Understand what is off page SEO and its techniques – what are backlinks and how to do link building

Chapter 9:

In this chapter we will discuss what is off page SEO and how to do it. We will elaborate on what off page search engine optimization means and covers, and how it is more than just building links for your website. Also we will tell you what links, what are backlinks, and also importance and types of backlinks. Lastly, we will cover all the important and popular off page techniques covering different techniques to acquire, and how to master these techniques.

This is what you will learning in this chapter:

1. What is Off Page SEO optimization

2. What are backlinks?

3. Off Page SEO optimization and link building techniques

Why learn SEO and why career in SEO

What is Off Page SEO

Off Page SEO is a very dynamic area of search engines optimization. This is where most of the actions for ranking pursuit happens. This is also perhaps the most misunderstood practice of search engines optimization.

What exactly we mean by off page SEO?

When we did on page or even technical SEO we covered all the techniques that were done on the web page of website. Those were basically optimization or technical and content related things.

Off page is about all the actions and techniques which are done outside of your website but aimed towards your website.

Off page basically covers strategic, planned or methodical ways of promoting your website and its content, make it reach to online users, and increase its online visibility using various techniques.

The goal of off page optimization is to create an online presence and visibility of your website to make people know about your website, get visibility and traffic, and is aimed towards positively influencing search rankings.

Most people look at it as purely a link building exercise which it is not. Building links is of course the core area of off page activities because backlinks are the most important factors for search engine rankings or keyword rankings.

But the broad and proper meaning of off page or off site SEO is that it can includes everything where you talk about your website and its content on other platforms or websites.

Domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) are one of the strongest indicators of how well your content is likely to rank for your targeted keywords. Off page SEO is done to improve both DA and PA of your website and other important evaluation parameters.

Just like keywords and optimization, off page techniques have also changed as search engines evolved and their algorithms and evaluation methods changed.

There are various techniques of doing off page search engine optimization.

Before going into that let us tell you about two factors which are at the core and heart of the whole off page practice. Backlinks.

What are backlinks?

We talked about internal links in our previous chapters on technical SEO and also in how to do on page SEO.

What is a link?

What is a link with reference to off page and link building. A link is a short form of hyperlink. Hyperlink is an HTML link which connects one web page or an online document or file to another web based page, file, document or media. A link or hyperlink has the following elements: a source page (the site or page where the link is created); hypertext on which the link is used; and a destination page (the page you visit when you click on the link created).

What is a backlink?

A backlink is an inbound link which a website gets from another websites. A backlink is created when any other website creates a link on its page which refers to our website as source of some information. Backlink becomes an incoming link for the targeted website while it is an outbound link for the source website.

Why backlinks are important

Backlinks are the most important ranking factor for search engines and the most important part of SEO. Since the time Google started viewing backlinks as a vote to a website from other different websites, backlinks started gaining importance. Backlinks are also a sign of trust, popularity of a website and its content when other websites refer to its content on their pages.

Without the right quality and quantity of backlinks a website can find it very tough or nearly impossible to rank its pages and content on search engine for its targeted keywords.

Every search engine values backlinks as one of the highest search ranking factors. Good content and quality backlinks are the top two factors which influence search engines page rankings of any website.

Not just this, backlinks expand your reach. Through right type of backlinks a website can reach its targeted audience. When you build links with websites that relate to your website in meaningful ways then you don't just get backlinks but also gain more exposure, right exposure and also referral traffic.

So, backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO and one of the most critical ranking factors.

Types of backlinks?

When we do off page SEO and start building backlinks then we acquire links from different websites. More importantly we acquire links which have different meaning and value from the perspective of SEO.

The value each link brings largely depends upon the type of website you get it from. But how much benefit a website gets from any backlink also depends upon how the link is classified by the source or the website that created the link or what attribute is assigned to the link.

By that standard there are two types of backlinks or backlink attributes practiced in the SEO industry.

DoFollow backlinks

Any backlink is a dofollow link unless it specifically states in its HTML code that it is a nofollow link.

