SEO Resources Vol. 19
Off page SEO refers to techniques that can be used to improve the position of a web site in the search engine results page (SERPs). Many people associate off-page SEO with link building but it is not only that. In general, off Page SEO has to do with promotion methods – beyond website design –for the purpose of ranking a website higher in the search results.
Let’s take it from the beginning…
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the term used to describe a set of processes that aim in optimizing a website for search engines. SEO is important not only for getting high quality visitors from search, but it’s also a way to improve the user-friendliness of your website and increase its credibility.
Search engines are using complex algorithms to determine which pages to include in their index and the order they show these pages in the search results.
SEO is the way to ‘speak’ to search engines in a language they can understand and give them with more information about your website.
SEO has two major components, On Page and Off Page SEO.
On Page SEO
On Page SEO refers to settings you can apply on your website so that it is optimized for search engines. The most important On-Page SEO tips are:
Having optimized titles and descriptions
Proper URL Structures
User friendly navigation (breadcrumbs, user sitemaps)
Optimized internal links
Text Formatting (use of h1,h2,bold etc)
Image optimization (image size, proper image names, use of ALT tag)
User friendly 404 pages
Fast loading pages
Mobile Friendly pages
Top quality fresh content (This is always the most important SEO factor!)
External links (no broken links or links to ‘bad’ sites)
You can find out more details about all the above tips in the SEO Tips for beginners article.
Off Page SEO
Unlike On- page SEO, Off-page SEO refers to activities you can perform outside the boundaries of your website. The most important are:
Social Media Marketing
We will examine these in more details below, but first let me explain about the importance and benefits of off-page SEO.
Why is Off-Page SEO important?
Search engines have been trying for decades to find a way to return the best results to the searcher.
To achieve this, they take into account the on-site SEO factors (described above), some other quality factors and off-page SEO.
A web site that is high quality and useful is more likely to have references (links) from other websites; it is more likely to have mentions on social media (Facebook likes, tweets, Pins, +1’s etc.) and it is more likely to be bookmarked and shared among communities of like-minded users.
What are the benefits of ‘off-site SEO’ to website owners?
A successful off-site SEO strategy will generate the following benefits to website owners:
Increase in rankings – The website will rank higher in the SERPs and this also means more traffic.
Increase in PageRank – Page rank is a number between 0 and 10 which indicates the importance of a website in the eyes of Google. It is the system invented by Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders) and one of the reasons that Google was so successful in showing the most relevant results to the searcher. Page rank today is only one out of the 250 factors that Google is using to rank websites.
More exposure – Higher rankings also means greater exposure because when a website ranks in the top positions: it gets more links, more visits and more social media mentions. It’s like a never ending sequence of events where one thing leads to another and then to another etc.
Link building is the most popular and effective off-Page SEO method. Basically by building external links to your website, you are trying to gather as many ‘votes’ as you can, so that you can bypass your competitors and rank higher.
For example, if someone likes this article and references it from his/her website or blog, then this is like telling search engines that this page has good information.
Over the years webmasters have been trying to build links to their websites to get higher rankings and they ‘invented’ a number of ways to increase link count. The most popular ways were:
Shared Content Directories
Link exchange schemes
Notice that I used the past tense to describe all the above methods because not only they do not work today, you should not even try them.
If you try to ‘trick’ search engines by building artificial links, you are more likely to get a penalty rather than an increase in rankings (especially when it comes to Google).
The birth of black hat SEO
Link building was an easy way to manipulate the search engine algorithms and many spammers tried to take advantage of this by building link networks which gradually lead to the creation of what is generally known as black hat SEO.
Google has become very intelligent in recognizing black hat techniques and with the introduction of Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird (that’s how the Google Algorithm releases are called), they have managed to solve the problem and protect their search engine results from spammers.
What is a good link?
So, if the above links are not useful, what is a good link?
First, you should understand that link building it’s not only a matter of quantity but it is a matter of quality as well.
