August 13, 2020 Last updated August 13th, 2020 1,873 Reads share

A Complete Off-Page SEO Checklist for Small to Large Business Websites

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Talk of Search Engine Optimization and attention immediately turns to on-page optimization strategies. The right use of keywords, quality content, URL optimization, Meta Data, Alt Tags, etc. would help you rank your website high on Search Engine Results Pages. But you are likely to see desired results when you complement your on-page SEO strategies with the right set of off-page SEO strategies. Sadly many businesses and even optimizer tend to lose their focus when it comes to off-page SEO. The reason is evident as off-page SEO is more challenging and demanding. However, without an enthusiastic off-page campaign, you are unlikely to reach your ranking and traffic goals. 

Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?

To highlight the importance of off-page SEO and draw an analogy from the world of traditional marketing – if on-page SEO is the signboard you put up in your premises to make your claims, off-page SEO is what others talk about you on the streets. Depending on the reputation of the people talking about you, your brand is expected to benefit. The absence of a strong off-page SEO campaign limits the success of your on-page efforts. Often people mistake off-page SEO to be only linking. While linking remains one of the most important parts of off-page optimization it is much more than that. 

Assess Health of Backlink Profile

It goes without saying that the quality of the backlinks on your site decides the success of your off-page marketing campaign. Not all backlinks improve our SEO score and there are some that might also prove to be counterproductive. This is where you need to start by assessing the health profile of your backlinks. There are several tools such as Moz, Ahrefs, and Google Search Console, etc. that help in this endeavor. All these tools are free to use and allow you to check everything from which pages are being linked to your site and their reputation. You will also get advanced insights such as domain rating and domain authority of your site which gives you a fair idea of where you stand. 

There are paid tools such as SEMrush offering you more detailed insights on your backlink profile. Likewise, Moz and Ahref’s paid versions will offer you deeper insights than the free version. Once you have generated these reports, it is important that you save these reports in a location that can easily be accessed by your team. Google sheets are one of the best options as they can easily be shared within the team and improve collaboration. 

Understand Your Competitor’s Strengths

When Generals lead their armies into a battle, they do two things. First, they assess their own strengths and follow it up with assessing the strength of their adversary. In the world of digital marketing where the competition is neck-breaking, you must have a clear idea about your competitors’ strengths vis-à-vis their backlink profile. Look at the backlink profile of your competitors that rank above you and just below you using the same tools that we have mentioned above. This will give you a clear picture of what they are doing to get traffic into their website and also offer you a detailed roadmap of what you need to do to put your website’s ranking ahead of them. Here it is important for you to check the backlink profile of your direct competitors as well as those who you are likely to compete against in the near future. 

Choose Link Building Options

Once you have done your internal link assessment and also that of your competitors it is important for you to pick and choose the best strategies based on your needs, budget, and of course your goals. From fixing broken links to attracting traffic through local citations and paid advertising there are several options you can explore. Add to this social sharing and guest blog posting and we are talking about a multitude of options of off-page Search Engine Optimization. Ideally, you should opt for a mix of a few of these strategies. It would be wise for you to employ a few at a time and measure the KPIs. This will give you a fair idea of where you should focus your energy. Not all strategies are likely to fetch the same kind of results for every brand and hence you need to adopt strategies based on your audience, competition, and other market dynamics. 

Fix Internal Linking Issues

You may be surprised to see this point being mentioned on this off-page SEO checklist. But as we have stated at the start of this piece, a rewarding SEO campaign is one where your on-page and off-page strategies play complementary roles. Poor internal linking jeopardizes content discovery and also creates poor user experience. Follow a convention where every page has a minimum of three internal links. Optimizing them with anchor text would be an even better option. There are tools such as Website Link Analyzer Tool that will help you identify pages that need internal links and you can proceed on those desired steps. It is important to bear in mind that quality internal linking helps search engine crawlers index your site better and results in higher rankings. 

Do Away With Broken Links

Even people with an elementary knowledge of Search Engine Optimization would tell you that broken links are one of the biggest roadblocks to high rankings on Search Engine Result Pages. They hurt your SEO score as Google’s crawlers treat them as a negative signal. Forget the technicalities, a 404 error results in poor user experience and can lead to users developing a negative vibe about your brand. It is akin to sharing your location with potential customers only for them to not find your office or store at the location. You need to fix all the broken links on your website. Link audit tools would offer you insights into all your broken links and you need to fix them. However, this is a continuous exercise as when you add more pages and content to the site the chances of broken links also increase. You need to run regular site audits to spot and fix them. 

