New Off Page SEO Techniques
Off-page SEO is not just about links.
It goes deeper than that. For example, brand mentions (your site URL or brand name mentioned on another site without a hyperlink) are an integral aspect of off-page search signals.
As smart bloggers and content marketers, we usually start with on-page SEO.
But we don’t stop there. Because, to a large extent, the things that matter to Google often happen away from your site.
Depending on your marketing goals, the time you spend on off-page SEO will vary. Dr. Pete Meyers from Moz observed that many site owners spend about 30% of their time on off-page factors, and 70% on on-page factors. For other site owners, those percentages are reversed.
Off-page SEO simply tells Google what others think about your site. For example, if you’ve got a lot of valuable links pointing to your pages, search engines will assume that you’ve got great content – the type that provides value for users.
Otherwise, why would people waste time linking to it?
People only cite, reference and share content they like. Even in a brick-and-mortar business, if your product is helpful and affordable, you’ll get a lot of word of mouth referrals from your current customers.
SEO can be scary, especially when you don’t know what steps to take to rank your fresh content pages in Google top 10. But, if you can develop a basic understanding of on-page and off-page optimization, you’ll be way ahead of your competition.
If you’re ready, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about off-page search optimization.
What is Off-Page SEO?
“Off-Page SEO” refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your site to raise the ranking of a page in search engine results. Though many people associate off-page SEO with link building, it goes beyond that. Many activities that don’t result in a standard link on other sites are important for off-page optimization. On-page SEO happens within the site, while off-page SEO happens outside the site. If you write a guest post for another blog or leave a comment, you’re doing off-page site promotion.
Preparing a Site/Page for Link Building
Links are still very important to Google. In fact, it’s almost impossible for Google to determine the value of any web page if there are no links pointing to it — no matter how useful, fresh, or in-depth the page content might be.
Site owners are often tempted to skip initial preparations for link building. But it’s important that you give this top priority, because preparing a site will ensure that you’re mindful of the links you sent to them.
Dr. Peter J. Meyers reviewed some of the brands that won (and lost) at Google search in 2015. Sites that lost ground in organic search rankings didn’t have a strong foundation.
So how do you ensure that your web pages are ready for link building?
i). Laying out your internal pages
Optimized internal pages can make a huge difference in your overall rankings. This includes interlinking your pages using random keywords (with more emphasis on your brand name).
According to Brian Dean’s famous post, “Google’s 200 Ranking Factors,”
“The number of internal links to a page indicates its importance relative to other pages on the site. „
More specifically, you should have silo pages that connect to your category pages and supporting pages (posts). That way, when you send a link to the homepage, the juice flows through your category and supporting pages, thus boosting your search performance.
Smart SEO professionals don’t just throw links at a page. Instead, they lay out the pages so that each link will pass SEO juice to other interconnected pages.
None of your internal pages should stand alone. Make each page an integral part of your site and include seamless navigation. This is essential to your site users and your search engine results.
Ideally, pages addressing the same or related topics should be linked together in order to provide a rich experience for the users.
In search engine optimization, internal pages are often overlooked. Most SEOs and site owners don’t realize that much of a site’s “SEO value” flows from how the internal pages are structured.
This is usually made possible when you have links from high-value pages on the same site. Silo your pages properly if you want a healthy link equity between your internal pages.
Ken Lyons shared 3 ways to ensure that your internal pages are well-structured and your links evenly distributed, before going out to get inbound links from external sources:
Remember that it’s no longer only about the quantity of links you have. The quality of links to your internal pages is as important as the structure of the pages themselves.
In fact, sometimes reducing the number of links pointing to your internal pages could help your SEO efforts.
For example, CMS North America, a manufacturer of 5 axis CNC machines, had an established website with 170 indexed pages. Yet, the site wasn’t generating substantial search traffic.
By auditing their site using the Internal Link Juice Tool, they discovered that the site had 168 links pointing to the homepage.
This was more than best practices called for, which is especially a problem when the SEO juice from those links doesn’t flow to internal pages.
