SEO (or search engine optimization) has two important components. If you’re neglecting one of them, it doesn’t really matter how much effort you put into the other: your site will never be fully optimized. The first is on-page or on-site SEO. You can improve that element by designing everything on your actual website to attract traffic from your target audience. Making sure everything on your site’s pages, from titles to tags, is optimized for the keywords you want to target, is the key to good onsite SEO. The other component is offsite or off-page SEO. This refers to the things you can do outside your actual website to improve your ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages). If you’ve already put a ton of work into your on-page SEO, but you still aren’t seeing the traffic you want or the ranking you aspire to, off-page SEO might be the missing ingredient. Web experts estimate that off-page SEO factors account for more than half of Google’s all-important ranking algorithm. Here are 5 strategies you can implement to improve your off-page SEO and boost your rank on SERPs.
Supercharge Your Social Media.
It’s not enough to merely have a good website in this day and age. With so much traffic coming as a result of links and shares on social media, having a robust and responsive presence on these platforms is a key ingredient of off-page SEO. You should have accounts on all of the most popular platforms, and make sure these accounts are actively posting and promoting content. And you should interact with your customers in real time, whether to respond to customer service issues or to boost the signal on posts praising your product.
Switch Up Your Content.
If your main site mostly consists of text, that’s fine, but your off-page content doesn’t need to adhere to the same formula. Using the social media accounts mentioned above, you can share videos or images that link to your site. This content is not only much more widely circulated than text-only posts, it will show up higher on SERPs since Google includes relevant videos at the top of many of its results pages.
Backlinks are links from one website to another, and they’re a big part of off-page SEO. Think of backlinks as recommendations—a link from a highly-trafficked and well-regarded site will automatically boost both your credibility in the eyes of web users, it will increase your Google rank as well since Google indexes all of these backlinks and incorporates them into its algorithms. Build relationships with the operators of sites that have a similar audience to yours, and link to their sites when it’s appropriate. When they return the favor, you’ll see your rank (and your traffic) jump.
Influencer marketing is a big buzzword right now. Essentially, it’s the idea of hitching one brand (typically that of a site or product) to another (that of a person). In the social media age, personal brands hold a tremendous amount of value, and the endorsement of an influencer with a big following will improve your off-page SEO and Google rank tremendously. Reach out to people whose following resembles your target audience and see if you can make an arrangement (but be aware you may have to open your wallet).
Carve Out Keywords.
Targeting your on-page content to long-tail keywords is SEO 101, but it’s equally important to do this with your off-site efforts. Think empathetically about what your target audience will be searching for. You can use tools like Answerthepublic.com and Keyword Explorer to help you out. Then, apply what you’ve learned to your off-page SEO, optimizing your social media presence for these keywords, seeking out backlinks from sites in the same vein, and so on. Once you know what keywords you most want to rank for, it’s much easier to arrange your off-page priorities to achieve that goal.