Welcome back, tech marketers!
This month, Geeky Tech took you on a magical tour of keyword research and on-page optimisation—the first two steps of SEO. We learned that a keyword strategy is vital to improving your rankings and increasing your visibility. We also found out that on-page optimisation applies the right keywords to your various page elements and improves user experience.
There’s one fundamental step in the SEO journey that we’ve yet to cover: off-page optimisation. To end our SEO Fundamentals series, we’re going to discuss what off-page SEO is, why it’s so important, and what your team can do to boost your domain authority right now.
Get ready folks, we’re about to talk about Google…a lot.
Quick Facts About Off-Page Optimisation
What is its purpose: To improve domain authority and boost rankings
Examples of off-page SEO: customer reviews, site mentions, Yahoo! Answers, press releases, business citations
Tools we use to check and improve off-page SEO: Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, Ahrefs, Rank tracking tools (to check movement)
What Is Off-Page Optimisation?
So, now that you’ve got your list of high-quality keywords and your site’s technical SEO is all up to scratch, you may be wondering why you still can’t find your site on page one of Google.
Not so fast, buddy. Because even though your site is firing on all cylinders, there’s just one more teeny-tiny roadblock standing in your way: social proof.
Social proof is a powerful persuasion tool. For Google, social proof looks like links to your site, mentions of your brand, and traffic from other domains. All this activity from other sites boosts your credibility and strengthens your domain authority.
Off-page optimisation is the process of proving to Google that you and your company are as marvellous as you claim to be. When other websites talk about you and include links to your pages, this signals to Google’s ranking algorithms that your site is legit.
In the real world, that’s the equivalent of your friend raving about their new headphones; of seeing a hundred people lined up around the block of the new ice cream shop; of asking your colleagues about their experience with a certain airline.
But as with anything SEO-related, it’s much easier said than done.
Why Is Off-Page Optimisation So Important?
Domain authority is a ranking factor. In fact, Google has more than 200 algorithms that determine a website’s rankings, and many of them involve backlinks. And since the whole purpose of SEO is more visibility and higher site traffic, this isn’t a step you want to skip.
Now, let’s circle back to your online authority. One thing to remember is that your real-world reputation doesn’t really mean much to search engines. Word of mouth is great, but unless that word of mouth is in the form of a digital referral or signal, the search engine doesn’t know how to distinguish you from a shady website.
Why Google Cares About Site Authority
Google has over 90% search engine market share. It achieved its momentous success because of its ability to give people the answers they’re looking for. It’s not just about giving users the right answers either. We all want to know that the information we’re getting or the products we’re buying are from trusted sources.
Just imagine what it would do to Google’s reputation if you were looking for medical help for your child’s rash only to find the shady advice of a backwoods quack on page one of the search result. Not only are you being fed false information, but now your confidence in Google has started to erode.
Google doesn’t want you going anywhere else for your search needs, which is why it places such a high value on trusted sources. Users are happy, and because they keep coming back, Google is happy. The more people visiting Google, the more money it makes from ads.
So yeah, it’s not all about altruism, but it doesn’t matter because both Google and the end-user benefit.
So, now let’s talk about these backlinks. What kind of backlinks are we looking for? If a link from a trusted source adds credibility to your site, should the quantity matter?
In other words, do we want a high volume of links from mid-to-low range domains? Or do we want a low volume of links from really high-quality domains? It’s a question as old as time (not really) and one that doesn’t have an obvious answer.
The war between quality vs. quantity is ongoing, and while our SEO services provide mid-to-high-quality links, we know that there are certainly benefits (and risks) to both strategies.
A link from a site like Forbes, Buzzfeed, or Vanity Fair will bring in high-quality traffic.
So, what’s the downside?
It takes a helluva lot of time and effort to get a single link, which means that the amount of links you’ll get from high-quality sites will be low. Do you have the time and resources to work your butt off and wait around for these links?
If you can afford to cultivate those supremo mentions and referrals, you’ll see a worthy boost of qualified traffic.
If you want as many backlinks as possible and you don’t really care about where they come from (as long as they’re not spammy sites), quantity is your friend. Being a little less discerning will get you far more links than going after the elite domains.
However, be careful: you might get links from less-than-reputable sources, which just defeats the whole purpose of your off-page efforts. If quantity is your tactic, stick with mid-quality links so that there’s a smaller risk of getting dinged by Google.
How can you tell the difference between low, mid, and high-quality domains? Excuse our shameless plug, but we can help with that. Get a free SEO review today!
Getting Started With Backlinks
Even well-established businesses can get their backlinks wrong. If you’re reading this page, you’re probably a tech marketer who wants to boost your company’s SEO and you may be learning about the importance of backlinks for the first time.
Worry not, my friends. There are things you can do to boost your domain authority without even really trying. We call this optimising your ‘foundation backlinks’, which are:
Basically, there’s an opportunity for a backlink wherever you can find your business profile on the internet. You can easily improve your domain authority by polishing your profile and making your business information consistent across all sites.
If you have your business profile set up on Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, this is how you can improve your off-page SEO:
Proven Off-Page SEO Tactics
You want referrals from other sites, so how do you get them without paying for them? First of all, are you taking advantage of directory listings? Be sure your business profile is registered on the directory sites below:
Next, get involved with these other link-building strategies:
If you’ve been paying attention during our SEO series, you’ll know that every stage of search engine optimisation comes with a bit of strategy. At Geeky Tech, we also take a look at your competitors to see how they’ve achieved their backlinks and to find out how we can essentially build upon their success.
Want to see what an off-page SEO strategy looks like? Talk to one of our Geeks.
Before you start syndicating press releases or spamming every site with guest post queries, keep reading to find out how easy it is to dip your toe into blackhat SEO without even really knowing it.
What NOT to Do When you Want to Boost Your Off-Page Authority
Blackhat SEO is a term that refers to any practice or technique that’s used to boost your site rankings, but which breaks Google’s rules. While many of these practices are dishonest, many of them are caused by ignorance—if not ignorance, then by sheer accident.
There are quite a few blackhat SEO practices that involve getting backlinks, and none of them are really worth it. Any blackhat tactic will lead to a sudden drop in rankings and a poor user experience.
Many of the above-mentioned blackhat strategies are perfectly acceptable when done in moderation and with common sense.
For example, if you want to comment on a blog post that’s relevant to your website or area of expertise, you should definitely include a link. But if you power spray your domain URL on thousands of blog comment sections, consider yourself a practitioner of the dark arts.
Not sure if your backlink strategy is above board? Read Google’s guidelines or give us a call.
Why You Can Trust Us to Know About Off-Page SEO
Not to toot our own horns or anything, but we’re pretty methodical when it comes to providing exceptional SEO services. We talked about the fundamentals of SEO as three consecutive actions—keyword strategy, on-page, and off-page—but any of our customers will tell you that we’re actually pretty holistic in our approach.
Even when our keyword strategists are working hard to get you the most profitable keywords, our off-page wizards are analysing your current links and developing a strategy to boost your off-page authority.
SEO isn’t a project with an end date. It’s an ongoing process, which means that we’re always on the lookout for linking opportunities.
Want to see how we can help boost your domain authority? Get a FREE SEO review.