Off-page SEO includes tasks done off a website to boost the site’s search engine rankings. Off-page SEO activities include link building, encouraging branded searches, and increasing engagement on social media.
Off-page SEO aims to get users and search engines to see your site as more trustworthy and authoritative. It is one of the corner stones of a successful SEO strategy.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO
On-page SEO is everything you directly control on your website for example page content, title tags, keyword inclusion, URL structure, internal links and image alt text. Off-page SEO happens away from your website, for example like links and citations on other websites.
Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?
Off-page SEO is all about building your site’s reputation. Highly reputable websites rank higher in the SERPs because search engines like Google judge them to have more Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
Backlinks and other off-site signals form the foundation of Google’s algorithm. A recent study found a positive correlation between total links and Google rankings.
E-A-T (Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness)
Whilst links are the most important SEO signal, Google states that they use other off-site SEO signals to analyse your website. Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines talk about a site’s E-A-T. This stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google published this document to “help webmasters understand what Google looks for in a web page.” When assessing a site authority, the factors Google considers include:
- Quality and quantity of incoming links.
- Online reviews. Google considers many positive user reviews as evidence of a good reputation.
- Mentions on authority sites. For example, well-known news sites and Wikipedia.
- Brand mentions. References to your brand online, even if there is no direct link.
Off-Page SEO techniques
Whilst links are still a major factor, as Google’s search engine has evolved, it has started to consider other factors such as online reviews, social media profiles and brand mentions. Consequently, whilst link building should be the focus of your Off-page SEO efforts, you should employ a range of tactics to build authority.
Links continue to be the most important Off-Page SEO factor. Site owners should focus on obtaining links from quality, relevant sites and not the quantity of links. If you want links to boost your rankings in the SERPs, they must be authority links from related sites. Lots of links from low-quality site and actually hurt your SEO performance.
Mentions of your brand online build site authority, even if they do not directly link to your site. These mentions have more weight if they are on high authority sites (e.g. major news sites, Wikipedia) or from experts (e.g. professional bodies, government sites). Ways to increase brand mentions include:
- Appearing on Podcasts
- Get interviewed as an industry authority by other sites/news organisations
- Respond to journalistic requests for information.
- Write and distribute white papers and e-books
Reviews are a great way to help others trust your business. Reviews are among the most important factors Google considers when calculating your site’s E-A-T which means they are important to your overall SEO performance. Best practice for collecting reviews:
- Ask all customers to leave reviews
- Build trust by responding to all reviews
- Do not Accept (or offer) money in exchange for reviews
Google recommends replying to both good and bad reviews. Reply to reviews shows that you value your customers’ business and feedback.
Ways to collect reviews include:
- Set up Google My Business
- Use third-party review collection services
- On-site review collection
Social Media Accounts
Active, popular social media accounts demonstrate your brand’s trustworthiness and builds your online reputation. All brands should claim their social media accounts and build followers by often sharing quality content. Benefits include:
- Demonstrate authority. A popular social media account will boost your site’s E-A-T.
- Drive traffic. Sharing content will get your content read and drive traffic to your site.
- Link building. The more content is shared, the greater the chance someone will link to it.
- Rank for search terms. When people look up your company using branded search terms, your social profiles can rank along with your website.
- Build Trust. Customers expect legitimate businesses to have active social media profiles.