Off-Page SEO Techniques That Get Backlinks
Feb 25, 2019|Read time: 13 min.
- The size of your enterprise alone isn’t enough to keep you ahead of smaller, disruptive brands in the search engines.
- Google values what others think of your brand, so on-page SEO isn’t enough.
- Learn the Golden Rules of off-page SEO.
- It’s not enough to create amazing content anymore. Think big and bold with effective off-page SEO techniques to improve your organic search results.
If you run a Fortune 1000 company, you can’t afford to leave off-page SEO out of your marketing strategy. Off-page factors are critical for building trust and authority to your domain, and those signals can help your content rank higher in organic search results.
Let’s be honest, as a large company with a massive digital marketing budget it’s tempting to think that smaller brands simply don’t have the horsepower to beat you in the search results. But that simply isn’t the case. Google cares about making searchers happy, and how does it achieve that? By delivering the most relevant search results.
Check out our comprehensive SEO Strategy Guide for more tips!
It’s true that large brands tend to perform well in organic search, but they rarely achieve categorical domination without help. If you become complacent, Google will rank content from smaller brands higher, especially if they have a strong off-page SEO strategy. So don’t assume that the size of your brand or even a hefty Moz domain authority are enough to keep you ahead of disruptive brands.
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO (also called off-site SEO) refers to any actions you take outside of your website to improve search engine optimization. That often includes building links, writing guest posts, managing social media and much more.
Off-page SEO amplifies on-page SEO
Let’s test something: Open a new tab and search for “womens jeans.” Lucky Brand is currently the top organic search result in Google, beating Macy’s as well as Abercrombie & Fitch, Nordstrom, Lands’ End, and even Levi’s. Now search for “mobile payments.” Square ranks higher than Visa and every single bank (even those with 100+ years in business). Alternatively, search for “custom Apple Watch bands.” Case Station is outperforming a long list of better known sites such as Etsy, Amazon, and even Apple itself.
Brands that prioritize SEO as a channel can overtake and outperform even the biggest companies in organic search. But, you need more than great content ideas. You need to how to do on-page SEO the right way.
That means intent-aligned, full-funnel content with optimized title tags, meta descriptions and URLs. It means a well-organized website architecture and optimized internal links. And, if large companies want to own organic search results, you also need an ironclad off-page SEO strategy.
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Why off-page SEO is important
If you understand search engine optimization, then you know your website doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, Google constantly compares your content to millions of other similar pages to determine which ones to show searchers.
But Google also wants to know what others think about your brand. In some ways, search rankings are like a popularity contest. The site with the most “positive signals” has a strong chance of ranking high in the search results.
That’s why off-page SEO is so important. It’s about optimizing your brand’s online footprint so that Google sees “positive signals” across a variety of credible sources. It helps you demonstrate to Google that your brand is credible, reputable and trustworthy. You must show Google that your content is valuable, sought after and worthy of being ranked high in searches.
So, why does this matter for Fortune 1000 brands?
Because just like in high school, popularity is fickle. Search engines will take notice if a smaller disruptive brand starts to hog the spotlight. And unfortunately, search rankings are often a zero-sum game. If one of your competitors rises, you’re going to fall.
But you’re an enterprise company so you have enough backlinks, right? If that were true then challenger brands wouldn’t be able to unseat industry giants. Yet it happens all the time.
Don’t worry. The next few sections are packed with insight to help you turbocharge your off-page search engine optimization game.
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Some backlinks matter more than others
Backlinks are still one of the most effective off-page SEO factors to boost your website’s trust and authority. However, building links at scale isn’t easy. As you can imagine, quality backlinks don’t exactly grow on trees.
While you probably already know that backlinks are one of the top 3 Google ranking factors, did you know that not all links are created equal? Links in syndicated press releases don’t pass any SEO value, and tons of low-quality links can actually hurt your rankings. Unfortunately, many cheap off-page SEO services still rely on shady private blog networks and paid link schemes.
On the flip side, Terakeet uses a rigid 9-point off-page SEO checklist to certify our editorial placements. Here are just a few questions we ask:
- Is the context of the post relevant to our client?
- Does the link intent make sense?
- Does the brand citation add value to the article?
Off-page SEO tips and best practices
Follow these golden rules to ensure your link building strategy delivers as much SEO value as possible:
- Engage with high quality, credible websites and influencers. One relevant backlink from CNN will count much more than 100 links from Pete’s Pizza shop or Betsy’s Basket Weaving Blog.
- Make sure linking websites are relevant for your brand. An auto insurance brand with backlinks from a math tutoring website is a major red flag for link manipulation.
