Unlike every article, I am going to 1st start about Off-page SEO. I have already written a short article about SEO. Which gives a detailed view of what SEO is all about! Click here to view that. Both on-page SEO & off-page SEO is equally vital to make sure that your site gets found in search, but I am only going to deal with off-page SEO & backlinks tactics in this guide. I am giving more focus on Off-Page SEO because I have seen so many people are only focusing on On-page SEO. These days maximum people can write useful articles, and they optimize their site well. But I can see so many people are facing lots of problems when it comes to Off-page SEO.
So we all know when it comes to SEO, there are two approaches you can take to increase the search rankings of your website: on- and off-page SEO.
Pete Meyers from Moz observed that many web site owners spend about 30% of their time on off-page factors, and 70% of owners spend time on on-page factors. For other web site owners, those percentages are reversed. So let’s just jump in and make our hands dirty on what Off-page SEO is all about.
INTRODUCTION TO OFF-PAGE SEO-
Off-page SEO can be called as Off-site SEO/Off-page Optimization. It refers to the actions taken outside of your website to impact your rankings within search engine result pages (SERPs).
Off-page SEO simply tells Google what others have a view about your site. For example, if you’ve got a lot of valuable links pointing to your pages, search engines will assume that you’ve got great content that provides massive value for users.
OFF-PAGE SEO IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR SEO STRATEGY-
Search engine optimization can be frightening, especially when you don’t know what steps to take to rank your web site’s pages on Google’s 1st page of SERP. But, if you can flourish a basic understanding of on-page and off-page optimization, you’ll always stay ahead of your competition.
So here is a small illustration of on-page SEO & Off-page SEO.
Don’t worry, guys, I will discuss all the on-page SEO tactics in a detailed manner in my next post.
Before jumping into various Off-page SEO techniques, Let’s discuss the importance and need of it.
IMPORTANCE OF OFF-PAGE SEO-
We know search algorithms, and ranking factors are always changing. It’s not only vital for you to rank high for your search term, but also to create trust and a sense of authority. And Yes, it is also crucial that You must appear to be the best search result, not just in a technical and content touch, but also, you must appear as the best result, in reality, popularity, quality, and relevance.
We absolutely don’t know the full algorithm Google uses to rank content. But the data from our Search Engine Ranking Factors study show that off-site SEO-related factors likely to hold more than 50% of the ranking factor weight.
LINKS AND OFF-PAGE SEO-
Building backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO. Off-site SEO begins with link building, which is the process of getting links from other websites to your own, which improves your traffic & ranking.
In fact, no matter how useful, fresh, or in-depth the page content might be, it’s almost impossible for Google to determine the value of any web page if no links are pointing to it.
The web hangs together through links. Because website links to each other, pages link to other pages, and search engines link to results they find. Links are essential for a user to navigate on the web & also necessary for a search engine to find content.
So here a question comes to everyone’s mind-
HOW LINKS HELP SEARCH ENGINES?
So links help search engines in two main ways.
- Discover new pages
- Determine where a page should rank in their results
1. DISCOVER NEW PAGES-
As we know, search engines use links to crawl the web and can discover new pages by crawling the links between individual pages on your website as well as crawling the links to other websites.
2. DETERMINE WHERE A PAGE SHOULD RANK IN THEIR RESULTS-
As we know, when a user searches a particular keyword, the search engine retrieves all the results it has in its index related to that keyword. However, there is a necessary additional step before a search engine can show the result, and that is the ranking of the results according to their relevance.
The search engine uses multiple factors and complex algorithms to determine relevance. In fact, according to Brian Dean, there are 200 ranking factors. Some of them are Domain factors, Spam factors, Social cues, User interaction, Page-level factors, Site-level factors, Brand cues, Linking factors, etc. Among them, Linking Factors (Link Structure) is very important.
Let’s more deep dive into “Backlinks.”
The primary off-page SEO element is backlink. The search engine thinks a page is significant if the page has many links pointing to it. These are called incoming links/inbound links. These types of links refer to all the links on the web that point to a website/web page.
Search engines treat backlinks as if their recommendation. They consider the n.o of backlinks and the quality of the links.
From the above figure, it represents the search engine believes several links pointing to your site is similar to so many people saying that you are essential. But search engines evaluate whether those links from external websites pointing to you are of high quality and coming from incredibly trustworthy sites.
So not all the incoming links are equally valuable. Instead, the links from popular and trustworthy websites are more important. Typically those are the sites that also have quality links pointing to them.
As a marketer, if your objective is to drive more traffic from the search engine to your website & if you want to improve your ranking or help the search engine to understand that you are relevant & important, you can achieve that through ‘Link Building.’
