Are you struggling to see your site ranking top of Google search results? We all know how important it is to get traffic from search engines like Google to build a profitable blog.
SEO is not only for getting high quality visitors but also to increase user-friendliness of the websites. SEO is basically categorised into two ways.
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
On-page SEO makes your website search engine friendly but off-page SEO improves your website’s position in Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
9 out of 10 bloggers focus on on-page optimization and ignore off page SEO. That’s the reason why they struggle to increase their search engine traffic. If you’re also one among them, start focusing on your off page SEO. This detailed off page SEO guide helps you how to do it right.
Table of Contents
What is off page SEO?
Off page SEO is nothing but improving your website positions in Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It tells Google what others think about your site. Based on the links that you have in your site, search engine assume that you have great content.
Links are the new web currency. But, most of the people assume that off page SEO is all about just link building. No, it is not just about links. Then what else it includes? Off page SEO is a combination of a lot of factors that include;
- Social media metrics (Facebook likes, Pinterest pins, Tweets etc)
- User engagement (comments)
- Social bookmarking
- Forum posting and a lot of other factors.
If you want to boost your search rankings using off page SEO, this ultimate guide is just for you. Let’s dive into the details for more info on off page search engine optimization.
Off page SEO ultimate guide for beginners in 2017
Let me start this off page SEO guide by telling you one thing: it’s all about links.
Without backlinks, it’s impossible to rank on first page search results.
Did you know that 99% of the sites that rank on top Google search results has at least 1 external link pointing to the site?
Do you know, almost 100 billion searches are made on Google every month for services, content and products? And half of those searches are coming from mobile devices.
Backlinks are the most important off-page SEO factor when it comes to content marketers and bloggers. Why? Because search engines trust your website more if your site has any authoritative relevant backlinks.
When Google looks for fresh content, it indexes your new pages and makes it available for search users. When relevant search queries are triggered, Google uses some algorithm facts to determine whose pages will rank. This we call as Google ranking factors in SEO terminology.
Here are the most important factors that Google considers while ranking:
- The number of linking domains. The number of domains linking to your site is one of the most important ranking factors
- Page rank of a linking page. The links from the high page rank website is considered more than the links from low PR pages. Yes, try to get links from high PR pages.
- The number of linking page. It is always recommended to have more links from individual domains rather than from a single domain.
- Authority of linking domain. A link from low pagerank page on a high pagerank site is better than from a low pagerank one.
- Count number of dofollow links. As Google officially stated that it won’t count nofollow links while ranking, it considers dofollow links.
- Contextual links. The links within the content of the page are worth more than the links in a sidebar.
- Links from homepage. The links from a homepage of a linking domain carry more strength than those on one of its pages.
- Link relevancy. The links from pages related to your pages topic carry more relevancy for search engines.
Google views your website as more valuable than others if you have many backlinks from authoritative websites. Google analyzes the questions about links like, where does the link comes from?, quality of the link, how fresh the link is? Etc..
That being said, well how to get those authoritative links?
#1. Guest blogging: No doubt, guest blogging takes you so far and helps a lot in acquiring great links The only challenging task here is, you need to do lot of research about the topic. After that, you need to find out the top blogs in your niche and submit your pitch. If they accept and yes your article gets published.
#2. Broken link building: To earn the links, this method is pretty much faster than guest blogging. Do you know, lots of links on some authority blogs are actually dead. Why it happens? If hosting expires, during file transfer or migration of the sites, links are bound to break.
The one good point is broken pages don’t affect your site’s ranking. But it does give bad experience to user. If your customer service is bad, then 85% of your business could be lost according to the Sacramento Design Network.
So, conduct a backlink analysis on your niche websites. Find broken links, contact the owner and let them know about their dead links. There are chances that they will do a return favour by including your link on their website or you can offer replacement link too.
#3. Create compelling infographics: It always gives impressive results provided they are created with great information. If you have budget to afford, you can use Canva or Visual.ly for professional infographic designers.
If you want to attract huge number of audience and acquire authoritative back links, then infographics works the best. Because, the ideal customers respond to visual content better than the plain text.
Infographics goes viral if you give sufficient promotion to it. When people share your infographics, it continuously generates organic traffic to your blog. Well, you generated backlinks. What’s next?
Social is the NEW SEO. Here’s the image that tells you how social media impacts your SEO.
Know your target audience by engaging more on social media. By contributing regularly to discussions, you will understand where your audience hang out more and at what time.