The code for creating a backlink is <a href="destination page">

This is a dofollow backlink. What a dofollow backlink essentially means or tells search engines is that it can transfer a part of the source page's authority in terms of DA to the destination page, because the destination page and its content is trusted and voted by the source website which is the website that created the link.

Dofollow link is what everyone in the search engine optimization industry follows and aims to achieve. A dofollow backlink from a good authority website is perceived as a gold mine for any website and for its SEO.

NoFollow backlinks

A nofollow link is just the opposite of a dofollow link. Search engines see nofollow backlinks as links to websites or pages that are not voted, vetted or trusted by the websites that created the link. There are many different reasons for this.

But this nofollow link tagging started due to over abuse of certain types of websites and link practices to gain easy links for example forum postings, blog commenting, etc.

Hence, now a days all forum links, comment links, links from Q&A sites, etc. are essentially nofollow. Basically links which are easy to generate or are from user generated content are nofollow.

Not all nofollow links are bad

Many authority websites and websites which check and approve content before publishing also provide nofollow links.

As a rule nofollow links are not bad at all. Every small or big website always have a balanced mix of dofollow and nofollow links.

So, if you getting a nofollow link then do not hesitate. And never follow link building practice from the perspective of acquiring only dofollow backlinks or links only from high authority websites. Do off page to expand your presence and link with right type of websites which are relevant to your website.

Here is how to start doing off page SEO for your website.

Off Page SEO Techniques

Social media presence

This is the first step in off page. Social media is a very essential part of not only our personal lives but also our professional lives and has become much more important for business.

Having a good social media presence can bring good exposure to your website and also help your SEO and rankings, and also get you some traffic.

All small, medium and big businesses have a social media presence, and it has become essential these days. Your audience expect you to be present there.

But there are SEO reasons and benefits for doing so.

Depending upon the type of your business you can select few social media platforms and have your presence there.

The commonly used platforms are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Then there are other popular websites for social sharing and interaction like Reddit, Myspace, Tumblr.

What you can do is create business profiles of your website there, with correct and full business details. These profiles also give you opportunity to include links to your website and web pages.

Once you have created your profiles start sharing information and posts on these platforms to build awareness and engagement with your audience.

Google & Bing Places Listings

If you have a location based business then you should create your business profile in Google and Bing as the first step of your link building exercise. This is called adding or claiming business on Google and Bing. This is referred to as business listing in my business or places or map listings.

Why you need to do it first? Because these are also the two major search engines. A detailed profile there builds trust and helps in rankings.

Moreover search engines, both Google and Bing, show map listings in local packs. Adding your business details will also show your profile in these location based listings. This is local listing, a part of organic search results pages and from here also a website gets clicks and traffic.

This is a must and very important for local businesses.

Business and NAP Listing

There are websites which provide searchable database of businesses. These are listing website or business listing website. These websites provide business search on various parameters like business names, locations, products and services, etc.

Listing your business here is one of the important off page SEO techniques for businesses. Listing here provides three benefits:

  • NAP listing
  • Referral traffic
  • Backlinks

NAP means and stands for Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) of a business entity. NAP listing is important for location based businesses and is an important part of local SEO. It is critical for businesses that want to rank for location based keywords or which are local businesses.

For NAP listings, the NAP information should be correct and consistent. It is important that you first mention your correct business name, full address, and local landline phone number on your website. Then the same information should be shared across all the listing websites.

Listing websites often ask for much more information like business profile or details, products, services, employees, etc. If you create a complete profile in these sites then you can also get referral traffic from there, as people looking for products and services often search for companies and businesses on these sites.

Many of these sites also allow to link business websites, and may be other pages too. These create backlinks, and some even provide dofollow links.

Even if some website do not provide links, one should create a profile as you can mention your business, NAP and other details and get some exposure and traffic.

Some popular social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are also a great place to build your NAP profile. Both these sites allow you to create your business profile or page. You can fill your business details there along with your accurate location data or information.

