Term Off-page SEO or off-site SEO is used for actions taken outside of your own website to improve your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
As noted in Google’s mission, their search engine aims to “Deliver the most relevant and reliable information available”. This means that your website's chances of ranking high are impacted by improving search engine and user perception of a site's popularity, authority, relevance, and trustworthiness. This is usually done by entities other than your website. Websites, pages, people that are referencing or promoting your content. The higher their status is (Domain Authority, Page Authority, or Personal Influence), the higher value their “mention” brings to your website.
Why do you need Off-Page SEO?
If we oversimplify how ranking on SERP works, we can say that pages with higher authority are ranked higher. So if you don’t build up your authority, you will never rank among the “big guys”.
So how do you do it? Let’s try a simple exercise, what if we weren’t talking about your website, but about you?
If you are an average Joe/Jane, chances of people/news crew/TV shows chasing after you are pretty slim. Sadly…
But, what if you started hanging out with celebrities, entrepreneurs, and big shots? Everybody would assume you are one of them, without even knowing your name!
Well, it’s the same with your website. If pages with high DA/PA start talking about your content, Google will assume that it’s also an important page.
So if you wanna be a rock-star amongst mediocre pages, you will need Off-Page SEO!
Links and Off-Page Optimization
There isn't a lot of people that know how exactly Google ranking works, and it has been changed multiple times in the past few years. One thing remains certain, and that is the importance of links pointing to your website. Some researches show that Off-Page SEO carries more than 50% of the ranking factor weight. And Backlinks are the most important part of Off-Page SEO, so they definitely deserve special attention.
Links could be broken into a couple of categories. We’ll list two of them
Based on the way they are created
Natural links - Links that are created without your intervention. Think of all sites linking to Wikipedia as their source
Manually links - Links that require your intervention and collaboration with others. For example, if you are selling a service, and your buyer is writing an article of your service on his website.
Self-created links - Links created by yourself. Listing your website in Online Directory, blogs, adding your website to your signature…
Based on their follow status
Dofollow - Regular links that are put on a website and are linking back to your site. They mean that website is guaranteeing for you. I.e.
<a href="https://searchengineoptimization.tools">Do Follow</a>
Nofollow - Specific links that are used to tell search engines to ignore a particular link. As Google defines it: “‘Nofollow’ provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines: Don't follow links on this page or ‘Don't follow this specific link.’”
They look similar to regular links, with one big difference, additional rel attribute
<a href="https://searchengineoptimization.tools" rel="nofollow">No Follow</a>
Google ignores “nofollow” links but is expecting the website to have a mix of both varieties. If the website has only “dofollow” links, Google assumes that you bought those links.
The main sources of nofollow links are social networks, forums, Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers or Quora.
Non-Link Off-Page SEO
Although Links represent the biggest part of Off-Page SEO, that doesn't mean other parts should be ignored.
Things like branding and brand usage can get you ahead of your competition.
As we mentioned, social network sites, forums, Q&A sites are the source of NoFollow links, but that doesn’t actually matter if it generates organic traffic.
Let’s say you go on your favorite social network, and some of the network’s “big names” start talking about some brand or new website. Naturally, you want to go and check it out by searching it on Google.
That’s the power of influencers and making connections with webmasters that can give your site exposure.
In these times, being friendly and helpful can go a long way. By helping people, by answering their questions, giving them an “additional pair of eyes” for their idea, you are building trust.
By building trust, you are building relations and connections, so people will come to you when they have questions related to some topic, and most importantly, they will believe you and visit your site for updates.
Off-Page SEO Summary - Is it worthy?
Long story short: It definitely is!
It does involve long term commitment, research, linking with people on the internet, and being nice to people :)
But in the end, when the traffic starts rolling in, you will be grateful that you decided to go the long way and build your brand and trust in it.
Then you can pat yourself on the back, and take a breather. At least for a short period of time, since SEO and competition never sleeps!