Let me start with an example to make it easy for you.
You have a brand new car with the most refined engine…
You want to hit the road and blaze it like the Ghost Rider…
But then, you hit the pedal, and oops, you find that the gas is empty.
The engine boosters and aerodynamics resemble the on-page aspects of your site, and the fuel, of course, is off-page.
So, what this means is both on-page and off-page are inevitable to help your website rank higher on Google, and you can’t crank the engine without either of them.
I have a detailed post already written about on-page SEO techniques, and I recommend you read it if you are interested in learning more.
Read: On-Page SEO Techniques
But this blog is for those looking for the ultimate resource for off-page activities. If you are on the expedition to understand off-page SEO out and out, you have landed on the right planet.
Off-page SEO includes any activity performed outside of the website in an effort to boost the site’s search engine rankings.
Off-page SEO is more important than ever since on-page activities cannot solely bring success to your website.
In 2021, you need to look beyond your website.
Off-page SEO activities help search engines to see your website as authoritative and trustworthy.
In this guide, we’ll dive deep into off-page SEO techniques and help you understand better why it is important and what you need to do to rank your page on Google and drive better results.
What Is Off-Page SEO?
The short definition of off-page SEO is covering search engine tactics outside a website.
Off-page SEO often correlates with link-building activities, but there are far more tactics to implement if you want to enjoy a competitive advantage.
There are tactics like brand building, content marketing, social media, and anything that can be made a part of your off-page SEO strategy.
However, it must be noted that off-page SEO alone cannot help your site rank. You’ll have to combine it with technical SEO and on-page SEO tactics to achieve overall success.
Why Do You Need Off-page SEO & Why Does it Matter?
With Google constantly changing its algorithm, the SEO community still believes that off-page SEO plays a significant role in a web page’s ability to rank.
Although it is still unclear what factors Google considers to rank sites, a study by Moz has found that off-page SEO carries about 50% of the ranking factor weight.
As Google considers many of the off-page SEO factors while ranking a web page, it’s rather challenging to rank only on the merit of good content.
Above all, good content is a highly subjective topic and taking a stand based on assumptions could hamper the trustworthiness of Google.
That’s why the founder Larry and Sergey introduced the PageRank metric that helped Google value the inbound links before ranking a page.
Much water has flown in the last 20+ years and the PageRank algorithms have been perfected to make the results incredibly better than what it used to be in the early days.
To put it simply, what website owners should aim for is a combination of High-Quality Content + Authority Backlinks from Trustworthy Sites.
Does Backlinks Matter in 2021?
Before I get started with other off-page techniques, let’s bust a few myths. Most likely you have come across people saying SEO is dead because backlinks don’t work anymore.
The truth is SEO is still thriving and backlinks still work, provided you are not using the pre-penguin strategies.
Let me prove this with a quick example:
Here is a list of the top 5 sites that are currently ranking in the US for the keyword “Ethical Hacking.”
The search term is a moderate to high difficulty keyword which means only sites with high-authority content can compete for the top 5 spots.
So, how did Google decide to rank Ecouncil.com in the #1 position?
Here is the breakdown of the number of referring domains pointing to each page.
As you can see, the websites ranking in the top 3 positions have more referring domains when compared to the ones that follow.
Without off-page SEO, it isn’t easy to rank for competitive keywords. Period.
The key takeaways are:
- Websites with higher authority outrank those with lower authority.
- An off-page strategy that doesn’t focus on link-building is unlikely to drive results.
Boosting Off-Page SEO With Backlinks
When it comes to building backlinks for off-page SEO, quality matters over quantity.
If you want backlinks to boost your site rankings, you need to aim for high-quality links from authority sites.
Here are the most effective ways to build backlinks for your website.
Strategic Guest Posting
Guest posting helps off-page SEO in a number of ways.
Firstly, guest posting helps you reach new viewers and boost brand searches.
Second, guest posting can lead to unlinked brand mentions.
Although they aren’t as powerful as backlinks, they still help.
Finally, you can build backlinks from your guest posts.
They help in boosting your site rankings, provided you publish guest posts on your niche sites with superior authority.
Finding a site that’s exactly in your niche may eat up a lot of your time and energy; a related niche could also work. But getting links from your own niche passes a higher trust flow.
For example, an SEO agency writing a guest post on a Business Analytics Platform about the importance of an integrated SEO dashboard.
Increase Your Branded Searches
Brand search refers to how users search for your brand on the web.
Branded searches can include only your brand name or additional phrases with your brand name, for example, “Stan Ventures seo service.”
