Do you want to place your site among the top places on Google? So, you need to show the search engine that you are a reference to other sites. And that’s what off page SEO is for, an offshoot of SEO!
Do not think that it is enough to work on SEO on page. Well-structured pages, relevant content and keywords are essential for optimization, but there is no point looking inside your site.
Off page SEO is there for your strategies to also look out. That’s where you can search for links and mentions to your pages and show how they are relevant to the market – which is decisive for Google’s algorithm.
Next, you will understand:
Follow now to know everything!
What is off page SEO?
Off page SEO is the set of strategies applied outside your pages to demonstrate your relevance in the market and, thus, improve its positioning in search engines.
For Google, it’s not just about finding your content, understanding what they’re talking about and understanding how pages are structured. In addition, the search engine also wants to know how the site relates to the rest of the web.
If the site receives links and mentions from different pages, and if they are relevant and reliable, more points it will earn with Google. After all, people only share and reference what really has quality and offers some value to them.
Think, for example, of a page with decoration tips on the website of an architecture firm. This page is cited in several blogs on decoration, architecture and design. Better yet: receive links from major magazines in these areas!
The tips from this architectural firm seem to be a great reference in the area, don’t they? That’s how Google thinks too.
Building this network of links that lead to the site – called backlinks – is an action known as link building.
Off-page SEO, however, is not limited to this practice. The strategy encompasses all measures adopted outside the site, which means that any relationship building with other sites, even if it does not generate backlinks, is considered valid for optimization.
Do you know why? Google doesn’t just consider links to the page as a ranking factor. He too considers mentions of the website or brand to assess its relevance to the market.
Therefore, an off-page SEO strategy does not have to aim only at generating backlinks. A simple mention can also be valuable! However, links have a higher weight for ranking and cannot be left out – and soon you will understand why.
How important is off page SEO?
Off page SEO needs to get into optimization strategies to win the top results page.
For the search engine, the links and mentions that a site receives show what other sites think about it. This is a strong indication of its relevance to the market, which is determinant for ranking in Google ranking.
This graph shows the weight of the off page SEO in the ranking of the pages. According to the study carried out by Moz, the off page factors (which are highlighted in the graph) have a weight of more than 50% in Google ranking.
To understand why this relationship with other sites is so important, it is also necessary to understand the importance of links.
Links are the essence of the web. It was based on the interconnection between pages and documents that it emerged in 1990 and works today. They take the user back and forth until he finds what he wants. And it is based on them that a Google search works.
Google’s work begins with crawling web pages. For this, he follows the path that the links indicate to him. Therefore, when the robot accesses a page, it indexes the contents, keywords and other information that it presents and, soon after, goes to the links that are referenced on it.
In this process, Google also perceives the relationship between these pages through the links. If Google considers a site to be popular, reliable and has authority in its market, and that site has links to other pages, it passes that value on to them as well.
This transmission is called link juice, an important concept for link building. Link juice represents the portion of the ranking power that a page transmits to the landing pages of the links that are referenced on it. This concept applies to both internal and external links.
Basically, the link juice can be understood as a vote of recommendation from one page to another. The graph below shows, for example, how link juice is transmitted due to the popularity of a page (just one of the factors that are transmitted by it):
At the time of crawling, Google sees these relationships between pages. So, when a user does a search on the search engine, the algorithm considers – in addition to several other factors – the transmission of link juice to classify the pages that appear in the results.
Therefore, off page SEO strategies are essential for you to seek partnerships with quality, trustworthy and authoritative sites, which transmit a good link juice to your pages.
In addition, the referrals that your site receives from other pages are important sources of traffic.
In the graph below, which is the result of an analysis of sites from different niches, you can see that referral traffic is responsible for 3.64% of visits.
The percentage is not so high when compared to direct or search traffic. But we’re talking about unpaid traffic and visitors coming to your site from the recommendation of another page. Do you realize how referral traffic has the potential to generate more results for your business?
What are the differences between off page SEO and on page SEO?
Off page SEO and on page SEO are two sides of optimization strategies. Although they are different, they interact and must be worked together to improve their results.
But we can say that you can start with SEO on page. These strategies are under your total control and are applied within your pages, content and structure. For example:
- publishing content;
- keyword optimization;
- editing titles, intertitles, meta tags;
- creating links to internal pages;
- editing page codes;
- structured data marking.
These steps are necessary for Googlebot to understand your pages, what they are about and whether you are offering a good experience to your site visitor. Therefore, there are important ranking factors of your website.
However, as these factors are under its control, Google needs other references to understand if your site is really good. After all, SEO on page represents your site talking about itself – but what do other sites think about it?
