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Before we begin to understand what ‘off-page SEO’ means and the various methods that relate to it, let’s have a quick recap at what ‘on-page SEO’ means.
On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) refers to all the elements on your web page that you can control in order to make it visible to search engines.
For instance: internal linking, using a clear navigation with a naturally flowing hierarchy, search engine friendly URLs that have relevancy to the content, fast loading pages, submitting regularly updated XML sitemaps or remembering to tag your images and videos properly.
On-page SEO can be considered a technical job, although there’s nothing particularly complicated to learn if you want to carry out the basic techniques of good SEO. It’s about adopting a routine or having a checklist in place that ensures you remember the tasks that benefit your page’s visibility.
Off-page SEO requires a different discipline or skillset from the above, but the desired outcome remains the same.
This refers to the methods that you can use to raise the ranking of a website through promotional means, outside of the actual code or design of the site itself.
Google treats a link from another website to your site as a vote of confidence. Google will therefore rank you higher based on that vote. Therefore the more good quality links the better.
Not all links are born equal though. One link from a high authority site is much better than many links from a bunch of low authority sites.
Part of your off-page SEO strategy would be to get your links on high authority websites.
Be careful though, as artificial link building through the buying and selling of links or the use of automatic programmes to create links to your site are considered ‘black hat’ by Google and will result in penalisation.
The key to generating good quality links to your site is to create good quality content, the kind that other people want to link to.
If you’re a start-up with limited exposure, one of the best ways to get your content recognised is through social media.
Get on Twitter, get on Facebook, get on Vine…Find out where your audience is and their preferred social network and start talking to them there.
Always remember it’s a two-way channel, it’s all about engagement.
Your good quality content mixed with your friendly approachable tone-of-voice will lead to shares across other social channels and will ensure a larger presence across the internet.
Make sure your website has a Google+ page and make sure you’re sharing your content via this channel.
It's very likely that Google uses its own social channel as a signifier for ranking content higher when it’s shared via the channel and achieved a certain number of +1s.
If you take time to grow your audience on Google+ it will simply increase the possibility of +1s and therefore strengthen that signal.
Local SEO has grown significantly over the last few years, particularly given the rise of smartphone usage and better connectivity while out and about.
Although it has a lot of similarities with organic SEO, it’s ultimately very different. Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location.
To make your website more local search friendly make sure you claim your Google Places for Business page, complete all the relevant information and then link it to your Google+ Local page.
Google recently stated that one in three US mobile queries is now ‘local’ and 87% of people use their phone when on the go. Google also found that 95% of mobile users look up local information on their phones and the primary functions are calling or visiting a business.
Local results tend to dominate SERPs so getting in on that action is vital to your business. This is a search for best steak restaurant. The top result is just a short walk away.
For a much more detailed look at optimising for local search read What is Local SEO and why do you need it?
Further reading for beginners
During my first year at Econsultancy I’ve been making a point of writing beginner’s guides to any new terms or phrases I find particularly baffling, or that I might suspect other people may find baffling too.
The following related articles should help clear up a few things…