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Ultimate Off-Page SEO Checklist to Appear Higher in SERPs

Ultimate Off-Page SEO Checklist to Appear Higher in SERPs

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SEO is a marketer's bread and butter.

Cleaning up your content and ensuring your site runs smoothly is vital. However, it's the off-page SEO tactics that often get overlooked.

Not only will it further improve your rankings, but it will also help to boost brand awareness in third-party areas. The more you get people talking, the less work you may have to do in the long term.

First, we'll define off-page SEO, then dive right into our off-page SEO checklist.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO refers to any search optimization tactics that you perform outside of your domain. For a better reference, let’s quickly compare this definition to the two other types of SEO:

  • On-page SEO – Actions taken on the web page to improve search visibility
  • Technical SEO – Actions taken to improve the UX and help Googlebot index content

Off-page SEO refers to tactics such as backlinks from other websites, social shares, or a citation. All of these happen on other popular websites and exist primarily to drive more users to your domain.

Developing an effective off-page SEO strategy is generally more challenging than the other two practices. You need to figure out ways to effectively use these third-party sources to get those users interested in the content hosted on your pages.

To do this, be sure to follow this step-by-step checklist to jumpstart your tactics immediately.

1. Evaluate Your Backlinks

A backlink is any link found on a third-party site that links back to your domain.

Backlinks can be helpful or harmful depending on the source. This is because Googlebot begins to associate these domains as it crawls a site and follows links to external websites.

If the backlinking site is a trusted, high-ranking one, the link will transfer some of that domain authority to yours by association. Conversely, a toxic backlink from an untrusted domain will negatively impact your SEO over time.

For this reason, you never want to consider black-hat strategies like purchasing links or signing up for shady directories. These tactics are outdated and Google will happily penalize domains that are caught abusing the system. You want to choose high-quality sites that you would proudly think of as an industry peer or partner.

A great tool for checking your backlink profile is Google Search Console. This free platform is a tremendous boon for SEOs and will assist with all aspects of your digital strategy.

Alternatively, if you're already using a tool like Semrush for keyword tracking, you can take advantage of their backlink profile tool.

Whichever you choose, you'll be able to see a complete list of your backlinks, where the link is located, and the score received from that site. The higher the score, the better the quality of the backlink.

Advantages of Backlinks

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2. Disavow Toxic Backlinks

Whenever you run a backlink assessment, you may be unfortunate enough to see some low scores. These can be from domains you chose to work with or domains that simply happened to link your content.

A low-scoring or “toxic” backlink will negatively impact your SEO. If the referring site demonstrates low trustworthiness and authority, Googlebot may end up associating those bad marks with your brand.

Google’s recommended method for removing toxic backlinks is to do so manually. Identify the domain, take note of the exact URL, and reach out to the site’s webmaster. Be respectful of your request and instruct them to remove the backlink from the page.

Manual removal is the fastest way to eliminate a toxic backlink from your profile. The changes should be reflected in Googlebot’s next crawl.

If the webmaster is unresponsive or unwilling to play ball, you’ll need to file a request with Google. Note that Google recommends this as a last-ditch alternative if:

  • Your site exhibits numerous low-quality backlinks
  • The links can lead to a manual action on your site

You can follow the step-by-step instructions to properly submit a disavowal here. This may take several weeks as Google needs to manually review each link in each request received.

How to Disavow Backlinks in the Google Search Console?

3. Remedy Broken Links & Redirects

While these fall under the realm of on-page and technical SEO, they can impact your off-page SEO.

You don't want to earn a high-quality backlink, only to lose it due to a broken link or broken redirect. Such errors can reflect poorly on the referring site, prompting them to eliminate the link to your domain in exchange for a better one.

The same can be said for a broken redirect. Whether the link leads to a dead URL or catches the user in a redirect loop, the result is a poor user experience.

Stay on top of your SEO by regularly diagnosing your page URLs and internal links. You can do this with Google Search Console just as you did when collecting your backlinks. Identify the URL in question, locate the error, and take the necessary action to correct it.

In most cases, a broken link can be remedied with simple changes like updating the URL in the hypertext.

For redirects, make sure that the redirect chain never exceeds three steps. If the URL move is permanent, consider directly linking to the new page instead of continuing the redirect.

Redirection Loop

You should also notify backlinking sites of the change, so that both parties may continue to benefit from the association.

4. Generate New Backlink Opportunities

After you complete your website housekeeping, it's time to look for more opportunities.

The more high-quality backlinks pointing to your site, the better your domain appears in the eyes of Google. The more trustworthy you are, the more likely you are to climb the rankings with your peers.

However, acquiring authoritative backlinks won't come easy. You'll need to dedicate time and resources specifically to social outreach and bridging new connections.

A. Get Involved in Content Marketing

Content marketing is a crucial component of any SEO strategy.

Creating a blog is a great investment as it benefits both your on-page and off-page SEO. The page itself helps build organic traffic by providing helpful how-to guides or authoritative answers to industry questions.

