We know what you’re thinking: “Siege, how can you tell me not to do off-page SEO? Haven’t you sent over 1 million emails for the purpose of link building?”
Yes, we have, and we will continue to do so in the right circumstances.
What we’ve found with manual link building and other off-page SEO initiatives is that, sometimes, the effort isn’t worth the return and can take time away from other more impactful optimizations.
In this post, we’ll help you answer whether off-page SEO is right for you.
We’ll be covering:
What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO consists of any optimizations that take place outside of making change directly on your site.
These optimizations include local citations, strategic link building, and more.
Ultimately, the point of off-page SEO is to establish a more trusted and authoritative presence in the eyes of both users and search engines.
Off-Page SEO vs. On-Page SEO
Before we get into off-page SEO strategy, let’s quickly discuss the difference between off-page and on-page SEO.
The distinction is in their names.
On-page SEO involves every optimization on your site that could impact rankings.
This includes site architecture and hierarchy, content strategy, image optimization, sitemaps, internal links, structured markup, and more.
Again, all off-page SEO optimizations take place off of your website.
This could look like fixing broken backlinks, updating Google My Business information, and social media content.
Off-Page SEO Techniques
While there are many different types of off-page SEO, we’ve broken them down into three main groups to help walk you through which will best benefit you.
Traditional off-page SEO techniques include:
- Link building: Improves the overall backlink profile of your site.
- Local SEO: Optimizes your site to be more visible for local search results, such as map results or results pages for location specific keywords.
- Reputation management: Improves how people see your brand.
- Passive link building: Acquiring links without any sort of outreach. Siege believes this to be the most ideal way to obtain links and we recommend doing this through content creation.
- Manual link building: Reaching out to partners, sponsors, news outlets, vendors, customers and other platforms to ask for backlinks.
- Broken link building: Updating backlinks that are pointing to 404 pages on your site to functional pages on your site.
- Link reclamation: Reclaiming backlinks that were lost or unlinked by its host site.
- Self-created links: Creating links by adding entries into directories or forums (ex. Better Business Bureau, YellowPages, Crunchbase).
- Outreach takes a significant amount of time to perform. Sadly, each of the above techniques (aside from passive link building) all involve some sort of outreach.
- Outreach does not guarantee backlinks. You could receive 40 backlinks from 50 emails you send, or you could receive a single backlink from 100 emails.
- If you have a high domain rating, it may make sense to prioritize other on-page SEO optimizations, like content optimizations, technical fixes, site architecture, and page speed optimizations.
- Creating a sound post structure and utilizing blog design best practices for your content that prioritizes low-difficulty topics can help to obtain links without any outreach at all.
- Interactive content such as calculators, customized tools, and statistics are great ways to passively build links.
- Businesses with low DR sites reaching out to partners, current and previous customers, or news outlets for links.
- Local businesses that create entries in directories such as Yellow Pages or other entities like the Better Business Bureau.
- Turning unlinked brand mentions into links in high authority publications. For example, if you find that the New York Times or Forbes mentions your company, product or service, it’s definitely worth it to reach out and request a link.
- Sites that have lost a significant amount of existing links to broken pages, pages that don’t exist anymore on your site, or pages on other sites that frequently change.
- Creating and maintaining a Google My Business listing
- Ensure third-party citations are accurate and consistent
- Claiming listings on popular user-generated content sites
- Small, independent, or family-owned businesses that operate out of one to three locations (this includes but is not limited to restaurants, boutiques, automotive repair shops, and legal practices)
- Trade-related businesses (electricians, plumbers)
- Medium to large businesses with brick-and-mortar stores (Autozone, Whole Foods, Best Buy)
- Smaller, independent businesses may benefit by creating more brand awareness — helping attract customers by increasing the overall click-through rate to their site.
- Larger manufacturers or construction companies may benefit from prioritizing other website optimization.
- Larger companies would benefit from responding to reviews from Google since these reviews contribute to how search engines evaluate a site’s authority and, in turn, help to improve rankings.
Link Building consists of any effort made to obtain more backlinks, which are links from other websites that direct users back to your website.
Search engines treat these as signals of authority as they act as a website-form of a referral, pointing back to your content as a source.
The reason that backlinks are pivotal is because they are direct ranking factors.
Having a backlink profile full of high-authority referring domains — sites that search engines see as trustworthy — will help to improve rankings on the SERP.
It’s important to note that backlinks are measured on a quality-over-quantity basis. The old saying, “It’s better to have four quarters than 100 pennies,” very much applies here.
In this context, it’s better to have a fewer number of relevant referring domains and/or domains with higher authority than a larger quantity of backlinks that aren’t relevant or have a lower domain rating (DR).
Now that we covered what link building is, let’s break down how to generate them:
Click here to read more about Siege’s change in focus from manual outreach to passive link building.
Who Is Link Building Right For?
While backlinks are a ranking factor, before deciding to include link building in your SEO strategy, consider the following:
On the other hand, passive link building is in a slightly different category. If you’re already focusing on content creation, here some more considerations:
All that said, we are certainly not saying that manual link building does not have any value.
Here are a few instances where including manual link building in an SEO strategy would be beneficial:
Local SEO optimizations are anything that helps to improve a site’s rank for local search results.
This optimization is essential for any brick-and-mortar business or company that operates in a certain area, such as a chain of auto repair shops in southwest Massachusetts or Tex-Mex restaurants in Austin, Texas.
Local SEO optimizations include (but are not limited to):
Third-party citations are commonly known as your business’s NAP — name, address, and phone number.
Who Is Local SEO Right For?
If you are one of the following business, we’d strongly recommend including local off-page SEO optimizations in your strategy in some way:
If you’re a part of a larger, enterprise-level corporation or e-commerce company like Microsoft, Amazon, or Boeing, you wouldn’t benefit as much from local search optimizations.
You’d be much better off putting your time and effort elsewhere — content, page speed, or structured markup optimizations to name a few — where you could more effectively move the needle in terms of traffic and rankings.
Reputation management consists of any off-site activities that help to improve the public perception of your brand.
This can include digital PR, social media marketing, managing reviews, and even influencer marketing.
Who Is Reputation Management Right For?
Reputation management, like the other aspects of off-page SEO we’ve discussed so far, is based on several factors. We’d recommend putting effort into this as needed.
Social Media Presence
Service and Product-Based Reviews
Off-Page SEO Can Be Valuable, Just Not for Everyone
If you’ve gotten this far, we’re sure you’ve noticed a pattern here: prioritization.
Off-page SEO is still an incredibly valuable tool that can help get more traffic to your site and boost your rankings.
However, many of the aspects of off-page SEO are not direct ranking factors and are beneficial only in certain situations.
If you’re having trouble evaluating if your site needs off-page SEO or want to improve your site’s overall organic performance, Siege Media is well equipped to help.
Our SEO consulting services don’t just focus on one-off tactics, but on comprehensive strategies that will make a real impact on your business.