In this guide, you’ll get the answer to the question, “what is off-page SEO?”
But we’ll also go over more than just the definition for off-page optimization.
We’ll also explain how off-page SEO works, why it’s important, and look at a number of off-page SEO examples, tactics, and types to help you build a good strategy for your website.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what is off-page optimization in SEO and the elements required for proper link building and increasing brand awareness.
What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to the activities outside of your website that impact your search engine rankings. Off-page SEO is also known as off-site SEO because the optimization tactics do not happen directly on your website. Off-page optimization includes building backlinks, getting brand mentions, increasing social media shares, and more.
If we take this off-page SEO definition a bit further, we get:
Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing for off-site ranking factors to improve the popularity, expertise, authority, trust, and relevance of a website. Good off-page optimization is achieved by having other reputable sources online linking to or promoting your website, and vouching for the quality of your content.
Now that you know the basic idea for what is off-page SEO, we’ll now look at the importance and how this search engine optimization strategy works to increase rankings and traffic for your website.
How Important Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is important because it helps search engines like Google determine what other individuals and organizations think about your website, products, and services. Off-page SEO is also a positive ranking factor because it tells search engines that your website is important to others on the web.
How Does Off-Page Optimization Work?
Off-page optimization works by link building for SEO and increasing the number of brand mentions for a website. Off-page SEO works to improve search engine visibility and traffic for a website because Google takes off-site data into consideration when ranking a web page.
Google’s How Search Works documentation states:
“Our systems are designed to identify signals that can help determine which pages demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic. We look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries. For example, if other prominent websites link to the page (what is known as PageRank), that has proven to be a good sign that the information is well trusted.”
When Google crawls the web, it scans each web page for off-page SEO elements like outbound links and brand mentions. Once that work is complete, Google assigns the data it found to each individual website. If a website receives a lot of links and brand mentions from trusted sources, then its SEO score increases. (See backlinks vs referring domains for more information.)
After comparing, your website’s off-page SEO score and on-page SEO metrics to other pages in its index, the algorithm can determine the relevance for your pages for specific queries and at what position they should rank in the SERPs.
The work of off-page SEO is what helps increase your site’s rankings for the keywords that matter most for your business.
Off-Page SEO Examples & Types
According to Sparktoro, brand mentions will eventually replace the Google link graph.
The article states:
“There’s good evidence that over the long run, links won’t be all that crucial to Google’s rankings, and will be replaced by lexical references that connect topics and keywords to a brand, website, or page—what I’ll call ‘inferred links.'”
What this means is that getting your brand name or a specific web page mentioned (i.e. without a link attached) in the text on another website can be powerful for off-page SEO.
Brand mentions are a good off-page SEO example to try because they’re much more trustworthy. Without a link attached to the brand or web page, the target owner has nothing to gain. Therefore, the host site is more than likely making an honest recommendation for the brand.
This makes a lot of sense because there is a lot of link schemes happening online where people buy or sell links to increase a website’s PageRank. Google is even getting more aggressive on this off-site SEO practice by releasing another Link Spam Algorithm Update that identifies and nullifies link spam.
So try to get more brand mentions as an off-page SEO strategy to protect your site for the future.
Guest posting is a popular off-page SEO type for link building.
What you do is contact other sites in your niche and ask to write an article to be featured on their blog. In return, you can add a backlink to your site within the body content or within the author bio at the end of the article.
There are a few Google search operators you can use to find websites that are open for guest authors, including:
- Keyword + “write for us”
- Keyword + “write for me”
- Keyword + “guest post”
- Keyword + “guest blogging”
- Keyword + “contribute”
- Keyword + “become a contributor”
- Keyword + “blogging guidelines”
A link insertion is the practice of adding your website’s link to the existing content of another website to improve the reader’s experience.
This off-page SEO element includes two steps:
- Finding articles within your industry that relate to your target web page.
- Contacting the site owners to see if they’ll add a reference to your web page inside their article.
Local listings are an important off-page optimization technique for local businesses.
When done correctly, submitting your business to local directories can increase rankings and reputation for a brand in localized search results.
A good off-site local search optimization strategy includes optimizing for the Google Local Pack, which is a section of the search results that shows three local businesses related to your query, and Localized Organic results that appear in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Influencer outreach is a good off-page SEO example alternative to traditional advertising.
By connecting with influencers in your niche, or those who have a large following that matches your target audience, you can quickly develop credibility and awareness for your website and brand.
Asking an influencer to comment on, review, or give feedback for your products or services, while also adding a backlink to your site, often provides a faster and higher return on investment than standard paid advertising.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a common off-page SEO type for getting backlinks from high authority sites.
The process for broken link building is to find broken links on websites and then contact the owner to tell them that the linked resource is missing. But instead of the owner just removing the link, you inform that person you have a web page that could be a good substitute.