- Diversify your backlink profile. It’s not as valuable to get 100 backlinks from the same website as it is to get 100 backlinks from 100 unique, high-quality domains.
- Avoid spun content or cookie-cutter outreach tactics. Google can easily sniff them out.
- Link intent is critical, so make sure you’re being cited in the proper context. Was the link added because your brand was mentioned, to support a fact, or to encourage a transaction?
- Understand what anchor text is and how to use it. Exact match anchor is an incredibly powerful ranking factor. But if you overuse it you could find yourself in the Google penalty box.
- You need deep links to rank. While homepage links are great for building sitewide domain authority, you can be outranked by much smaller competitors with more direct target page links.
- Be careful with blog commenting. For starters, most blog comments are automatically nofollow so they don’t pass page-rank. Beyond that, comment links just look spammy so it’s best to avoid them.
- NEVER, EVER pay for followed links. Period.
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16 powerful off-page SEO techniques
Earning positive linked mentions isn’t easy, especially when it comes to ecommerce SEO. But if with the right strategy and technology, you can dominate the SERPs. So, here are sixteen powerful off-page SEO steps and tactics to fuel your off-page SEO program.
#1 Create a unique product or service that people want to talk about
This may not feel like an “SEO tactic,” and that’s probably because it’s largely just marketing 101. But it’s also the most basic, ground-floor element of all off-site SEO strategies.
Create incredible products and services that generate digital word of mouth (think Zappos, Nordstrom, and Slack). Give people reason to mention you (and link to you) on review sites, across social media and in major digital news publications.
#2 Partner with industry influencers
Influencers are trusted individuals in your industry with a sizable engaged audience who shape people’s opinions. In fact, Nielsen reports that 92% of people trust the word of others when choosing products and services.
There are dozens of ways to partner with influencers through content marketing that creates a win-win for both of you. For example, you can:
- Create valuable content for their platform
- Jointly create new high quality content together
- Have them review your product
- Create a special offer just for their audience
- Conduct a survey among partners
- Give them exclusive access to an event in return for a review
- Coordinate a product launch
- And many more…
Influencer partnerships increase brand awareness and often lead to valuable backlinks that generate referral traffic.
#3 Get published
When you publish guest posts on trusted industry websites you’ll build powerful off-page SEO signals in several ways. One, you’ll signal to search engines that you’re an industry expert. Two, you can often earn a contextually relevant backlink within the article to an important target page.
One critical rule of guest blogging is to provide as much value as possible. Never write fluff pieces or keyword stuffed content solely to get cheap backlinks. If you write quality content that’s actionable, useful and unique then publishers will jump to feature your work.
#4 Get interviewed
Journalists are always looking for credible sources to cite in their articles. There’s no better way to build your brand’s topical expertise than to be quoted in an article on a major news outlet.
What’s more, most of those brand mentions come with a potent backlink to your homepage. Fortunately there are many ways to connect with journalists. You can work with local reporters, subscribe to services like HARO, use a PR firm or even reach out directly.
#5 Leverage strategic partnerships
Leverage existing strategic partnerships with other brands to generate valuable backlinks. For example, some businesses have official “Partners” pages on on their websites where you can be listed. Alternatively you could work with a partner to co-create content that resonates with both of your audiences.
At the very least you can share each other’s content on social media. The amplified social reach could result in additional natural backlinks.
#6 Conduct unique research and surveys
An extremely effective off-page SEO strategy is to conduct market research and then publish the results in interesting ways. What makes this strategy so effective? Your brand will be the exclusive owners of such content, and search engines love originality!
In addition, media outlets, influencers and journalists are always seeking unique research. Therefore, this strategy is valuable for both public relations and SEO opportunities.
How well does it work? Just check out this article on OkDork that earned more than 1,000 backlinks from unique domains in 2 months. The link love didn’t end, either. It picked up 30+ new linking domains each month over the past year.
#7 Create shareable images
Shareable images, such as infographics and memes, are still a useful off-page SEO strategy. A common practice is to create a striking infographic, post it on your site, and then put a small piece of HTML below it so other organizations can embed it on their own sites.
Included in the HTML is a link back to your site. Every time the image is embedded on another site, it generates a backlink for you as well and increases overall awareness of your brand.
Even if your graphic isn’t used, there’s a good chance others will pull data or insights from your graphic and cite you as the source.
#8 Create shareable videos
Funny videos. Surprising videos. Intriguing videos. Emotional videos. Stunning videos. Informative videos.
Produce videos and animated GIFs that others will be eager to share, and you’ll create yet one more opportunity to extend your reach and earn inbound links for your brand. Plus, you may be able to increase your marketing ROI with your videos given that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the market.
