What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO, or off-site SEO as it’s also called, refers to all the activities taken away from the website with the goal of improving search engine rankings, increasing brand awareness, and building trustworthiness.
Without off-page SEO, an excellent piece of content would still have a chance of ranking highly, however, it wouldn’t have nearly the same reach as it does when you purposefully engage in off-page SEO. In fact, off-page SEO factors contribute more than half of the total ranking weight, so it’s safe to say that it’s necessary to the success of a website.
Why Is Off-Page SEO Relevant?
Off-page signals are crucial to any type of website because they build trustworthiness, authority, and brand awareness. While search engine ranking factors are ever-changing and unpredictable, off-page signals add the kind of value that survives Google updates and metric reevaluations.
When one website is mentioned off-page, i.e., on another domain, it’s a provision of social proof in search engines’ eyes. If one high-quality and trustworthy website is willing to link to or mention another website, it speaks volumes about the target website’s reputation and establishes relevance.
Links and Link Building
Links are at the heart of off-page SEO and the process of obtaining links is called link building. In some way, links are the currency of the internet. They have an intrinsic value that’s dependant on the quality of the website they originate on. This intrinsic value is known as link equity, or more colloquially, “link juice”.
By linking from one website to the other, you share link equity with the target website. A link from one site to another indicates trustworthiness and acts as proof of the quality of content being linked to.
High-quality backlinks (inbound links from another domain) pass on some of the equity to the target website, which is a significant ranking factor. That isn’t to say that links aren’t useful in other ways.
The process of link building involves either reaching out to other websites yourself and asking for links or shares, or receiving the links naturally. In the case of the former, you’re manually building links as part of a planned link-building activity. On the other hand, receiving links naturally happens all the time whenever someone finds valuable content worth linking to.
Since link building is so beneficial, it’s not uncommon for people to partake in activities that edge on black hat SEO. We absolutely discourage you from buying links, exchanging them for goods or services, or spamming links on forums, online directories, or comments. All of these activities that do contribute to off-page SEO in the short term are likely to earn you penalization from Google. They are not viable strategies in the long term.
Passing Link Equity
How much link equity passes between websites depends entirely on the source of the link. The linking site’s popularity, trustworthiness, and authority all have a role to play. Then, there are more tangible metrics such as the anchor text used on the linking site, the freshness of the link, and the total number of outgoing links on the source page.
All of these factors come together to determine how much link equity the target website will receive. No two links are the same, and there are certainly links you wouldn’t want pointing to your website.
Other Off-Page SEO Practices
Links and link building comprise the largest portion of off-page SEO, which is why all the other activities come second. These extra off-page SEO practices include:
- Guest blogging
- Brand mentions
- Influencer marketing
- Social media marketing.
What all of these activities have in common is that they don’t necessarily have to link to your website in order for you to gain value from them. An important part of off-page SEO is increasing brand awareness, reaching a wider customer base, and showing you’re a trustworthy entity.