The Google Search Console Performance Report can give you insights into your branded searches.
So, how do you ensure that your branded searches are boosted online?
Here are our top recommendations.
1. Invest in YouTube
Youtube marketing is a great way to boost your brand signals.
There are two reasons why. First, it reaches many people, and second, when more people come across your brand on YouTube, they’ll try to learn more about it on Google.
Given the current interface, it is not easy to access your website directly from YouTube.
Although it is not very helpful for your business, the only upside to this is the number of branded searches on Google that come after the audience is exposed to your YouTube videos.
2. Publish Research Content
Well-researched content can help off-page SEO by attracting high-quality links.
Also, social sharing indirectly helps off-page SEO.
That’s because social sharing gets more attention from people and can boost branded searches.
Improve Trust to Brand
EAT has become an important part of off-page SEO lately.
EAT is beyond adding author bio to your content. It is based on a lot of off-page SEO signals.
So, if you want to improve your site’s EAT, these are a few measures you can take.
Brand Mentions on Authority Sites
Links and mentions from other sites can help determine the EAT for your site.
Links are best for your site’s EAT boost, but unlinked mentions from reputed sites will do the work, as well.
Get Links From Trusted “Seed Sites”
Well, as it is observed, Google still uses PageRank to determine EAT.
But, they don’t solely consider a site’s overall domain authority.
A 2018 Google patent describes a process where they put more weight on links that come from a small set of seed sites.
In short, getting links from authority sites is helpful, but if you get backlinks from sites that have links from other high-authority sites, it also boosts your EAT.
Types of Backlinks in SEO
There are mainly two types of backlinks in SEO. They are:
A do-follow backlink helps in SEO by passing the authority from the originating site to the destination site. The passing of authority is known as link juice, which is beneficial for the website acquiring it.
Link juice helps improve a site’s authority, trustworthiness and improves keyword rankings. By default, links are do-follow in nature.
A no-follow link does not pass authority to the site it is linking to. A no-follow link is not advantageous in terms of SEO. To make a link nofollow, add rel=”nofollow” to the code when linking to a website.
For some links on your site, you have to tell Google your relationship with that page you’re linking to. To do so, you need to use one of the “rel” attribute values in your URL code.
The rel=sponsored attribute should be used for paid link placements or advertisements.
The rel=ugc attribute should be used for content generated on forums posts and comments.
The rel=nofollow attribute applies to places where the other two values don’t apply. If you don’t want Google to associate your site with other pages you’re linking, use this attribute.
Types Of Links That Matter in SEO
Backlink building is the heart of any off-page SEO strategy. Search engines refer to backlinks to understand the linked-to content’s quality.
Sites with high-quality backlinks will rank better than a similar site with fewer backlinks.
Links can be categorized into three main types based on how they are earned.
Natural links are editorially given without anybody requesting them. For example, you run a photography blog, and you link your favorite photography equipment shop in one of your content. This is a natural link.
Manually built links are acquired through link-building activities. This involves things like asking influencers to link to your site or getting backlinks in exchange for guest posts, etc.
These links are created by practices like adding backlinks to an online directory or blog commenting.
Overdoing self-created links may sometimes lead you to carry out black hat SEO tactics. Therefore, you need to be very careful while exploring this option.
No matter how you obtain links, those that offer the most SEO value are the ones that pass more equity.
Many factors contribute to passing equity positively, such as:
- The linking site’s popularity
- The anchor text used on the linking site
- The trustworthiness of the linking site
- How related the linking site’s topic is to the site being linked to
- The “freshness” of the link
- The number of other links on the linking page
- Authority of the linking domain and page
Internal links are the links on your website that take you to another web page on the same domain. These links help users stay on your site longer.
External links, also known as outbound links, are links that take you to another domain from one. External links are added to page content to explain further a topic covered on the page.
External links are important to rank on search engines and cannot be unfairly controlled.
External links pass link juice from one website to another. Getting backlinks from high authority sites to a page can help Google and other search engines identify the worthiness of the content linked to. Thus this process helps the low authority sites to move up in the search results.
Non-link-related off-site SEO
While backlinks are majorly important for off-page SEO, there are many other strategies that you can use outside your website to boost its ranking.
Activities like social media marketing, guest blogging, and unlinked brand mentions help create references for your site from reputed sources from the web. For local off-page SEO, worth-of-mouth marketing can be considered equivalent to non-link-related off-site SEO.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO vs. Technical SEO
All SEO techniques are categorized under three main categories:
These are the tactics that you use on your website to improve its ranking on the web. These tactics revolve around your own site, and unlike off-page SEO, it doesn’t involve any activities outside your own site.