Content Outreach

This is an excellent means of putting a backlink and earning redirects to your website. This is more of a problem-solving approach that benefits the users as well as brings you traffic and also helps in increasing your rankings. Read through blogs, forums, and communities where you come across a question or a problem that is being discussed. If you have content on the website that offers solutions to the problem get in touch with the webmaster, author, or editor and pitch in with your solution to the problem with a request to link it back to your website. This helps you build your authority in the subject matter and improves your brand reputation. It is important to remember that you should avoid asking for links to your product pages and rather redirect to those pages where you have case studies or tutorials offering a solution to the problem. Once you attract a user to the site, you can easily redirect them to pages containing your products and services. 

Local Citation and Directory Profiles

Business listing sites and local citation directories are important parts of any off-page SEO strategy and you must register your website with the best listing platforms such as Google My Business, Yellowpages and CDNPages. These websites improve the discoverability of your site and are quickly indexed by search engine crawlers. While there are dozens of such listing platforms available you must be cautious in choosing the trusted one. You shouldn’t get carried away into creating a profile on the spammy listing sites, and this strategy can prove to be counterproductive. Hence, you must do a background search on the reputation on the platforms, and apart from the two we have mentioned above you can add your business profile to the top local directories. They offer immediate visibility to your business thanks to their higher rankings. It is important for you to use the best digital marketing and update your local citation and directory profiles as and when you are changing your address, contact information, or the products and services you offer. The information available on these platforms should be up to date.

Guest Blogging

This is one of the most proven off-page SEO strategies. While this is more time consuming compared to some of the other strategies we have mentioned in the checklist, this is one of the most productive ways of generating backlinks. Here you will have to post expert opinion articles related to your business that benefit the readers. Along with improving your reputation this also helps you gain traffic to your website. Here you must create a list of your industry related guest posting sites that accept third-party articles. You must read through the instructions of these sites and also understand their audience profile, tone, and writing styles. Get in touch with the webmaster with your pitch and then write your post. With guest blogs, you should always be careful and not sacrifice quality while chasing quantity. It isn’t the number of guest blogs you write but whether your post strikes the right chord in the minds of the readers is what matters. Apart from improving your site’s off-page SEO score, guest posts are also a great way of generating direct leads for your business. 

Social Media Campaigns

You may already be running a social media marketing campaign and have done well to engage your target audience. But this is a slightly different strategy where the focus is as much on engaging the users as it is about driving traffic to your websites. When it comes to content sharing social media offers you unlimited opportunities. Compared to guest blogging your posts might achieve 10x or even 100x visibility on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Apart from freely sharing your content, you can also use their paid promotion tools to improve the visibility of your campaign. There are high ranking sites that allow you to post guest blogs on a payment basis. Case studies, quizzes, and offering free downloads on social media is one of the best ways of linking your website to these platforms.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is an important off-page strategy and offers you immense visibility on the search engines. Platforms like Google AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others allow you to post your paid ads in terms of case studies, infographics, and text-based content to drive traffic to your website. This shouldn’t be mistaken for buying links on third-party sites that usually don’t offer you the same kind of visibility as paid ads. While you need to loosen your purse to implement this strategy, it can offer immediate traction to your site and offers you more control over the links and content that direct traffic to your website.

Leverage Competitor’s Broken Link

We have already talked about the importance of fixing broken links on your website and now you can extend this strategy to leverage the broken link of your competitor’s website. If you find broken links on your competitor’s website during your competitor analysis that we have already mentioned, you can reach out to those webmasters with the offer of linking to similar and relevant content on your website. This is one of the easiest off-page backlink strategies as your competitor’s broken link may be linked to several websites and you can hit a goldmine if you are able to find one broken link on their website. This also gets you redirects from highly read articles and posts. 

We have come to the end of our checklist and to sum up these are the strategies you should adopt and activities you must perform when it comes to your off-page SEO campaign. It is important that the off-page campaign is planned meticulously and executed methodically. If you don’t have the required skills or expertise in-house you should immediately get in touch with an agency that comes with a proven track record.  

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karam Mangat

karam Mangat

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