In other words, it no longer matters how many links are pointing to your website but it is more important from where these links are coming.
The obvious question is, how to you get these links?
If you ask Google they will tell you that any links pointing to your website has to be natural links. Natural links are exactly what their name implies. A website owner or blogger likes another website or blog and naturally adds a link to his/her blog.
Does this happen in reality or is it another myth?
It certainly does but you have to try really hard to get to this point. Take for example this blog, there are many incoming links because other webmasters find the content interesting and I also link to other sites in my articles because I find their content interesting and want to inform my readers about it.
If natural links are what I have just described above, in which category do all other links belong?
They belong in the category of artificial links and by adopting such techniques you increase the risk for getting a manual or algorithmic penalty by Google.
Is guest blogging a valid way to build links?
Guest posting can be a valid way to get links back to your website provided that you don’t do it just for links and that you don’t overdo it. You can read these 2 articles to get a complete picture as to when to accept guest posts on your blog and when to guest post on other blogs.
Social media is part of ‘off-site SEO’ and if you think about it, it’s also a form of link building. It should be noted that almost all of the links you get from social media sites are “nofollow” but this does not mean that they do not have any value.
Social Media mentions are gaining ground as ranking factors and proper configuration of social media profiles can also boost SEO.
Social bookmarking is not as popular as it used to be in the past but it is still a good way to get traffic to your website. Depending on your niche you can find web sites like reddit.com, stumbleupon.com, scoop.it and delicious.com (to name a few) to promote your content.
Article source: reliablesoft.net
Much like the world of search and the perpetually updated algorithms of Google, the landscape of non-Google marketing sees techniques, platforms and priorities change over time.
What hasn’t changed is the importance of understanding how to generate traffic without Google. Google is big, but it is not good to concentrate all your efforts into just one referrer.
The key to succeeding with the following 10 non-Google traffic sources is by honest participation and engagement, as opposed to spamming and dropping links to your website around the internet. It is a question we’ll return to throughout.
Perhaps, but I want to deal with blogs first because for me they are the first step to ‘participating in the conversation.’ And, today, there is more to blogging than simply having a part of your website dedicated to regularly updated posts.
Blog posts on your site are great for non-Google traffic of course. You can publish at will and with more authorial control than you might get from an offsite blog. You can then use that content to entice visitors to come and read your posts via social channels etc.
Blog-writing is not a skill that only serves your own blog, though. Guest blogging is still a good way to further establish authority in your industry and to potentially get visitors of those blogs to click through to your site.
Offsite blog platforms
Offsite blogging platforms such as Medium are ever-improving the ways they promote articles (via email digests and at the foot of article pages) to users depending on the topics they choose to follow. Follow authors related to your niche and participate in the communities that exist there.
Don’t have time to write a full post? You can also ‘participate in the conversation’ by adding to blog comments. Be sure to prioritize adding value to the page over merely leaving a link.
So you have a great piece of content – perhaps a blog post – on your website. Where are you going to share it?
Like Google, YouTube uses a vast number of factors when deciding how to rank videos. These include keyword relevance in titles and descriptions, number of views, comments, likes, shares, and back-links.
Traffic-wise, it is expected for users to be able to click-through to additional relevant information via links in the description under YouTube videos. And it can be a great referrer.
Of course, Instagram really lends itself best to brands with the potential to produce strong visual content.
It works for other brands too. And is a great platform for inviting your audience to participate.
Pinterest, like Instagram, is highly visual.
A majority of people who come to Pinterest are looking for shopping ideas – including for fashion, events and holidays. So it is a great platform for ecommerce sites in particular. You can even incorporate buy buttons directly into pins.
From a traffic perspective it is clearly working too. Brands can embed URLs at the top of their profile page. Participation is also fundamental to the mechanics of the site, with users re-pinning each other’s pins to their own curated boards.
