Off-Page Website Optimization
Off-page SEO, as the term suggests, points to the activities done outside the boundaries of the website. Although it differs to that of on-page SEO, there is great emphasis on its importance for the purpose of generating traffic and building “authentic” presence online.
Why Is It Important?
Ever since search engines started, they’ve been always trying to find the best means of returning the most accurate results to the internet user. In order to do that, they are going to consider a lot of factors. For Google, off-page search engine optimization provides a very clear indication on how the rest of the web perceives, reacts to, and rates a specific website. For instance, a website which is useful and interesting is likely to have more links and references coming from other websites. The same website will also have more buzz and interest in social media and social networking. And finally, this same website has more chances of being bookmarked and shared by online communities.
Off-page SEO therefore is important because it provides a website that much needed exposure online. For any business owner with a newly built website, there is no chance of gaining profit if there are no people visiting the site.
What Are The Benefits?
Provided the off-page search engine optimization strategy succeeds, the following benefits are inevitable:
- Obviously, one of the main reasons why anyone would engage in SEO is to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Increase in page rank is another reason why there is a need to launch an off-page SEO campaign. Page rank refers to the number given to a website in the eyes of the search engines. For Google, page rank ranges from 0 and 10.
- Finally, a successful off-page SEO campaign will eventually lead to more exposure for the website, and that corresponds to better chances of luring prospective clients and customers.
The Concept of Link Building
Since this article is really about giving away tips for off-page optimization, let’s continue with the discussion on undoubtedly the most popular method there is: link building. Through building external links to your site, you are in a way striving hard to obtain votes in order to overtake competitors and eventually rank higher than competing websites. The simplest illustration would be:
If a searcher likes an article or content you have on your website and then references it from his own blog or site, it’s a practical and clear-cut way of telling Google that your page or article contains interesting and good information.
For a couple of decades now, website owners and their webmaster are doing everything they can to speed up the process of ranking higher in Google and other search engines. With that, there are now so many ways to increase link count and get the attention of search engines, but not necessarily in a positive way all the time.
1 – Blog Directories
In link building, blog directories are a crucial element. These actually work like yellow pages. This time though, each entry carries a link back to the website.
2 – Forums
A lot of webmasters today use forums not to actively and genuinely participate, but to comment on forum threads in order to be allowed by moderators to link back to their website. This is possible through forum signatures.
3 – Commenting
There are thousands of blogs out there that allow visitors to comment at the end of each post. This feature is also being utilized by internet marketers and webmasters for the sake of inserting a comment link.
4 – Article Directories
Another method of link building is publishing articles (mostly for free) in article directories. By doing so, some directories will allow a link or even two to your website. The links can either be placed in the body of the article or in the resource box. Today, article directories have become stricter in terms of filtering duplicate content.
Now let’s stop here. Although at first impression you may have thought those mentioned link building methods above are good for your objective of building exposure. The thing is, all of them don’t work these days, especially with the ever changing algorithms and updates in ranking sites implemented by Google and other search engines. This leads us to the discussion of the concept called “black hat” SEO.
The main issue about link building was that it was quite an easy way to manipulate search engines. Spammers began to take advantage of the “hole” in the algorithms through building an extensive network of links that eventually led to black hat SEO strategies.
But today, Google has become a lot more sophisticated in combating this strategy, especially with the releases of both Panda and Penguin updates. These two effectively prevented the increase of spamming activities, at least in Google.
What then is considered a Good Link?
The kind of link building strategies we mentioned above isn’t useful anymore. So what therefore is considered as a good link? To answer this, you have to understand that link building in its entirely is not really about quantity, or at least it’s not just about it. What matters most today is quality. In rather simpler terms, it will no longer matter today how many links are pointing to your website. Instead, it matters more where those links came from.
So how do you get those good links? Google answers this by telling you that any links pointing to your site should be “natural” links, or those that are naturally linked to you. For instance, a blogger or a searcher likes a blog and by instinct, he will add a link to that blog to his own site or blog.
The Emergence of Social Media and Bookmarking
Today, search engines are quite friendly to two aspects or methods of link building and off-page optimization: social media and social bookmarking. The good thing about social media links is that they are labeled as “nofollow” but it doesn’t mean they don’t have any value at all. As a matter of fact, there is a great boost for SEO when the website you own have a huge number of social media mentions and proper configuration of social media profiles. Social bookmarking meanwhile has been around for quite a while. It may not be as popular compared to five or six years ago but it is still a natural and effective way of producing traffic to your website.
In the end, you need to realize that off-page SEO is equally important and valuable to that of on-page SEO. If you are really committed to maximizing exposure and traffic to your site, it is imperative to launch both on-page & off-page SEO campaigns with effective planning.