Welcome back for Part Two of our discussion of On-Page and Off-Page SEO, part of our ongoing series on SEO for Digital Marketing. As San Francisco’s only full service B Corp-certified digital marketing agency . If you missed Part One we suggest you give it a read before continuing, to give yourself a primer on On-Page SEO. At the end of this piece, which focuses on Off-Page SEO, we’ll be discussing the parallels and the symbiosis between the two different types.
Where On-Page SEO refers to the tools and skills you use to, well, optimize your content, Off-Page SEO describes a skillset that you will use to market your content, thereby increasing its reach and exposure. Off-Page SEO techniques are also used to indirectly increase your page’s “authority” (a measure of trustworthiness and respectability, like an online reputation relative to other sites, usually rendered as a score out of 100 by Google’s and other site analytics tools).
Your site’s authority is impacted by a variety of factors, including Bounce Rate, CTR (or Click Through Rate, which measures how many visitors went on to view more of your content following a visit to a landing page), and so on. These metrics are all generally used to measure user satisfaction, with the implication being that user satisfaction correlates with reputable, engaging content. And, as our digital marketing agency is fond of saying, content is Queen.
You’re right to notice that things like bounce rate are arguably closer to On-Page than Off-Page SEO, but we’ll come back to this sort of dovetailing at the end of the piece. For now, we will focus more on the marketing, networking, and reputation-building side of Off-Page SEO.
How to create Off-Page SEO for your brand:
Backlinking has been the backbone of SEO from the very beginning. In fact, when Google launched their very first search engine algorithm, PageRank, way back in 1998, a page’s relative position in search results was calculated almost exclusively based on the number of domains which linked to it. (Check out our post on 19 Reasons to Fire your Digital Marketing Agency for a more in-depth history lesson, if you’re interested in how PageRank evolved into the Google we know today.) It wasn’t long before people started gaming the system, though, with black-hat SEO tactics like link-farming and directory spam, so today backlinking has more of an art to it.
Here are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind when cultivating backlinks for your content. First, with so many other SEO factors in play, the raw number of links to your content takes kind of a backseat. It’s absolutely more about quality than quantity. If you wouldn’t feel proud sending your users to a domain, you probably won’t benefit much from that domain hosting a link to your content either. At worst, your domain authority can actually be penalized if the quality of your backlinks drops below a certain threshold.
Second, you want to be sure that your backlinks are relevant to your industry or topic. Be sure that visitors to a linking domain would have reason to be interested in your content before connecting with it.
Now, with all of that said, here’s a breakdown of some excellent tactics you can use when developing a backlink network.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You write a blog post for another site, and include a link in the post to more of your content. By convention, your site would host a guest blog in exchange.
An often under-utilized link-building strategy, videos are worth the effort. Ideally, they’d be hosted directly on your own domain, so anyone who wanted to share, link to, or reference your video would have to include a direct link, but if that’s prohibitive (the costs of hosting video, and increased server bandwidth can be high for smaller sites) a hosting service like YouTube isn’t a bad option. In fact, YouTube is the largest search engine after Google, and the video description box lets you write a small elevator-pitch blog post for your site and link directly to a landing page.
Infographics & Other Shareables
Similar to video, but without the same investment of resources, infographics, web-tools, interactives, and so on can get people’s attention and, with a little ingenuity, can easily increase your site’s online reputation. Imagine an interactive data visualizer that lets you break down election results by demographic, or a tool that lets a user experiment with highway traffic by adding hazards or weather effects, or something. So long as it’s useful, engaging, and original, people will share it.
Social networking is on the rise, and we’ve
talked before about some of the implications for Off-Page SEO. Very much like with the shareables, described above, the trick here is to cultivate and leverage your social media audience to increase the reach of your content. Quality content can then get shared across their networks, getting your content in front of even more pairs of eyes.
If you want other sites to link to your content, reach out and ask! Be friendly, be collaborative, and be ready to host a link to their page in exchange. By working together to promote each other, multiple sites can improve their Off-Page SEO to their mutual benefit.
Resource Pages and Directories
Resource pages and directories are another great avenue to grow your link network. Someone looking for San Francisco digital marketing agencies, say, might start by looking at niche resource pages or directories on tech blogs.
With Off-Page SEO, it’s imperative that you leverage a variety of channels to ensure optimum exposure.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO
On-Page and Off-Page SEO need to work in tandem, if your site is to be successful, but they follow this basic distinction. Best-practice On-Page SEO makes your content stronger, more user friendly, and more easily identified and indexed. It’s about clarity, efficiency, and quality. Best-practice Off-Page SEO, by contrast, increases the exposure and reach of that content by having it linked or listed through a wide variety of channels.
Neither will help your site without the other. There’s no point linking to confusing, bland, irrelevant, or unoptimized content, and it isn’t enough to produce quality content without marketing it. With these tactics, and those described in part one of this article, you’ll have no trouble bringing content you can be proud of to the audience you deserve.
Colibri Digital Marketing
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