Off-Page Optimization is a subarea of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and serves as a counterpart to On-Page Optimization, which takes care of technical aspects of a page and successful user interaction (usability). Off-page optimization includes all external measures that are undertaken outside of the own website (off the page) and focuses in particular on link building.
Elements of Off-Page Optimization
Off-page optimization, if operated as recommended by Google, can only be influenced to a limited extent by the website operator himself. Nevertheless, there are certain elements that an SEO can influence.
The goal of link building is to ensure that a website receives the highest possible number of backlinks from the highest possible quality pages. To achieve this, there are different ways to achieve this, which are more or less welcomed by Google.
Search engines prefer a website to build backlinks organically, because it offers high-quality content and users therefore link the site voluntarily. A link is then a recommendation to the user, which shows that another site reports something good on a topic.
Getting backlinks with content marketing
A safe way to get backlinks is content marketing. Here, good content is put on the site and shared in various social media portals. The content can be available in different forms, for example: blog article, videos and graphics, studies/whitepapers, podcasts and webinars, e-books, newsletters, debates/seminars etc.
Through user interaction with the content, the content is further linked — new backlinks are created. The prerequisite is that the content is actually interesting, of high quality and new to the user and can serve as a reference or source if necessary. Offline measures, such as flyers, exhibition stands, conferences or similar, can also generate backlinks.
Social signals are generally understood to be “signals” that point from social media towards a website. So how many Likes does a post have? How often do users retweet my message? What rating does a company have on Google+? Occasionally, social interactions such as blog comments or article ratings are also referred to as social signals.
How important these signals are for the ranking is still debated. Many experts suspect that Google considers them important, or at least that there is a correlation. Others believe that there is no direct correlation between good rankings and many Likes and +1. But even Google itself keeps hinting how important positive signals from social media are.
Whether or not social signals play a direct role in off-page optimization, we can agree that social media can bring attention, traffic and user engagement to a website. Companies should therefore be present and active in social media.
PR, Reputation and Brand Management
PR, marketing or brand management can also be mentioned as indirect off-page optimization. Google prefers companies in the Ranking, which appear as opinion leaders or authority — that means that strong brands can have it easier to reach good positions in the SERPs.
A high search volume for a brand name or the frequent mention of a company on the net could indicate that a brand has high brand awareness and is well-known. Moreover, many backlinks and a high level of activity and followers on social media platforms can be cited as clear indications of a successful brand. Positive user signals such as a high retention time and a low bounce rate can also be signs of satisfied visitors, and thus of the authority of a company.
Off-page optimization is, in addition to onpage optimization, an important part of search engine optimization. Backlinks still seem to be an important ranking criterion for Google. Also social signals and building a brand can help a website to achieve a good ranking.
At the same time, SEO experts have less influence on the off-page area if they use “legal” methods. Rather, it is the users and the community that decide which website is valuable and which brand is worth supporting. Companies can therefore best ensure more backlinks, better social signals and thus better SEO results with good content, good usability and strong customer loyalty.