Off-Page SEO: The Practical Guide

Here’s why you need to rank in Google top results:

Nearly 80% of search users ignore paid ads to click organic results in the search listings. Isn’t that impressive?

So it’s not enough to build a professional website, create quality content and expect to rank high on Google. There are many activities outside your website that gives you more authority to rank.

Nowadays, search engines need to be aware that your business exists outside your website. It’s a proof of authenticity and usefulness of your website.

Off-page SEO is a way for search engines to establish your credibility by checking what external sources think about your business.

Do external websites link to your pages or are they oblivious to it?

But you don’t have to wait until external sources say something good about your business. This will take a long time that you don’t have.

You have to set down the narrative by taking necessary actions to ensure there’s a positive message about your brand outside your website.

What is Off-Page SEO?

These are the activities you engage in outside your website that are targeted to improve your search rankings for important keywords in your industry.

These activities include link building, guest blogging, social media marketing, press releases, and so on. All of these activities will increase your website traffic.

One of the major aims of off-page SEO is to reach a bigger audience outside your website and improve your brand authority along the way.

When you achieve this, you improve the chances of having your website rank for keywords vital to your business.

The big question is: how can you do off-page SEO effectively to reap all its benefits and finally see your pages at the top of Google searches?

That’s what you’ll learn in this guide. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand steps you can take right away to improve your off-page SEO efforts.

1. Brand Mentions

When your brand gets mentioned on other websites, especially authoritative websites, it improves your brand authority. There’s even a bigger impact if your brand was mentioned on an industry website.

Here’s an example of brand mention on the ConversionXL website:

Brand mentions show that other websites recognize your business as an expert in your industry. Google looks at this when releasing search results in a particular industry.

However, brand mentions can have even more impact when there’s a backlink on it to your website.

In light of this, you should always take steps to turn brand mentions to backlinks. Especially if your brand is mentioned on an authoritative website.

There are many tools you can use to track mentions of your brand. Some of them are Google Alerts, Mention, and BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo gives you an option to monitor 6 metrics which include brand mentions and competitor mentions.

If you click on brand mentions, it leads you to the page where you can input details like brand name and others you want to monitor.

When you’re through with that, click on the “Next” button. After that, you’ll select how you want to receive your alert.

Whatever option of alerts you select, you can find alerts on your brand mentions on your BuzzSumo dashboard.

2. Influencer Marketing

No matter what industry you are, there are people who have been in this industry for a longer period of time. As a result of this, they’ve built credibility in the industry and are respected.

Apart from that, there are celebrities who affect their followers’ choices. According to The State of Influencer Marketing report in 2016, 94% of marketers found influencer marketing to be effective.

In short, there are two major types of influencers:

i). Macro Influencers: These are celebrities with large followings who may not be in your industry but are effective in forming people’s opinions. This can be popular personalities on big websites or social media.

ii). Micro Influencers: These are influencers who are likely not as popular as macro influencers but are well-known in their industry. They’re usually professionals in the industry who have built their reputation for years.

If you provide a service or sell a product in such an industry, positive words from these influencers can lead to more traffic and sales for your website.

Micro influencers may have a lower number of followers, they make up for this with better engagement.

Having said that, here are proven ways to execute influencer marketing:

Product reviews

If you have a product or run a service, one way to draw more publicity to it is to send your product to an influencer in your industry.

You can give this influencer free access to your product in exchange for a review on a later date.

The benefit of these reviews is that people looking to buy your product or subscribe for your service see them. These influencers are also trusted sources in their various industries.

When they recommend your product to their followers, it can lead to more traffic to your website and customers.

When RESCUE wanted to create awareness for its products, it engaged in a campaign where influential bloggers created sponsored post to share their experiences of using RESCUE natural stress relief products.

This led to 133 million social impressions, over 6,000 clicks to the coupon site, and a 258% increase in their Instagram follower count.

Instagram

This is one of the main social media channels for influencer marketing. If you sell products or provide services for millennials, it’s a platform you can use effectively.

Whether you’re looking for macro influencers or micro influencers, you’ll find a large number of them on Instagram.

You also have access to 2 visual formats in the form of images and videos. Another advantage you get with Instagram is that it boasts of one of the best engagements of any social media platform.

Yumbox, a lunch box company based in Pennsylvania, paid a popular health food blogger to post a photo of a food-filled Yumbox. This led to a spike in their website traffic and their Instagram follower count doubled.

3. Social Media Marketing

When you consider it, there’s a large number of people on social media. In fact, there are over 3 billion people on social media. It only makes sense that you should explore social media while looking to build your brand off-site.

