All website owners dream of getting the number one spot on search rankings, but there can only be one winner. When it comes to improving your website’s SEO, off-page SEO is a crucial part.

As you can see above, in the last year I’ve gained almost 2,000 more referring links back to my website. This in turn leads to a higher authority, which helps my site rank higher in Google search results.

Semrush reffering domains graph

Off-page SEO is just a small part of my SEO strategy, but it still played an important role in raising my organic traffic by 55% in the last three months.

Semrush organic traffic graph

In this article, I’ll focus on off-page SEO, what it is, the differences between it and other SEO strategies, as well as all the different off-page SEO techniques you can use.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

What Is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO centers around building a rich inbound link profile, attracting links from high-authority websites, and digital PR. Essentially, the things that aren’t part of the website’s creation, code, or the content that’s being posted, which is where the name off-page comes from. 

Off-page SEO focuses on techniques that help a website feature at the top of search results. You can’t directly apply these techniques on your websites like with on-page and technical SEO.

If your off-page SEO is successful, web crawlers will identify your website as a high-authority site, which in turn gets you higher search rankings.

Before Google introduced the Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates, webmasters used some black hat tactics to manipulate the algorithm. 

These techniques included stuffing keywords and cookies, link farming, blog spamming, and adding hidden links.

After noticing an abundance of similar content, low-quality content, and keyword-spammy content, Google decided that users deserved a better search experience. 

Thus, after many updates since 2014, Google has, for the most part, gotten rid of these websites by penalizing them heavily for such poor content.

Ultimately, webmasters had to look for white hat tactics to improve their off-page SEO. Let’s look at the off-page SEO factors that affect search rankings.

On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO vs. Technical SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of strategies and techniques used to increase website visibility and rankings in search engine results. SEO can be divided into three broad categories, namely on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. 

Each of these categories has distinct characteristics and techniques that make them unique and help create a comprehensive SEO strategy.

SEO categories

I’ve already discussed what off-page SEO is, but what about technical and on-page SEO?

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website’s infrastructure to improve its visibility in search engine results. It involves optimizing the website’s code and structure, as well as the server, to ensure it is easy to crawl and index by web crawlers. 

Many elements of technical SEO can be implemented before any content is uploaded to the website, which makes it a crucial step in your SEO strategy. Technical SEO should be viewed as the foundation of any SEO strategy and should be addressed first before any other SEO tactics are implemented.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing elements on a website itself in order to make it more attractive to search engines. This includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, headings, content, images, and other aspects of a website. 

On-page SEO is focused on improving the user experience of a website by providing engaging and relevant content, utilizing the correct keyword placement, and ensuring the website is optimized for search engine crawlers.

Off-Page SEO Checklist

It’s clear, if you want to improve your rankings in search results, you can’t ignore off-page SEO. 

To improve your off-page SEO, you need to follow this off-page SEO checklist.

1. Link Profiles

Most penalties that Google gives to websites are based on their link profiles. If you link to a spammy website, you might put your reputation at stake.

How can you avoid that?

To maintain your link profile, you need to seek out good link-building opportunities proactively. 

Before you get started, understand that not all links are equally valuable. Some links will influence search engines more than others.

Here are the factors you need to consider while evaluating a link opportunity:

  • Domain Authority: Websites with a higher Domain Authority will give you more valuable backlinks.
  • Content Relevance: Links to websites that are relevant to your brand, product or industry provide more value.
  • Anchor Text: Anchor text that is relevant to your content, product, or brand will provide a higher value.
  • Partner Website’s Backlink Profile: Links from websites that have a sizeable backlink profile will give you more value.
Moz Off-Page SEO
Image via Moz

To check the DA of the websites that you want to write for, you can add the MozBar extension in Google Chrome.  You can get more details via advanced web analytics tools. Once you find sites with a good DA score, pitch their content ideas.

2. Analyze and Remove Toxic Backlinks

A backlink is a link from one website to another. Backlinks are also known as inbound links Backlinks are important for SEO because they help search engines determine how relevant and trustworthy a website is.

Toxic backlinks are links from websites that are considered to be of low quality, or even dangerous, to other websites. 

They can have a negative impact on your website's reputation and rankings in search engine results. Toxic backlinks can come from sources such as spammy websites, link farms, or websites with malicious content.