Some examples of on-page SEO tactics are high-quality content creation, image optimization, and internal link building.
Off-page SEO is quite the opposite of on-page SEO. Here, you need to apply strategies outside your own site to benefit your site. You must have already got the hang of a few off-page activities that websites carry out in the previous sections of this guide.
Technical SEO strategies cover everything that impacts the crawling and indexing of your website.
As you might be aware, search engine spiders crawl websites from time to time to index new content on the site. Any technical issues on your site can prevent search engine spiders from carrying out their work.
This is when technical SEO comes to play. Issues like slow website speed, broken links, canonicalization errors are all technical issues and can be fixed using technical SEO.
Off-Page SEO Techniques That Work in 2021
1. Link Building
Link building is evidently the backbone of any off-page SEO strategy. The primary goal of link building must be to earn quality links from reputed websites while focusing on quality over quantity.
You have to analyze the link gap that exists between your site and that of your competitors. However, it should be noted that getting links from high authority sites may not be as easy as it seems.
Here are the three main factors you must consider for quality link building:
Links from authoritative sites are beneficial since they help you earn trust and reputation.
Using the website domain authority checker tool, you can check the authority of any website.
Authority score grades the overall website quality and tells how impactful a backlink from a website can be.
To check the authority score of your current links, use the Backlink Analytics tool. You can check the authority score in the first column header “Page AS.”
The higher the score, the higher will be the authority of the link. The goal should be to earn links from sites with high authority scores.
Another key consideration of link-building success is the number of linking root domains pointing to your site.
The correlation between the number of linking domains and higher ranking is clear.
You should always aim to earn links from sites that are topically relevant to your own.
Even if you don’t get links from the exact same niche, try getting links from niches closely related to your business.
2. Brand Building
Brand building should be a part of your overall SEO strategy.
So, how do you include brand building in SEO strategy, and what are the metrics to measure its success? Let’s find out.
The strongest indicator that you’re building your brand is an increase in brand searches.
These branded searches could include your brand name, products, and services or domain name.
To see how your branded searches change over time, go to the Keyword Overview tool, enter your brand name and check the “Trends” box to see how the search volume has changed over the past month.
Google Trends is also useful while monitoring the interest in your brand.
Brand SERPs are another reason why it is important to focus on brand-building activities. Brand SERPs are search results that come up when someone searches your brand name.
Brand building activities boost your credibility, which is why it also serves the purpose of off-page SEO.
When you ace brand building, it will also get easier to earn links and mentions naturally across the web.
3. Content Marketing
When we think of content marketing, we assume it is all about creating and publishing content.
But, a look at the broader picture tells you that content marketing entails both off-page and on-page SEO.
When you publish content anywhere on the web, it is known as content marketing.
Writing a guest post for a website or publishing an article that gets linked to by a reputed site are all examples of content marketing.
Content marketing is about publishing valuable and engaging content that others want to link to or share.
Therefore, the content marketing tactic is closely linked to link building, PR, social media, and brand reputation.
For a long period, PR and SEO were seen as two entirely separate branches of marketing.
However, in recent years, both branches have blurred the line to come together.
Digital PR is the new-age link-building tactic that many SEOs prefer. You can use digital PR to promote linkable assets and earn a good amount of backlinks through them.
PR helps off-page SEO by more than just building backlinks.
A great PR campaign can also help you by putting your business at the forefront of your target audience, driving referral traffic to your site, increasing brand awareness, and position you as a thought leader in your industry.
5. Local SEO (GMB and Citations)
While local SEO is a branch of SEO in itself, it helps off-page SEO in two ways: through Google My Business and citations.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) plays an important role for any local business wanting to boost its online presence.
With 46% of all online searches being local, it is evident that your competitors are at an advantage if your website doesn’t show up in local GMB results.
GMB is not your website, but you cannot ignore its importance in ranking for the local map pack.
A citation is a mention of your business online along with its NAP. If you are looking to rank your business in the local map pack as well as SERPs.
The key to citations is consistency. Without consistency, your business won’t appear trustworthy due to differences in your business name, address or phone numbers.
6. Social Media
Social media plays an important role in how users interact with businesses.
Social media platforms are now used as search engines to help businesses connect with their audience and vice versa.
Although social sharing is not a direct ranking factor, it can help you reach potential clients looking for answers to specific queries related to your business or to engage with the right brands for their needs.
Moreover, social media is a good mode of communication for your business. If your customers want to raise a query or make a complaint, they’ll contact you on social media first.
