Struggling to rank in Google despite pouring your heart and soul into the content of your website? Your off-page SEO—or lack thereof—may be the culprit. If you want to rank high on Google and increase your brand’s visibility and organic search traffic – you need to be looking beyond your website.
Today, we are going to dive deep into off-site ranking factors to help you understand what they are, why they are so important, and what off-page SEO tactics you need to be using if you want to land on top of the SERPs.
What is Off-Page SEO?
In short, any SEO-focused activity taking place outside of your website and contributing to your ranking is considered off-site or off-page SEO. Search engine optimization can be scary, especially when you don’t know what steps to take to rank your fresh content on top of the SERPs. But, if you can develop a basic understanding of off-page optimization and how it relates to off-site ranking factors, you’ll be way ahead of your competition.
Why Off-Page SEO Matters?
Google takes over two hundred factors into account when ranking web pages. So, it’s challenging to rank on the merit of your content alone. By telling Google and other search engines what others think about you and your site, you are helping them determine how relevant your content is to users. Without doing off-page SEO with off-site ranking factors in mind, you will struggle to rank for competitive search terms.
What are Off-Site / Off-Page Ranking Factors?
Search engines will consider multiple factors as they determine a website’s popularity, relevance, and authority. Most of those factors come from your own website, which we refer to as on-site ranking factors. Off-site ranking factors, also known as off-page ranking factors, come into play when search engines look at other reputable sources of information outside your website, to help determine how you should rank.
Off-site ranking factors also refer to the factors that help your business rank as an entity on properties like Google Maps and Yelp. Here, it isn’t a question of your website’s rank in relation to other websites, but rather your business’s rank in a list of similar businesses, based on reputation and trustworthiness.
Why are Off-Page Ranking Factors Important?
Getting your page to rank high in a competitive niche can be very difficult, especially if you’re only doing on-page SEO. That’s where ranking-driven off-page SEO will really make a difference. Off-page ranking factors are those search engines will take into account when determining your relevance.
Think about it as building your website’s trustworthiness, credibility, and authority – something that often goes alongside building a brand. Without it, your site won’t outrank those that already have high authority.
Top 5 Off-Page SEO Ranking Factors to Focus On
Contrary to a commonly held belief, there’s more to off-page optimization than acquiring links. There’s a wide variety of techniques that can be used to give your online venture and gain a competitive advantage. How? By honoring all off-page ranking factors, of course.
Link building is great, but it can only get you so far. Why not take advantage of a great variety of other off-page SEO strategies that can boost both your website and your brand? If you want to thrive in the digital market, these are the top off-page ranking factors your off-page SEO strategy should focus on:
1. Valuable Backlinks
This is the most talked-about aspect of digital promotion and for a good reason. Building backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO and one of the most important off-site ranking factors. Search engines use backlinks as indications of the linked-to content’s quality. If you have a lot of other sites linking out to you – that’s a pretty good sign you know what you are talking about. So, link building should be the backbone of your off-page SEO strategy if you have the aspiration of ranking on page one.
There are three main types of links, defined by how they were earned: natural links, manually built links, or self-created links. Regardless of how links were obtained, those that offer the greatest contribution to SEO efforts are generally those that pass the most equity. Just make sure you stick to white hat SEO link-building strategies to ensure you don’t face a penalty from Google.
2. Social Shares and Signals
Google’s official stance is that social signals are not a direct ranking factor, since they are easily manipulated. Understandable. Yet, there’s no doubt that genuine social shares do have a positive influence on your rankings, albeit an indirect one. Why? Real social shares lead to more eyeballs on your content, and more eyeballs lead to more links, mentions, and all those other off-site ranking factors that we know to have a direct effect on rankings.
Treat social media platforms as discovery platforms and understand that an active presence can help put you in front of potential clients and customers who are looking for answers or to engage with the right brands on the social networks that they are using. It’s basically free traffic and traffic drives rankings and revenue.
3. Domain Age
While there’s not much you can do about your domain age, it’s important to point it out as an off-site ranking factor. The DA of your site is not a metric used by Google in determining where you rank but is a good indicator of how well your site is performing from an off-site SEO perspective.
While Google admits that there is not much difference between a domain age of six months or twelve months, when you have a site that has been established for five or ten years, you will gain some clout in Google’s eyes. So, make sure you don’t ditch your domain to start a new one if you can help it.
4. Local Ranking and SEO
When done correctly, submitting your business into local listings can be vital for increasing revenue, reputation, and rankings, particularly in localized search results. Local SEO is a separate branch of SEO that deserves its own conversation. However, you want to submit your website to as many high-quality directories as you can to improve your backlink profile – all while helping other people find your site a lot easier.
5. Reviews and Customer Service
Some say a business’ entire success is based on customers and their experience. So, it should come as no surprise that you should always adopt a customer-centric approach in everything you do – even when trying to nail those off-page ranking factors. Did you know that 93% of people say online reviews impact their buying decisions? Reviews are a massively underrated off-page SEO tactic – something that no business can ignore.
Great reviews help to increase conversions and, once again, trust. Your online reputation, which includes reviews on popular websites like Yelp and word-of-mouth referrals, will influence a brand’s SERP performance as well. As you know, poor customer service leads to poor rankings, so make sure you always leave a good impression to drive traffic to your website and boost your rankings!
Good Reputation Matters, Even in SERP Ranking
Off-page SEO might seem harder to deal with than on-page SEO because many off-page ranking factors aren’t entirely under your control. But, think of it this way: the harder something is to earn – the more reliable it is as a ranking factor. Off-page SEO is all about managing your reputation, gaining trust, and giving credibility to your brand as an authority, which both users and search engines will respect.
Think brand-first, and you will go into off-page SEO with the right mindset, achieving results that will truly make a difference in your brand’s online presence. By leveraging these important off-page ranking factors, you can accelerate your climb to the top of the SERPs and enjoy your growth in the ever-competitive digital realm.