Off page SEO is a part of your overall SEO strategy. Search engine optimization is creating a website that is likely to rank well in organic searches. There are two types of SEO on page and off page SEO. On page are the things you can do to get better search engine rankings from within your site and off page SEO are all the things you can do outside of your website.
Factors in Off Page SEO
Off page SEO is basically your advanced backlink building strategy. The number of high quality backlinks a website has is the most important off page factor (PageRank of a website). Backlinks are links from one website to another. When website A links to B it is voting for that site. The more votes a site can get from authority sources the more PageRank that site will have. PageRank is one of the most important parts of the Google Algorithm.
Building backlinks to your site is off page SEO because you are getting links from external sites. There a couple of things to remember when you are building backlinks to your site:
Don’t spam, if you are using sneaky techniques to get links from another site, then you could be in breach of webmaster guidelines and you could be removed from the indexes of all the search engines.
Use anchor text, anchor text is the actual words that a link contains. It tells the search engines more about the page that is linked to. It can be a big factor in off page SEO and in the rankings of particular keywords. Don’t just link to your site with the website address but use anchor text whenever possible.
Keep building, you can literally never have enough backlinks, not only do they provide off page SEO benefits but they also bring direct traffic with people following the links. You will find loads of ways to build backlinks on this site, such as video marketing, article marketing, blog commenting and writing an eBook.
So keep this in mind and now let’s dive into the good stuff!
A natural link profile
A link profile is how your backlinks look to the search engines and is important is off page SEO. Search engines want what they consider a natural link profile. So if you link excessively using the same anchor text to your website, they may see this as abnormal and it may raise suspicion to the legitimacy o your links. Try to build a range of links to your site here are some of the types you can employ to build a natural link profile:
- Image and infographic linking. This is linking to your site from an image. Don’t forget that images are also great linking tools.
- Links with and without anchor text. When a webmaster is linking to a site he/she will give a variety of links some using anchor text and some that don’t, in general try and build links with anchor but sometimes you shouldn’t. For example on a YouTube video you can just your website’s URL in the description box. All is not lost when you don’t use anchor text either because using your domain has the advantage that users may remember your website name and visit it some other time.
- Deep linking and linking to the homepage. Again deep linking is best but you will still want to build backlinks to your homepage as it should be the most effective page on your site.
How long you have owned your domain is another off page SEO factor. The longer it has been owned the more respected it is. It has more authority and gets more respect for its history. While it is impossible to control how long you have owned a domain it could be important if you are thinking of buying another website or domain.
Google also sees how long you register a domain for as a measure of how serious you are. The longer you register the domain i.e. 5 years or longer instead of 1 year the more serious Google will think you are when you are setting up. Because a domain registered for 5 years is unlikely to be a throwaway domain.
If you haven’t bought your domain yet make sure to check it’s domain history before you do. The history of a domain is what it has been used for before. If your domain has been used as a link farm or another form of spam then it will have bad blood in it. It will probably arouse suspicion from the search engines if it has a poor history. Web.archive.org is the best place to check out your domain history.
Accelerate your link building
Search engines are always trying to find sites that are using sneaky or spam techniques to boost their rankings. As a part of off page SEO they try to catch out webmasters who build link unnaturally. A normal link building process will be continuous when you build a link it will build traffic which in turn will build links. But some spammers use robots to leave comments with links to their site on blogs and other sneaky techniques. These types of link building are unnatural and are not beneficial to the web. This is why when search engines see a huge spike in links and then a monumental fall off in these links they know there is spamming going on. They penalize the sites that use these techniques.
There is no need to worry if you have a small site and you are building natural links to it. But it does raise the subject that search engines prefer if your links keep building over time. There are two important things to keep a regular flow of links.
