Even with the best website in the world, getting to the top of SERPs isn’t easy.
Because SEO is a lot like high school.
It’s a popularity contest, and it matters what the other kids think.
To beat your competitors for the top spots, it’s not just your website you need to optimize—you need to optimize outside of it, too.
You need to master off page SEO.
Off page SEO can boost your online reputation and win you more votes of confidence from your digital peers.
And if you come out on top of the popularity contest, you come out on top of Google SERPs!
What Exactly Is Off Page SEO?
Off page SEO is defined as any actions or techniques done outside of your own website to boost your site’s ranking in the search engines.
Despite what many people think, off page SEO isn’t just link building.
It covers a range of tactics that drive brand awareness and improve trust or authority, with the goal of earning not just more backlinks, but also mentions (linkless backlinks), social relevance and a better overall reputation for your brand.
A well-formulated SEO campaign will combine both off page SEO tactics and on page SEO tactics (such as keyword optimization, quality content creation and internal linking) to rank relevant pages for targeted keywords.
Off Page SEO: 5 Powerful Tactics to Win the Online Popularity Contest
These tried-and-tested techniques will build your brand reputation and authority online, helping you boost your off page SEO and rank higher in search engines.
1. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is one of the most powerful ways to improve off page SEO. It gets you a backlink or linkless mention from an authority site, as well as increasing brand awareness by putting you in front of a large, relevant audience.
So how do you decide what blogs to guest post on?
For the best results, target blogs with an engaged targeted audience. Look for blogs where articles are receiving lots of comments and social shares. That means you’re more likely to benefit from linkless mentions on social media as well as a link from the target blog.
You could also consider targeting blogs with a broader audience for more brand awareness.
Unfortunately, not all blogs provide dofollow links to your site—but that doesn’t mean you should rule out blogging for them.
For example, Search Engine Journal and Moz give nofollow links until you’ve contributed a certain number of articles. However, just contributing to these publications will get you fantastic brand exposure and lots of social shares thanks to their huge audience.
Just have a look at this guest post on Moz, with multiple links in the author bio as well as a ton of engagement.
Plus, if you contribute regularly and your content is good, some of the people that read those blogs will start following your blog and possibly link to and mention articles on your site as well.
2. Relationship Building
One heavily underutilized tactic for improving off page SEO is relationship building. A lot of people don’t understand the value of relationship building because it rarely leads to immediate results.
However, it does work, and I’ve gotten backlinks, social shares and mentions from other bloggers unexpectedly because I built real relationships with them.
So what’s the best way to build relationships with other content marketers?
To build relationships with bloggers, link to, comment on and share their content. Pay attention to where they’re actively participating in conversations online and engage them on those channels. Consider following up with email outreach to build the relationship further.
To really make relationship building work, you need to create a system to find people to build relationships with and to make sure you’re actively working on building those relationships.
A great example of an effective relationship building system that I like to use myself is Michael Podznev’s BFF commenter technique.
Michael basically looked for popular blogs that had the same target audience that he was trying to reach. He discovered that many of the people that were commenting on these blogs also had their own blogs.
He then built relationships with these people by sharing their content and commenting on their blogs without asking for anything in return. His focus was just to build real relationships with other people in his niche.
As a result, Michael’s blog articles have attracted hundreds of comments and thousands of social shares.
His blog has also received tons of natural backlinks. You can see from the Free Backlink Checker that he currently has over 170.7k backlinks pointing to his blog.
3. Influencer Marketing
The idea with influencer marketing is that you can grow your own audience more quickly by collaborating with influencers who already have access to the audience that you’re trying to reach.
Influencer endorsements are also powerful because their followers already trust them and view them as an authority in their niche.
One way to get started with influencer marketing is to suggest collaborations, like joint webinars or expert roundups. Joint webinars can be a good way to leverage audience growth by combining your audience with another influencer’s audience for mutual exposure.
Expert roundups are another great way to collaborate with influencers because they don’t take up too much of their time. When creating expert roundups, you simply ask multiple influencers a question that’ll be interesting to your audience, compile their answers into a blog post and link back to each influencer’s website.
You can then let the influencer know about your blog post, and they’re likely to share it on social media, which can lead to viral social sharing of your blog post. The social media exposure from this activity helps increase brand mentions, and you may even get some backlinks as more people discover your article.
Now, if you’re just starting out, then you may find it more difficult to collaborate with influencers since you don’t have an audience yet. But does this mean you can’t do influencer marketing?
Not at all! In fact, you may want to consider paying influencers to promote you.
Paid influencer promotions are one of the highest ROI activities that businesses can invest in. A study by Tomoson revealed that businesses are making an average of $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer promotions.
One company that really got influencer marketing to work for them was Foundr. They used paid shoutouts to get 10k followers in two weeks, and eventually grew their Instagram following to over one million followers.
Being able to rapidly grow their audience through Instagram also allowed them to persuade other influencers to contribute content to their monthly magazine for entrepreneurs.
For influencer marketing to work, figure out what the influencer wants or something that you can offer them in exchange for them promoting your business. Look for a win-win arrangement where all parties benefit.
4. Publicity / Press Releases
Getting publicity through press releases is another way to improve your off page SEO.
The main thing to remember here is not to submit press releases to a bunch of sites just to get links. Instead, use them only when you have real newsworthy content that’ll generate brand awareness and genuine interest in your company.
New business launches and event marketing are good opportunities for press releases.
You have a few options to get your press release in front of journalists:
1. PR Newswire is a common source for journalists to go to for new stories. It can be expensive to submit your press release there, but if you have the budget, it can be a great way to get real media exposure.
2. Find and pitch relevant journalists directly with your story. Find journalists that cover topics that your target audience might be interested in and send a personalized email to those journalists about your story.
3. JustReachOut is a great tool which helps you discover journalists and organize outreach to them. This is a good option if press releases are a regular part of your marketing strategy.
Press releases can generate links to your site, but more importantly, they also improve brand awareness of your business which results in more linkless links (brand mentions), social media discussion about your business and natural links.
5. Paid Social Media Ads
Paid social media ads are another way to quickly generate brand awareness if you have the budget. If you have a killer piece of content, this can be a great way to get your content in front of a group of influencers without annoying them with email outreach.
For example, you can create Twitter ads to target a list of influencers. Just create a list of their Twitter handles and upload them to your Twitter Ads account.
Once you’ve set your ad targeting and budget, upload your creative and then you’re ready to run your ad.
A Twitter ad might look something like this:
Measuring Off Page SEO Success
In addition to planning and executing your off page SEO campaigns, you also need a way to measure the results of your off page work.
The key metrics to track here are backlinks and mentions.
As your campaign progresses, you should see a steady increase in both linkless mentions and new backlinks to your site, along with a corresponding increase in search engine traffic.
- Tracking mentions: Google Alerts is a free tool that’ll send you an email alert each time your brand is mentioned online. Simply enter your company name, URL and any other key phrases you want to track, and Google will send you an email each time any of those phrases are mentioned.
- Tracking backlinks: Monitor Backlinks tracks your backlink profile in real time and notifies you every time you gain or lose a link. Sign up for a 30-day free trial, enter your domain name and the tool will alert you to every new backlink you receive.
Off page SEO isn’t just about links. There are many tactics you can choose from to create a strong off page SEO campaign that’ll boost your popularity and skyrocket your rankings.
Pick one or two of the tactics above to focus on, create a step-by-step execution plan and measure your results.
Stay consistent with your plan and you’ll be crowned Prom King or Queen in no time.