They initiated a new navigation structure and removed some of the links pointing to silo pages, while retaining the links that supported usability (such as “contact us” and support pages). In all, 70 links were removed.
After 6 weeks of re-structuring the internal pages’ links and the homepage, most of the fresh pages and links had been re-crawled by Google’s spider.
The company saw improved rankings for 18 of the 21 keyword phrases the site was targeting. Keywords that were already ranking on page 2 improved an average of 3.7 ranking slots.
ii). Do the basic on-page SEO: On-page SEO is important. After all, you don’t want Google to view your site as a neglected portal.
I’m sure you’ve heard enough about meta tags and keyword density. Yet, there are other important on-page SEO factors that matter and that are often overlooked. This on-page SEO infographic from Backlinko lays many of them out for you:
One of the reasons why many authority sites no longer dominate the top organic listings is because they’ve neglected basic on-page SEO.
You want to link to your internal pages using the keyword that best defines that page.
When you create a landing page that you would like Google to rank highly, you should pass more SEO juice to that page from your important pages.
If Google is seeing a lot of pages on your site for a particular search term, and is unsure of which one to rank higher than the others, you’ll struggle to drive organic traffic no matter how much value you provide.
And that’s what the basic on-page SEO process is all about. There’s no magic secret formula. Just ensure that your pages are well structured, your keywords specified, and signals being sent to Google in the right manner.
Here’s an example: Daily Mail Online, a popular online magazine that ranks highly for several keywords, failed to dominate the top listings during the 2014 World Cup. Other brands took their spots:
With several brands dominating Google’s first page rankings, Daily Mail Online missed out for the term “World Cup.” Each new article published about the World Cup overlapped with Daily Mail’s landing page, which they desperately wanted to rank better than other pages (shown in pink).
What’s happening here is that Google is seeing lots of pages from Daily Mail Online for this search term, and is unsure of which one should be ranked highest.
This has a lot to do with internal page linking — or the lack of it.
To capitalize on the trending search term at the time, Mail Online could have linked back to the hub page from every internal page (especially those related to ‘Word Cup’).
This would have been a strong signal to Google that this page was significant and perhaps useful to users.
Sadly, Daily Mail had lots of opportunities to link back to the hub from relevant blog posts and pages, but they didn’t do so.
iii). Pick thematic keywords: Although links are still the icing on the cake, the upshot to SEO that controls every other factor is the keywords you choose.
Keywords are the fundamental building blocks for your content campaign. In the diagram below, the more accurate view of on-page SEO shows that use of related keywords and primary keywords accounts for 7.5% and 40% of on-page SEO, respectively.
In his book, Keyword Research: How To Find and Profit From Low Competition Long Tail Keywords, author Nathan George said that to succeed in business, you have to help a lot of people.
So the question becomes, how do you find people to help? The answer: Keyword research.
But not all keywords are created equal. If you want to improve the odds of driving organic traffic to your site, then you need to pick thematic keywords.
The word “thematic” simply means having or relating to a particular subject.
So when you’re picking keywords, focus on those that are related to a particular subject. You can’t afford to spread your net too wide. Here’s an example:
Let’s assume that your business delivers WordPress theme customization services. It’s important to find the right related keywords that you can create content around.
Simply plug your main keyword (wordpress theme customization) into the Google Keywords Planner search bar. Click the “Get ideas” button. Here are thematic keyword phrases:
Remember that you’re in business to help others. By knowing the words, phrases, and search terms they use in search, you can more easily tailor your content to meet their needs.
You can supercharge the power of your keywords by switching towards branded keywords. In other words, instead of targeting “SEO tips,” you could niche down and include your brand or domain name (e.g., Moz SEO tips, Neil Patel SEO).
Domain or brand-oriented keywords usually bring up several results from the same site in Google search results.
Branded thematic keywords will give you an edge over the competition. No matter how many top brands are dominating the top 10 organic listings, you can find yourself driving motivated visitors to your site.
When it comes to on-page SEO, the title tag is the most important factor. That’s why it’s important to use your keywords in the right manner in your titles.