Semrush backlink audit
Image via Semrush

You can perform a backlink audit on your website to check for any toxic backlinks using Semrush’s Backlink Audit Tool.

3. Research Competitor Backlinks

Before you start the bulk of your off-page SEO work, it might be helpful to first research your competitors’ backlink strategies first.

To do this, you’ll need a tool that can find which sites are linking back to your competitors’ sites.

Semrush backlink gap tool example 1

Using this tool, you’ll be able to compare backlinks that you might be missing. Backlinks that your competitors have to their websites.

Semrush backlink gap tool

In this case, I used Semrush’s Backlink Gap Analysis tool to compare backlinks on competitors’ websites versus mine. 

Filtering for weak backlinks, meaning sites where my competitors have more backlinks than my website, I can identify important websites where my competitors have more backlinks.

4. Try to Convince Publishers to Use Do-Follow Links

As I’ve mentioned, having toxic backlinks could result in your website being penalized. This has caused many sites to add “no-follow” tags to links they link back to.

These no-follow links are added to tell web crawlers not to follow them, meaning that they will simply ignore the link. This means it won’t have any effect on your rank score, whether it be positive or negative. 

A no-follow link looks like this:

no follow link example

Here’s the issue:

Having websites with “do-follow” links going back to your website will increase your website’s authority, thus increasing your chances of ranking higher.

The best way to get “do-follow” links is to compile a list of all “no-follow” backlinks to your website and contact those websites to ask for “do-follow” links instead of “no-follow” links.To find external links pointing back to your website, simply use a backlink audit tool. There are plenty of platforms that offer backlink auditing tools like Semrush and Ahrefs.

Best Approach For Off-Page SEO

Often, marketers think backlinks are the only component you need to focus on for off-page SEO. But you’ll only be scraping the surface with them.

You also need to create unique and shareable content. As cliché as it may sound, content is still king. If you produce content that people want to share, you’ve won half the battle. It’s best to get quality links from sites that are relevant to your niche or product.

Additionally, you need to invest some time into checking the backlink profile of any website you want to partner with. Be wary of websites that look spammy. Finding high-domain authority websites with rich backlink profiles should be your goal.

The bottom line?

For the best results, your off-page SEO strategy should be in sync with your on-page SEO and technical SEO strategies.

Pro Tip: Leverage SEO audit tools to ensure that your SEO strategy is on the right track.

Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?

Off-page SEO is an important part of search engine optimization and is necessary to ensure that a website is ranked properly in search engines. Off-page SEO can help improve a website’s rankings by increasing its relevance for certain keywords and phrases.

According to this study, top Google Search results have 3.8x more backlinks than pages with a low amount or no backlinks.

By building more links to a website from other high-authority sites, you can increase your website’s authority. This will, in turn, boost its rankings on the search engine results pages. Link building also helps create more opportunities for customers to find the website and generate more traffic.

Creating high-quality content and sharing it on social media platforms or other websites, can helpincrease the website’s visibility and reach. Content marketing can also help build relationships with customers, which can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty. 

By providing relevant and useful content, customers will be more likely to trust the website and will be more likely to visit it in the future.

To prove this point, Ahrefs did a study and found that pages with more backlinks tend to get higher traffic.

Off-Page SEO Techniques That Work

1. Quality Content

Content creation is usually thought of as a part of on-page SEO. However, it is a factor that impacts off-page SEO as well. Without insightful or share-worthy content, you won’t be able to engage your audience.

When you publish quality content, others are more likely to share it. It can even fetch you natural backlinks.

If you need content ideas that are ranking well in your domain, a tool like ProWritingAid can really help. 

When you’re producing content, don’t just stick to blog posts. 

Explore other forms of content like FAQs, videos, infographics, images, and podcasts. Through this strategy, you can earn more quality backlinks from high-authority websites.

Content creation is usually thought of as a part of on-page SEO. However, it is a factor that impacts off-page SEO as well. Without insightful or share-worthy content, you won’t be able to engage your audience.

When you publish quality content, others are more likely to share it. It can even fetch you natural backlinks.

HubSpot’s video on topic clusters is featured in a blog post on the same topic by CoSchedule. Similarly, their infographic on the same topic is used in a post by the Content Marketing Institute.

After publishing content, it’s also a good idea to use rank tracker tools to see if your content needs to be optimized further.