That’s where off-page SEO strategies come in. With them, you will build a relationship with other sites in the market to show that you are a reference for them and still bring traffic to your pages.
But note that off page SEO encompasses factors that you don’t control, as backlinks are created by other sites. At most, you can create partnerships or influence these references. Here is another important difference in relation to SEO on page.
Although they are different, these strategies are not separate: on page SEO is one of the pillars of off page SEO. After all, no one will recommend your pages if they offer weak content, don’t work on mobile or users feel lost on them.
In addition, visitors that you attract to your pages with off-page SEO should find a well-structured website and quality content – or they can leave immediately. Only then will you have effective results with this traffic.
Therefore, it is clear that one strategy does not work without the other.
What are the off-page SEO ranking factors?
When Google emerged in 1998, it came with a major innovation for search engines: PageRank. This was the initial search engine algorithm, which has undergone many updates to date to mature the way it classifies web sites.
Now, to understand the ranking factors of off-page SEO, let’s analyze how this algorithm evolved and what it considers today to evaluate backlinks.
The creators of PageRank found that search engines could deliver the best results to users based on the popularity of the pages, rather than alphabetically or by subject.
The logic would be the same as that of scientific articles: the more citations they receive, the more relevant they are to the academic world (without the author having to chase these citations).
Like this, the more links a page received, the more relevant it would be to the search engine. It could then appear better positioned in the results and still transmit more link juice to the links inserted in your pages.
This logic, however, did not work for long, as it was very easy to create hundreds of links to a page. Therefore, today the search engine considers many other factors when evaluating backlinks, which we will see below.
However, the search for the largest number of references for your pages remains valid. It’s just not worth manipulating off-page SEO, okay?
Creating backlinks on fake pages or gaining a lot of links in a short period of time can cause your website to be marked as a black hat and be affected in ranking.
To refine the algorithm, new criteria had to be added to the popularity of the pages.
Now think: what is more important to determine your relevance, 1 person citing you 100 times or 100 different people citing you 1 time?
For Google, the second option shows that you have earned the trust of several people (not just one), which is much more significant.
Based on this perception, PageRank also started to consider the diversity of domains with backlinks to the site.
This change has made the black hat a bit more difficult, since it was not enough to just create several links – it was necessary to create several different domains with links to the page.
But it still wasn’t enough. PageRank needed to evolve. After all, it was still easy to get backlinks from several different sites, even if they didn’t make sense to the user. Therefore, new factors have been added to the algorithm to assess the relevance of a page.
What do you think is most relevant to a page about cars: receiving backlinks from automotive portals or a fashion magazine?
For Google, a network of links within the same theme makes a lot more sense. When this does not happen, the search engine understands that the chances of manipulation are high.
And even if it is not manipulated, a link out of context is probably not as valuable to the user, since he is interested in fashion, not cars.
So, this evaluation of the context entered the considerations of the algorithm, which came to understand that receiving a backlink from a page related to your area of expertise has more value for ranking.
For that, Google needed to evolve its understanding of the context. Today the algorithm already has a very advanced intelligence, which is capable of understanding human language.
Therefore, it evaluates not only themes and loose words surrounding the backlinks, but the meanings of the terms and the relationships between the words. So there is no point in forcing the bar to make this link – they need to make sense within the text.
In addition, Google is able to perceive the placement of links on the page. If they are in the main content area, they earn more value than those in the columns, the header or the footer.
After all, the links to the main content were inserted with an editorial intention and, if they are at the beginning of the text, they tend to be even more important.
Another factor added to Google’s link evaluation was the anchor text – that text that the user clicks to access the link. He should have relationship with the landing page and make sense to the reader.
For that page about cars, for example, anchor texts like “car sales” and “used cars” count positively and help to rank for those terms as well. On the other hand, if the anchor text is not related to the topic, the user can be directed to a page that he did not want to visit, which Google does not welcome.
Keeping an eye on this algorithm update, however, many sites started to create several backlinks with the exact match of the keyword to which they wanted to rank.
Thus, another black hat practice was adopted – and once again Google needed to update itself.
Then, yet another factor would enter the scene: the trustrank, that is, ranking based on trust.
Google went on to rank the most trusted sites, for security reasons, age of the domain, quality of content, among other factors.
For the search engine, these sites help to build a better and safer web and tend to create backlinks only to pages that they also trust.
For this reason, pages with a higher level of Google trust transmit more link juice. The pages that are referenced by them also earn votes of confidence. Therefore, this means that backlinks from trusted sites help your site to position itself better.
With all these updates, Google’s algorithm is already quite robust for evaluating the backlinks to a page and ranking from that network of links. However, we have already said that simple mentions of the site are also important for off page SEO.