So before going to build your link building campaign, you should know the different types of links. Such as-
- Natural/Organic links
- Manually built links
- Self-created links
1. NATURAL/ORGANIC LINKS-
These are the links that you do not have to ask for. They are naturally given to your website from external websites.
The sites which provide natural links to your website determine they value your content, and they direct their own audience to that content.
So now you can imagine as you don’t ask for these types of links, it is tough to gain. But at the same time, these are incredibly valuable. Particularly if a well-regarded website decides to link to you.
They are also the types of links that Google often holds up as great examples, indicating that they will work well for a long period of time.
2. MANUALLY BUILT LINKS-
This is one of the most common and intentional forms of link-building you’ll perform as an SEO expert, particularly if you’re just starting your blog or your business is still quite small and unknown.
This is the process in which you contact the website/blogger and ask them for backlinks to your website/page.
Securing links to your page is a real effort, and it needs a strategic approach to reach the right & relevant blog owners. But if it will be done correctly, it can gain high returns and make sure your page and content receive the links they deserve.
3. SELF-CREATED LINKS-
There is also one more type of link building that is not endorsed by search engines. It is called self-created links.
There are lots of tricks where people try to create links for themselves. And You should avoid these techniques. Because this comes under Black Hat SEO Practices.
With the introduction of the Penguin algorithm in 2012 (and the subsequent updates to it), Google has begun devaluing it and even penalizing your site if it finds these types of spammy links. Some of the examples are-
- Blog comments that are not moderated
- Directories that are not moderated
- Article directories
- Forum signatures
- Guest post signatures
- Press releases with optimized anchor text
- Embeddable widgets
- Infographic embeds
SOME LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES FROM RAND FISHKIN-
The most successful link builders use a few processes. They build a spreadsheet that has lists of potential link sources, and they get that through looking at who links to my competitor but doesn’t link to me.
The websites which links are ranking on top 10, what are the sites relevant to me, who are the people that cover the same type of content that I am writing about. They make a giant list, and they search for the contact information of these folks.
They figure out what and why are those people would link to them, then they get in touch with them. They form relationships through the web, social media, email, etc. And many of these relationships hopefully can turn into a link that will help their site to rank better.
You have to take a proactive approach for your link building efforts. In order to begin your outreach, you should 1st understand two things. Such as-
- Understand the current links pointing to your site
- Focus your outreach on high-quality, credible sites
PARAMETERS OF BACKLINKS-
So there are four parameters we need to look at when creating backlinks to our website.
- Internal & External links
- Inbound links & Outbound links
- Do-Follow & No-Follow Backlinks
- Anchor text
- Link juice
1. INTERNAL & EXTERNAL LINKS-
An Internal Link is a link that points to another page of the same websites. Or you can say in Layman’s term that Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain.
These links help users to navigate a website, and people may spend more time on your website, Which is a good signal for search engines.
An External Link is a link that points at an external domain. In Layman’s terms, if another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site. Similarly, if you link out to another website, this is also considered as an external link.
It is believed that external links are a vital source of ranking power as these links pass link equity and authority to other websites, which search engines consider as third party votes.
2. INBOUND LINKS & OUTBOUND LINKS-
Inbound links are the links pointing to your site and search engines like Google like it when you have thousands of links pointing to your site, but sometimes Google penalizes you for it too if you have poor quality and irrelevant backlinks pointing to your site.
Having high-quality inbound links continue to be the most effective off-page SEO strategy.
We should understand the “A-R-T RULE” here.
A (Authority)- The backlinks from high authority sites carry more weight.
R (Relevancy)- A single backlink from a niche relevant site is better than many backlinks from unrelated sites.
T (Traffic)- If the website from which you got backlink gets reasonable traffic on a day to day basis, then it leads to more referral traffic to your blog, and eventually, it will boost your rankings.
Outbound links are the links pointing to other websites from your website, and you have more control over these links. In this thing, I always see different opinions.
Some bloggers believe that you lose traffic when you put outbound links in your posts, but if you share useful resources, then the chances are that your readers will stick to your blog and will come back in search of more valuable resources. But make sure these links are pointing to relevant, original, and informative content”.
3. DO-FOLLOW & NO-FOLLOW BACKLINKS-
Do-follow & No-follow are the two most commonly spoken words in the field of SEO.
In simple terms, Do-follow Links are the links that allow search engines & humans to follow them to reach websites. These are the links that count as points, pushing SEO link juice & authority and boosting the page rank of the linked-to sites, which directly affects the search engine rankings.
The best way to give someone a do-follow link is by allowing keyword in the anchor text. So Dofollow is simply the default state for a link.
Here’s an example of a normal do-follow link in my article about SEO Introduction.
