Off Page SEO Essentials: 7 Tactics to Improve Your Rankings

off page seoSearch engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to generate traffic for your website. In general, the process of optimizing your website for search can be divided into two disciplines: on page SEO and off page SEO.

In this guide, we’ll look at seven simple tactics that you can use to boost your search visibility and generate more traffic from Google. New to SEO? Enroll in our course, Learn SEO in an Hour, to quickly master the basics of search engine optimization.

Reach out to journalists and bloggers

For years, the ‘gold standard’ of off page SEO was manual link building – developing websites deliberately for linking, or reaching out to webmasters with the single goal of getting inbound links point to your website.

In 2014, this strategy no longer works. Not only is Google smart enough to see when links have been manipulated deliberately; most webmasters and bloggers have little interest in linking to your website out of charity.

Instead of the blunt, old fashioned method of email outreach to bloggers, try using a new strategy: offering value first. Reach out with special offers, interesting news, or anything you think could help them develop interesting content.

This way, you’ll win over journalists and bloggers, encouraging them to link to your website naturally. Think of old fashioned public relations as the foundation of your off page SEO strategy and you’ll quickly gain valuable inbound links.

Are you new to blogger outreach? Enroll in our SEO Training course to learn more about reaching out to bloggers and journalists to build powerful inbound links for your website.

Create content for social communities

While social communities like Digg and Reddit may not pass PageRank directly to your website (most links a ‘no-follow’), they can be powerful tools for generating buzz and inspiring other people to link to your website.

Write blog posts and articles designed specifically for online communities like Digg or Reddit to generate social traffic. ‘Top 10’ lists, interesting facts, and other reader-friendly yet intriguing content is great for off site social SEO success.

Getting shared on Reddit and other social websites is the fundamental strategy of content marketing. Learn more about how to market your website and boost your rankings using content with our course, Content Marketing for Small Business.

Guest blog (for traffic, not just links)

Earlier this year, Matt Cutts described guest blogging as a ‘spammy practice.’ While guest posts have declined in value for SEOs, they’re still powerful tools for your off site link building arsenal when they’re used properly.

Guest posts with endless keyword-focused anchor text links pointed at your website are easy to spot, easy to penalize, and easy to regret. Instead of guest posting for the links, do it for the publicity – any links are just a nice, optional extra.

Are you stuck in the old guest blogging mindset? Learn the rules of guest blogging in 2014 for exposure, SEO, and publicity by enrolling in our course, The Guest Blogging Blueprint.

Write and distribute press releases

Press releases let journalists and bloggers know about your business, making them an important part of any successful off page SEO strategy. Timing a press release to showcase a new product is a great way to interest bloggers and generate links.

Instead of putting links inside your press releases – a spammy strategy that Google has been cracking down on since 2010 – design your press releases so bloggers and journalists will add their own links naturally.

Focus on building a memorable brand

The more powerful your brand, the more likely it is you’ll be mentioned by bloggers and online influencers. While manual link building can get you low-value links from small websites, the ‘big guns’ of off page SEO are reserved for established brands.

From media coverage on PR7 and PR8 websites to valuable write-ups by established bloggers, having a memorable brand helps a lot in off page SEO. The more reputable your business is, the more likely people will be to build natural links for you.

Are you new to branding? Transition from the direct marketing mindset to the long-term branding mentality with Branding, Public Relations, and Social Media Rules to Live By.

Optimize your titles for anchor text links

Google is increasingly cracking down on websites that generate their own keyword links. You’ll know these links when you see them, as they tend to use unnatural and obvious SEO keywords like buy shoes online or payday loans.

Instead of building keyword links on your own, you can optimize your titles so that people naturally build keyword links for you. Include your target keywords in your title and bloggers and journalists will naturally build links that include them.

This is also a good on page SEO tactic, as including target keywords in your titles is important for increasing your page’s relevance to Google. Learn more about titles, off site link building, and more in our Real World SEO: Essentials course.

Be active on forums and social websites

An active social media presence is one of the most important SEO assets. Towards the end of 2013, Google confirmed that social signals – factors like Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and so on – play a role in determining your search rankings.

This means your social media marketing efforts are achieving two goals at once – building a brand for your business and enhancing your SEO. In 2014, Twitter and Facebook are no longer optional  for businesses – they’re an essential for SEO.

Would you like to learn how to market your business using social media? Enroll in our Social Media Marketing for Business course to learn how to use social media to generate leads, sales, likes, links, and more.

Creating an off page SEO strategy

Improving your website’s search engine visibility is a gradual process, and it could take weeks – or even months – before you see any progress. However, once you’ve developed a strong off page SEO foundation, your website’s rankings will improve.

Would you like to learn more about SEO? Read our blog post on SEO tips and learn more about the constantly evolving art of search engine optimization.