In Part 1 of the SEO for Business practical guide, we covered everything you should do to ensure SEO success for your website, based on the elements you can control. If you haven’t read it, make sure you do here.
Part 2 of our guide for better SEO will focus on the elements of SEO that are not directly related to what you’re doing on your website.
You’ll also notice that in Part 2, we’re not just focusing on the elements that have a priority of (+3) from the SEO Periodic Table. But we’ll also be highlighting some elements that are ranked lower in this post, as they’re still highly relevant to what you need to be focusing on.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Of all the SEO categories and tactics, off-page SEO is probably the hardest. Why? Because many of the off-page elements to some extent are out of your control.
How you do off-page SEO has evolved quite a bit over the last few years, as the search engines have started to place more focus on ensuring search rankings aren’t so easily fooled and things like authority, reputation, and quality are taken into account.
“Off-Page SEO” refers to all the different activities you do outside of your website that help search engines rate how valuable, trustworthy, and relevant you are.
This could mean Link Building, Brand Authority, and Reputation, all of which we will cover in Part 2 of the SEO for Business series.
Ta = Authority+3
In the past, Google used something called PageRank to determine a website’s authority. This focused solely on how many inbound links your website had: the more you had the higher your PageRank.
This isn’t the case anymore.
Search engines nowadays have gotten a lot smarter and more complex. They’ve worked out that people could “cheat the system” by purchasing hundreds, if not thousands of links from low-quality, irrelevant websites.
Now search engines like Google use hundreds of factors in evaluating the authority and relevance of web pages, two of the most important being Content and Links.
Quality Content, which we covered in Part 1, plays an important role in your ability to become seen as an authority website. By providing great content, you’re more likely to get natural links from other authoritative websites that help show Google how much they should value you.
To get an idea about your authority rankings, companies like Moz have worked out basic formulas to help you ensure your domain authority and page authority are high and implemented in their platform.
Te = Engage+2
When someone types a search term into Google, Google wants to ensure that the most relevant and HELPFUL information is what’s presented at the top of the search results.
To do this, they look at different engagement factors from previous users who searched the same term and visited a page shown in the results.
For example, if someone clicks through to a website from a set of search results but is then back in Google a few seconds later, that shows Google that the information on the website didn’t provide the answer the user was looking for and as such, possibly shouldn’t be ranking as highly as it is.
Engagement best practices:
- Your best chance of engagement is providing quality content around specific topics that your business is in.
- Ensure that your website is quick to load so people aren’t sitting and waiting for pages to load.
- Don’t use pesky pop-ups immediately on your website, as they can increase your bounce rate.
Ln = Number+1
Even though the number of links in the periodic table is only a +1, it is still an important factor to understand. Why?
Having backlinks from multiple trustworthy websites highlights to Google that your page is authoritative and popular. Having links from multiple websites vs. just a few has still be shown to improve rankings as long as the other link factors below are taken into account.
While there is no “right” number of backlinks to have pointing to your site, having too many links from too many low quality websites can end up harming your site’s performance.
So don’t focus on trying to get to a specific number of links. Google can consider your site authoritative regardless of whether you have one link or 1,000 — provided, of course, that you follow the next element.
Lq = Quality+3
High-quality, authoritative backlinks come from websites that are trustworthy and respected by their readers, industry experts, and search engines.
Links from these websites have more weight in the eyes of search engines when it comes to determining rankings than links from “any old website.”
Earning these high-quality backlinks require a lot of work. You first have to find authoritative websites and actually reach out to them and then “convince” them that they should be linking to you.
For example, if your website is in the beauty industry, a link to your website from Vogue.com is more valuable than a link from Trimble.com.
Focus on getting links from websites within your industry and also provide great value to your community. This can take time to happen, but in the long run it is well worth it.
The key with link building is to not focus on quantity, but rather on quality. Less is actually better if the links come from low-quality websites. Don’t go out and buy the Fiverr.com gig you saw last week for 250 links in three days.
Lt = Text+2
The words within a link, commonly known as anchor text, is a key way to show Google what your website is about.
For example, if several websites link to you with the anchor text “IT Support”, Google is going to see that as an indicator that your website is all about IT Support and should rank for IT Support related keywords.
Just because that’s the anchor text you want websites to link to you with, it doesn’t always work out. Generally, you’re unable to control how other sites link to yours. However, if you’re doing any internal linking (linking to different pages within your own website), you can use anchor text that is descriptive and keyword-focused.
Also, as with the number of backlinks pointing to your site, going overboard can negatively impact your performance. If Google sees that all your anchor texts include your target keyword phrases, that might be a signal to them that you’re using low quality SEO tactics to manipulate the search results. A natural mix of anchor texts focuses primarily on branded terms like your company and URL and then has a small percentage of keyword anchors and generic anchors (like “click here”) included as well.
VI = Spam-3
Link spamming is when you try to add as many external links on your pages in the hopes of getting your rankings higher and expanding your visibility.
But, as you’ve likely picked up on throughout this article, lots of low-quality links don’t help your website rank well, in fact, low quality links can actually hurt your site’s performance.
If you have a large volume of links from low-quality or irrelevant websites, they could make your website be considered spam, as Google will think you’re doing something nefarious with your link-building.
If you find many low-quality links linking to your website that you weren’t responsible for, Google does allow you to follow a process to get those links disavowed. However, we recommend talking with an SEO expert before disavowing any links.
What Does All This Mean?
Developing an effective SEO strategy for your business requires you to optimize for on-page and off-page factors.
SEO can be confusing, especially since most off-page elements have no guidelines from the search engines. It makes it difficult to create specific action steps you should take to improve your rankings, but it also helps to level the playing field.
As there is no set or specific formula to follow for off-page SEO, everyone who provides VALUE in what they’re doing with on-page SEO has a better chance of ranking well.
To obtain a backlink from a large, relevant website, you need to publish quality content that helps people and answers the questions they ask on search engines.
Provide value to your website visitors and everything else will fall into place.
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