2. Create Content With User Intent in Mind

With recent updates to Google’s Algorithm, it's never been more important to make sure your content satisfies user intent.

This means content on your website shouldn’t be created with SEO in mind, especially since that only leads to uninspired content. The internet is filled with vague content that doesn’t really offer any value to readers but seems to be well-optimized for search engines.

Google offers guidelines on creating content for your website.

Google mentions that your website should:

  • Create content that is helpful, with user intent first and foremost.
  • Use keywords in specific locations within your pages.
  • Use social media to actively promote your content and engage with the community.
  • Make your website look and run great.

3. Broken Backlink Building

This has less to do with your site, and everything to do with other competitors and websites with a similar niche as yours.

ahrefs best pages by backlink
Image via Ahrefs

Broken link building is all about finding broken backlinks on websites and asking them to replace those broken links with yours.

As shown above, I used Ahrefs to find these broken backlinks. To do this, I:

  1. Went to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Entered a niche website’s URL
  3. Selected “Best Pages by Backlinks”
  4. Selected “404 not found”

A recent study of over 80K homepages showed that 30.7% of them have one or more broken backlinks.

That’s almost a third of all the sites, which makes this an excellent way to build more backlinks.

4. Find Quality Backlink Prospects

Searching for quality backlink prospects can be a tedious task. I prefer to use Semrush for backlink profiling. It alerts me when the portfolio of my inbound links changes. Plus, it suggests replacements from authoritative domains so that my ranking isn’t impacted.

Other than that, there are also many other backlink analysis tools that you can use for checking the quality of backlinks.

Semrush backlinks dashboard
Image via Semrush

For insights into your competitors’ strategies for link building, tools like Linkody are great. It gives you a list of pages that are linking to your competitors along with all the important metrics.

Linkody dashboard
Image via Linkody

Once you find relevant, authoritative sites, pitch them content ideas for guest posts. Instead of guest blogging multiple times for a single website, try to write for various blogs. This will help you reach out to a broader audience.

Apart from this, you can also get quality backlinks through reviews, testimonials, infographics, podcasts, and social media outreach.

5. Author Rank

While Google has discontinued its Authorship experiment, some SEO experts claim that author rank still has a part to play in rankings.

For the uninitiated, Authorship was a feature that allows publishers to create their own digital signatures. Using this feature, publishers could link any author’s byline to their profile on another website. This linkage helped Google crawlers understand more about the author’s identity.

However, in 2014, Google discontinued Authorship.

One of the main reasons for abandoning the program was that users did not value the author's snippets very much. At the same time, not all authors adopted the program.

Author rank, a user-generated term, is related to this concept. It refers to a numeric score that Google assigned to the authors based on the content of a web page.

There is no consensus among experts if author rank is still relevant. However, some SEO experts believe that it is still an important factor that affects page rank. Others also say that we may get to see author rank in a more personalized form in the future.

6. Write Guest Posts for High Authority Sites

Guest posts were all the rave during the late 2000s and early 2010s. But since the mid-2010s Google has been much more strict about guest posts.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore this excellent off-page SEO strategy. 

Guest posts were originally a way to simply add backlinks to your website in an article, without caring much about the content itself. This led to Google scrutinizing these types of articles much more, leading to many people abandoning the strategy.

The thing is, high-quality content, written for a high-authority website, with 1 or 2 backlinks to your website is still an excellent backlink-building strategy.

Shane Barker medium.com profile
Image via Medium

I write guest posts for quite a few publications, including Forbes and Medium. These guest posts help widen the reach of my audience, helping to boost organic traffic toward my website.

7. Co-Citation & Co-Occurrence

Co-citation and co-currence are crucial factors for off-page SEO. When two different sources mention the same website or brand, it is called co-citation. In the previously mentioned example, HubSpot’s infographic is co-cited by different websites.

Co-occurrence refers to the proximity, presence, and frequency of related keywords by different websites. Co-currence includes keywords that are similar and relevant, but may not match exactly.

Simply put, co-occurrence focuses on similar content on different websites. On the other hand, co-citation looks at how different websites are connected.

Using a combination of these two strategies, you can build a rich backlink profile. These strategies can help you build your brand by boosting your trust and engagement.

8. Create High-Quality Infographics

With backlinks in mind, a great way to get them is to create high-quality infographics that other sites might want to use. 

