I have great on-site SEO, so why are my competitors still beating me to the first page of Google?
We hear this question from businesses often. The answer?
Off Site SEO.
Of course, this answer reveals more questions:
So here’s our 8-question guide to the basics of off-site SEO:
You can say great things about your business all day long.
And so can every single other company, so why should people choose you?
Not that you shouldn't sing your own praises on your website with on-site SEO - you should!
But if you’re going for higher search rankings, more website visitors, and more online leads, you’ll need some choral backup from other websites - preferably highly respected ones where your prospects hang out.
That’s because of Google, whose end goal is providing value to searchers (i.e. your prospects).
If Google has evidence that your website provides value, they’ll rank you higher when your prospects are searching online, making your content pop up in front of their eyes right when they’re looking for your solution.
So how does Google know if your website is helpful to searchers??
These are Google’s way of seeing what others think about your company. So if no one else links to your website, it’s almost impossible for Google to determine its value.
But if highly respected websites link to yours, they show Google that you’re a legitimately helpful, valuable authority - otherwise (so Google’s thinking goes) why would they direct people away from their own website, to yours?
That’s why brand mentions and backlinks boost your industry authority in the eyes of both Google and your target market. Google responds by helping you get found online through higher search rankings, which in turn build trust with your target market when they see you on page 1 of Google.
And that’s why you need off-site SEO.
Off-Site SEO is any action, by you or others, that increases your SEO and takes place outside your website.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is any action that helps Google’s algorithms realize that your website will help people interested in your product or service.
For example, if your business provides a service for natural health buffs, publishing a backlinked article in a well-known natural health blog will let Google know that this highly respected industry authority stands behind your message.
And that, consequently, means you must have a natural health message worthy of sharing with your prospects.
If you’re interested in the nitty gritty of off-site SEO, here’s marketing giant Neil Patel’s Ultimate Guide to Off-Site SEO.
When most people hear SEO, they usually think of on-site SEO, which consists of choosing keywords your prospects are searching for and regularly publishing helpful content for them. The goal is that, as more prospects encounter your site and spend time engaging with its helpful content, Google ranks it higher in search results (far more so than your competitors’ rarely updated websites.)
However, despite your sturdy on-site SEO, your strongest competitors are soaring into first-page Google rankings by nurturing both their on-site and their off-site SEO.
And you don’t just want to catch up - you want to dominate.
So let’s find out how.
In increasing order of importance:
Surprisingly, not all off-site SEO is online! Any off-site links that bring in online traffic (even in a print magazine or catalog that contains a link) are off site SEO.
Back to our natural health example: is there a local event focused on organic eating or holistic treatments? Perhaps a fundraiser for healthy school lunch initiatives?
Or, even better, host one of your own!
For example, when Dogster’s (former Dog Fancy’s) online magazine mentions pet guru Jackson Galaxy’s dog training philosophy, it boosts his SEO - even without a link back to the Jackson Galaxy website.
Much off-site SEO strategy consists of nurturing backlinks to your website from other high-authority domains in your industry.
Which leads us to our next question:
Backlinks are links on other websites that link to a page on your website.
They boost your:
Figure out where your target market hangs out online.
For example, if you're in the natural health industry, pitch blog post ideas to natural health industry websites and magazines such as Natural Health Magazine’s online blog or conscious lifestyle magazine Alive.
If you succeed, publishing a backlinked article will catch the eye of readers, who can then easily click over to your website.
In addition, your contribution will let Google know that a highly respected international industry magazine stands behind your message.
Make sure you’re listed on industry resource lists and major local listings:
Pro tip: Make sure your major directory listings are complete and listed the same exact way.
Caveat: Don't go overboard listing the company on non-relevant pages or pursuing backlinks on non-relevant sites. That makes Google think you’re spam.
Perk: If you keep publishing helpful content on your own website, other websites might link to it on their own! This is called natural link acquisition, since you didn’t even have to ask. :)
Extra Resource: Crazy Egg’s “Smart Ways to Get Quality Backlinks”
Authority, trust, and respect are not for sale - and, like buying friends, buying backlinks will only backfire. Paid links are obvious to Google’s search spiders, who will eagerly penalize you for them.
Likewise, if you get a bunch of links on seldom visited, unhelpful sites with low domain authority, the Google spiders will also see that as link spam and rank you lower.
So, as with friends, quality counts more than quantity. Even a small number of high-quality links will lift you up, while a lot of low-quality and/or purchased links will only bring you down.
Of course not - that’s our job!
Our marketing strategy services create your ideal customer personas. (For example, if we find out that your customer persona is a homeowner that enjoys fitness, we may recommend sponsoring a local 5K so that they’ll see you where they are already hanging out.)
Those personas help us to strategize and enact your SEO content marketing, on-site and off-site SEO strategy, and backlink building.
All you have to do is have a few chats with us (we’d love to hear from you!) and watch your online leads soar.
Want to talk more about how we can help you? Click the button below to book a time to talk with us, or give us a call at 916.608.8913Let's Talk!