Surprise! There’s more to SEO than just optimizing your own web properties and content. But like most SEO best practices, earning off-page backlinks is largely a matter of creating high-quality content.
Off-page SEO is unique in that it’s not something a CMS can do for you. Here’s the definition of off-page SEO according to Moz:
“Off-site SEO (also called "off-page SEO") refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).”
In other words, off-page SEO is what helps improve search engine and user perception of your website’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. Google uses RankBrain to determine which search engines answer user intent and which don’t, so when other reputable websites, pages, and people promote your content, they’re essentially “vouching” for its quality.
Creating a backlink profile that positively impacts SEO requires that marketers earn links, not build them. Lucky for you, there are many ways to promote content to earn more views and links.
You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself! I’m not throwing shade here—what I mean is that no one is actively chipping away at your off-site content strategy but you. And honestly, there’s no better way to ensure you’re getting exposure on the best blogs and websites than by writing a pitch and wiggling your way into their editorial calendars yourself.
Identify which publications would be the best fit for your business by evaluating the types of content they publish, topics they write about, and their audience. This will ensure the exposure you’re getting is a) relevant and b) worth the time it’ll take you to write a post.
Guest blogging is truly a win-win, since you’re getting credible backlinks (and brand exposure!), and they’re getting free content to fill their editorial roster.
The matter of exactly how social media impacts SEO has been long-debated in the marketing sphere, but the important takeaway for us as marketers is that it does impact your search ranking.
Earlier this year, the team at Hootsuite ran an experiment to see what social factors impact SEO, and what you can do to improve your ranking using social media. What they found is that you should definitely consider SEO when crafting your broader social strategy, but it shouldn’t be at the core of your planning.
Here’s what you can focus on that will contribute to your SEO on social media:
Focus on quality posts: Posting consistently is important, but ensuring that your posts actually resonate with your audience and provide value is essential.
Put some money behind it: Hootsuite found that paid social had almost double the SEO benefit of organic promotion. It’s time to start boosting those posts!
Get that engagement: There is a positive correlation between SEO ranking and social media engagements, and it makes sense—engagement shows that your content is useful and relevant.
Think about the exposure: When you’re posting something on Facebook or Twitter, you’re sharing it with a global audience. So while one backlink on social might not make much of a difference in your search ranking, the right person seeing it and linking to it from their website will! For the exposure alone, social is a worthwhile off-page SEO exercise.
Do you ever share your content on pertinent community sites? Much like social media, posting in online communities and forums like Reddit, GrowthHackers, and Quora is a great way to get your content out there and get more views. Focus your efforts on sites where writers, journalists, marketers, and publishers in your industry spend their time.
Quotes and Interviews
Do you consider yourself to be an expert in your role or in your field? (Of course you do!) So, open yourself up to some media interviews and offer yourself up as a source on topics you feel comfortable talking about.
This requires a little extra effort on your part, but it’s a great way to get some visibility in bigger publications. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is an easy way to get interview inquiries right to your inbox. You can subscribe to topics you’re most interested in, and get a daily digest of journalists’ inquiries which you can scan and respond to the ones you’re best suited for.
Keep an eye out on Twitter and LinkedIn too! Often if people are looking for a subject matter expert to quote in a blog post or ebook, the first place they’ll look is within their own networks.
Building Backlinks Takes Time
While this might seem like a lot, implementing the strategies listed above is only the beginning of your off-page strategy. Link building can be a complex and involved process, and it’s something you’ll need to allocate time to on a regular basis in order to stay on top of.