Broadly speaking, search engine optimisation strategies can be separated into two categories: on-page SEO, which covers the improvements you can make on your own pages, and off-page SEO, which deals with the way your site is viewed by others, based on factors such as links, citations and shares. While focusing on on-page SEO first is generally recommended, off-page SEO is also a crucial piece of the puzzle if your goal is to climb the search engine rankings and dramatically increase traffic and conversion rates.
Below you’ll find the Off-Page SEO Checklist which outlines some of the tried-and-true ways to boost your site’s rankings, relevance, authority and overall reputation.
Search Out Micro-Influencers
Influencer marketing is an excellent, proven way to provide your site or product with instant credibility and strong conversion rates, but it’s no surprise that most small businesses can’t afford to hire celebrities with legions of followers for an ad campaign. That’s where “micro-influencers” come into play – people with smaller follower counts and no celebrity status, but who boast a very specific audience of highly active and engaged fans. Micro-influencers are often experts and voices of authority when it comes to certain products, services, or lifestyles and data shows that the level of follower engagement is actually much higher for people with between 1-10,000 followers than it is for celebrities with millions. Luckily, micro-influencers also tend to be much more affordable and most businesses could easily set aside some of their traditional marketing budget in order to tap into that passionate audience.
Publish on Far-Reaching Platforms
Unless you plan on hiring a full-time social media manager, it’s important not to overextend yourself by attempting to maintain a presence on every platform that crosses your path. Depending on the product or service you are offering, certain platforms will provide more direct access to your target audience, but generally speaking, you are better off focusing on larger social media platforms with the farthest reach, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Even if your social media accounts aren’t driving a large number of direct sales, they are still a valuable tool for boosting visibility, increasing brand awareness and organically creating word-of-mouth interest.
Create Engaging Content
Creating helpful, interesting and eye-catching content is easier said than done, but it’s an extremely effective way to drive traffic and increase your position in search rankings. Use mixed media, such as embedded videos, infographics and professional photographs to get people’s attention and appeal to a growing majority of people who browse on a mobile device, where being able to quickly communicate at a glance is key. Resist the urge to turn all of your content into a sales pitch–sometimes, just providing fun or thought-provoking content that resonates more indirectly with your brand is a more effective strategy. And of course, don’t neglect the SEO side of things. Using the right hashtags and keywords is a subtle way of getting your audience’s attention without making it obvious. You can even come up with a branded hashtag, which is an especially effective tool for product launches or promotional events.
Do Giveaways and Contests
Scheduling a giveaway or contest to coincide with a new product release or event launch is a great way to rack up new followers and boost engagement levels. Many businesses build hype by offering a few free products in a lottery-style giveaway to people who follow, leave a comment, or tag a friend, but there are also opportunities for more complex and creative contests that have a chance at going viral, such as fan art showcases, customer selfie galleries or a contest based on the most creative video featuring your product.
Be More Than a Brand
Marketing has evolved, and one of the things that many customers now look for is content and communication that humanises the businesses they shop from. In other words, many people want to see the people behind the brand, instead of being bombarded with soulless ad campaigns. There are many ways to approach this, depending on the size and structure of your business. Some companies feature their employees on their website or social media pages, often sharing photos and stories that give customers a better idea of the people and values behind the products. Another effective strategy is to get more involved in the community that your product or service targets. For example, a business that specialises in lightweight camping gear might spend some time on travel and outdoor forums, answering questions and providing recommendations so that people come to see them as a trustworthy and genuine source of information, which is likely to influence that person’s purchase decisions in the future.
Build Natural Links
Building an organic network of backlinks from other reputable blogs, directories and social media platforms is a crucial factor in search engine rankings and overall off-site visibility. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the slower strategies and there aren’t any shortcuts. One of the best ways to build links is to look for blogs related to your niche and then reach out and offer to write a guest post or provide a piece of media to accompany existing content, provided of course that they are willing to credit you and link to your page. It’s also worth looking for online directories that allow you to create a listing for your business, such as Yelp, White Pages, Google My Business and LinkedIn. Finally, if you work with other businesses, vendors, or suppliers who have an online presence, consider writing testimonials for them. Not only does it reinforce your business relationship, but it’s an easy way for everyone involved to link to each other and boost exposure.
For a site to be truly competitive on Google and other popular search engines, a two-pronged approach to search engine optimisation is crucial. And while you can’t control every factor that plays into off-page SEO, the tips above represent proven, time-tested strategies for making your content as enticing as possible to the people whose links, shares and citations can help propel you to the top of the search engine rankings.