There are several tools you can use for broken link building:
Content marketing is another powerful off-page SEO technique for link building and brand mentions.
By creating and distributing valuable and consistent content online, you can attract more links and grown your audience.
Content marketing can be in the form of blog posts, videos, images, and audio content that can easily be shared by people online.
Blog commenting is not the most powerful off-page SEO type available, but it does exist.
Most of these links are no-follow, which means they don’t pass any PageRank authority to your site. However, when done correctly, you can get extra traffic to your site from visitors who take the time to read your comment on a blog post.
So it’s best to approach blog commenting as a brand awareness strategy and an easy source for a no-follow link.
Participating in forums that are related to your business can do three things for off-site SEO:
- Raise brand awareness.
- Build a connection with others in your community
- Give you an opportunity to post links back to your website.
Just don’t go into forums and start posting your links. Otherwise, you’ll get banned quickly. Instead, be an active member of the community and help people with their problems. That way, you become a trusted resource for the forum and people will value your links.
Another good tip here is to try to participate in forums that offer do-follow links, which pass PageRank authority to your site.
Question & Answer Sites
An easy off-page SEO technique anyone can implement immediately is to join sites like Quora and start answer questions related to your industry.
By picking answering questions in a way that adds value to the platform, you can typically add a link back to your site in the answer without raising any red flags.
Another good strategy here is to copy and paste the content from an article you’ve previously written on the subject that answers the person’s question. Inside that post, you can include a backlink to the original source so people can visit the page if they want to. This off-site SEO tactic allows you to build brand awareness, get more traffic to your web pages, and capture authoritative links to your site.
Check out this guide on creating Quora backlinks to learn more about these link building strategies for SEO.
Getting interviewed is another simple way to do off-page SEO link building and to get brand mentions.
People who listen to the interview in audio or video form will be exposed to your business and this can help attract attention.
Plus, most interview hosts will include the name of your brand and a link back to your website in the show notes, which is good for both short-term and long-term off-page optimization results.
Although there’s no direct response from Google that it uses links on social media to judge the authority and trustworthiness of a website, a good strategy will still include this type of off-page SEO.
In my guide on SEO vs SMM, I explain how adding links and keywords in social posts can send SEO ranking signals to the pages to which they link. And if Google does take these off-page SEO elements into consideration, then it will only benefit your pages.
Therefore, it’s a good practice to optimize and share all of your content on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to build topical relevance for the keywords you want the content to rank for.
Social bookmarking is the final off-page SEO example to consider.
It used to be a good off-page optimization method for ranking web pages. However, it’s not the most powerful solution anymore for off-site SEO.
You can choose to use it or not. But if you do, be sure to surround your links with keyword-rich descriptions to help boost the topical authority for those terms.
Some good social bookmarking sites for off-page SEO include Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Mix, Fark, Scoop.it, Medium, Instapaper, and Tumblr. See this related guide with a complete list of free social bookmarking sites.
Off-Page SEO Strategy & Tactics
An off-page SEO strategy will include actions that build backlinks, increase brand mentions, and boost shares of your content on social media.
To achieve higher rankings for a website with off-page optimization, a good strategy will include on-page and off-page SEO tactics:
- Evaluating your current backlink profile to see how strong it is.
- Checking the backlink profiles of your competitors to find easy opportunities to get similar links.
- Improving your internal linking with keyword-rich anchor text.
- Fixing 404 errors so incoming PageRank is not being lost.
- Optimizing your content for on-page SEO so it doesn’t need as many backlinks to rank.
- Assessing your link building options and choosing the best types to pursue.
- Promoting content on social media.
- Using paid ad campaigns to drive more awareness if your budget allows.
- Producing high-quality content that gets natural links and brand exposure.
- Double-downing on the off-page SEO tactics that work best for your business.
See my guide on how to build backlinks for free here for a complete list of link building strategies.
Difference Between Off-Page and On-Page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to the strategies you can use to optimize incoming links and brand mentions that are off-site while on-page SEO focuses on internal optimization tactics that boost the relevance for target keywords on-site.
You can read the full difference between on-page and off-page SEO here.
In that post, you’ll find a complete list of off-page SEO factors and on-page SEO elements and how each activity works to improve a website’s optimization.
Off-Page SEO Optimization Summary
I hope you enjoyed this guide on what is off-page SEO optimization.
As you discovered, the basic definition for off-page search engine optimization is using activities outside of your website to improve your search engine rankings.
And some good off-page SEO examples and types you can use for your website include link building and brand awareness strategies such as guest posting, link insertions, content marketing, interviews, and social posting.
Now that you know what is off-page optimization in SEO, how it works, and the importance of this activity, you can pick and choose the tactics you want to try to increase your site’s organic rankings and traffic in the search engines.