When a site uses your infographic, they’re required to link back to the original source of the picture, which will be your article.

According to HubSpot, infographics are the fourth most commonly created content for content marketing.

Small businesses might not be able to afford expensive infographics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create engaging content. There are plenty of excellent tools online like Canva, that are completely free, and easy to use.

Canva theme examples
Image via Canva

By creating these infographics, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting backlinks, especially from smaller, niche websites, that should help boost your authority.

9. Focus on Long-Form Content

It has been proven time and time again that long-form content tends to rank higher than shorter posts. According to this study, the average word length of the top 10 search results in Google is around 2,200 words.

Shane Barker Graph of rank position

Keep in mind, having a longer article isn’t the reason Google ranks a web page higher, it’s the corresponding factors of long-form content that gives it bragging rights.

One of the largest ranking factors of long-form content is that long-form content gets more backlinks. According to the same study above, long-form content with 7,000+ words gets 3x more shares and backlinks than posts with fewer words.

Backlink Semrush Example

An excellent example is one of my top performing articles. With a word count exceeding 5,000 words, it has around 1,500 backlinks.

10. Audit Branded Searches About Your Business

A brand search is when someone searches your brand’s name in a search engine like Google. These searches could include your full brand name, or your brand name plus some phrase like, “Shane Barker influencer marketing.”

Google Search Result Example

When searching the term, “Shane Barker influencer marketing,” the first webpage in Google search results is my influencer marketing services page on shanebarker.com.

The second search result is an influencer marketing article on shanebarker.com, and the third is my LinkedIn profile.

Now you’ve got to audit these branded phrases to make the most of them. 

An easy way to do this is using the GSC Performance Report.

GSC Impressions chart

To improve this total, you’ll need to work on creating higher-quality meta descriptions and titles, as well as making sure you’re using the correct keywords for these web pages.

11. Create and Spend Time on a Branded YouTube Channel

If you’re looking to boost your website’s Brand signals, you need to start a YouTube channel. YouTube has 122 million active users every day. That is a massive audience you’re losing out on if you’re neglecting your YouTube channel.

It might seem useless at first, especially if your views and follower count are low in the beginning. But regularly posting content related to your website and brand will be rewarding in the long run.

Once your videos start getting a few thousand views, you’ll see an uptick in users visiting your site, or searching for your brand on Google.

Another reason to create YouTube videos is to be able to add them to your articles. According to Wistia, web pages with any video content had an average time on page of 6 minutes, whereas those without videos only had 4.3 minutes.

Wistia Graph Average time spent on page
Image via Wistia

Creating YouTube videos can also help get you featured on the first result page, through a video. This happens quite often, especially when people search for terms like “how to.”

Google search results with videos

As you can see from the example above, when I searched “how to create a website” the first result was a Wix article, people also ask, and then videos. Creating content on YouTube might help you get a spot on the first page, even if your articles aren’t.

12. Create Content Backed by Research

Now, when I say research, I don’t mean mentioning research conducted by other researchers and websites.

Conducting your own research might be time consuming, and most likely cost a bit extra, but it is worth it.

Content that comes with research done by you will help your off-page SEO tremendously, similar to how in-house infographics and YouTube videos do. 

Why?

When other websites write similar content to yours but don’t have the data to back up what they’re writing about, they’ll most likely be looking for it elsewhere. That’s where you swoop in and get the backlinks.

They’ll most likely use any data that you’ve researched and put it in an article of their own with a link back to yours. 

This research-backed content can also lead to a significant increase in social media shares.

So, as you might have noticed again, spending time and money on creating quality, in-house content like infographics, videos, and research might not seem as important at first, but if you want to be at the top of your off-page SEO game, you need to invest in them.

13. Garner Positive Reviews Online

This one all boils down to E.A.T.

E – Expertise

A – Authority

T – Trustworthiness

Now, E.A.T. doesn’t necessarily influence your rankings directly but has to do with how Google’s Quality Rater team decides which websites are ranked higher, versus those that rank lower.

Google’s Quality Rater team works off of a guideline, which Google just posted about recently again. The guidelines are right here, if you’d like to take a look. But creating content, with E.A.T. in mind, will lead to high-quality content.

How do reviews factor into all of this?