It is important to stay active on social media so that your existing and potential customers can find you during their buyer journey.
Using forums as a part of your off-page SEO strategy might come as a surprise to you.
Since the SEO community misused UGC platforms like forums and comment sections, the attention moved away from such platforms completely.
But, forums can really amp up your game when made a part of a wider marketing strategy.
Consider forums as ways to involve in conversations that relate to your expertise.
Very limited platforms allow you to answer user queries as elaborately as forums.
Forums like Quora and Reddit are a great way to impart your knowledge about a subject and build trust and relationships with potential customers.
With consistency, you can build a strong community of followers on forums since you cannot expect many of your competitors to be there since the 2000s.
8. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been raging for a few years now.
It started with influencers doing sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram, but now it has extended to other platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and more.
Influencer marketing is a great way to reach potential customers and build brand awareness by amplifying your content.
One of the ways through which you can carry out influencer marketing is through blogger outreach.
It might take you time to create a list of top bloggers in your niche, but, with consistency, you can gradually get in touch with them and maintain good relationships.
When the time comes for promoting your product or service, you can ask these bloggers to endorse them or review them on their website/social media platforms.
This will help to create a buzz around your product and bring targeted traffic to your website/product page.
Events are making a comeback with marketing strategies and can contribute to your off-page SEO.
Online events such as webinars and virtual summits can go a long way to boost your brand name.
They are not only beneficial to engage your audience but are also useful in creating a buzz about your business.
They are also great if you are looking to benefit from PR coverage.
10. Guest Posting
Guest posting, when utilized in the right way, can fetch you more than just quality backlinks.
Guest posting is one of the most common link-building tactics used by webmasters since it effectively builds quality links.
Your main objectives of guest posting should be attracting new customers, building your brand, and growing brand awareness.
Podcasts are highly popular these days. If you aren’t utilizing them yet, you’re losing out on tremendous opportunities.
Podcasts are beneficial to reach new audiences through sources that aren’t limited to search engines.
Since many businesses haven’t adapted to podcast marketing, it could be a great opportunity to cash on new customers and grow your business.
93% of people admit to online reviews impacting their buying decisions. Reviews are still underrated when it comes to off-page SEO strategies that can work for a business.
Reviews are great for online reputation management. Google uses reviews to derive brand signals that can influence your ranking in search results.
Whether you receive them on your page or third-party platforms, positive reviews can build trust in your audience and boost conversions.
13. Content Syndication
Content syndication is carried out across sites that form a part of a network owned by publishers.
It allows new content to be published on the site constantly. Yahoo! is an example of a platform with content syndicated from different sources.
Google doesn’t index syndicated content because it is a duplicate of the original, but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether.
Content syndication can allow you to boost your content, which can positively impact brand signals.
How to Avoid Google Penalties for Unnatural Links?
Backlinks are critical to rank your site on SERPs. But, backlinks cannot be discussed in their entirety without mentioning unnatural links and Google penalties.
If you ask seasoned bloggers about the biggest factor that impacts search rankings, many of them will agree to links.
However, links from high authority sites no longer hold much importance to Google.
Google has shifted its focus to user intent, valuable content, and user optimization.
The focus is more on the intent behind user searches than the search term/phrase being used.
You might want to avoid Google’s penalty as much as you can because recovering from it can be really challenging.
A complete backlink analysis will help you determine the good and bad links present on your site.
You can do certain things to ensure that your site is not penalized by the search engine giant.
1. Create content and optimize for the users first
Are you putting your users first while creating content on your site?
To put it to practical use, stop using your keywords multiple times within your articles for the sake of ranking.
It breaks the natural flow of your content and makes it less trustworthy.
Users don’t like to be sold, so create valuable content by integrating well-researched data into your blog posts and articles.
2. Diversify anchor texts
Once you analyze your backlink profile and see where your links are coming from, you need to diversify your anchor texts.
Diversifying anchor texts is using variations of keyword phrases, brand names, and terms that allow Google to view your links as natural.
As you diversify your anchor texts, your topmost priority should be relevance. Google will analyze how your anchor text is consistent with the overall content topic.
Since it is impossible to control where you get links from, use your brand name in the anchor text more often.
Lastly, you should aim to get backlinks from authoritative websites, disavow low-quality links from thin pages, balance no-follow links to make your content more natural, and earn more brand mentions.
Which off-page SEO tactic do you think matters the most for a website? How do you think backlink building can influence SERP rankings? Share your opinions in the comment section.