In a previous post, we gained an understanding of basic Off-page SEO. Off-page SEO, or off-site SEO, is the process of optimising your website through external sources through building links. That means getting backlinks from other websites to point to your site.
In this article, we will delve deeper into the subject and explore Off-page SEO best practices to building links that are high in quality.
As discussed in the previous post, “Off-page SEO: What are High-Quality Backlinks”, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines only allow for natural backlinks. The best practices shared in this article use link-building techniques that are in line with Google’s guidelines.
Black hat SEO tactics like buying links, using Private Blog Networks (PBN), and irrelevant link exchanges are against Google’s webmaster guidelines and your website can be penalised when caught.
OFF-PAGE SEO BEST PRACTICES
CREATING SHAREABLE CONTENT
The best way to get high-quality backlinks is to create shareable content. What is “shareable”? People will want to read and share this type of content with their friends.
Quality, shareable content is king, and it’s often the cornerstone for building links and long-term SEO success.
There are a few things you can do to make your content more shareable:
Make the Content Interesting and Original
People are more likely to share interesting and engaging content.
If you are building links for SEO purposes, it is important to make sure that your content is both interesting and original. That way, you’ll be more likely to get people to link to your site. Here are a few ways to make sure your content is up to par:
Write Catchy Headlines
A catchy headline makes people want to read more. Write unique, compelling headlines (something your own) that will make people want to click through to your site. People are tend to click on unique titles as it makes them curious to know more about it.
Add Video or Audio
Video and audio can increase inbound links as people embed them on their websites.
Infographics are a great way to present data interestingly and engagingly.
Make it Long
The longer the content, the more likely people will want to share it because people tend to relate long content with useful content.
Publish Content Regularly
People like to follow websites with consistently new content published periodically. This will compel users to return to the site regularly. Share your content on social media and other online platforms.
By following these tips, you can be sure that your content will be engaging and original – two essential ingredients for building successful links.
Another way to get high-quality backlinks is through influencer outreach. Influencers or key opinion leaders (KOL) are people who have a large following (sometimes in a specific field)
The basic strategy is to identify influencers or KOLs and get them to share your content with their audience. Because these people have a large following and authority, the sharing your content can have immediate impact on traffic. This in turn can improve SEO from the backlink as well as through increase traffic, which is a ranking signal.
Note, you are not asking to overtly promote your brand as that would be a commercial and require monetary compensation. You are bringing a piece of your content to their attention because you think they will find value in it. And the hope is that they will share it with their audience.
The key is to identify influencers and KOLs that share your target audience. There is no point in engaging an influencer with 1 million followers if none of those followers are your potential customer.
For B2C businesses, it makes sense to contact pop culture influencers with an audience with the same demographic. For B2B businesses, KOLs who appeal to your target customer will make more sense. This could be a marketer, business owner, inventor or academic that has a lot of authority and large social following.
Once you have found the right influencers, it is important to reach out to them in the right way. Here are a few tips:
Research the Influencer
Be sure to do your research on your target influencer and view the content they produced. Familiarise yourself with their primary topics and their top content or posts. You must be sure that an influencer’s audience and content will connect with your target customer. Just as importantly, the influencer should also represent your brand well.
Start with a Compliment
Everyone loves compliments. Start your email by complimenting the influencer. Identify what qualities, traits or values you think makes them unique and compelled you to reach out to them.
Get Them to Check Out Your Content
Now that you have got the influencer’s attention, tell them about your piece of content and highlight that you think they may enjoy it. If you can relate it to a piece of content they created or shared in the past 3 months, even better.
You may not want to ask them directly to share your content with their followers as that may come across rude. But you can word your message to suggest that their followers might enjoy the content.
Make it Easy for Them to Share Your Content
Provide the influencer with an easy way to share your content, like a pre-written tweet or suggestion for an Instagram or Facebook post.
Thank Them for Their Time
If the influencer does share your content, be sure to thank them for their time and let them know that you will continue to share their content. Leverage on their content sharing by resharing their post as well as making a screenshot for future call-backs or repurposing of the content.
CONTRIBUTE AS GUEST AUTHOR
One of the best ways to build up your brand is by being a guest author on high-authority websites.
A “high authority website” is a website that has a high Domain Authority (DA). Domain Authority is a metric created by Moz that measures the overall authority. The higher the DA, the more authority the website has.
Contributing as a guest author is an effective online marketing tactic as it allows you to showcase your expertise and build authority. From an Off-page SEO perspective, as a courtesy, websites that you contribute an article too will always provide a backlink to your website.
It is important to find websites that are relevant to your content. That is, both the site and the article that you are contributing must be relevant to your own site and centra topic. If not, Google may consider it an unnatural link.
Here are some tips on finding websites that you can contribute to:
Search for relevant websites and blogs that are looking for article contributions that you have expertise in and is related to your business. Type in keywords such as “[topic] write for us” or “[topic] contribute an article” and see what the search results offer.
Reddit is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. Each topic category is divided into “subreddits”. There is a subreddit for almost every subject and exploring subreddits related to your areas of business is a great way to find popular, high-quality websites that allow guest authors.
LinkedIn & Facebook Groups
Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups relevant to your area of expertise. Start engaging with the community by commenting on posts members make.
Over time, establish your presence and personality. Once you have been “accepted” into the community, you can start sharing your own content and let it be known you are open to guest post.
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
Social media engagement is the process of getting people to interact with your content on social media. It also contributes to your SEO efforts.
While individual backlines from social posts are not counted by Google like links from other sites, the search engine does recognise social media signals and they have a positive effect on search ranking.
The best practices of getting social media engagement is similar to how you want to attract visitors to your website through content.
Create Engaging and/ or Useful Content
Content is still king in social media. Post content in formats that work for the respective social media platforms. If you are linking to your website or a blog post, be sure to share an excerpt on your social channels along with the link.
Interact with Others
Comment, reaction and respond to others to build a following. Most social media platform’s algorithm will show your content to people you interact with. So the more people you interact with, the more exposure your content will get.
A hashtag is a metadata tag that is prefaced by the hash symbol, #. Hashtags are used on most social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, WeChat and Instagram. Hashtags is a form of user-generated tagging that enables common topics or themes to be shared amongst users.
Using hashtags, especially ones that are trending, can bring a lot of exposure to your social post and subsequently drive traffic to your content and site.
HOW IMPORTANT IS OFF-PAGE SEO
Statistics have shown that some of the top 500 ranking websites have a very high number of backlinks. Most SEO professionals also agree that backlinks are one of the most important ranking signals.
Some go so far to say that the only effective SEO method is backlinks. There are even some SEO agencies who only offer Off-page SEO and link-building services.
However, as with all things in life, SEO is about balance. Natural backlinks require good quality authoritative content to attract natural backlinks; otherwise, there is no reason other websites would want to link to your site in the first place.
So, even if your off-page SEO and link outreach tactics are very strong, if you do not have good content and good on-page SEO, it is unlikely that your site will rank well if competitors are adopting a more holistic SEO strategy.
Think of SEO as a three-sided triangle where Technical SEO, On-page SEO and Off-page SEO are equally important and form 3 sides of the SEO triangle.