Because, these days people don’t just go to Google for everything. Yes, social media is the new SEO. They use social media channels to look for what they want. So, you also need to consider the search that happens on social media.
If someone wants to know more about your brand, they check your presence in Twitter, Facebook and of course other social media channels. Share your content in the form of content or images or video. Join related groups in facebook, linkedin, pinterest and share the content there too. It helps in connecting with potential users.
Users go for Quora more to get right answer rather than Google or bing. Make the best use of it. Post your content in the relevant sections or threads in the Quora. One important note to remember here is, never do any promotion on this platform. Write really useful answers to the questions related to your niche and give your blog link at the end of the answer.
Here are some interesting stats that gives how much people are using social media for searching any query.
In a study conducted by comScore, Twitter handle 19 billion search queries a month as of 2010, Google around 88 billion search queries a month and bing 4.1 billion search queries per month. In 2012, Facebook mentioned that it’s getting 1 billion search queries per day.
Social media presence helps to grow your business and gets you more backlinks.The web is for building relationships, expressing and sharing ideas, helping each other with useful and helpful information.
Focus on your keywords
I know, I know what you’re thinking now. Keyword research is definitely an on page SEO factor. But here’s the one thing that you need to remember. If you are not careful in doing keyword targeting, you will be attracting wrong links from other sites (remember, the link relevancy is a great off page SEO factor).
So if you want to get more out of off page optimization, target the right keywords.
The #1 factor that controls SEO is the keywords you choose. If you want to do great content campaign, keywords are the essential building blocks for it. The below diagram depicts the more accurate view of on page SEO.
The primary keywords accounts for 40% of on-page SEO where as related keywords accounts for 17.5% of it. If you want to improve the organic traffic to your site, keyword research is very important. Pick up the keywords related to your niche. While creating content, use those keywords around it.
For example, you want to write on “healthy nutritious food diet”. Enter this main keyword in Google keyword planner search bar and click on “Get ideas”. Here are the phrases related to your topic.
You can tailor your content by knowing the phrases and search terms that your users use while searching.
If you truly want to improve the search performance for a given keyword, use your primary keywords in title tag, use LSI keywords in your content. Never ever mention your primary keyword again and again in your content. Google sees that as over-optimization and penalizes you.
You may be wondering how to get those LSI keywords (Synonyms)? Well, there are many tools to find out LSI keywords for your niche topic.
Go to LSIgraph.com and input your seed keyword. For example, “online movie tickets”
Solve the captcha and click on “Generate” button. And it will instantly give you a ton of LSI keywords that you can use to create ideal content for your blog audience to generate more search traffic.
Apart from LSI keywords, focus on long-tail keywords to improve your search rankings. Once you are done tailoring keywords for your content, start focusing on getting authority backlinks.
Save your site from Google penalties
If you want to sustain your site’s ranking position, backlinks are really important. But links affect the search performance either in better way or makes worse.
Backlinks have the strongest impact on search engines. It is very important to save your site from Google penalties because recovering from penalties is very difficult. Google mainly focusses on user optimization and valuable content.
How to stay away from Google penalty radar?
Perform full backlink analysis and it helps to analyze which links are good and which are bad. Here is how you can ensure that your site is free from getting penalized.
#1. Perform site audit: You can use tools like SEMrush (#1 SEO tool I HIGHLY recommend for bloggers) for finding and fixing website SEO related issues. You can find out all the reasons why your site is not ranking well on Google. That being said, I’ve written an in-depth tutorial on how to conduct an SEO audit using SEMrush.
#2. Optimize your content: Content is the king always. You may not use right keywords but if it looks too promotional then nothing can stop it from going viral. Help your audience by creating useful and helpful content. Use visuals in your post, integrate data into your blog posts. Your audience tries to know more about you if you really give them valuable content.
#3. Use different keyword phrases: Once you are done with full backlink analysis and understands from where links are coming, focus on using different keyword phrases, generic content and brand names in your content so that Google considers your links as natural. Which means your links shouldn’t have exact match keywords in their anchor texts.
One tip is use your brand name as anchor text because anyone can share your content and link to it. You can’t control your anchor texts so use your brand name. Make sure you always publish fresh content to enhance your brand in the online world.
Contribute to other sites
In the world of SEO, guest blogging is very common. But it’s something that many SEOs takes it as challenging. Why because if your guest post is solely to get links, in what way it will be helpful to SEO?
