Unlike On-site SEO, this process takes place outside of your website. It is the process of promoting your website across the Web. The main bulk of off-site SEO process is trying to acquire backlinks from other websites but it can also be to build brand awareness, be listed on a directory or attract visitors from 3rd party Websites. On this section I will break down the basics of off-site SEO and the best tactics to use.
Backlinks (links from other sites to yours) is probably the most important indicator used by search engines for determining your SERP ranking. It can help increase Page Rank (PR), Domain Authority (DA) and Site Trust Flow. It is not so much the quantity of backlinks but the quality of them. Let’s have a look at some of the factors for determining a good backlink:
- Domain Authority & Page Authority – The website you are getting the backlink from should have a high Domain Authority and Page Authority (generally the homepage), the higher the better. There are plenty of tools for this but you can use Moz Toolbar to see the PA & DA rating and I would generally try to go with a DA and PA of at least 20.
- Page & Content Relevancy – Google would prefer if the page you’re linking from is relevant to the page you are linking to. They know for example that if you’re linking from a plumber website to a florist, you’re linking for the sake of linking and not because the link offers value to the users of that site.
- Anchor Text – Although this is not as important anymore due to over optimisation abuse, anchor text still makes a difference. A branded anchor text such as “Graftene” linking to graftene.com would be better than “coffee mugs” linking to graftene.com.
- Trusted Websites – This may be a debated topic, but many SEO will agree that a link from trusted websites such as a university.edu or council.gov helps increase the trust flow of your website. This could be because those sites simply have higher PR and DA generally, but nevertheless, they do make an impact.
- Amount of Backlinks – Of course as I have mentioned, quality over quantity, but quality AND quantity is much better. The more quality backlinks you have, the more you have over your competition, the more likely you are to rank above them.
There are 2 types of backlinks, follow and nofollow. Generally the above applies to “follow” type backlinks, this means that the crawlers will follow the link back to you. It is advised that generally you should create some follow and no follow backlinks at roughly 50/50 ratio.
Note: Beware of people selling you backlinks, this could come from low authority websites, spam sites and irrelevant pages. This could get you penalised by Google and could be very bad for your SERP rankings. Of course this is otherwise known as “black-hat strategy”.
Link Building Tactics
Now we have established what makes a good backlink, HOW do we get other sites to link back to us? There are many tactics online, but I will list below what I’ve found to be the most effective.
Broken Link Building
- Find resource page related to your industry, example:
Go to Google and type ‘Web Design inurl:links’ to find resource pages linking out to Web Design pages.
- Use Moz Toolbar to display the PA/DA of the resource page and click on the most promising resource pages.
- Use check-my-link plugin for chrome to display which links are broken.
- Contact the Webmaster of the site and let them know of the broken link on their site which they would want to fix, refer them to an alternative page on your website instead if it would be useful to them.
Note: You can do this much faster with tools such as: http://linkprospector.citationlabs.com/
Scout Competition Backlinks
You can use tools such as Opensite explorer by Moz or SEMRush to find out what high authority domains are linking to your competitors websites. Find out how they got them which you can do by simply going directly to the page the link is coming from, and see if you can get them too.
Guest blogging is still alive but not like it used to be, today guest bloggers have to focus more on quality and strategy. Not only can you still get some quality links from good quality guest posts, but it is also a good opportunity to build relationship with industry bloggers/experts and establish yourself as an author.
- Prospect – Go to Google and type “write for us” + “keyword you’re looking for”
- Qualify the Blog – Make sure the blog is worth your time, use tools such as moz site explorer to check the blog DA and check their blog is relevant to your site.
- Outreach to the blog owner – This is the part where you offer to write a blog post for them.
- Write Content – Make sure the content is of high quality as you would if writing for your own blog.
- Make sure you link out to your site and maybe other sites within your content.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Haro (http://www.helpareporter.com/) is a website journalists go when they need help. They will post a question and if it’s in your field and you are able to answer it, you can get some free press for your brand and website. Most of the links will come from authoritative websites so although you won’t get too many links from this site, it is a good resource.
Directory submission is not dead, it still helps with SEO especially for local citations. I would recommend signing up for Brightlocal for local SEO directory citations. There is a 1 month free trial.
Infographics are so much easier for readers to digest. Your infographic could get embedded on other websites and gain natural links. You can also submit it to infographic directories.
Publish and share your video content and make them public in YouTube, Dailymotion, etc.
Social media could be a guide in itself. The basic idea is to add/follow users that is relevant to your industry, hope they follow back, and share your articles, contents to them. Some people have hundreds to thousands of followers, no doubt that when they publish anything, it is seen and possibly shared by many. Social media isn’t just a means of earning backlinks, it is also a way to get your business and brand out there on a huge marketing platform.
It is also important to note that Social Media Metrics are now a factor for SERP rankings. These metrics are typically how many likes, shares, tweets of the website/content there is.
Content Marketing is tactics involving marketing your own content to other sites, usually to gain back links. It’s similar to the other tactics described above but more reliant on very good quality content within your site.
The Skyscraper Technique
The skyscraper technique described here (http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo) is quite simply to search for the most popular content in your industry and blow it out of the water with your own content, then reach out to the sites that linked to the previous (now inferior content).
Moving Man Method
The moving man method is very similar to broken link reclamation method, except we are also looking for sites that have moved address therefore giving us a larger pool to draw from. You can read a very detailed guide on the moving man method here: http://backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks
If you create great content, you can outreach to bloggers in your niche and ask them to link to your content if they see value in it. This is a lot of manual work but still a popular method.
Many sites have a page that links out to “resource pages”, for example googling “web design inrul:links” finds this resource page: http://www.gweb.biz/links.htm which could list a web design site as one of its resources. All you would need to then is contact the webmaster and ask.
There are so much more link building strategies but those are some of the most popular methods, you can see a far bigger list here: http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies
Up Next: 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO