Your website’s ranking on search engines depends on a number of factors, including both what is on your site and what you implement on other pages and sites. How can you get a step ahead of the competition when it comes to off-page SEO?
The Basics of Off-Page SEO
What exactly is off-page SEO? Consider it everything not on your website that boosts your search page rankings. That includes inbound links to your site, social media, directories, video promotions, forums, photos, news articles, business reviews, and blogs. Search engines notice when your website gets attention across the internet. Not only is this added exposure, but most of these efforts translate into boosted rankings.
Take reviews as an example. Imagine some visitors in town who are looking for a great cup of joe. (Why does this matter? Because you’re a coffee shop owner in this example. Play along.) They turn to Google Maps to help them find what they want, and for coffee shops in the area Google Maps is going to list the best-reviewed businesses first. Alright, coffee shop role play over. Put your SEO hat back on because here’s your takeaway from this tip:
Ask for Encourage reviews from your customers; many businesses don’t do this, and it may give you an advantage over competitors. Be careful with your language here, because asking straight out for reviews or linking to a review site can be really off-putting and backfire on how people feel about your brand. Encouraging them, though? That’s better. Put offers out there in exchange for reviews, or reach out after you’ve won their business.
Pay Attention to the Quality and Quantity of Inbound Links
Logically, the more other sites link to yours, the better you will rank on search engine results pages. However, not all inbound links have equal value. As search engines become more intelligent, they are learning to discern if all the links going to a particular website are meaningful, relevant links or if someone just tossed them in there for the sake of it.
As you’re building up your own inbound links to your site, aim for links that come from quality, authority sites that your potential customers may visit. If you’ve done link-building campaigns in the past and aren’t sure about the quality of your inbound links, perform an audit to know where you stand.
Also, keep in mind that while quantity of inbound links is valuable for your website, if the number of inbound links suddenly goes from nil to a million, that raises a red flag. Build links gradually by creating interesting content that other websites will want to share.
Build Trust Through Unique Content
A trustworthy website is a website that does well with search engines. You hear all the time that it’s important to write authoritatively as part of your on-page SEO. Easily said, right? Some off that authority building could come from off-site outreach. Are there any independent bloggers that specialize in your industry? You could ask them to write guest blog posts for you, and they could post that information on their own sites as well as yours. Even non-writers have good tips they can share in a Q&A.
You can also create your own expert. If one of your employees can consistently write quality content and gain a reputation for providing reliable information, perhaps other sites will ask that employee to write guest posts for them.
Master Social Media
Social media encompasses more than just Facebook and Instagram; it involves anything where there is a network of people who want to connect with one another. Here are a few ways you can use social media to boost your off-page SEO:
- Comment freely. What are the hot topics in your industry? Find blogs and the social media accounts of authoritative voices and offer comments on their pages. Search engines can crawl through comments sections.
- Use video promotions. Consumers have a large appetite for visual media. By crafting interesting, shareable videos and posting them on popular platforms like YouTube, you draw attention to your brand.
- Share your photos. Whether you are posting snapshots of your latest products or interesting scenes from around the world that relate to your industry, photographs can earn a following for you that search engines will notice.
- Make your voice heard on Answers. By asking and answering questions in an intelligent way, you help to establish yourself as an authority.
- Don’t flood social media with filler. Just because you can run your Twitter account off of auto-tweets of articles you publish doesn’t mean that you should. I look at Twitter feeds to see if people are acting like humans. Keep the interaction going and you’ll have people engaging. Google has been toying off and on with authority being passed from the author’s social credibility.
SEO, both on-page and off-page, is one of the most important factors in determining how well your website — and sometimes your entire business — performs. Take every advantage you can get, and stay on top of news, changes, and tips. This is a moving art.