Table of Contents
Off-Site SEO Introduction
We’ve covered On-Site SEO fundamentals here: On-Page SEO. You now have a perfectly search engine optimized web site (keep in mind SEO in general is never really finished and needs to always be evolving,) what comes next? The answer is Off-Site SEO. Off-Site SEO is the real fuel that makes a site really work for you; it’s the power your brand needs to increase its visibility.
These days you can find a lot of information out there about “Content is King,” and while we agree to some extent, it is very misleading to say. You can create the greatest on-site content in the world, but it does not mean anyone will see said content unless you are sure to deploy good solid off-site SEO strategies. It would be like owning a Rolls-Royce that has no gas, or like building a beautiful restaurant in the middle of no where that cannot be found.
Now do keep in mind that SEO is not an exact science. That is to say most concepts are not as simple as 1 + 1 = 2. We are not saying it’s impossible to rank by solely creating great on-site content. There are exceptions to most SEO rules and we speak in general terms here. In general, Off-Site SEO is how the real magic happens. With that in mind lets dive in beginning with some clear definitions.
What does Content is King Really Mean?
Content is King really means to indicate that one should create content, either on or off-site, that is so good people share it, engage it, or link to it. The purpose is to acquire backlinks, generate traffic, and/or relevant engagement signals like social shares or likes.
The issue here is in the distinction “on” or “off-site.” The saying cannot apply to on site content in the same way it can apply to off site content. This is why we first pointed out that having perfect on-site content guarantees nothing. In this case, it will be the Off-Site SEO that guarantee’s the content will even be seen and therefore lead to all the other SEO signals mentioned.
As it relates to Off-Site content, then yes, it can be as simple as creating awesome content and the platform makes sure the rest follows. An example of this would be social media profiles. The difference should be clear now. On social you have an automatic audience whether it be home grown fan’s, followers or PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, your content is going to be visible and in this way the saying is most applicable.
Off-Site SEO Definition
Off-Site SEO is the practice of linking to off-site digital-signals from other high-authority sources or brands; therefore, the connecting party gains that much more authority. Search Engines like Google award these signals making your brand favorable because the signals are signs of trust. This then indicates authority. The more the better and the idea is to gain more authority than your competitors.
Example Off-Site Trust Signals
Take for instance, the following SEO method. If your brand creates a Scholarship, and your business is therefore on many University web sites for scholarship offers, this obviously increases trust. Why? It’s because University scholarships require human application and vetting processes. There is a definitive qualifying system inherent to the process that is applying and qualifying to become a scholarship grant provider. Google see’s such a connection as an indication that they are dealing with a real business that is working with another very established and authoritative brand in said University.
This type of connection means your business gains more brand authority. The more authority the more search engines tend to want to choose your brand over the next. It’s really that simple, but not that easy to achieve.
Have a look at another example. If an authoritative brand mentions you in an article on their site because of your great web service, or in a quote, for instance, and actually takes the time to digitally link to your brand, then that connection is seen as kind of referral. Obviously, its yet another sign of trust coming from another authority.
There are many ways to generate said signals but what we really need to remember is at the end of the day it is Google’s job to show the most trust worthy search results; hence the importance of brand validation. Validation leads to authority and in the eye’s of search engines nothing matters more than brand authority.
Off-Site SEO Signal Sources
Backlinks – the Real SEO King!
The number one most powerful SEO factor has to do with what we call Backlinks. These are the connections we spoke of earlier in the article. It’s important to understand however that not all backlinks are the same. There are many factors involved with what we call Backlink Profile management. What we look for:
• Is the backlink a follow link or no-follow link?
• Is the linking page a spam page? Meaning it has way too many outbound links already.
• Is the linking party known for blackhat marketing?
• Does the linking party have a high enough DA (Domain Authority) score?
• Is the link a relevant link? Meaning a linking article should have to do with your industry.
• Is the connecting party actually sending traffic to it’s target?
