Off-page SEO: What is it and is it worth the investment?

Did you know that 75% of people who does a search on Google, and that does not click on an ad, will choose one of the first three organic search results? In other words, being high up on the search result page will bring great business value and a lot of potential in terms of leads and traffic. However, many people have overlooked the fact that off-page SEO (search engine optimization) could be a critical factor for success. In this article, therefore, I will elaborate on what off-page SEO really is and give you three examples of how you can easily start working with it in the marketing department.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO is everything you do outside of your website that gives you increased chances of being seen in the search results. The most important part of off-page SEO goes by the name of link building. Link building is essentially about how many qualitative links you get from other domains. Since link building is such a large part of off-page SEO, the concepts are often used synonymously with each other. Off-page SEO, however, can be considered to be slightly wider and include other aspects in addition to links. For example, it can be how often your brand is mentioned online and local factors such as whether your store is physically close to the area a person are searching from.

Usually, SEO is divided into three sub-areas:

  • On-page SEO – focus on site content, e.g. keyword optimization of texts, internal linking, metadata and site structure.
  • Off-page SEO – focus on signals outside the site that suggest that you are a credible and relevant player in the field, e.g. inlinks from other pages.
  • Technical SEO – focus on the site's technical aspects, e.g. user experience in the form of charging and rendering times, mobile friendliness and structured data.

All of these areas affect how high up your website appears on a specific search query. It is therefore important to keep track of the competition in the search results. If you are aiming for a keyword with low competition, you are relatively likely to rank without any links. However, if you want to rank on a keyword with high competition, where authoritarian domains are visible today, you will need to work on improving your off-page SEO in addition to keyword optimization and creating good content.

Why is off-page SEO so important?

The reason that off-page SEO is so important is simply because that's how Google determines that your site is trustworthy and of high quality. If many or trustworthy pages in the area link to your home page, Google will see the links as references. That is, pages that can vouch for that your website's content could also be appreciated by others, and should therefore appear in the search results. In link building, you often talk about something called link juice, which is simply the power that a hyperlink sends over to your website. The stronger the domain that links to you, the more value in terms of link juice will spill over on to your off-page SEO.

How off-page SEO affects Google search results

Each time you enter a search query in Google, a serie of algorithms are launched. They scan and evaluate several hundreds of thousands of sites by different parameters for a single purpose – to give you the most relevant possible search results. This means that you often compete with large and well-known companies whose websites have been around for a long time and which have already created a high level of authority thanks to many backlinks. In these cases, you also need to think about off-page SEO to have a reasonable chance of competing, especially if your site is still relatively new in the field.

For example, take this search "recipe for smudge cake". Below each search result, you can see an excerpt of the page's link profile retrieved using the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar chrome extension. BL stands for backlinks and shows how many different URLs point to the site. RD stands for referring domains and shows how many different unique domains that currently link to your domain.

ahrefs-lankprofil-smudge cake

As you can see in the picture, the page that ranks in the top has the most links and referring domains. If you look to the left of the green-highlighted boxes on DR, which stands for domain rating, you can also read a total score for the domain where the highest score also comes first in this scenario. However, I would like to draw attention to the fact that it is not always as these come in chronological order, since many other factors in addition to off-page SEO also plays a big part. My recommendation to you is to check out the results page for the keyword you want to rank on. Then compare the link profiles of the pages that pop up with your own to get a reasonable idea of your chances.

3 ways that you can easily work with off-page SEO

Talking about link profiles, tools and strategies for building links could have been a whole blog post in itself. Therefore, I will confine myself to telling you about three simple ways you can get more links and thus improve your work with off-page SEO.

1: Create and spread really good content

Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. By writing really good content and also having as a routine to tell other actors to link to your material can give great effect on you off-page SEO. Content that has some kind of newsworthy value, such as an industry report, tends to get a little extra good distribution. This is a lot because many people want to capture interesting statistics and figures that are relevant to their own area. Another option may be to guest blog, that is, when someone at the company writes in their own name for another domain's blog. It can be a way for them to get new exciting content that drives traffic and a chance for you to be able to link from the blog post to your business site (and thus get an inlink and some link juice). Win-win!

2: Set up alerts and act on brand mentions

Take advantage of the opportunity to get an inlink when someone is already talking about your brand. You can easily set up notifications in Google Alerts free of charge for when someone mentions your company name. By sending an email you can ask the person in question to attach a link to your site at the time of the mention and with a little luck you will recieve another link.

3: Do not tell the whole story in the press release

Publishing full press releases on your own page is a great routine SEO wise. Then you can share a summary on different press services with an attatched link to your site. That also increases the chance that others who pick up the news refer to your site for more information. Those backlinks will strengthen your off-page SEO as well.

Is off-page SEO worth investing in?

In my experience, it is necessary to work actively with both on-page SEO and off-page SEO in order to achieve successful results in SEO. You can with simple means start building a natural link profile which will give you greater conditions to rank well. Therefore, I think that off-page SEO is always something you should in one way or another work on. However, how much effort your company needs depends on which keywords you want to rank on and how you stand in the competition right there. Please let me know if you want a consultation!

Ingrid Söderberg
SEO specialist

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Blog of the year - Young Marketing Professional of the year, Sabine Ljunggren.