SEO Basics – Off-Page Optimization

The previous articles gave a brief overview about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Beginners and offered an introduction into SEO On-Page Optimization. One part still needs coverage to complete the basics of your SEO Marketing efforts. This post dips into the important factors of Off-Page Search Engine Optimization. Off the page SEO is considered as being more difficult to apply. But following some simple ideas can easily result in much better rankings in search results.

The main instrument for Off-Page SEO are inbound links. Search engines use them as an indicator for the authority of a website. Meaning that every linking from a third website serves like a vote or a recommendation for your own page. As better the linking website ranks, as more valuable is the recommendation. Just like citations in scientific papers. What you want to get, are inbound links from high quality websites, which indicates the trustworthiness and credibility of your own content.

Inbound Links ensure Authority

The popularity of a website is partly determined by external (incoming) Links. They serve as votes for the quality and relevance of a website. Focus on getting high quality inbound links rather than high quantities of linkings without value. Limit your links to trustworthy sites and avoid bad “Neighborhood” (Spam).

Link Values and Attributes

There are many provider out there offering to sell inbound links. I f you are interested in a healthy and sustainable SEO, avoid these method. The value of sold links is often measured with the PageRank of a website. The PageRank, named after his inventor Lawrence Page, indicates the popularity of a link on a scale from 0 to 10. Usually, you will get links from sites with a low PageRank in the beginning. Providing qualitative content will eventually lead to links from more popular websites. Search engines are able to analyse the development of your inbound links and reward a healthy growth of your websites popularity with higher rankings. Here are some general hints on how to value inbound links:

  • Get links from websites that target similar keywords like your website
  • Analyze the links of your competitors with high rankings and try to target the same links
  • External links have a higher influence to search engines than internal links
  • Links from unique domains have a higher value than a high amount of links from the same domain
  • Links out of the content area have a higher value than the ones in sidebars, menu-bars or footers
  • Domains which link to overspammed sites devalue their link-credibility and become less important for search engines
  • Links can decay over time, that’s why relevant “fresh links” matter for search engines
  • Social sharing via Twitter, Facebook & Co is not as important as conventional links but can positively influence search rankings

Different Types of Links

There are dozens of possibilities to increase the number of backlinks to your site. To give you some ideas where to look for places, here are short overview about different types of links:

  • Authority Links: find directories with high PageRanks that offer links out
  • Reciprocal Links: build “link cooperation’s” with sites that have complimentary content
  • Blogrolls: convince other blogger to add your website to their link favorites
  • Article Bio Links: write guest articles for industry content provider, who accept submissions
  • Blog and RSS Directories: submit your link in directories
  • Comment Links: contribute to other blogs or communities with valuable content

Link Building Practices

Try being creative and find opportunities to link your good content. Use existing contacts, ask your partner, longstanding customers or friends to link to your website. Build online relationships and be active in communities around your industry. Write your own blog, take part in discussions in other blogs, raise awareness in social networks and eventually get links and entries in blog directories. In the beginning you might need to convince other webmaster that your content is good enough to be linked. In the end, content which is worth it will get links naturally.

Self-created Links should be handled with caution. They are definitely an instrument to boost your search engine visibility but overstretching them can harm your site’s reputation. Use it properly and submit your articles in a couple of directories, social bookmarking services and forums.

Integrate Social Media in your SEO Efforts

Social Media gets continuously more attention from search engines. Especially company profiles in social networks often ranks on the first page in search results. Noteworthy is Google, who completely integrates its social network Google+ in search results. There is no question that your presence in social media channels will become even more important for search engines in the future. You shouldn’t miss to create pages in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Co. Choose the right networks for your business and integrate them in your website. Add Share- and Follow-Buttons to your pages and simply let readers promote your content.

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