Digital marketers love a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) conversation . . . er, debate. What works, what doesn’t — friendships have definitely been won and lost in this conversation, and then Google changes their algorithms and we all have to refactor our websites. While on-page optimization is a relatively well-understood topic, one thing that some marketers are still unclear about is the value of off-page search optimization. If your off-page SEO is crummy, it’s likely killing your SERP (Search Engine Results Placement) and that’s unacceptable. Let’s talk about how optimizing your off-page linking and content helps reinforce the positive effect of your hard work on on-page SEO.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Building backlinks is what most people think of when the term off-page SEO comes up, and for good reason. For many years, link farming was a “thing”, with people paying to have others build links to their websites in the hope of tricking Google into thinking your website was a knowledge leader on a particular topic. While pretty much everyone knows this no longer works and can actually damage your placement on search engine results pages, off-page SEO is still a very valid strategy to pursue. Technically off-page SEO can be classified as all the content marketing that you’re doing to drive traffic to your site. This could be everything from blog posts to posts on social media to posts on a friendly blog site — as long as they all provide links back to your site. Off-page SEO provides a search engine such as Google or Bing with clues about how your site is perceived by the outside world, and whether it’s considered a valuable resource . . . or not.
Building Your Off-Page Cred
Creating off-page SEO that rocks takes work — you have to create content that is compelling enough that people will want to publish or syndicate it and click through to read a full article. Hopefully, they’ll also want to share it with their friends. Staying active on social media helps build interest in your brand, especially when your content is high-quality and engaging for your target audiences. Guest posts or blogging are a great way to build links back to your site organically. With nearly 60% of marketers utilizing blogging as a part of their content marketing strategy, that should tell you how important this one particular tactic is to your overall SEO success. On the WordStream blog you’ll find a post with everything you ever wanted to know about off-page SEO, and they claim that websites that include a blog get 434% more traffic than those that do not feature a blog.
Reducing Duplicate Content
While it’s great to have your content showing up on multiple websites as long as they’re all linking back to your site in theory, in practice this can cause some real problems. Duplicate content is a big problem for Google and Bing. Duplicate content is like plagiarism, anytime there are blocks of content that are exact duplicates of each other. Content can be duplicated on your website and off your website both, and both can be problematic. If Google, in their infinite wisdom, decides that your website is an exact duplicate of another site you may never show up in search results. At all.
Off-page SEO can help you drive new traffic, become more discoverable to a larger audience and most importantly — improve your SERP. Grow your overall exposure when you work with reputable bloggers and other content creators to provide interesting new information to your audience.