About Follow VS. No-Follow Links
A follow link means the indexing robots used to index the net will come to the links source code tag and like a green light know they are to continue. If the link has a no-follow tag instead, then that is a red light and the bots know to stop there. Follow links transfer link equity, or authority; while no-follow links do not send any link equity.
It is important to note that you want both kinds of links. The reason why is because you need your backlink profile to look natural. Brands naturally acquire no-follow links, therefore search engines expect to find no-follow links mixed in with follow links. Obviously follow links are good because they deliver the equity you need, but no-follow has value also. It can help increase your TF (Trust Flow.)
A good example of this is the SEO method that has to do with NAP (Name Address Phone) Directories which are typically no follow links, but because they are authoritative directories, they do have an SEO impact and serve best as a sort of base coat of links to build upon. We offer a package that gives you 42 powerful directory links and we make that a fundamental base for our SEO packages; it’s mandatory.
Another consideration is what we call Link Velocity. It’s always best to stagger the release of backlinks over a predetermined time span. You want a nice consistent slow trickle of backlinks coming in every week for best results.
One last thing about backlinks. You do not need to acquire backlinks that are profoundly more authoritative than is your brand currently. For example, if your brands DA score is 20 and you have a choice between 1 DA 90 link, or 3 DA 30’s, you want to get the three 30’s instead of the one 90. Reason being? There is no evidence that indicates massive authority links move the gauge anymore than links that are only 10 to 20% higher than your own. However, we know for a fact that the number of linking domains is a big SEO factor. So by getting the 3 you not only get links that are higher in authority than your brand is, but you end up with 3 instead of one.
SEO Web Directories
Now about those business directories. Simply put, a Local SEO Directories refers to the digital listing of your business on an authoritative digital business directory. It’s today’s phonebook except it only exists online of course. One would think a successful business would be found in such directories but in our experience many businesses over look the importance of this factor. It not only increases branded web visibility but it also increases trust because these are publisher directories for which again there is an application process therefore such a digital connection yields a sort of link equity in the form of what we in the industry call (Trust Flow) and/or (Citation Flow.)
Our business directory packages offer 42 listings, reputation management, a dedicated dashboard for analytics and the ability to push posts to multiple directories. Again, this is mandatory for our clients as a foundational SEO campaign begins.
Google Business Profile
Formally Known as Google My Business
Even though Google Business Profile is in the category of SEO Business Directories, we feel it deserves its own section as it’s importance is far beyond that of the average business directory. You can think of this profile as the king of all business profiles. Reason being? GBP can generate so many different very valuable SEO signals, is connected to Google Maps, and is your ticket into the Local Pack results.
Google Local Pack
If your business can benefit from local’s then it is crucial you work your way into Google’s Local Pack. The idea here is to rank high enough to find yourself in the top 3 results as those are shown towards the top of the SERP (Search Engine Return Page) therefore giving your brand tremendous visibility.
Obviously a brand needs to be locatable and here again Google Business Profile is your ticket into the greatest maps application on-line, but it’s benefit is more than simply being locatable. There are signals that come from Google Maps as well as your GBP. Every time someone clicks for directions that is an SEO signal.
Google Profile Signals in General
Any user engagement on your GBP leads to a SEO signal. If someone hits the call now button, that is a signal. If someone clicks to a post on your site listed on your google business profile its a signal. If you get a good review on your profile that is perhaps the #1 Google Business Profile signal. Basically any engagement on your google profile is a good thing and is why it is recommended that brand managers post on GBP at least twice a week. The concept is called (Live SEO) and means one should keep all social profiles actively evolving and proactivly working to generate engagement for best results. It’s why we said ealier in this article that SEO work is never really finished.
SEO Content Directories
Another great off-site SEO source comes from what are known as Content Directories. These directories showcase content and we have powerful sources for showcasing web sites, infographs, and digital design of all types. These are similar, in their effect, to business directories in that it’s the link and referring traffic your after. There are also numerous content directories that actually yield follow links.