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#9 Reclaim missing or broken links
If your company has a number of brand mentions on other web pages, reach out and request the addition of a link to your site. That’s often the most effective link building tactic and it greatly improves your SEO.
Don’t stop with brand mentions, though. Online publishers may have linked to web pages on your site that no longer exist. If you moved content to a new url or deleted a page, be sure to ask content managers to fix the broken links.
#10 Target competitors’ inbound links
Examine your competitor’s backlink profile to find low-hanging fruit. If the web page is an industry resource list, ask the site owner to add your brand. If it’s a comparison article that mentions several competitors, see if you can convince the author to include your site as well.
Is the article linking to a thin or outdated piece of content on your competitor’s site? If so, write a 10x article on your own site and encourage those domains to link to you instead.
Did your competitors delete pages that have lots of backlinks? Write an even better article on your site, then ask those publishers to update the broken link to your new page instead. You’ll improve their user experience and boost your own SEO off-page optimization signals.
Check out our post on how to do a competitive analysis for more ideas!
#11 Be actively engaged on social media
It’s critical to maintain an active social media presence to foster a positive digital customer experience with your brand. But it’s also an opportunity to extend your reach and potentially earn a few natural backlinks.
When you engage with your audience across a variety of social platforms, you create reasons for them to talk positively about you in other places. While social media engagement isn’t a direct ranking factor, tons of social interactions can lead to valuable linked brand mentions in articles.
#12 Engage in forums
Discussion forums like Quora and Reddit allow you to demonstrate your authority within a particular subject, as well as develop relationships with potential customers. They also give you a place to (tastefully) share content you’ve created that’s related to the discussion at hand.
Granted, these are always nofollow links, but they still lead people back to your site. If you have a solid internal linking structure in place (like topic clusters), these new visitors can be strategically led to your most important content.
Even though they don’t pass page-rank, you’ll still benefit from the contextual relevance of the content in which your brand is mentioned.
#13 Conduct PR campaigns
Build a database of reporters and others in the media (bloggers, radio personalities, podcasters, etc.), and make them aware of what your brand is doing.
Avoid the urge to send out every mundane company update or journalists will start to ignore your press releases. Instead, use them to promote research you’ve conducted which will amplify your off-page SEO efforts.
Or, you could promote a new series of trend guides that you launched together with a group of micro-influencers.
You may even consider following the news and then launching targeted newsjacking campaigns. Once you’ve developed relationships with media members they’ll be more likely to feature your stories, especially if they performed well in the past.
#14 Host events
Want an easy way to generate off-site buzz? Host events. You’ll often earn brand mentions while the event is being promoted, and even more if attendees write summary articles afterwards.
There are many reasons your event landing page could attract links. Perhaps people just like the event. Maybe a speaker wants to promote it. Or influencers may simply share it for the sheer value to their audiences. For example, if you offer the first 50 attendees an exclusive gift, you may heighten the enthusiasm others have for your event. You can further boost excitement if you secure a celebrity or popular influencer as a speaker.
If the event is educational in nature, include other industry experts. Not only will prospective attendees perceive a higher value but expert panelists will also help with promotion.
#15 Conduct outreach campaigns
You’ve heard it before: create outstanding content on your site that will establish you as a thought leader, speak to customer pain points, and generate social shares. But you can’t stop there. You must work hard to promote your content with off-site SEO outreach campaigns.
Make a list of relevant influencers, bloggers, personalities, partners, publications, organizations, etc. Then ask them to share customized content you’ve put together for their audiences. This is by far the most challenging aspect of off-site optimization.
Done wrong, you could waste hundreds of hours sending bad emails that don’t convert, and may even damage your brand’s reputation. If you’re going to ask someone to write about your brand for free, you absolutely must provide that person with an adequate motive to do so. Your blogger outreach campaign should emphasize the value you can bring to their target audience.
#16 Build relationships
Hopefully, you are picking up on a consistent theme among many of these off-page strategies: building strategic partnerships. If you truly hope to knock it out of the park with your off-site SEO efforts, look to build real relationships with complementary brands, site owners, webmasters, bloggers, journalists, influencers, partners, etc. It’s all about helping others, collaborating, and doing things together that compound the results of your efforts.
Think big picture
Don’t limit your off-page SEO strategies to standard search engine optimization techniques like guest posting. Your brand lives in the constantly evolving ecosystem of the internet where Google continuously weighs your value against your competitors. Thanks to ongoing Google updates, content is better than it ever was before.
That’s why it’s absolutely essential for enterprise companies to develop a holistic content strategy that addresses the complete customer journey.
So continue to strengthen your technical SEO and create amazing content. But don’t stop there. When it comes to off-page optimization techniques, think big, think bold, and think Terakeet.