Search engines judge your website’s quality and relevance by looking at what others say about your site. Known as off-page SEO, this technique involves building a network of quality links and shareable content. Some examples include:
- Links from other websites that direct to yours
- Mentions of your brand in social media
- Content you produced which is shared by others
These activities not only build a network of quality links, but also increase trust and social value. The best way to approach off-page SEO is through high-quality, authoritative and engaging content that users will likely find useful and shareable.
The three main aspects of off-page SEO are link building, social media sharing and social bookmarking.
Link building is the best-known off-page SEO method. By building links that direct to your website (backlinks), you are getting votes to outshine your competitors and perform better in the rankings.
If an article or blog uses you as reference and links back to your webpage, it is letting search engines know that your web page has useful, authoritative information.
Quality before quantity
Understand that link building, like your content, is also a matter of quality. In other words, a link from your friend’s blog does not have the same value as a link from The Guardian. Moreover, it would not make much of a difference if thousands of links point back to your page if these links come from low-quality sites and in low-quality forms, such as:
- Article Directories: Content marketers publish their articles on a directory just to build links.
- Forum Signatures: By putting their link in their signatures, visitors comment on forums just to get a link back.
- Comment Link: Visitors comment on other websites and blogs to get a link back and may use keywords.
- Link Exchange Schemes: Content marketers arrange a deal where one marketer links back to the other’s website, and the other does the same.
Using these artificial linking techniques is often considered invalid and can increase your risk of getting penalised by Google.
The best way to build links is to do it naturally. If a blogger likes your content and finds it useful to their readers, he/she links back to your website or article. Guest posts are also a valid way to get backlinks, granted that the main purpose is providing useful and unique content and it is done in moderation.
Social media and SEO are intertwined because of the increasing link building and ranking capacities of social signals – mentions, likes, shares, etc. Effective management of your social media profiles does not only empower your social engagement, it also boosts your SEO performance.
Social bookmarking may not be as popular as it was before, but it remains a great way to generate traffic to your website. Unlike in social networking, where the focus is on your engagement with other users, bookmarking is concerned with promoting your content through your niche.
Sharing content on websites like reddit.com, delicious.com and scoop.it is an example of social bookmarking.
An effective off-page SEO strategy will provide benefits and opportunities that take your business to the next level. Higher rankings lead to better exposure, which lead to increased traffic. Regardless of your marketing goals, any SEO campaign needs off-page and on-page SEO to be successful.