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Google’s exact ranking algorithm is a closely guarded business secret. But thanks to the efforts of rank-savvy experts, there exists a list of 200 factors that affect the ranking of your site. The complexity and tediousness of going over each factor is why SEO marketing services become a crucial business strategy.
These optimization factors fall into two simple categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO involves changes in your website to make it rank higher, whereas off-page SEO refers to the things outside your website that improves rankings.
Changing the site seems easy enough, but can you control factors that exist outside of your site? To an extent, yes.
Defining Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO, also known as Off-Site SEO, involves taking actions outside of your website to increase your rankings on the search engine results page (SERP).
To understand what off-page SEO is and why it matters, we need to look into how Google ranks sites. The general rule is that Google prefers sites that are trustworthy and authoritative. You can measure trustworthiness and authority in many ways, but one of the most important metrics is the number of sites that link back to your site.
Google sees backlinks (a link created when a website links to another) as a vote of confidence. The more sites that link back to you, the more votes of confidence and the more “trustworthy” you are.
Let’s go back to the 200-item list and check numbers 87 to 133.
Forty-seven out of 200 are directly related to off-page SEO backlinks, and it goes to show just how important they are to rank your site.
Here are a few notable mentions:
- Number of Linking Root Domains – More root domains (overarching structures that contain the subdomain. For example, “example.com”) are preferred.
- Number of Linking Pages – Even if the backlinks are on pages with the same root domain (for example, “example.com/page1” and “example.com/page2”), they can still influence ranking.
- Authority of Linking Page – Links from authoritative websites carry more weight than those from less authoritative sites. Links from sites with .edu and .gov top-level domains are some of the most-sought after.
- Link Location on Page – Links embedded on the content carry more weight than links on the sidebar or footer.
- Quality of Linking Content – Links from poorly written content have less value than those in excellent articles.
Another way Google measures the authority and relevance of a site is through brand signals. Brand signals are the mentions of your brand outside your website. The more mentions from other sites, the more Google will think that your site is important. That your company is important enough to be recognized and acknowledged by other sites. This fortifies off-site SEO and consequently, increases chances of ranking.
But this concept is different from backlinks. Backlinks don’t always use the brand name. They use different anchor texts to link back to your site. Brand signals, in contrast, use the actual name of your brand.
Notice how numbers 165 to 175 of Google’s ranking factors are dedicated to brand signals.
Here are some worthy mentions:
- Facebook Page – Facebook pages with many likes demonstrate the importance of your brand.
- Twitter Profile – A huge following is a heavy brand signal.
- LinkedIn Page – A LinkedIn profile legitimizes your business in the eyes of Google.
- Unlinked Brand Mentions – Even if a third-party site doesn’t link back to your site, the mere mention of your brand name can still enhance your ranking chances.
Types of Links
Between backlinks and brand signals, digital marketers put a heavier emphasis on building backlinks. Link-building is the heart of off-page SEO because, based on the experience and analysis of SEO experts, backlinks are the more powerful force behind propelling the site to the top of the SERPs.
You control the sites that link back to you to a certain degree.
There are several types of links:
- Natural Links – Some links happen organically; unprompted by any action on your part. For instance, a fashion blog linked to the corduroy pants you offer or a recipe magazine linked to your cookware products.
- Self-Created Links – At the other end of the spectrum are self-created links, which are created by you. These include adding a backlink on a forum, a comment on a blog, or an entry on an online directory. Google doesn’t like these kinds of links, so they aren’t part of the off-page services of most SEO companies.
- Manually Built Links – SEO experts focus on these. Manually built links are the result of deliberate, white-hat link-building activities. These off-page linking elements fall under your full control; you can maximize manually built links for better rankings. We’ll discuss how later.
Non-Linking Off-Page Strategies
Off-page SEO is not limited to link-building. You have to focus on fortifying brand signals, too. Here are some tried-and-tested strategies:
Social Media Marketing. Mentioning your brand on social media platforms count as brand signals, as you’ve seen in the 200-list. Even if they don’t link back to your site, social mentions amplify the importance of your brand.
Influencer Marketing. Influencers who share your content amplify your relevance in the digital space. They multiply brand signals and expand your audience reach.
Your Off-Page SEO Checklist
Now that you understand how off-page SEO works, it’s time to translate those insights to actionable steps to send your site to the top of the SERP.
Here’s a rough off-page SEO checklist for busy business owners:
- Build Links – A link building campaign involves reaching out to webmasters and offering them content they may be interested in. This requires a rich database of bloggers with whom you have an established relationship.
- Invest in Social Media Marketing – Social media marketing is not only useful in optimization but also for expanding your reach and cultivating relationships with customers. Through social accounts, you can create brand mentions and strengthen brand signals.
- Monitor Reviews – Online reviews also carry links and brand mentions needed for off-page optimization. Monitor reviews so you can diplomatically reply to the comments. Strategically insert relevant links to your site.
All these techniques have one goal in mind — to increase the perceived quality of your site. By taking off-page elements into your control, you have a greater chance of surpassing competitors on the SERP.
But off-page SEO requires a lot of time, connections, and specialized knowledge. You’ll make the most of off-site optimization practices with an SEO agency, which has the expertise and a database of bloggers right off the bat.
Section 5 Media has everything ready for your off-page campaign — just get in touch, and we’ll get your campaign off the ground in no time.
Learn other proven off-page SEO techniques to boost your site. Browse our blog for more SEO advice straight form the experts.