On-page SEO can help you create keyword-rich content, and technical SEO can help you improve things like page load speed and mobile responsiveness — but just because a page is filled with relevant keywords and it loads quickly doesn’t mean the content is actually high-quality. This is where off-page SEO comes in.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO is a branch of search engine optimization that focuses on improving ranking factors that aren’t on your physical website, like backlinks and subject matter expertise. By improving these signals, you can climb search engine results pages (SERPs) to increase organic traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.

On-page SEO vs. off-page SEO vs. technical SEO

Off-page SEO is only one-third of a killer SEO strategy. A comprehensive strategy for SEO also includes on-page SEO and technical SEO.

On-page SEO tactics include…

  • Keyword research
  • Content marketing
  • Image alt tag optimization
  • Meta description writing
  • Title tag optimization
  • Internal linking and anchor text optimization

Technical SEO includes…

  • Site speed optimization
  • Schema implementation
  • URL canonicalization
  • Language tag optimizations
  • Mobile-first design

The biggest difference between off-page SEO and the other two branches is that off-page SEO takes place off of your website, and as a result, it’s a little harder to control. But it’s not completely out of your control. With proven fundamental SEO tactics, you can improve off-page SEO factors and boost organic search traffic. Here’s how:

Off-page SEO strategies for better search rankings

Who you are as a person — how you look, what you say, the way you treat others — these all affect your personal reputation. Similarly, the content you create, your site design, your products and services — these all affect the reputation of your web pages online.

With off-page ranking factors, Google tries to determine how trustworthy and authoritative your website is because they only want to send their searchers to the highest quality sources of information.

In order to succeed at off-page SEO, you have to prove to Google that you’re a high-quality and trustworthy source of information. How do you do that? With these proven off-page optimization tactics:

Earn authoritative backlinks

Still, the key way Google evaluates your authority and trustworthiness is through backlinks. These are not links on your site (known as internal links), but inbound links TO your site from other websites.

Graphic showing a backlink going from one site to another site.

The way Google sees it, if people are linking to your content from other websites, they’re vouching for you. And the more times this happens, the more trustworthy you appear.

At the same time, there’s more to the equation than quantity. You want quality backlinks, too. Getting a link to your content from a site like Moz is going to mean more than getting one from an independent blogger. That’s because Moz is an established brand with a good reputation, which can be seen in their domain authority and backlinks.

Relevance of the link is also a factor. Getting a link from Moz.com won’t help a website like ESPN.com. It’s not relevant to the content.

Ultimately, you want as many links possible from relevant, authoritative websites. There are a few ways you can go about getting those.

High-quality content marketing

Great content earns backlinks because people share the content they find valuable with others. Content marketing is an on-page SEO tactic, but it greatly affects off-page SEO.

To create the highest quality content aim for originality, comprehensiveness, and always consider the user experience. What do they hope to gain from your content?

Guest blogging

Contributing to guest blogs just to earn backlinks is a spammy practice that Google has specifically said you shouldn’t engage in. But that’s mostly because brands who blog strictly for backlinks tend to submit sub-par content because they only care about the link back to their site.

Guest blogging isn’t dead. As long as you’re writing the same high-quality content on other blogs that you would on your own, guest posts can be a great way to earn backlinks, readers, and even new customers.

Some say that guest posting isn’t as effective as it once was because many blogs mark guest links as “nofollow” (to tell Google to devalue the link), but Google now uses nofollow links to evaluate content, and these links may have SEO value.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing doesn’t directly affect SEO, but it can improve your chances of earning backlinks by amplifying your content. Research has shown a correlation between social media shares and backlinks. With 3.81 billion people on social media in 2020, brands can’t afford to ignore the opportunity for exposure on major networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Press release writing

When your company has an announcement to make, press releases are one of the most common ways to get the word out. What some people don’t know is that they can also be a great source of backlinks. Even though Google has tightened the restrictions on how you can use press releases for SEO, they still can benefit your search engine rankings.

Google’s Pagerank algorithm makes sure you’re not trying to game the system by writing lazy press releases just to get links to your site from newswire services. Press release links are usually devalued by Google.

Their value comes in when a journalist actually picks up your announcement and writes a story about it. Links that come from legitimate news publications will send some link juice to your site. Just don’t expect the newswire services to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Influencer marketing

Influencers are people who have influence over a large audience. Mostly, you’ll find these people exercising their influence on social media. Influencer marketing is about using their influence to promote your brand.

Think of it as the digital marketing version of traditional endorsements. You identify influencers whose following is similar to your target audience, and partner with these influencers to expose your brand to that audience with sponsored content. This can result in social shares and links back to your site.

Link building

So far, we’ve covered methods for building links that aren’t true link-building strategies because they aren’t strictly executed for the purpose of building links. Content marketing and social media marketing can result in backlinks, but they’re not just for creating backlinks.

True link building tactics are used solely for building links back to your site. They include tactics like link reclamation, broken link building, requesting links of brand mentions, content promotion, outreach, infographics, contributing to crowdsourced content, getting listed in online directories, and many more.

An infographic showing link-building strategies.

Link-building used to be about getting links on as many pages as possible. And that used to involve trading links or even buying them. Since Google’s Penguin update, though, these “black hat” SEO strategies can get you penalized in search engine results.

Don’t buy links, trade links, or try spamming comment sections for links either. If you have to stop to consider whether a strategy is spammy, it probably is.

Don’t forget local SEO

For brands that rely on local consumers to grow, local SEO is a must-use off-page SEO strategy. Local SEO is about managing off-page assets that relate to your business and its relationship to the local audience. They involve strategies like…

Maintaining your Google My Business page

Your Google My Business page is the section on the right-hand side of a SERP that appears when someone Googles your business.

A SERP showing a Google My Business page.

This page has many functions. It can drive people to your website, allow them to contact you, offer directions, and it gives them access to important information about your business — like hours, location, reviews, and more. It also takes up a lot of space on the SERP and it features a photo, which means it will attract more attention than traditional search results.

Managing your reputation

Reputation management is a big part of local SEO. On review sites and even your Google My Business page, your brand is going to be talked about by past customers. Good reviews can translate to more business while bad ones can mean a serious loss in revenue. One national furniture brand recovered $32 million after overtaking negative content in visible positions on SERPs.

Boost your rankings with off-page SEO techniques

No SEO efforts are complete without an off-page SEO strategy. Off-page factors are how Google determines the authority and trustworthiness of your website. Want to find out how you’re doing with SEO? Get an instant audit below, for free. Or, schedule a free consultation to find out how intent SEO can boost traffic revenue by 700%.