Off-site SEO Factors That Drive Organic Search To Your Website

Last Edited September 28, 2016 by Garenne Bigby in Search Engine Optimization

seo factors drive organic2

Off-site, or off-page, SEO refers to the techniques that are implemented to improve the ranking of a website among search engine results pages (SERPs) that do not directly affect the experience of the user in relation to the way that they experience your content. Many times, off-site SEO is associated with link building, but it is so much more than that. After you have worked on getting all of your website content into order and perfectly optimized, you will need to focus on things like building your website's credibility, increasing the important inbound links, and also building your own social media presence. Google will never reveal their specific algorithm for search ranking, but the search engine giant does give out masses of information regarding creating relevant content that will make for a good user experience.

Additionally, there is a large amount of research, information sharing, and testing happening with those who optimize websites professionally. Because of this, there is a lot of information available regarding how to aide a website in ranking highly in a search. Google is not shy about sharing the fact that they use over 200 factors to decide the ranking of a website, but which of these factors are the most important? One thing that most experts will agree on is that the number and quality of the links coming into the website is high on the top of the list of importance. It is not enough to buy inbound links from spam sites anymore- Google actively works against this practice and penalizes those who still take part. While it hurts those who use it, the practice greatly benefits the webmasters who are creating content that has real value because their competition gets taken out by the search engine authority. This is what you need to know about using off-site for search engine optimization.


What to Do

  • You will need to measure the inbound links as well as their value. This can be done a few different ways, including tools that will measure the data at no charge while paying for the subscription will allow access to much more information about the website.
  • Pick apart the inbound links of the highest quality, and look for opportunities for other links that are similar. Quality over quantity is key here. You do not want to link to a bunch of websites that have very little authority or even websites that are unreliable or considered spam. Take stock of the content of the websites you are linking to, and feel confident that you are making the right decision to link to them.
  • Check out your competitor and their inbound links with the highest authority. Are you able to get those links as well, or are there any ideas for getting similar links? Many times there is an infinite number of websites that link to each other once you find a well-established niche of websites.
  • The most powerful inbound links are those from education sites (.edu) and non-profits (.org). Do you have any of these? Is there any way to get more from your partners or associates that are involved on this informational area? It never hurts to inquire about linking from these institutions, and any chance that you have you should be linking to these websites because of their authority.
  • You should be building your inbound links gradually. A quick accumulation of inbound links may be penalized by Google if their algorithms pick up on this. This act appears quite spammy, and if you are gathering links so quickly, you likely are not taking into consideration the quality of the links. Remember, quality over quantity.
  • Your staff and team members should all be on the same page about the idea of thinking about links- they should always be keeping their eyes peeled for opportunities to request an inbound link. You will need to ensure that everyone also has a clear idea about the quality of the links as well as the content you will want to be linking to.


Where to Find Inbound Links for Off-Site SEO

  • Get in contact with all clients, vendors, and business partners that share an investment in the same topic that you do. Chances are that if you can benefit from their inbound links, they will get benefits from yours too. Don't be shy about asking to link, networking is so huge now that it is almost expected of your peers to digitally support you.
  • Paid press release services can put together an online press release that will describe who you are and what you offer in detail, and also link back to your website. This is not totally a necessity, but it's a good option if you do not have a lot of peers to network with.
  • Authorized directories as well as local or regional website listings can act as a go-to for local residents who are on the search for something specific. Many larger cities and smaller towns have their own blogs dedicated to what is happening around town and are eager to present the population with the newest business. If your brand is dedicated to a specific area, reach out and see if they can do a feature on their site. If they do, even if it's just a snippet of information, they will link back to your website.
  • Do not be afraid to include some inbound links from your own blog as well as any other blogs that happen to be relevant. The inbound links do not always have to be the largest or most well-known. Do not overlook having a “related links” section on your site that will give more resources to the website visitor. Use some of your own links with relevant content as well as some links from other sources.
  • Leadership articles and whitepapers might be a little more difficult to manage, but they are not totally out of the question, depending on your brand and what you are aiming for.
  • Useful online tools that others will want to link to are a great way to be seen.