If the robot is able to read and understand the contents of a website, it can also identify how much a brand is mentioned by other websites. If he is able to identify the context in which this mention is made, he can also know whether that reference is positive or negative.
So, mentions of your website or brand on other pages, even without links, count towards ranking, especially in positive contexts.
How to do off page SEO in practice?
Now that you know what really matters for ranking, let’s see now how to put SEO off page into practice?
Next, see our tips on how to apply the strategies and get relevant backlinks to your site!
Start with basic on page SEO strategies
Remember that we said that SEO on page is a pillar of off page SEO? Without optimizing your pages, you probably won’t be cited as a reference by other sites. If so, the traffic that the backlinks generate can be lost, as visitors will be frustrated.
So, start your optimization strategies on your own pages. Organize the categories of the site, offer simple navigation, use friendly URLs, optimize titles and intertitles, write scannable texts, among other measures.
Produce content that deserves to be shared
One of the most important on-page SEO factors is content. Publishing relevant content on your website is the main way to show your authority on the topic, to attract and retain visitors and offer the best answers to what they seek.
For off page SEO, good content represents the chance to receive natural links, without you having to chase them.
To increase the chances of this happening, think of your content as linkable assets. The intention is to create content so good that it deserves to be cited by other sites. And that involves not just blog posts. Research on your market, for example, is an asset with a high potential for sharing. E-books, infographics and spreadsheets are also good materials that can generate backlinks.
Use guest posts and co-marketing
Although pages are expected to receive links from other sites naturally, they do not always come. Therefore, it is possible to adopt some strategies to create backlinks – without having to pay for them, without forcing the bar and without harming the user experience.
But how to do that? With partnerships! Guest posts and co-marketing are models of partnership between different websites or blogs that yield backlinks.
Guest post is the production of an article for a partner site as a guest. In this article, you must offer content that is relevant to the partner’s website, that is of value to that audience and that contains a link to your website, inserted in the context of the article.
Co-marketing, on the other hand, is a partnership between brands to jointly produce and promote material that reaches a common audience.
They can produce, for example, an e-book on a subject that interests their audiences and, in promoting this material, insert links to both sites. Thus, a link to your website appears on the partner’s website.
Search for link building authority partners
For guest post and co-marketing strategies to be more worthwhile, prioritize partners that have an audience similar to yours or that are in your area of expertise. Thus, Google can perceive the relevance of the content and the backlink to the user.
In addition, find reliable partners, whose website has authority and quality, so that it transmits more link juice to your pages.
This assessment of the partners’ website can be done using a metric provided by Moz: the Domain Authority (DA).
So, when looking for partners for off-page SEO strategies, prioritize who has a Domain Authority larger than yours, so that it conveys authority to you.
Apply redirection to broken links
We said that off page SEO encompasses factors that are not under your control. And this is true, since the backlinks depend on other sites. But here’s a practice that depends only on you to have more results with your backlinks.
We are talking about redirecting broken links, which indicate the correct page to which users and the robot should be directed. Let’s explain it better.
It is natural for pages to stop being part of a website in their lifetime. URLs change, content is updated and pages are simply deleted. When this happens, they usually return the famous Error 404, a code that says the page was not found.
With Error 404, the user is left without the content he wanted, the robot ends the tracking and the relevance of the backlinks to that page is lost.
But the good news is that you can correct this error: just apply Redirection 301. It is a code inserted in the page with an error saying which page the user should see. Thus, you direct both the user and the robot to the right page, which starts receiving the link juice from the backlinks.
Reject questionable backlinks
Unwanted links are almost inevitable. It is very likely that you will get backlinks from unreliable and spammy websites, right?
But do you remember that we said that Google analyzes your site’s link network and the votes of confidence that are passed on? If you receive links from sites that are not trusted, Google probably understands that can’t trust you too.
The problem is that you have no control over it! But that’s not quite the case: Google offers a tool to reject unwanted backlinks.
It’s very simple: just make a list of the pages or domains you want to reject and send them to Google through the tool. But have a little patience, as it may take a while for them to disappear.
Google only recommends that you do this if it is really necessary. In general, the algorithm can assess which links are spam and remove them without harming your site. You can also try to speak directly to the site administrator to remove that reference.
Still, if you want to order from Google, do so when there is a considerable amount of unwanted backlinks that could cause a penalty.
Promote your content on social networks, communities and forums
Links on social networks, communities and forums do not count as a ranking factor. In general, they receive the nofollow tag, which tells the robot not to follow that link.
Thus, the link remains on the page and directs the user, but does not transmit link juice to the landing page.
Before, however, this tag was not common. So many website administrators filled the comment boxes of blogs, forums and communities with backlinks to their pages, even when they had nothing to do with the content. A lot of people still think it works, but it just damages their reputation on the web.