Reviews can be a measure of trustworthiness and expertise which, in turn, could lead to a business, especially from a local SEO perspective, ending up on the second or third results page. Google doesn’t want to promote businesses that aren’t professional or trustworthy.

Now you might be wondering, well I don’t have a business, so how would I build my reputation on my blog?

To do this, you need to optimize your landing page. Add any accolades, awards, large companies you’ve worked for, ebooks, and sources from other experts that mention you. All this helps build authority, shows that you’re an expert in your field, and that you can be trusted.

Shane Barker landing page example 1

A quick glance at my landing page will show you some of the large brands I work with and have written for.

Shane barker landing page example 2

Further down the page, I also list my bio, with some important keywords and mentions, as well as links to my podcast, further showing expertise and authority in my niche.

14. Feature in Round-up Posts

Round-up posts are a fun, and great way to get some extra attention to your website.

Here’s an example of a round-up I participated in for hotinsocialmedia.com. This round-up is about marketing experts sharing their favorite social media moments in the last decade.

Not only did I enjoy reminiscing about the last 10 years of social media, but it got me an excellent link back to shanebarker.com.

If you don’t have the time to write guest posts, these round-up posts take a lot less time, but with a similar outcome.

15. Do Interviews

Doing interviews is another excellent way to increase your authority and show expertise in your niche.

Here’s an interview I did with Nimble, a leading CRM platform.

This video, while it might not have a link back to my website, it does help boost brand searches which, in turn, will tell search engines this is an authoritative site. 

A large interview tends to temporarily boost organic traffic, but what it does for your off-page SEO is long term.

16. Partner With Larger Brands

When you have a smaller business, it might be scary to approach large brands to partner with, but it’s important if you want to build authority and get some recognition amongst a much larger audience.

Big brands tend to have a large amount of traffic monthly, and will most likely be happy to share some of it with you, if you add value to their website.

Here’s an example of how you can partner with larger brands.

I’ve partnered with Semrush, which is my personal favorite SEO platform, to not only create an awesome SEO course, but also to get anyone who registers for the course a free 30-day trial of Semrush Pro.

Shane Barker SEO Quick Wins Course

FAQs

  1. Q1. Can you do SEO yourself?

    A. Yes, you can do basic SEO yourself such as optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, and content. You can also guest post on high-authority websites in your niche to get brand mentions and backlinks.
     
    There are SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO that can help optimize your WordPress site for basic ranking factors.
     
    However, you may need to hire an SEO professional or an SEO agency to:
     
    – Conduct a thorough SEO audit of your website.
    – Create an SEO strategy.
    – Do extensive keyword research.
    – Write well-optimized, high-quality content.
    – Scale guest posting and link-building efforts.
    – Optimize your website for other technical ranking factors.

  2. Q2. What skills are required for SEO?

    A. You need the following skills to do SEO:
     
    – Critical thinking
    – Content writing skills
    – Basic programming skills
    – Analytical skills
    – Technical knowledge
    – Communication and relationship-building skills

  3. Q3. Should I hire someone for SEO?

    A. Yes, you should hire a consultant or an agency that has the knowledge and expertise to optimize your website to rank higher in the SERPs.
     
    SEO takes time to deliver measurable results. It’s always better to let experts do it for you. You should choose someone with a proven track record of boosting search rankings, organic traffic, and targeted leads for similar businesses.

  4. Q4. How do we do off-page SEO?

    A. We offer custom off-page SEO services to our clients, which include:
     
    – In-depth SEO audit and analysis
    – Competitor research
    – Extensive keyword research
    – Custom off-page SEO strategy
    – Sites selection for guest posting
    – Link building
    – Infographic creation and syndication
    – Monthly reporting

To learn more about our search engine optimization services, check out the service page.

Shanebarker SEO Quick Wins Course

Ready to Ace Your Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO can help get your site to the top of search results. It’s crucial because it shows search engines that a website is reliable. 

While off-page SEO can increase your visibility and engagement, it does take time to reap the rewards. With the strategies mentioned above, you can strengthen your off-page SEO.

41 Comments

    1. I’m so glad that my blog on off-page SEO helped you learn. Keep visiting for more such information.

    1. I’m so happy that you liked my article about off-page SEO. Let me know what would you like to read about next?

    1. Thank you so much. I’m so happy that you liked my blog, keep visiting for more such information.

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