Such directories also deliver relevant traffic, which is in itself yet another SEO signal. We mention “relevant,” because here again if it were as simple as getting traffic everyone could do it and SEO would not make sense; therefore, relevant traffic signals come from users that land on said directory and actually engage the content in someway. Maybe they share your awesome infographic. Or maybe they click on the go to web site button and there you have a relevant referring domain and if then the user also takes actions on your site, you’ve generated quite strong SEO signals. We like to call this Live SEO. Live simply indicates on going generation of engagement and is why we have rules of thumb for Social Media posting dictating you post, depending on niche anywhere from 2 to 5 times a week.
PR SEO (Public Relations SEO) can be an SEO powerhouse, though it’s not typically related as the SEO benefits are secondary to the primary purpose of the press release. This, in part, is why best practices indicate you do not want to use follow links to your brand in a press release. However the main reason is because these press releases will get achieved and disappear of the net in due time. This means you might experience a boost in ranks, but you then end up dropping back down in ranks as those articles disappear of the net.
The other reason why is because it looks like a spam attempt in the eye’s of search engines. Anyone could just perpetually put out press releases acquiring 1000’s of links in no time, and that would make it to where everyone would do the same; what a mess that would lead to. Earlier in this article however, we mentioned that SEO is not an exact science and there are exceptions to most rules.
For instance one could deploy a press release for SEO purposes if they have a plan to mitigate the links you will inevitably lose in time by having another SEO campaign running that will make the ranks hold. In this way you take a short cut but it’s something like spending credit, you still have to pay in all that other SEO work you must do to make this work.
Social Media Signals
Last but certainly not least we have Social Media SEO signals. Your brand should be involved with as many applicable social platforms as possible. Miss out on this and your leaving money on the table.
Now, it’s not about simply having your profile filled in and social profile live. What it’s all about is the user engagement that occurs on said social platforms. Sometime around 2021 Google discontinued valuing page likes because they discovered over the years that it’s far to easy to acquire 1000’s of page likes. So they stopped looking at that as a factor. What they look at has to do with live user interaction and that looks like brand mentions, content shares, and interactivity from actual contributing followers.
You can think of these social profiles as a sort of theme park for your users. They get to see all the new rides, ride those rides, and interact with others at the park. This creates a strong social signal and Google rewards this greatly.
Hosting & Site Performance
Let’s call this section of the article a bonus section, because Hosting & Site Performance is not officially considered off-site SEO. If anything you would call this Tech SEO. However, since these tools come from 3rd parties it can in a way be seen as off-site SEO that in turn leads to better on-site SEO because of the resulting improved site performance metrics. In this category we want to touch on only 1 concept as we believe it to be so crucial it’s a foundational part of our SEO and Hosting packages:
• Content Delivery Networks
Content Delivery Networks
The normal server functions by calling in all the different parts of your web site like images, video’s and all the code. Content Delivery Networks are 3rd party servers that essentially load your full site ahead of time so that when a user clicks on your site link they don’t have to wait for all of those elements to render; instead the entire site is delivered all at once therefore increasing your sites delivery speed by up to 70%.
It used to be simply about seeing more conversions. It’s a known verifiable fact that the longer your site takes to load the lower you chances of converting that site visitor becomes. These days Google realized that such a factor is an indicator of quality and therefore trust so they made it one of 250+ SEO factors that they look at. We are talking about Google Core Web Site Vitals and while we know it has become a factor we have also verified that it’s not a major one. Still, we take advantage of every single thing that helps; it does after all add up.
This article is meant to give you a foundation to build your knowledge on. There really is so much more to it. Moreover, SEO and Marketing in general is not a finite science because its always evolving. As the net goes forward things change. This is why we like to say our real job is to learn, solve problems, and therefore get good results. The learning never really ends. Keep an open mind, research and validate, test and reoptimize, then rinse and repeat – ad infinitum.