Off-page SEO refers to the various actions you can take to improve your search ranking without directly editing your website. In this section, we'll talk about 3 different aspects of off-page SEO: submitting your URL, inbound links, and social media.
Submitting Your URL
Earlier in this article, we talked about how search engines have spiders that crawl the web looking for new pages. If you have a new website, it will eventually be found by these spiders, but you can speed up the process if you manually submit your website's URL to search engines.
Inbound links (also called backlinks) refer to links from other websites to your own.
Most SEO experts agree that having a high number of relevant inbound links is the most effective way to attain a high ranking in search results. The difficult part, of course, is creating a site that other people want to link to. There are a few well-established methods for acquiring inbound links—this process is known as linkbuilding.
- Maintain an active blog with content that is useful to people in your field. Blog entries written by experts that offer useful and up-to-date information are frequently linked to.
- Write guest blog posts for other people in your field who have websites. Often you'll be able to include a link to your blog in the guest post's byline, which can be a valuable inbound link.
- Get in touch with journalists to pitch a story about one of your upcoming products, releases, shows, etc. If someone writes a story about you in an online newspaper, they'll certainly include a link to your site.
There are limitless ways to get inbound links to your site—be creative and persistent and your site will ultimately benefit by having an increased search ranking.
Hubspot has an excellent article that describes several ways to build inbound links.
Using so-called "black hat" practices to build inbound links (e.g. spamming links, buying links, etc.) will get your site banned from search engines. Avoid these schemes at all costs—good SEO takes time, but it is ultimately very rewarding.
Social media optimization refers to the various ways in which using social media can support a website's SEO efforts.
Having a social media presence is an important aspect of SEO. There are several things to consider as you begin to adapt the content on your site to be more integrated with social media:
- Is your content shareable? Make sure that your website's content is divided up in such a way that someone could easily share a page with their friends. Consider adding share buttons to blog entries, product pages, or other great, shareable content.
- Do you have an active social media outlet? It's better to have one active social media outlet (on Facebook, for example) than an account on ten social media sites that you never use. It's paramount that you have at least one. Having a social media account where you regularly post updates and where you respond to your customers or visitors makes your site more inviting and trustworthy.
- What do your customers love? Consider what your customers love and give it to them. Social media is the easiest way to connect directly with your customers and find out what they what they're looking for. Once you have a following of fans, it's easier to plan the next steps for your business and spread the word when you're announcing something new.
Search results are slowly becoming more personalized, and social media is starting to play a much bigger role in determining a page's search ranking. When people like and retweet your content, it is a sign to search engines that it is respected by the community. In turn, your content will be shown to more people in search results, which leads to more followers and fans—if social media is done well, it leads to an ever-growing audience.
Read our social media engagement study for more insights.