When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s extremely easy to get caught up on the on-site efforts that we often forget that most of our SEO equity comes from off-site tactics. Let’s pause for a second - yes, of course, make sure all of your on-site SEO aspects are locked down. For example, focus on optimizing your:
- Title tags
- Errors and site issues
- Alt tags
- Schema markup
- Internal links
And other points of your on-site SEO. Also, make sure that you are regularly conducting on-site SEO audits of your website to make sure you’re on top of your game. In fact, don’t focus on your off-site efforts until you’re sure your site is well optimized from a SEO standpoint and you’re providing a great user experience.
Now, unpause. As I was saying before, a lot of marketers and website owners have a hard time with the off-site side of SEO because it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of patience. There’s relationships to build, links to monitor, and continuous branding efforts that require a lot of attention, so most of us put our attention in areas we can directly control - our on-site SEO and marketing efforts. But even with all of that said, there are areas you can focus off-site to help boost your brand's SEO visbility and continue to utilize moving foward as part of a more holistic SEO strategy.
Create Great Content
This goes without saying, and I’m sure you’ve heard these three words enough by now to make you roll your eyes, but it doesn’t make them any less true. Creating content that informs, inspires, and influences are signs of a true thought leader in an industry. When you design a content strategy that focuses on your key target audience, their specific needs and issues, and regularly put out content relevant to their searches, the search engines take notice.
But creating content isn't limited to just your website. I am also talking about creating content off-site via your partner’s websites or taking advantage of guest blogging and contributor opportunities in your industry. Numerous publications in your industry are always looking for contributors to their websites to keep their users engaged and informed. Contributing not only builds exposure for your business, but it also builds authoritative, high quality, and relevant backlinks that point back to your website.
Speaking of which...
Build the Right Backlinks
By now it’s no secret that one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, off-site SEO ranking factor is having a backlink profile that is filled with high quality backlinks. Sadly, this is easier said than done. It goes back to creating great content and providing awesome insights that people and publications link back to.
So now that you’re creating great content that will solve those who are reading’s problems and provide them with real solutions, it’s time to start sharing and distributing that content. When I say these words a lot of people will probably automatically think “social media”. Social media is great and is something you should definitely be leveraging if you’re not already, but there are a ton of great ways to distribute content, especially ways that will build your SEO authority.
What I suggest doing is creating a list of contributors, writers, influencers, or peers in your industry that actively share content or utilize expert insights in their own content creation. Be sure to regularly send them your new content or provide them with new information that would update their older articles. Not only will they appreciate the effort and information you’re providing, but they will also credit you with a backlink on their industry relevant website and share in their own networks (possibly leading to more backlinks), building your brand credibility and exposure, as well as your overall SEO visibility.
Bonus tip - Take advantage of citation building services such as Moz Pro or Yext. These are fantastic services that quickly build great business citations for your business that include a link to your website, provided by highly regarded and credible listing aggregators - Google and other search engines use to verify business information and return rich snippets. If your business information changes (such as your website, contact information, or address), simply login and update, and they will ensure your citations are up to date and correct.
Pay Attention to Your Reviews
Never let someone tell you that your business reviews online don’t matter. Not only do 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, but according to Moz, 7 to 13 percent of review signals contribute to local ranking factors. Here’s what your rankings look like in search…
This means that in order to obtain higher visibility for local search and queries, you need to ensure you’re providing a great experience for your users and customers so they leave great reviews that are reflected in Google and other search engines, as well as providing them with opportunities to leave those reviews.
Some ways you can start taking advantage of reviews:
- Create a strategy to monitor and respond to reviews - Pay attention to what reviews are saying, and follow up accordingly. Every review is a chance to reinforce a customer’s decision in doing business with you or a chance to regain a potentially lost customer. As people, we want to be heard, and when a customer takes the time to leave a review, good or bad, it's imperative that you listen and respond.
- Ask for reviews - After a customer or user goes through a purchase or lead process with you, ask them about their experience and link them to your relevant review source, such as Google For Business or Yelp. This will help you collect reviews when a user is most ready and willing, and also help increase SEO visibility.
- Ask at the right time - Don’t ask at random times or too far before or after a purchase decision has been made. Doing so could be confusing to the user and ultimately leave you without a review.
- Take advantage of Schema markup - If you have an eCommerce website, Google and other search engines collaborated on a structured data markup called Schema that you can implement on your website to help search engines better understand information on your site. Based on a study, now a few years old, Google ranks pages with Schema four positions higher on average. That number is only thought to have gone up.
- Try different review sites - Obviously you want to take advantage of Google My Business and Bing Places for Business, but also leveraging sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Angie’s List, Better Bureau Business, and more, create a ton of SEO visibility, because Google and other search engines use their reviews to put in search results for your business, as well as use those reviews to rank your business accordingly. Having profiles on these review sites also help with branded search results as they are branded profiles, leading to more search results and search landscape for your brand!
You can also use reviews on your website and add Schema markup to those reviews so that Google can use those reviews and aggregations in their search reviews.
Again, there are a ton of off-site tactics you can utilize to help boost your SEO visbility, but these three areas are a fantastic place to start. You'll find as you get in the mode of creating more content and distributing it more effectively, that a lot of your off-site SEO efforts will begin to run themselves in a more flywheel type fashion. When you couple this strategy with providing a great user experience for your customers and website visitors, giving them the ability to review your business or brand in the process, you'll see more search rankings and brand visbility by way of rich snippets. Don't sleep on off-site SEO, you need it more than you know!
If you’re having issues with your off-site SEO efforts and aren’t sure where to begin, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the SEO experts at Marcel Digital. Not only are we top rated SEOs by multiple companies, we’re also Moz Oracles and Google Partners, meaning we are recognized by the leading names in our industry and sought after. We look forward to hearing from you!