SEO practice can very crudely be divided into two sections: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO encompasses the practices you utilize on your website to improve its ranking power (right keyword combination and density, correct links, etc.). Off-page SEO includes the practices you utilize outside of your website to improve its ranking power.
Let’s break it down:
Off-page (sometimes called off-site) SEO refers to strategies and activities you implement on other websites, media platforms, etc. to increase your website’s ranking on search engine results pages.
Optimizing off-site SEO means improving your website’s popularity, authority, relevance, and trustworthiness. The most common and successful strategy is to have other websites that have already acquired that authority to “vouch” for your website through links and promotions.
Technically, any activity done outside your website to improve its ranking on search engines can be considered an off-page SEO tactic. This includes posting and linking your content on other social media websites, blogging for different websites, having other people share your content, etc.
The general consensus is that off-page SEO is one of the most trustworthy ways to get Google (or other search engines, for that matter) to increase your ranking.
The more relevant, authoritative, and popular your website, the higher the likelihood that Google will consider it a trustworthy source in the niche you’re targeting and rank it higher than your competitors. Having other “reputable” sources confirm that you are, indeed, relevant and trustworthy is the easiest way to convince search engines.
In fact, current analytics show that off-site SEO-related practices are more than 50% responsible for the page’s ranking power (a combination of such factors as domain-level keyword agnostic features, domain-level brand features, page-level link features, and social metrics).
That said, keep in mind that search algorithms constantly change, so what is considered a successful off-page (or on-page, for that matter) SEO tactic may change as well.
Until then, your biggest off-page SEO weapons are the links.
The importance of building backlinks is one of the first things you learn about SEO, right alongside the importance of proper keywords. Search engines use backlinks (especially backlinks with high link equity) as an indicator of high-value content and tend to rank it higher.
There are three major types of links, each defined by the building process:
Now would be a good time to mention that many search engines view certain self-creating practices as black-hat SEO techniques and penalize websites for it. Think mass backlinking, buying links, etc. If Google thinks you’re trying to hack the algorithm through your backlink practices, it will punish you.
Link equity is the value each link poses as a search engine ranking factor. The idea is that links have the power to pass authority to other pages. The higher the authority of the page, the higher the possibility that it will positively influence the ranking of your page.
Factors that determine link equity include:
Improving your website’s off-page SEO is tightly tied to improving the website’s quality perception, both among users and for the search engines. Having your content mentioned and shared by reputable sources in your niche and getting natural backlinks from authoritative websites with high link equity goes a long way.
Common tactics often include social media marketing and building relationships with other industry representatives to increase the author’s authority through mentions, links, and guest blogging.