Profile creation

There are many popular websites which allow individuals and businesses to create user profiles. Here also one can fill important details about businesses and also include location information. You can include your business website link and in many cases links to other pages too.

These profile creation websites offer few advantages and benefits.

Getting a backlink from a high authority website is one of the benefits you get. What you also get is referral traffic if your information is complete and attractive. These sites are also often used for personal or business networking or both. So, this could be an added advantage for a business.

Forum participation

Forums are often seen as places for links spamming. But there are reputed and credible forum sites too where people genuinely discuss and help out each other. Many of these sites also keep a track of what (links) you post and some are even very strict in this.

What one can do is create a nice and genuine profile in forum sites which are relevant for your business and its website. You can include a link back to your site in your profile.

Then start participating in those forum question answers and discussions. It would be good if you build some credibility in those forum sites first by contributing to the discussions. Once in a while if you see an opportunity where a link from any of your website page can be used as a helpful reference in any discussion then you can nicely put it in the discussion and you get a good reference link.

Q&A participation

Q&A websites are specifically created for people to ask questions and provide answers. These are information sharing sites where you can create profiles and take part. Profiles here give you a backlink. Once you start actively and positively participating, it can also bring exposure and traffic to your site.

Sites like Quora are most popular in this segment. Here you can create a profile, then answer others questions that are related to your business. You can also create your questions and answer these.

Blog commenting

Blog commenting has changed a lot since being seen as one of the easy ways to create links. You can still do it and it will be fine, but you have to be careful.

If you comment on others' blog sites to contribute towards their content or to take part in the discussion, and your provide genuine and helpful thoughts then it will be fine.

Most blog commenting allows you to insert your website URL, along with your name, email address.

The other thing to take care is chose the blog sites carefully. Create a list of blog sites which cover your industry. Read there blogs and comment only on those blog posts where you think you can contribute positively.

Publish Articles

LinkedIn is one popular social media website where you can publish articles on any subject or topic.

Writing good articles bring you contextual links which are very beneficial for SEO and for your link profile.

Medium is another such website where you can write and publish articles.

Write guest posts

Guest posts can be used to build authority and relevance for your website, and also get backlinks. Guest posts means when you write article or blog for another website or blog site as a guest. It benefits both the websites i.e. the website that offers and publishes the post and the one that writes it.

Here, you can get backlinks through the guest profile at the end of the post and sometimes also in the blog content as reference.

When you write guest posts on other websites then you get multiple benefits from it. First is the exposure to audience of the hosting site. Traffic to that post means chances of getting clicks on your link provided there. A good post will create your credibility among those audience and also for search engines.

Backlinks from guest postings become valuable when the blog site or website is relevant to your website and is in the same or related niche.

Image publishing & distribution

Getting backlinks through creating and publishing images is another popular link building technique which one can use.

You can use images to promote your content and your web pages.

You can share images used on your website on other platforms and link back to your pages. You can use those images in articles too.

You can even create unique, attractive images relevant to your industry and publish it on your site, and then post the same on social media and other sites, write some content and use those images with it to publish on other sites, referring to your own site.

There are various image sharing sites where you can publish images used on your website and also other images.

Video marketing

Acquiring links through creation and promotion of videos works similar to how you do it with images. You can create videos on the basis of your website content or content covering your industry or to show some data, statistics or facts.

By converting existing content into videos can make you reach more and do effective marketing through social media. You can make use of these videos in guest posts or articles or just publish these on youtube, dailymotion and such websites.

Use infographics

Infographics can be a wonderful way to market your website and content. If you create unique infographic then you can attract many backlinks from industry relevant and high authority websites and blog sites.

Infographics are mainly data driven. Look at your industry and research for and dig out some statistics. Build some content around it and use these to create attractive, effective and unique infographics.

Publish these infographics on your site. Encourage others to use that infographic on their sites with right promotion and include a source link on your page for websites to link back to your site or page.

Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a link building technique where web pages are saved as bookmarks on different social bookmarking sites.

