In our last blog we talked about on-site SEO practices that can help a website that isn't ranking well when users search for products and services a company provides. The other half of SEO concerns developing references and links to that website from other websites. This is off-site SEO. We will explain what that means and why it matters here.What Is Off-Site SEO?
Off-site SEO, also referred to as off-page SEO, is the term that describes techniques that can be taken on the internet beyond the scope of one website that result in improving that website's rankings within search engine algorithms. Essentially, it involves "persuading" these algorithms that a website is popular, relevant, trustworthy, and has authority and original content. Good off-site SEO convinces search engines that the website should rank higher in results than competitive websites.What Are Off-Site SEO Techniques?
Traditionally, the best known technique was link building. Like the overuse of keywords, link building used to be an easy way to get great search rankings practically overnight. The rule was: The more links the better. SEO "experts" spammed email, forums, and every site they could access to place links. Unfortunately, because they exploited this loophole so ruthlessly, search engine algorithms were changed to detect this sort of black hat SEO and punish websites for it.
Newer updates to these algorithms determine if links are targeted, on topic, and from trusted or authoritative sites - in other words, actually useful to the user. A link from any old website does not cut it anymore. In fact, if you try any of the old black hat methods, you are more likely to incur a penalty, at least from Google. You do not want a penalty.
In order for a link from a website to be valuable enough to boost a site's off-site SEO, that website must be reputable. A link from a high ranking website acts as a sort of reference for the site it links to. It is, in effect saying, "This website is good. It has good information." High ranking websites will typically have lots of links from other sites vouching for them. This happens organically when site content is good. Other people like it, find it useful, and refer their own readers to read it. Some of those people may also choose to reference it on their blogs. More links leads to more views and mentions on social media which often leads to more links, and a whole virtuous cycle begins. You can see examples of this in the links within this blog piece.
It can be a lot of work creating the kind of content that inspires organic linking, but that's on purpose. Google in particular has designed its algorithm in order to incentivize original, interesting, and helpful content. If you want high rankings from Google - and, to some extent, from other search engines - that's what you have to create.
There are two other techniques that people use to improve off-site SEO. The first is social media marketing. Most companies have at least one social media profile which they use to drive traffic to their websites with links, either with tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram posts, or Pinterest pins. This is a form of link building, but since links from these sites are typically nofollow links, search engines do not penalize for them. Search engines do take into account how companies utilize social media and factor that into their rankings.
The other technique is social bookmarking. Using sites like scoop.it and stumbleupon.com used to be a popular way to build social links. Many of these sites are no longer in existence, however, and the ones that still do operate are used less and less.
To sum up, off-site SEO refers to techniques that are used to direct traffic to your website in order to promote your content, products, and services. It's vital now that these links come from good and trusted sites. When done correctly, off-site SEO results in higher rankings and more exposure for your website to a new, ever expanding audience and hopefully a virtuous cycle of increased traffic.
If you would like help with either your on-site or off-site SEO, please contact us. We would be happy to meet with you and discuss changes you can make to your website and how you can create content marketing and social media marketing strategies.