and service pages.
Link building in general relies heavily on content. Non-content links are still possible, but the number of reputable directories that used to be the staple of off-site SEO have dwindled to a very small number. Because link building is so reliant on content, the cost of link building has risen over the past decade or so. Whereas obtaining a directory link may take a few minutes, creating an infographic and then marketing it can take weeks and involve several staff members. Because of the cost and effort, companies must think very strategically about link building, picking their spots carefully and making sure they do not undermine their efforts by underfunding their campaigns.
To discuss off-page SEO for your business, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.