What you get by contributing to other sites?
- It helps to build your authority.
- It can bring you lot of referral traffic.
- It helps in building links.
While writing guest posts for other sites, don’t link too much to your site. It spoils your relationship with the site owner. Even if you are writing guest post for others, give really awesome content. Low quality guest posting brings extra trouble to you.
Here are the few things you need to keep in mind before you guest post on other sites:
- Collect list of all sites related to your niche that accepts guest posts.
- Set up an excel sheet and write each site’s home page domain authority (DA), guest posting guidelines etc.
- To get more guest posting opportunities related to your niche, type in google with these search strings. “Your seed Keyword” + “guest post” or “intitle: guest post guidelines”.
- Search on all social media platforms. For example, head over to Twitter page and in search box, you can give “your keyword” + “guest post”. Seriously, it shows you more opportunities than Google search engine.
- So, you have list of all sites that accepts guest posts. Now, it’s time to know which of these sites bring you more traffic. Go to similarweb.com, and enter the domain of that site where you want to write guest post. This site gives you general idea about site’s popularity.
- To check more about your guest posting site, observe their blog comments on posts. It gives you information whether site is active or not, up-to-date with current information.
- Go to blog social analyzer, and submit the RSS feed of the site you want to guest post. This is to know the number of social shares that site’s recent posts have. If they have more tweets or shares, there are good chances that your post also will have.
- Now, it’s time to write an amazing guest post. If you have a topic in your mind, linktally.com will tell you how well the post is going to perform.
- Another way to determine topic for your guest post is to check which pages has more backlinks. For this, go to open site explorer, and enter the site’s URL. Click on “Top pages” tab and check what pages have high Page Authority (PA).
Topic with case studies, detailed how to guides, long lists have more acceptance rate. What are you looking for? Start writing amazing killer content and promote your stuff.
Submit to directories and forums
Off page SEO helps you to make your website more popular on the Internet. To get more visibility, submit your stuff to directories and forums. Here are the sites where you can submit your blog content to enhance more visibility.
- Social bookmarking sites: These are the best platforms to promote your stuff. When you post on popular social bookmarking sites, it helps in gaining more traffic to your blog. Some of the sites are: stumbleupon, slashdot, digg, technorati.
- Submit to forums: Make sure that you participate in each forum related to your niche and build connections with community. Make the best use of do-follow forums. Some of the forum sites where you can submit are: blokube, Blog Engage, Indiblogger, bbpress, Warrior forum etc.
- Blog directory submission: It helps to build quality backlinks. It takes time to get better results but it definitely helps in long run. Select a proper category under each directory and start submitting your posts. Networkedblogs, elecdir are good blog directories to submit posts.
- Article submission sites: It is always good to submit the articles to high page rank directories. If you submit low quality content and has more keyword stuffing, then your article gets rejected. So, create highly unique content.
- Question and answer sites: You will get good amount of high traffic from question and answer websites. Join those sites and search for questions related to your niche, give helpful answer to any question. Don’t forget to give your blog link at the end of the answer. You can use the sites like Yahoo answers, Quora, blurtit etc.
- Share your videos to these sites: If you are a vblogger or any other, submit to these sites to make your videos popular. It is one of the ways to get quality backlinks. The sites which has high pagerank are: Youtube, vimeo, vine, ustream.
- Image submission sites: Make sure you optimize your images with the correct URL, title tag before submitting to these sites. Flickr, Instagram, picasa, tumblr, imgur.
- Submit your infographics: I already mentioned in #3 point how infographics helps in getting backlinks. Make really impressive infographics and submit to these sites. Give reference link to your website. Some of the infographic submission sites are: visual.ly, reddit, submit infographics, infographics archive.
- Share to document sites: Create documents related to your niche.Make sure you create unique and helpful pdf or ppt. Upload that in these sites: issuu, slideshare, scribd.
All the sites mentioned here have high Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA). No doubt, off-page SEO gives better ranking to your website in Google search.
Final thoughts about off page SEO in 2017
Off page SEO is NOT just about backlinks as most people think. It involves in your overall website trust, authority, social signals and many other things. This off page SEO guide is written to discuss some of the crucial factors that can improve your overall website authority on Google search.
Don’t just rely upon on page SEO if you want higher rankings. Whenever you publish a new post, make sure to follow the off page SEO techniques mentioned on this guide.
Did you like this off page SEO tutorial? Do you have any more tips to boost off page optimization? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.