Most people have more than a single social media account and they go to these platforms daily to interact with other people having similar interests with them. Added to that, people follow brands on social media.Thats why social media marketing is so important these days.

This is an opportunity for a business to reach potential website visitors and customers. When you publish content on your website, social media is one of the main ways to promote your post to readers.

Consider research carried out by Moz and BuzzSumo about the length of posts and their corresponding number of social shares and backlinks.

What you’ll find is that the posts with the highest number of shares also have the highest number of backlinks.

How do you take advantage of social media for your off-page SEO? Some social media platforms to show up are:

i). Facebook: This is the largest social media platform. With about 2.27 billion monthly active users, this is a platform that has your ideal website visitors. When you produce content on your website, one of the platforms you should share to is Facebook.

ii). Twitter: This is a platform where many people go to find news and other website pages they can read. On Twitter, you can also use your industry hashtags to make your content more visible to potential visitors.

iii). LinkedIn: This is a social media platform for professionals. If you run a B2B business, this is a platform where you can publicize your content to attract more visitors and potential customers.

By promoting a post on Reddit, Guillermo Bravo was able to get 3,191 organic views to the post in just 2 months. The post also ranked number 1 for keywords like “top iPhone business apps.”

4. Guest Blogging

In your industry, there are blogs and websites that are more popular than yours. One way to get access to their audience is through guest blogging on those platforms.

With an effective guest blogging strategy, you build your authority in your industry. Furthermore, guest blogging is a way of building backlinks to your website as most websites allow you to leave a link in your author bio.

In fact, Sean Si names guest blogging as his most important link building strategy.

Take these steps if you want to get results from guest blogging?

1). Find the right blogs

Not every big blog accept guest posts. Nor is every blog a right fit for your brand. One of your first activities in guest blogging is to find the right blogs to feature on.

The easiest method to do this is through a Google search. You can start with a search for big blogs in your industry. This gives you an idea of some blogs you need to follow or target.

You can also use search operators to find better results. For instance, you can use an intitle search to find pages that have a particular keyword in their title.

You can also use an operator like inurl to find pages with a particular keyword. For instance, you can use the inurl operator to find a keyword for a term like “Write for us” in a website URL.

If you combine this with the industry keywords, then you can find many websites in your industry that accept guest posts.

Another search operator you can use is the site search. This allows you to search a particular website to find out if they have a guest post guideline page.

Most websites that accept guest posts have one and you can detect if a website accepts guest posts. Below is an example of such a search on Search Engine Journal.

You can also combine two or more search operators to get more accurate results.

Another way you can find websites to guest blog on is to use a tool like Ahrefs. You can search for topics related to your industry to find websites that have content on that topic.

This will give you a bigger list than you’ll find on Google search. Of course, not all the websites in this list will be the right target, you’ll find many that are.

Below is an example of a search for the keyword “parenting.” This leads to 90,195 results.

You can reduce this number when you use filters. One example is a filter to show a single result from a domain. Using this filter reduces the results to 26,248.

Another way to find guest blogging opportunities is to carry out competitive analysis. You can use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find the backlinks to your competitor’s website.

What you’ll discover is that some of these backlinks are from guest posts your competitor has published in the past.

These websites are good targets for your guest blogging as it shows you have a good chance of getting your guest posts accepted there if they still accept guest posts.

This is an example of a blog search using Ahrefs site explorer.

When you search the domain, you can see backlinks to the site.

2). Choose the right topic for your host

After picking your guest blog targets, the next step is to come up with the right topics. If you send the wrong topics to your targets, you have a low chance of getting accepted.

The first step is to visit your target website and read some of their posts to get a feel of their style. This will enable you to find their favorite topics and topics that perform well on their website.

You can also use Google search to ensure you pick the right topics.

For instance, if you want to write about a wide topic, say “Voice Search” on Search Engine Journal, you can use a site search operator to find the posts they already have on that topic.

This will help you avoid sending a topic that has already been covered on the website. Another way to find topic ideas is to check big industry websites.

These websites become big because they’ve been publishing great content for years.

You can browse through these websites to find topic ideas you can use for your guest post.

3). Create the best content possible

When you produce content for your guest blogs, you should write the best post possible. This has benefits in two ways:

  • It increases your chances of getting accepted.
  • It shows your expertise to your host’s audience.

When writing posts for other websites, you should focus more on quality rather than quantity. Quality guest posts that provide value are the ones that will pass off SEO authority to your website.

A poor post on a poor website will only harm your SEO rather than help. With the use of guest blogging, Bamidele Onibalusi increased a site’s search traffic by 342.35% within a year.

5. Press Releases

This is important when you want to inform the public of new development in your business. It’s also a popular way of announcing your new products.