So why did we bring this as an off page SEO tip? Because promoting your content on different channels helps to increase traffic and page visibility.
And the more movement, the more likely they are to receive “dofollow” backlinks on other pages.
But for that to happen, you need to participate in forums and communities within your area of expertise and contribute comments that add value to the public.
Regarding social networks, there is still a lot of controversy: does sharing links there transmit link juice? Google itself has already explained that it does not.
Anyway, promoting your content on social networks also helps to generate traffic and visibility for your pages.
What not to do in off page SEO?
Since the launch of PageRank, SEO off page has been marked by the black hat. While Google is constantly working to end these practices, they still exist and looks that bring results. However, Google soon realizes the fraud and downgrades (or even eliminates) the site in the ranking.
So, it is worth pointing out the practices that are still applied in SEO off page, but that today represent only link building errors.
Purchase or exchange link schemes
Any type of link purchase or exchange scheme that attempts to manipulate the algorithm is condemned by Google. The searcher can perceive when there is a excessive gain of backlinks in a short time and penalizes sites that adopt this type of practice.
Some examples of these schemes are the “link farms” (or link farms), which consist of creating sites just to insert links, and the PBN (Private Blog Network) networks, which are blogs that exchange links with each other.
You may be in doubt as to whether guest posts and advertising (sponsored blog posts) are penalized by Google. But this only happens if you adopt these strategies in excess without thinking about the user and, thus, attract the searcher’s attention.
On the other hand, if you make relevant publications for visitors to that site and insert the backlinks in context, the mentions will naturally grow, and Google will realize the value of your content.
Spam in blog comments
Commenting on blogs with your website’s link can be a good idea if you really bring in some valuable information. But, as we said, this link is “nofollow”, and it does not pass link juice – it is just about building relationships and generating traffic.
There are still many website administrators who insistently comment on blogs just to insert links there. This has no effect on SEO and further damages your reputation.
Google can also understand this practice and penalize its pages. So, don’t do that, okay?
Sitewide out-of-context links
Sitewide links are those links that are located in the header or footer and therefore appear throughout the site.
Many website administrators believe that, because they are on all pages, they would be a way to gain multiple backlinks quickly.
For this reason, they insert several links with keywords in the anchor text, including those of partner sites, to improve the ranking of the pages mentioned.
However, Google itself has already clarified that sitewide links count as just one link. So, there is no point in insisting with several links over there – this practice, in fact, can be seen as a black hat by the search engine.
In the header and footer, Google accepts only links that usually appear there (for privacy terms, for internal pages or for the website designer, for example).
4 off page SEO tools to boost your strategies
Tools are needed to monitor backlinks, identify broken links, analyze possible link building partners, among other demands for off page SEO.
Below are the main tools that will help you with these tasks!
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is your great partner in SEO. It is a free tool from Google that acts as a bridge between your site and the search engine.
In general, it helps more for on page optimizations, but it is also useful for off page.
It is through this tool that you can, for example, reject these links. This can be done with the help of SEMrush and Screaming Frog.
It is also through it that you know if you received any penalty or notification due to any black hat practice.
Majestic is a tool focused on analyzing the backlinks of a website and is well known in the market.
The free version already presents several interesting information. Just enter the URL you want to analyze to find out the number of backlinks to the site, the number of domains leading to it, the quality score of the backlinks, the main anchor texts used, among other valuable data.
To receive a more complete report, there are plans paid starting at $ 49.99 monthly.
Ahrefs is also focused on off page SEO and is widely used in the market. You can get reports on keywords, comparisons with competitors, backlinks to your website and positioning on SERP.
One of the most interesting features is Content Explorer, which allows you to explore sites that are prominent in a particular keyword to identify partner opportunities for link building.
This tool, however, does not have a free version. To obtain this data, you must purchase one of the plans starting at $ 99 per month.
4. Moz Link Explorer
Link Explorer is a free tool from Moz. It allows you to search for information on any URL and obtain data on backlinks, competition, broken links, anchor texts and link building opportunities.
In addition, the tool presents the unique metrics of Domain Authority and Page Autohority, which estimate the authority of a domain or a page from a view very close to that of Google.
Moz offers even more complete data in the Pro version (starting at $ 99 a month), which includes many other SEO analyzes, both on page and off page.
So, it’s clear that off page SEO cannot be left out of your optimization strategies, can it? Because they are more complex and are not under total control of the sites, these strategies are often overlooked. However, precisely for this reason, they can be the great differential of your website to stay ahead of your competitors!
Now, to get a complete overview of optimization strategies, download our complete SEO guide and get top Google positions!