Here’s what the code looks like behind the scenes:
<a href=” https://seobloglink.com/seo-introduction/”>SEO Introduction</a>
In simple terms, No-Follow Links are the links that don’t allow search engine bots to follow the link. It doesn’t pass the link juice and authority. Only humans will be able to follow the links. So we can say that A no-follow link is a link that does not count as a point in the page’s favor, does not boost PageRank, and doesn’t affect the search engine rankings.
Here’s an example of a link we set to no-follow in my own article on duplicate content SEO Introduction.
Here’s what the code looks like behind the scenes:
<a href=” https://seobloglink.com/seo-introduction/”rel=”no follow”>SEO Introduction</a>
So here the code tells search engine bots not to follow the link and don’t count this.
Nofollow links prevent black hat SEO practitioners who get profits by planting the links in the comments sections of high-authority sites.
Links from the following types of content are usually no-follow links:
- Blog comments
- Press release submissions
- Sponsored content
- Social media
4. ANCHOR TEXT-
The underlined blue piece of line in web-content or a clickable text in a hyperlink is called Anchor Text. Such as this link to the SEOBLOGLINK homepage. Now don’t be confused between a link & anchor text.
A link is a text connected to a URL that points to another page on the web. Whereas a piece of text that displays as a link is called Anchor Text. This is considered as one of the most important signals to rank a post in Google.
<a href=” https://seobloglink.com/seo-introduction/”>SEO Introduction</a>
In the above example of the link code, ‘SEO Introduction‘ is the anchor text for the link.
TYPES OF ANCHOR TEXT-
Anchor text is an “exact match” if it includes a keyword that matches the page that is being linked to. For example: ‘SEO tactics’ linking to a page about ‘tactics of SEO.
Anchor text that includes a variation of the keyword on the linked-to page, but not as an exact phrase. For example: ‘updated SEO tactics 2020’ linking to a page about ‘SEO tactics.
A brand name used as anchor text. For example: ‘SEOBLOGLINK‘ linking to an article on the ‘SEOBLOGLINK’s Blog.’
The Anchor text is a naked URL that is used as an anchor. For example: ‘www.seobloglink.com‘
A generic/Random word or phrase that is used as the anchor, which doesn’t include any targeted keywords. For example: “Click here” is a common generic anchor.
Whenever an image is linked, the anchor text is the alt text of the image.
ANCHOR TEXT BEST PRACTICES-
Anchor text is essential to your SEO efforts because the anchor text tells the users and crawlers what underline link is all about? It not only makes things clear to the user but also helps search engines to classify highlight links.
Even anchor text is vital for internal links. It makes clear to search engines what the underline text is all about, and it helps to categorize your content.
So these are the best practices for Anchor text-
- Use descriptive text rather than ‘click here/find here.’
- Use concise text like few words for a long sentence; otherwise, it will harder for search engines to understand.
- Anchor text should be relevant to the linked-to page.
- Anchor text should have Low keyword density (no keyword stuffing)
5. LINK JUICE-
So, guys, don’t be confused with the numberings. You may forget that I was discussing the parameters of backlinks. Just scroll up a bit, and you will good to go.
‘Link juice’ is otherwise called as ‘Link Equity.’ This is a widely used term in the SEO world. This is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority/equity from one page to another page. And this value is passed through hyperlinks.
I already have discussed that Search engines see links as votes by other websites that your page is valuable and worth promoting.
Link juice can also be categorized into two types. Such as-
- Internal link juice is the linking power that is passed on by internal linking to other internal pages of your website.
- External link juice is the linking power that is passed on from your site to another website.
HOW DOES LINK JUICE WORK?
Both internal links and external links can pass link juice. There are a few essential considerations when it comes to determining whether a link will pass equity. Such as-
- Is the link relevant?
- Is the linking site authoritative?
- Is the link followed?
- Is the link crawlable?
- Where is the link located on the page?
- How many links are located on the page?
- What’s the HTTP status of the linked page?
IN WHICH CASES LINK JUICE DOESN’T COME?
- Pages that have a no-follow link to your site.
- Pages that have irrelevant content.
- Pages that are not indexed in search.
- Paid links.
- Links obtained in a link exchange process.
- Links from unranked sites with no content.
Plan your SEO optimized hierarchy before you start developing your website.
Always use a “Flat Site Structure”. This means a user should reach any of your website’s pages in 4 clicks or less.
Use a silo structure approach at the time of website creation. This is the structure that connects to your category pages and supporting pages (posts). That way, when you send a link to the homepage, the juice flows through your category and supporting pages and definitely boosts your search performance.
So, guys, this is all about the basics of Off-page SEO. So SEO is not a Hit & Run marketing approach. You should have the patience and remember whatever the efforts you are putting in today that will pay you off someday.
This is just half of the puzzle. In the next post, I will be discussing about Best Off-Page SEO Techniques/Checklist of 2020, Which you really really need to understand before making your Off-page SEO strategies.