Press releases on popular websites help to make your website or service more popular. This way, you get more visitors to your website and also a backlink. These are signals that can improve your website’s SEO in the long run.

Below is an example of a press release by PRWeb informing people about the new 2017 NYC Marathon Readiness Protocol. In this press release, there were 3 backlinks to Dr. Shoshany’s website.

6. Link Building

This is probably the most important off-page SEO activity you can get involved in. In fact, if you’re serious about off-page SEO, then link building is an activity you can’t ignore.

It’s so important that Google’s search analysts Andrey Lipattsev ranks it as one of the 3 most important ranking signals along content and RankBrain.

There are many ways to build links and some like guest blogging and press releases have been explained earlier in this guide.

Other ways you can build backlinks to your website are:

a). Links reclamation

It’s difficult to gain backlinks. So how do you feel when you’re at the risk of losing these precious backlinks? Not good.

Enters link reclamation. This is the process of claiming new links and regaining old ones you might have lost due to different reasons. One common event that necessitates link reclamation is broken links.

Over time, when you change your website host or make other changes to your website, it could lead to a change of URL. When this happens, links pointing to your old URL will now lead to a broken page.

This is also called a 404 error. Users who click through can’t find your content and your new URL doesn’t benefit from the link authority.

The first step is to find these broken links. There are many tools you can use to find your URLs that are broken links. One of them is Moz Open Site Explorer.

To use this tool, go to the page and enter your website address and click on the “Search” button. Click on the “Top pages” bar. What you’re looking for here are top pages that are broken links.

After finding these pages, export them to the CSV format and open the file in Excel. You can also use the new Moz Link Explorer by following the same steps.

You can see all your website top pages on Excel. All you have to do is apply a filter to show pages that are broken links and those with temporary redirects.

You can select 404 and 302 to select these pages. After doing that, you now have a list of your broken links.

However, some of these broken links are more valuable than some others. It’s better to reclaim the valuable links and ignore others.

To find the most valuable links among your broken links, copy one of these links and paste it into Link Explorer.

Click on the drop down beside the box and select “exact page” since you’re considering a single page.

To see the most important links to claim, set your parameters for link type as “Follow” and a parameter for link status as “Active.” You can export this data to see the most important links you need to reclaim.

After getting a list of links to reclaim, there are 2 main ways to go about it. These are:

i). Permanent redirect 301: This is the easiest way and it transfers all the link authority passed to your broken links. With a permanent redirect, you’ll redirect the broken link URL to the right URL.

ii). Contact webmasters: If you don’t want to perform a 301 redirect, you can contact webmasters to change the URL of their backlinks to the right URL.

You have to note that this may be more stressful and less effective.

b). Link roundups

There are websites that post roundups of interesting content weekly or monthly. You can find such websites in your industry. When you find them, you can send your website or a specific page URL for consideration.

Below is an example by Growth everywhere. You can search for link roundups on Google, Twitter, or other platforms where you can find opportunities in your industry.

c). Podcast interview links

One way to get backlinks to your website is to appear on podcasts. When you feature on a podcast for an external website, there’s a link to your website during the introduction.

Check out this example of a podcast. Ezra Klein interviewed Tyler Cowen. You can see the link to Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution blog in the introduction.

7. Outreach

Having great content on your website is important. But it can only be of benefits to your website when people read your great article.

In some cases, an outreach will help you get the visibility you want for your content. However, for your outreach to be successful, you need to build relationships with influencers in your industry.

For instance, when Eugene Mota built relationships with influential bloggers, this led to an 80% engagement rate when he later did outreach to these influencers. This led to more visibility for his content.

8. Social signals

Many experts will tell you that social signals don’t directly affect your search rank. But the truth is that social signals help you to gain other signals that affect your search rank.

For instance, a high number of shares on social media would lead to more traffic to your website and more people might link to it. Therefore, social signals are important to your search rankings.

There are many tools you can use to measure social signals. One of them is BuzzSumo which shows the share count of individual articles on your website.

Even though this tool doesn’t show the share count for the whole website, you can see how popular a post on your blog is through the share count.

Check out this example of an infographic by Mercola.com about banned foods which got over 700,000 social shares.

When you search for the term “banned foods” on Google, the web page shows up in the answer box which is position zero. It also shows up in position 4 in the top 10 results.

Conclusion

Make no mistake, off-page SEO is vital if you want to consistently gain maximum visibility in the organic search results.

Elements like influencer marketing, brand mentions, link building, etc. are as vital as what you do on your website.

From this guide, you can use these tips to start taking actions regarding your off-page SEO today. Doing this will ensure you rank high for your target keywords, get more visitors, and consequently, more customers.

It’s definitely worth the effort.