Improve Your Search Performance Part 2: Off-The Page SEO

30 Sep 2014

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For a website to achieve its goals, to realise the results that it set out to do, it must fulfil two hugely important requirements: Be There and Be Relevant. A site cannot accomplish its goals if nobody sees it, nor can it be a success if it is irrelevant for the search terms used to find it. How do we ensure that a site is There and Relevant? Search Engine Optimisation.

Earlier in the month, we looked at On-The-Page SEO Success Factors, and now we aim to round off our top SEO tips with a look at the importance of Off-The-Page optimisation.

There are four key factors when it comes to off page SEO: Links; Trust; Social; Personal.

Links

Linking to your site can do wonders for its optimisation, provided that the links are from well trusted, good quality websites and that the linking text is relevant to your own keywords. The more good quality, relevant links you have from well trusted sites, the better your website will fare. However, purchase poor links from spammy sites, or create lots of links by spamming blogs and other user-created sites and you’ll do more harm than good – search engines will penalise you for trying to get ahead by curating low quality content online.

Trust

Trust is a combination of online authority; site history and reliability; and its accountability.

Once you’ve got your link strategy established, you need to ensure that the linking sites are well trusted with solid domain authorities which do not host pirated content or other shady material. A site’s history is also very important: the longer a site has been online at the same domain, operating in the same way, the more trustworthy it is considered. Identity is a fundamental when it comes to trusting a site – if it verifies its identity and that of its authors, it is evidently accountable for its content and therefore a trustworthy online source.

Links and trust are closely intertwined in the world off page optimisation. Ensuring that you have good quality links from trustworthy sources is a fundamental achieving SEO success, and one does not really work without the other.

Social

The importance of Social is evidence that SEO is an ever changing industry. Social is a relatively new media, and its appearance on the digital scene impacted search engine optimisation hugely. In terms of off-the page SEO, there are two important elements to maintain: reputation and shares.

Both these elements will affect your site in similar ways to Links and Trust. Multiple shares on social media will help your SEO see success, just as multiple links pointing to your site improve search rankings, numerous shares offer additional entry points to the site and more exposure for your site. However, in the same way that links are only beneficial if they are from authoritative sites, social shares must come from respected and reputable users.

Personal

The personal relationship between your users and your website can be difficult to grow, but once it is established can have huge benefits for your SEO. With increased emphasis on localised search in the industry, it is no surprise that your site will fare better with users who are local, based in the same country as the domain, and even in the same city or local area. If your site is .co.uk you’ll see more success with users in the UK, than if you’re a .com registered domain. Whether someone has visited your site previously will also impact your success when that same user returns and carries out the same search – your site will appear higher up the rankings for that particular user, helping to forge that personal relationship.

Finally, tying together all of these four fundamental areas of off the page SEO success is personal social interaction. If a user’s friends have socially favoured your site, you’ll see better results for that user, even if they have never visited your site previously.

Overarching Themes

These four factors for off page SEO can be grouped into two main themes: Trust and Exposure. Ultimately, search engines such as Google will favour sites which have a good reputation. If your friends have shared content, reputable users have shared a site, or authoritative sites have linked to yours, you’ll see great results. But, the trustworthy and respected sources aren’t enough alone; you need multiple shares and numerous relevant links.

Whilst you can get a long way in improving your search engine optimisation with off page content, for the best results these off-the-page SEO elements should form part of a wider SEO strategy. Combining both on-the-page and off-the-page SEO, you will be able to align your site with how search engines and searchers search, and ensure that your website is in the best position to always Be There and Be Relevant.

If you would like to find out more about an integrated SEO strategy, and how your website could benefit from search engine optimisation contact us today to kick start your digital marketing.