Off-page SEO is a core component of your site’s growth. If you own a website, you’ve likely received an email promising you great backlinks. Spoiler alert: those backlinks aren’t great. However, backlinks, along with other factors, are an important part of any SEO strategy.

Off-page SEO is promoting your website across other digital channels. In the past, this meant building links to your site, having other people link to your site. While backlinks are still considered the cornerstone of off-page SEO, in recent years off-page SEO has expanded and includes a variety of factors. Some of the key elements of off-page SEO are:

  • Link building
  • Local citations
  • Brand mentions
  • Social media

Why Does Off-page SEO Matter?

On-page SEO means keeping your website optimized fully. These tasks are relatively quick and easy to implement. Off-page SEO requires more effort and strategy to fully realize.

Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush give websites an authority score, usually called something like domain rating (DR) or domain authority (DA). Many factors go into calculating this, one of which is the number of backlinks.

Ultimately, the higher your authority, the easier it is for your site to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). These links and mentions give your website more visibility around the internet.

The more people see you, the more likely they are to think of you when it comes time to buy. These tools also show you the number of links pointing to your site.

Ahrefs Rank and other SIte Data
Source: Ahrefs

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are at the heart of any off-page SEO efforts. A backlink is a link from another website that points to your site. Think of these like votes, other websites are voting for your website by linking to it. You won’t link to a site you don’t trust and Google and other search engines understand this.

So, more votes, or links, are usually better. However, in this case, not all votes are created equal. There are links from low-quality sites or sites that sell links. These links are considered spammy and can harm your site.

Links are a contentious part of SEO, everybody has an opinion but none are definitive. Many people buy links to their website. This is in violation of Google’s quality guidelines. However, many sites that have purchased links do rank. But consider the risks should you choose to go down that route.

Backlinks can fall into two different categories:

  • Natural links
  • Manual outreach

Natural Links

A natural link is a link that’s freely given, meaning you don’t ask for it. If you cite the New York Times or Google in an article and link to them, you create a backlink for them. Typically, this occurs because the quality of the content is so high and authoritative that you feel confident citing it on your site.

Often, you hear marketing experts say, create great content and you get links. This does happen, but with the amount of content published each day you need to create something very unique to be link-worthy.

Manual Outreach

Manual outreach occurs when you reach out to a website asking for a link. You can do this in the service of promoting a piece of content. Often, site visitors write a guest post on a website and, in return, they ask for a link. So, you create content for another website and, in return, they link to your website.

If you do write guest posts, look at the authority of the site you write on. Make sure that the site that you guest posting on is authoritative and doesn’t link to spammy sites. You don’t want to get mixed up in a spammy link network.

You get plenty of nos when doing link building but the yeas make it worth it. Manual outreach requires a lot of effort but is a necessity if you want to build the authority of your site.

Off-page for Local SEO

Local SEO is its own discipline of SEO. However, there are a few low-effort actions that you can do that fall under both local SEO and off-page SEO:

  • Local citations
  • Google Business Profile

Local Citations

Local citations play a factor if you’re a brick-and-mortar store. These are submissions to a directory, think of these as listing yourself in a virtual Yellow Pages. These listings inform search engines that you’re an actual business with a physical location. These signals can help users find your phone number, address, and website.

WhatPub Site
Source: Ahrefs

The key factor in your citations is consistency. You want your name, address, and phone (NAP) to all match. There are many services that can submit citations on your behalf, or you can do it manually. Either way, this is essential for any local business that hopes to appear on the map pack.

Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is a tool from Google that can help your business get in the map pack. It’s a more robust version of a local citation. To optimize your profile fully, you need to fill out all the information asked for and verify your profile. From there, you can add photos and ask customers to leave reviews. All of these efforts help in showing your Google Business Profile to users, who may either visit your business or click through to the website.

Social Media

Social media posts aren’t a ranking factor in your SEO. Meaning if you post more on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram your site won’t rank higher as a result. However, social media contributes to brand visibility. As you increase your social media presence, you’ll see more branded clicks going to your website in Google Search Console. That is the number of people who are searching for your company by name.

Are There Other Off-page SEO Elements?

There are several other avenues you can go down to promote your brand and drive traffic to your site beyond traditional link building. A few of them include:

  • Podcasts
  • Events
  • Content marketing

Podcasts

Creating a podcast or joining one as a guest is a great way to get your brand’s name out there and create visibility around your business.

Events

Much like a podcast, either hosting or sponsoring an event or webinar is a great way to get your name out there. Often, your website receives a link from the organizer, but even if you don’t, the mention of your brand can still drive visitors to your website.

Content Marketing

Content marketing revolves around creating a truly unique piece of content and approaching other publishers asking them to feature it or link to it. Often, this is an infographic, video, or some other form of rich media. There’s a lot of effort to create something link-worthy, so this avenue is usually reserved for those who have a healthy budget or have content that people go out of their way to link to.

How To Launch Your Off-page SEO Efforts?

Now that you understand the fundamentals of off-page SEO it’s time to put them into practice. A great place to start is with citations or Google Business Profile. These are relatively easy to set up, and you have full control over their creation.

Brand building and visibility are essential to your growth. Set up your social media presence. Your customers won’t engage with all platforms. Learn where they are and focus your efforts there. No use in posting on Instagram if the majority of your users are hanging out on Twitter.

Next, reach out to websites in your space and ask if they’ll link to your site or a specific piece of content. You can offer to guest post, but as discussed earlier, ensure that it’s a site worthy of your content.

Off-page SEO is a continuous effort. You want to invest time in this every week. Whether that be posting on social media or reaching out to a few websites to promote your content and ask for a link. It’s a time-consuming part of SEO and one that might not yield immediate wins.

What To Do Next

Off-page SEO efforts and outreach are key factors in your success on the SERPs. It may seem overwhelming to get started, but small efforts add up. In time, your backlink profile and brand authority increase, helping to push your site to the top of the rankings.

With the increase in site authority, you have an easier time ranking content and outranking your competitors. The earlier you start building off-page signals the sooner visitors land on your site.