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Most SEO experts will say that off-page SEO is the most challenging aspect of SEO and content marketing as a whole. But why? Why are websites struggling so much with off-page SEO?
The answer to these questions lies in the very name — off-page SEO. Essentially, off-page SEO is a list of practices employed to boost your SERPs rankings that are done outside the scope of your own website.
This means that, more often than not, you don’t have a whole lot of direct influence on the success of those practices. Often, the most you can hope for is to put the best practice into place and let it run its course, hoping it will result in favorable results.
Related: 5 Essential SEO Strategies For Entrepreneurs to Boost Their Traffic
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try off-page SEO at all. On the contrary, off-page SEO can be an incredibly powerful tool, but only if you pay attention and implement these seven tactics to rank higher in SERPs.
1. Evaluate your backlink profile
One of the key elements of having an authoritative website is having plenty of high-quality backlinks. Backlinks are links on other websites leading to a relevant piece of content of your own.
Related: What Are Backlinks and Why Do You Need Them for Your SEO?
With that said, evaluating the quality and quantity of backlinks leading to your website is the first step toward getting ranked higher in SERPs. Using tools like Google Search Console, Moz Link Explorer, or Ahrefs Backlink Checker, you can quickly assess the quality of your links.
Some of the most useful pieces of information about your backlinks are the number of links leading to your website, the number of domains doing the same, the number of pages that have the most links (meaning, this is your most relevant content), and the anchor text used for those backlinks.
When analyzed, all these elements will tell you how useful the information on your website is to both the readers and the websites themselves wishing to educate their readers further.
2. Check your competitor’s links
Competition for the top five positions on SERPs is always fierce. That’s why evaluating your competitor’s backlink profiles is also highly encouraged.
Related: SEM, SERPs and Other Online Marketing Terms Explained
By evaluating their profiles, you will not only gain an insight into how you’re doing compared to your competition, but you’ll also gain an insight into which websites are the most trusted in your market/industry niche.
From there, you can then concentrate your efforts on gaining backlinks on those websites, as they have the most authority – authority that will then rub off on your own website and boost your rankings.
3. Engage in link building
Now that you know which websites are the most impactful and the most useful for boosting your own, it’s time to start securing backlinks. This is what we call link building.
Link building is not easy; in fact, it is one of the hardest aspects of SEO. It will often involve you reaching out to authoritative websites with your content, hoping they will find it useful enough to feature it with a backlink.
Luckily, there are plenty of avenues you can explore when securing backlinks. You can try the most obvious outreach strategy, but you may also try paid advertising if you have the funds. Social sharing is one the most cost-effective ways of securing backlinks and promoting your content, while guest blogging is one of the most popular but time-consuming.
Naturally, there are many more ways you can engage in link-building. If you’d like to learn more, you can always check out the top advertising agencies’ strategies. The important thing to know, however, is to not rely on a single strategy but to be open and engage with multiple to ensure you get the most out of them.
4. Optimize your internal links
Just like you’d like other people to promote your content, you should work on promoting your own content on your website.
This is most often done with internal linking — the goal is to link relevant content on your website together so your visitors can have a constant stream of useful information that will educate them further and help push them further down your marketing funnel.
Technically speaking, creating a network of internal links is on-page SEO, but it also has a massive impact on off-page SEO. Google’s web crawlers always scan websites, trying to index pages as best they can to present the most relevant results for any query. Creating a clean network of links will help Google better understand your content and rank it higher for particular queries.
5. Fix 404s
Broken links can be a major pain in a website’s butt when trying to rank high in SERPs. Though 404 pages can help redirect customers to more content and increase their engagement with your website, they’re also a target for your competition.
You see, just like you’re using outreach as one of your link-building strategies, so are your competitors, and if you have a backlink that no longer has any content attached to it, your competitors can easily jump in and swoop that backlink from under you, and have it now redirect to their own website.
Needless to say, this is organic traffic loss that you could have kept, making fixing 404s and broken links a necessity and even a priority.
6. Update your local citation and directory profiles
If you’re operating a business, your customer must know where to find you and how to contact you. This is even more important if you’ve got a brick-and-mortar location and you’re looking to nab even more local customers.
One of the best ways is to use local citations and directories. Local citations are mentions of your business on other websites and can usually be found on directories, social media platforms, and review sites.
In addition (and especially if you’ve got a brick-and-mortar location), you should also consider creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile, as it will contain the most pertinent information about your business, like your address, phone number, and working hours. Also, it will give you a massive boost when it comes to local SEO and local rankings.
7. Leverage social media
As mentioned, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote content.
Whether it’s in the form of Facebook posts, TikToks, Instagram Stories, or articles on LinkedIn, if you’re able to promote your content on any social media platform, you should definitely consider doing it. And, if you aren’t, you should start looking into ways to start a social media marketing campaign.
You should leverage social media for reach, community, and branding. Social media platforms allow you to reach tens of thousands of people in a matter of days, and chances are, with good content direction, you’ll be reaching a lot of interested parties.
From there, you will also spread your brand message, creating a unifying idea around your product and services that will make you unique and recognizable. And, around that brand, a community will form that will spread your content further, making it reach even further with all the likes and shares, and establishing it as the ultimate authority in your niche, thus massively boosting your rankings.
Overall, off-page SEO is not easy to leverage, even for the most adept and experienced SEO professionals. However, with these few tactics, you will stand a much better chance of leveraging the many elements of the online environment to favor your content and your website, thus improving your rankings by a very large margin.