Continue building backlinks, while you might have small spikes of backlinks when you write a couple of articles or submit to some directories at one time, there shouldn’t be a time when you stop building backlinks. At no time do they become useless as the more you have the more traffic you will get and the more money you will make. You might get more creative with your link building as you build more but there is never a time to stop. Don’t worry if you do get spikes in links naturally, news sites get these when they release an article that is particularly interesting, but do try and keep a natural flow of links. If you have the feeling that a page you are about to publish will be very successful then maybe hold off on your other link building techniques for a while.
You must have high quality content. If you go on a backlink building campaign, you generally slow down building backlinks eventually. But if you have high quality content related to the backlinks you have built, then the visitors you have sent through the backlinks will be so impressed they will link to you. And the visitors that come through those links will link to you too and so on. This creates the natural curve a website should get if it wasn’t to use any type of backlink building marketing, slow at the start and a steady increase in links.
User behavior in off page SEO
How your visitors react to your site is very important in off page SEO. It may seem like it is impossible to control but that is not the case. In general the better your site is with high quality, relevant content, simple and effective internal linking and a simple to use website design will solve any user behaviour issues. User behaviour is also vital to how much money you make from your site. There are a number of indicators with how happy visitors are with your site.
How long they stay? The longer a user stays the happier they are with your site and the more likely you are to going to make a sale to them. There are many ways to keep users on your site. Having lots of pages helps. Linking to all these pages from other pages within the site helps too. Try placing a relevant blog posts/articles/videos at the end of every page you make. When the visitor is finished reading the page then they might stay on your site by clicking onto another page and hopefully another page from there.
Did they bookmark it? When you bookmark a site it means you liked it and that you will be visiting it again. Try to promote bookmarking your site on all your pages. If you have social media buttons on your site then you could promote bookmarking it there.
How they left? If a user presses backspace to leave your site then they probably didn’t find it that helpful. This is called your bounce rate, the lower it is the happier users are with your site. If they leave through a link to another site that you recommended or to a payment site like PayPal then it is fair to assume that they respect your opinion and were impressed with your site. Again the vital factors are high quality content and making your site easy to use and navigate around.
Increasing traffic trend
Just like an increasing backlinks trend having an increasing number of people coming to your site is important in off page SEO. To keep building traffic to your site you need to keep building pages and backlinks to those pages. Content is the biggest reason for free traffic so if you keep building content you will increase your organic traffic and the number of baklinks to your site.
You may run out of normal content pages to write about so here a few ideas that will boost your content that you might not have thought about:
- Regular blog posts, you don’t have to stick to the topic of your site if you have a blog. This gives you free reign to talk about some more diverse topics.
- Host a forum on your site, forums are a great way for users to build great content for you. They are surprisingly cheap to run if you use vBulletin and they require not to much work. They can be a great addition if you are a well established site with lots of traffic already. They are fantastic for long tail searches.
- Get users commenting, reviewing and rating, provide the ability for users to get involved on all your pages. There are loads of software solutions for this, my personal favourite being Site Build It’s Content 2.0 but you can find out more on the user generated content page.
Directory submissions are effectively just building backlinks but they do provide other off page SEO benefits. Search engines are always trying to find out more about all the sites in their index so they can understand them better. They sometimes take into account what a directory listing of that site has to say, in particular the description of the site.
This is particularly true with The Open Directory Project which is the most respected free directory on the internet. It is notoriously hard to get into with many webmasters being turned down for a variety of reasons. This is what Google in particular likes best about it. They sometimes use the DMOZ (Open Directory Project) description in their search engine results page. If Google can’t find your site because it has crashed or for some other reason they will often use the DMOZ description as their snippet.
Summary of off page SEO
The most important part of off page SEO is building high quality inbound links. When you are building links it is vital to build a natural link profile or the search engines will look on your backlinks with suspicion. There are a number of other less important factors like your domain age, if you are in DMOZ and whether you are showing an increasing trend for backlinks and traffic. These still impact your rankings and they are beneficial to your site so investing a portion of your overall SEO time into off page SEO could see you ranking higher for more free traffic.