Picking Your Keywords

Even with off-site SEO you will need to implement your target keywords. These target keywords are what will help you to find people to link to. Don't just choose something that sounds good to you, you'll need to pick thematic keywords in order to bring this organic traffic into your site. All of these keywords will have to relate to a specific subject. Don't spread the net too wide, or you'll end up looking like you've lost your focus. In addition to your powerful keywords, you will still need to be creating content that is actually useful and is valuable to the readers. Keep the content tone as if it were a conversation while using your thematic keywords, and don't forget to place these keywords near the beginning of the title tag so that it will carry more weight with the search engines and rank higher in the search engine results pages. Don't forget to implement synonyms and relevant keywords even off-site. When you mention the target keyword too many times, this will alert Google to a possible instance of keyword stuffing, which is something that will get even the best website penalized. When using the synonyms, it allows your content to be optimized the best way.


Social Media and Off-site SEO

Social media is a relatively new way for any business to create brand awareness, boost SEO, and direct traffic to their site. Research has shown that factors such as the amount of shares or likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter, tweets that link to the site, and Reviews and Links from Google+ circles are all things that are taken into consideration by search engine algorithms and bots for determining search engine ranking. These things also lend to a more positive SEO outcome for the website. Additionally, if you have a B-to-B structure, promoting content through LinkedIn may help to drive direct traffic and a rare shared link from the network. Here are some tips regarding SEO and social media:

  • You should have an active Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts and should be displaying buttons to share them from your website.
  • Your most recent content should be promoted through your social media outlets and you should have a call to action on the post, asking readers to like, share, and comment. This will encourage them to add their own opinion on the topic while making your content visible to their followers.
  • Do not be afraid to post links to the new content on all of your social media, remember that you can edit the text that goes with the post, as well as set a scheduled time for it to post if you do not want it to post right when you put it together.


Reviews and Your Website

There is no denying the importance of online reviews for a business, and the reasons to simultaneously fear and value them just keep growing. It needs to be known that these reviews actually create valued inbound links, contributing to the important SEO. Review websites like Yelp and Google+ are extremely important to the companies that are working through a local or regional SEO strategy. This is because the reviews will give you insight as to what people are saying about your brand on the most important review sites. This accountability will also make any team members responsible for interacting in a diplomatic way to any negative reviews while linking to important but relevant information from your site, like policies or terms of service. These review websites also encourage those who have had a positive experience to review the brand and share their thoughts. With the way that Facebook is structured now, a lot of customers will seek out the brand's social media and review them there.

Reviews done on Facebook are a double-edged sword. When an individual takes it upon themselves to post something on the Facebook page of a business, it can be seen by everyone, and will actually show up on the timeline of all friends of the person that posted it. From there, it can be shared and commented on, and when the conditions are right the post may become viral. When the post is praising the company or an employee it is great, but when the viral story is a scathing review for awful service, the same cannot be said. Internet users are steering away from the traditional review websites in favor of posting their experiences right to Facebook or Twitter. Many companies employ staff whose sole purpose is to take care of their social media presence and take care of any potentially harmful reviews or posts. Regardless, companies that choose to employ these social media sites to promote their content should know that they will also be responsible for answering questions or concerns that arise from their visitors. Another idea is to direct traffic to a page on the website if they have any questions about the content. Point them in the direction perhaps of something that will complement or expand on the content in question.

These tips are really just the tip of the iceberg regarding off-site SEO tactics, but they are a good starting point for anyone that is taking a step toward the optimization process. These things are not a totally exhaustive list of what drives up organic growth, but they are among the most important factors. Essentially, these off-site activities are those that are done away from the website with the goal of raising the ranking of the web page within the search results page. As described, it is so much more than simply link building. Aside from everything described above, even when you post a comment on a blog or do a guest post, that is off-site promotion (as long as you are linking back to yourself somehow).

Garenne Bigby
Author: Garenne BigbyWebsite: http://garennebigby.com
Founder @dynomapper
Garenne Bigby is freelance Chicago developer and founder of DYNO Mapper with over 10 years experience in both agency and freelance roles in design, development, user experience, SEO, and information architecture.

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