Anyone who maintains a website or blog will have heard a lot about search engine optimization (SEO). The science of making sure that your website comes near the top of the results when someone types in a query relating to your area of business is a complex matter of keywords, unique content, user-friendliness and so much more. However,this is generally about the design and content of your site, which is relatively easy to manage once you know what is needed. What about off-page SEO though?
Off-page or off-site SEO means the work you do outside of your own website to improve that site’s search engine ranking. This involves increasing awareness of your site, or increasing the site’s visibility. However,it also involves managing the outside world’s perception of your site, particularly in terms of trustworthiness, authoritativeness and relevance.
Making a connection
Many people think of off-page SEO in terms of backlinks – that is, links back to your site from another website, ideally one with greater traffic than your own but reaching out to the same desired demographic. Links are the most direct way to increase traffic and brand awareness, and they are important, but they’re not the only form of off-page SEO. Any positive reference to your product, service or brand counts as effective off-page SEO, as it establishes a connection and, if it comes from the right place, acts as a trusted recommendation.
Many forms of indirect marketing count as off-page SEO. This includes social media marketing and influencer marketing, as well as unlinked brand mentions. You can also buy guest blog posts in order to share engaging content and increase awareness of your brand. These blogs shouldn’t be bare-faced “advertorials” but should be informative pieces on a subject of interest to your target market and that is relevant to your brand. They should also be placed on a site that will reach the demographic in which you’re interested.
Word of mouth
In some ways, off-page SEO is the digital-age equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing in your local area. You want to accumulate positive signals and interactions all pointing towards your website and, ultimately, your brand. You want people talking about you, in a good way.
Encouraging positive reviews and responding sympathetically and constructively to negative ones helps build off-site SEO. Cultivate a friendly, responsive social media presence. Be proactive when it comes to communicating with your audience, and establish your brand as an authority within your field. Of course, the best kind of off-page SEO is to have a great product and excellent customer service. This will naturally lead to positive feedback that is all the more valuable because it’s genuine.
Although the algorithms that determine search engine rankings are always changing, it’s estimated that off-page SEO may determine up to 50% of the factors that contribute to your overall rank. This makes it definitely worth your time and attention. Just remember that while backlinks are important, they’re not the be-all and end-all of off-site SEO. It’s all about a holistic approach to managing your brand and encouraging positive awareness of what you do and why you do it well.
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