Twitter still holds its own as a leading social network and a key referrer of traffic.
Reddit continues to be a great place to interact with relevant communities related to many sectors.
Like Reddit, forums are also great places to share your knowledge and to participate in the conversation.
Of course, questions and queries posted by web users can be a good opportunity for you to participate in the conversation and to offer up your expertise.
Email remains a significant traffic source and is continually improving as a way to let your most engaged customers know about products, services, and new content that is increasingly tailored to them.
Article source: searchenginewatch.com
If you notice a sudden drop in traffic and rankings while looking at your site statistics, you might’ve been bitten (or clawed) by one of those beasts.
Which one? That depends on what you’ve been doing with your site.
Too much of something or not enough of something different – Google algorithm updates cover a lot of ground.
Let’s look at seven of the biggest Google algorithm updates of all time.
Google Panda evaluates websites based on the quality of their content.
Pages with high-quality content are rewarded with higher ranking positions, and vice versa.
It boils down to how good you are with on-page optimization.
What triggers the Panda?
1. Thin content
2. Low-quality content
3. Unhelpful, untrustworthy content
4. Duplicate text
5. Article spinning
How to recover? Are you positive your site was hit by Panda? Then your course of action is to improve your content’s quality.
Penguin has a lot in common with Panda, but it evaluates websites for a different factor: their link profiles. Backlinks positively affect a site’s rankings if:
1. They are placed on pages contextually related to your linked pages
2. They are surrounded by content related to your linked pages
3. They point to you from trustworthy sources
4. They come from multiple different domains
What triggers the Penguin?
1. Buying links
2. Lack of anchor text diversity
3. Low quality of links
4. Keyword stuffing
How to recover? If you are able to remove them manually, do it. If you can talk to the person who manages the linking domain’s content, do it. For cases when these two options can’t work out, there’s the Google Disavow tool.
Strengthen your ranking positions as you normally would with SEO:
1. Create high-quality content related to your niche.
2. Use keywords that include your location
3. Optimize your site for mobile devices
4. Build links from reputable sources
Optimize for the local search algorithm, as well:
1. Use text, images, and videos in your content that are strongly associated with your location.
2. Create listings on business directories and Google My Business.
3. Include NAP (name, address, phone number) citations in those listings and on your own site.
4. Gain positive reviews and testimonials from your customers.
5. Leverage structured data on your site’s pages.
Unlike Panda and Penguin, the purpose of Google Hummingbird wasn’t to change how websites are ranked – at least not as directly.
What lies in post-Hummingbird SEO?
Hummingbird started the era of semantic search as we know it.
Where to find semantic search-friendly keywords and phrases?
1. Places where people interested in the subject hang out, such as blogs, forums, social media, Wikipedia, and Q&A platforms.
2. Keyword finder tools: WebCEO’s Keyword Suggestions, Soovle, Answer The Public or Ubersuggest.
3. Google’s search suggestions and the “searches related to” section.
Google Payday Loan
Payday Loan shares a few things in common with Google Panda and Google Penguin, but it’s not to be confused with them. It’s a separate update in its own right. It rolled out in 2013 when Google decided to drain the swamp of pornographic, casino, and high interest loan sites.
Google Mobile-Friendly update (Mobilegeddon)
This mobile-friendly update, a.k.a. Mobilegeddon, arrived in 2015, and ever since then, there has been talk of a new, separate index for mobile-friendly websites. It finally saw the light of day in 2018, and sites that prepared for it early were promptly added in this new index.
What lies in post-Mobilegeddon SEO?
A website needs to meet certain requirements to be considered mobile-friendly. Replace “mobile” with “user” and you can easily tell what half of them are; after all, mobile SEO is primarily user experience-oriented.
Let’s see how many of these you have guessed!
1. Responsive design
2. Large font
3. No unplayable elements
4. No intrusive elements (with a few notable exceptions)
5. Space between interactive elements
6. No separate website
7. Loading speed