Brian Dean did some experiments and found that when you start a title with keywords, you rank better in the SERPs.
In general, the closer you place the keyword in the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it’ll have with search engines.
So let’s assume you chose to target these 3 keyword phrases below:
- web design strategy
- WordPress theme developer
- cost of website design
You can model these titles because they all place keywords at the beginning:
- Web Design Strategy: How to Finally Design a Website That Converts
- WordPress Theme Developer: 7 Factors You Should Consider First
- The Cost of Website Design for Small Business Owners
Starting your title tag with the targeted keyword is important. But, that only applies when you truly want to improve the search performance of a given keyword. There are situations when you create content without focusing on a keyword. Here’s how Brian puts it:
Instead, use synonyms or latent semantic indexing (LSI) terms. LSI keywords have one purpose – to help search engine spiders extract meaning from normal keywords (especially those with more than one meaning). For example, Apple, the computer company vs. apple, the fruit.
Ideally, if you were writing content on a subject related to Apple, the company, Google expects you to mention relevant words and terms that are common to the organization.
In the same vein, if I were writing about Microsoft Windows 10, in order to help Google spiders extract the exact meaning of your page and serve the right users, I’d mention words and phrases such as Bill Gates, Operating System, OS, Windows 8.0, etc.
Stay away from mentioning your primary keyword (e.g., cheap airline tickets) over and over in your content. Google will view that as over-optimization and may well penalize you.
When you mention other synonyms, you can optimize your content the right way (at least in the way Google and users want).
If I were to write an article targeting the keyword “how to get blog traffic,” here’s what I’d do: replace the search term with these LSI keywords:
- How to get blog traffic
- how to generate traffic to blog
- drive web visitors to blog
- get online blog visitors
- Attract web traffic to my blog
At a glance, you can see that the above keywords are related to the primary keyword (how to get blog traffic).
In your internal pages, you can use these LSI keywords in your title tags and you’ll be just fine. But, imagine what it would seem like if all your pages are were all targeting one keyword – with no variations.
In Google’s ranking algorithm, the presence or absence of latent semantic indexing keywords go a long way towards determining where your web page ranks, because it’s a strong quality signal to Google.
You might be wondering how you can find these synonymous words. The good news is that there are several tools that you can use to research LSI search terms. Simply follow these steps:
a). First step: Go to Lsigraph.com and input your primary keyword (e.g., cheap airline tickets). Solve the captcha, then click the “Generate” Button:
b). Second step: Select LSI keywords from the list. Simply locate the keywords that’ll be ideal for your content. Then use them.
On-page keyword optimization all boils down to researching, choosing and integrating keywords that you can easily rank for. You don’t want to compete with top brands with higher and stronger domain authority.
That’s why you should also focus on long-tail keywords. You already know how to find and use them to improve your search rankings. I generate over 20,000 organic visitors to this blog, specifically from long-tail search.
With only 5 hours of work, Jamie Press turned Google Autocomplete ideas into traffic & rankings. He helped his clients to create useful content that ranked #2 and #3 in search results at the time.
It’s high time to get off your site and to network with other industry bloggers and site owners if you want to increase your search performance.
Understand that Google Penguin and other algorithm updates weren’t primarily targeting search results that didn’t have tons of incoming links.
You should always use white-hat link building strategies to improve your off-page optimization.
However, you need to prepare your web pages to receive authority link juice as you work hard to build and earn links. Make sure your site is easily navigable.
When it comes to creating a better content experience, it all boils down to answering users questions. Start by identifying the questions asked by your ideal customers. You can find these questions on Quora, Twitter and other social networks.
Above all, search engine optimization is not a hit-and-run marketing approach. You should approach it knowing that the efforts you put in today will pay off in the future.
Most of all, be consistent and patient and you’ll gradually climb to the top of Google’s results.
Which other off-page SEO best practices do you think are important for improving organic search rankings?
Article Resource: http://neilpatel.com/2016/01/19/everything-you-need-to-know-about-off-page-seo/