There are various social bookmarking sites where you can store and save your web pages. Some of the popular ones are folkd, scoop, mix.

Since it is an easy thing to do, one thing to note for this is not to overdo it and acquire too many of these.

Create and share documents

If you can create some nice presentations or a list of things from some of your articles then you can share these with some of document sharing websites.

If you have or can create a brochure or some promotional material or content about your business or for each of its products and services then you can share those with these sites too.

You can also create some list types related and relevant for your industry and your business like, how to use products, list of benefits, list of applications, list of places near, and so on. These can also be converted into a presentation with nice images or just plain text and published on these sites.

Some site to use for this are slideshare, scribd, issuu.

Directory submissions

Directory submission is another technique to build links. Although it is being used but is not very popular due to these being considered as easy way and fast ways to acquire tons of links and also considered as spam.

Directories are different from business listing websites, yet many times refer to the same type of websites. This is due to the various types of directories.

This is relatively easier technique and could be used for initial level link building.

You should try to submit website to directories which ask you to fill little detailed level information about your business. It is because links from such directories will add value to your link profile.

Try to avoid, or at least keep it to bare minimum, directories with automatic submissions, directories where you just have to submit your URL.

Also totally avoid directories which require reciprocal links which means you will have to link to that directory from your website and then only will your website be listed on that directory.

Conclude and Revise: Off page and link building techniques

Social media presence

Whatever be the type of website create your social media profile and business pages to get exposure to industry audience and also get backlinks from your profile. This also serves as business listing.

Commonly used platforms are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Myspace, Tumblr.

Google & Bing Places Listings

This is the first thing to do for a local business. Create your business profile in Google and Bing. This is also referred to as business listing in my business or places or map listings.

Business and NAP Listing

You can list your business and NAP details in good business listing websites. These websites provide searchable database of businesses. These are good source to for name, address, and phone (NAP) for local businesses, and get relevant and powerful backlinks. These also include local listing websites.

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are also a great place to build your NAP profile. You can list in sites like justdial, indiamart.

Profile creation

Personal and business networking sites, and profile creation sites allow you to create personal or business profile where you can insert links to your website and also to various pages.

You can start with popular sites like e27, Angel.co.

Forum participation

Forums are often used for link spamming. But you can still create profiles and participate in reputed and credible industry relevant forum sites. What you get is a backlink from your profile and also can get reference links from discussions.

Q&A participation

You can answer questions and also create your own questions with good answers in some popular Q&A sites like Quora or business.com.

Blog commenting

Write meaningful comments on industry relevant blogs which contribute towards that blog. Many blogs allow you to insert your website URL, along with your name, email address.

Publish Articles

Write and publish various general, industry specific or promotional articles on sites like LinkedIn, Medium.

Write guest posts

Write guest posts on other sites and blogs to get exposure to relevant audience and also get backlinks through guest profile at the end of the post and also sometimes from the blog content as reference.

Image publishing & distribution

You can use images to promote your content and your web pages.

Use your website images or create new images to publish and share on image sharing sites like pixabay, flickr.

Video marketing

Create videos on the basis of your website content; industry relevant content; data, statistics or facts or convert brief informational PPTs or articles into videos. Publish and share these videos at sites like youtube, dailymotion and others.

Use infographics

Create good and unique infographics and share and post these on various image or infographic sharing sites to get backlinks and exposure.

Social bookmarking

Save your web pages with as bookmarks on different social bookmarking sites.

Some of the reference websites to use are folkd, scoop, mix.

Create and share documents

Use brochures, promotional or information material, lists, articles and create PDFs or PPTs to share with these sites.

Some of the reference websites to use are slideshare, scribd, issuu.

Directory submissions

Avoid automatic submission directories, instant submit sites, reciprocal directories, and directories where you just have to submit your URL.

Submit to directories which ask you to fill detailed level information about your business.

This concludes our SEO Tutorial. We hope you learned a lot with our tutorial. Keep reading from other resources and increase you knowledge and also start practicing whatever you have learned so far.

Wish you all the best for your career and further learning.