Best Off-page SEO Practice
Off-page SEO is everything you do off of your own website to increase your website’s rank. While on-page SEO is important, off-page is what most people use when they use SEO to get traffic. This practice used to be quite loose and easy to work with, but the various search engine updates have made off-page SEO a world only for pros and advanced users. If you want to improve your website’s rank without getting smacked down by Panda or Penguin, then make sure to follow these best practices.
Link Building: The Slow Way
Prior to the year 2000, link building was all about moving hard and fast. Get as many links as you can. It didn’t matter where they came from, what the website was about or if the links were spam. Links were links, and it was easy.
But, search engines found out about this practice, and how it destroyed relevancy in their searches. To counter this, search engines have been implementing change after change to keep people from reckless link building.
The best link building now is the slow way. Gone are the days where you can build 10,000 links a day with some spammy SEO software. Rapid link building is the best way to get the “over-optimization” penalty that Penguin has been hand-delivering to the many Webmasters who have participated in this practice over the last few years.
You want to build links slowly and carefully. Link building is no longer a number’s game, but if you want a number, then 10 seems to be the magic one. Most websites have found that just building 10 powerful links a day avoids the optimization penalty, and these websites are rewarded with increased SERPs.
Google has always had an infatuation with relevant links, but it has long had to court the thousands of irrelevant links that most Webmasters have built for their websites. Wanting to finally see its love again, Google has decided to largely penalize websites for irrelevant links by decreasing their SERPs, or by slapping an over-optimization penalty on them.
Google isn’t going to drop your SERPs for a few irrelevant links. They understand that you can control if a website about trucks links to your medical technology page. Though such a union is rare, Google understands that this sometimes just happens. Search engines only get mad if the vast majority of your linking profile is built on the backs of irrelevant links.
Irrelevant linking was the only way to get the massive number of links promised by SEO programs. It’s impossible to quickly build 10,000 or 100,000 links without getting mostly irrelevant links. This practice is what has caused the search engines to disdain anyone who has a linking profile even remotely similar to this.
So, the best off-page SEO involves relevant linking. Send links to your website that are in a similar or complementary relationship. This not only looks natural, but it has the additional benefit of increasing the conversion of anyone clicking the link.
Not all links are created equal. Relevant links are powerful, but that is only part of the story. You also need to find websites that can pass on the most link juice. Link juice affects your PageRank, and this is one of the factors Google considers when ranking websites. Powerful links also directly affect your SERPs.
First, find out of the links are DoFollow or NoFollow. DoFollow links are prized, and they give you the most power. You can find this out by looking in the page source for the word “NoFollow.” If that is present near your link, then it is a NoFollow website.
NoFollow means that the search engine spider either ignores the link completely, or it just doesn’t pass on the link juice. It matters on the specific search engine. In terms of Google, NoFollow links do contribute to your rank, but not as much as DoFollow links. At the same time, your profile should have a considerable number of NoFollow links so your link building doesn’t look suspicious.
Next, check the Web page’s PageRank. A higher PageRank link is capable of passing much more power onto your website. While a PR9 or PR10 are the best, even a PR2 or PR3 can be considered powerful. It is difficult to obtain anything higher than a PR1 for most Webmasters, so anything higher is useful.
Lastly, check the number of outbound links on the Web page. A good page often has less than 10 outbound links, but some “top 10” and “top 20” list type articles will have more than that.
The number of outbound links matters because it affects the power it will pass on when it links to another page. While this is a simplified model, think of it like this. If the page just has one outbound link, then it can give 100% of its power to that page. If there are two links, then it can only give 50% of its power to each link. Make sure you consider all of these factors before making a backlink.
Social media has only had a passive or minimal effect on off-page SEO and SERPs until recently. In the past, the links would only carry a very small amount of power, but the SEO power was substituted for the number of users you could get to your website with a popular social media account.
Since the Penguin update, Google, Bing and Yahoo to a smaller extent have all begun to use social media signals as part of their SEO ranking formula. Active social media users have already noticed a major boost in their ranking, and many other Webmasters have caught on to this new change.
While you shouldn’t spam the social media world with links to your website, you should make posts every now and then that promote one of your pages. Only those who are really active on social media are noticing the biggest changes, so start some conversations to help your website out.
Quality Counts for Everything
There are many ways of getting a backlink. You can use a blog comment, forum post or signature, an article or even a slideshow. It doesn’t matter what you are using for your backlink, you need to ensure that is presents good information that really contributes to the conversation and community. Posting inaccurate or very poorly written content will penalize your website.
While Google is ambiguous about the differences between bad and great content, there are a few telltale signs that they have blurted out. Google considers your grammar when looking at your articles and forum posts. If there are major grammatical errors throughout the article, and if the content is stuffed with keywords, Google is going to be harsh on your content.
This is most automated text is made with terrible grammar, and because Google wants users to contribute to the Internet, not just abuse it to get a better rating.
Off-page SEO is one of the most important things you can do to improve your search engine ranking, but so many people are acting like it was years ago without all the penalties and problems associated with building links. Following these best practices will ensure that no matter what change Google makes, your page will remain on top for your keyword.
Adapt to these new off-page SEO practices, or your website will be eaten alive. Thankfully, Google has made it fairly easy to work with these changes, and once you understand how to use them, then your website should take taking off to reach the top.