This can lead to shares on social media, forums, and other websites where discussions related to your industry happen.

However, when aspects of your content are particularly striking, other websites may want to use it. If particular facts or statistics serve to supplement a topic or opinion piece on another site, don't be surprised to see a backlink to your URL.

This is a huge compliment as it shows that your peers and/or competitors find value in your work. That trust and authority get noticed by both the users reading that content as well as Googlebot.

Furthermore, having your link in front of a new audience is an ideal way to generate new forms of traffic. The more clicks you obtain from new sources, the more likely you are to climb higher in SERPs.

B. Start Guest Blogging

Some sites may look to outside sources for blog content on their site. The reasons for this can be:

  • They lack time or resources to create enough original content
  • They are actively looking to network with other high-ranking sites

The viability of guest blogging will likely depend on how well people know you and your brand. For the same reason that webmasters want to avoid low-quality backlinks, they may hesitate to invite articles written by an untrusted source.

That's where it's your job to effectively sell yourself to your peers. Reach out and make an offer that's worthwhile to both parties. An exchange of guest blogs for either site can provide both with fresh content, while also netting both a quality backlink.

The more you build up a portfolio of successful guest blogs, the easier it will be for you to score new opportunities.

Finally, be on the lookout for opportunities to get featured in a round-up article. These won't require you to write a full post, but instead offer a few key points of insight. You'll find yourself featured among a longer list of trusted domains in the industry.

C. Check Your Competitors' Backlinks

If you're stumped on how to find new, worthwhile backlinks, why not look at your competitors?

You can utilize paid SEO tools like SpyFu or Semrush to collect a full list of backlinks by domain.

While it may be a hard sell to steal a backlink out from under a competitor, it's possible with the right content. Take the time to review the linked content and determine if you have content that outperforms the current offering. Be sure to be respectful in your pitch to the webmaster and carefully explain why linking to your content is more beneficial to their brand.

An alternative, and possibly more effective approach, is to look for broken backlinks on those profiles. You're trying to catch competitors that are being too relaxed regarding their off-page SEO.

Competitor Backlink Analysis

Reach out to the backlinking domains and advise them of the broken and dead links on their pages. Offer your content as a replacement and see if they take you up on your offer. If your competitor isn't interested in upkeeping their links, then it may as well go to someone like you who needs it.

D. Sign Up for Local Directories

Though they're mostly outdated, the web still has several effective directories available for small businesses.

The most important of these is Google My Business. This is a collection of business profiles hosted by Google to help its users find local brands relevant to the search request.

Your GMB profile will highlight your company within SERPs. Users can browse photos, find your website link, and locate your NAP information with ease. Mobile users in particular may be more likely to contact your business directly from a GMB profile as opposed to visiting your domain.

Regardless, GMB can help to boost engagement and ratings for your brand. It's an invaluable source of traffic that can help smaller companies compete even when it's tough to break through with organic rankings.

Example of Google My Business Listing

Many other directories are still relevant today. Some, like Yelp, cater to all businesses. However, some industries have dedicated listings.

Examples of popular directories include:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • UberEats
  • Yahoo!

Be sure to check for any industry-specific directories available to you at both the national and local levels.

E. Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get Active on Forums

Our final tip is an old-school tactic that still works today. It's successfully helped many brands find their audience and generate a much-needed surge of engagement.

We recommend popular forum sites like Reddit or Quora for this purpose. Both are resources for users to ask questions and receive no-nonsense advice from registered or anonymous users.

One thing you don't want to do is mindlessly plug your brand in inappropriate places. Instead, actively get involved in the community discussion. If you notice users complaining about a particular problem, find a way to naturally segway your brand as the solution.

Likewise, if you find users parroting false information or bad advice, use your expertise to course-correct. It's acceptable to cite your occupation and qualifications when providing better data. This helps you stand out as an industry authority, while simultaneously appearing genuine to your audience.

The goal here is to gain a new following through honest, sincere interaction. Become an active member of the community and watch as new users start to visit your website.

5. Develop a Social Media Strategy

Social media continues to change the way we see and use the internet.

Approximately 4 billion people globally use some form of social media today. For this reason, more and more brands, both in B2B and B2C, are turning to social networking.

Like forums, social media provides a way for brands to ingrain themselves in a community. You get to be a part of the conversation and hear exactly what your customers are saying. It provides a constant feedback loop and allows you to quickly respond to customers at a moment's notice.

Social media provides multiple uses. Some brands choose to create free accounts and post on a regular schedule. Creating engaging, dynamic posts helps your brand occupy a portion of the mindshare.

How Does Your Company Benefit From Using Social Media?

You can gather more data about your audience and cut through the noise by running a paid ad campaign. This allows you to hyper-target specific individuals that appear to be most receptive to your messaging. The journey from ad to landing page, to your website, can provide a supplementary source of traffic that helps to boost rankings.

Likewise, you can choose to promote posts that feature particularly great content. You can create original, high-quality video content or infographics tailored specifically to the platform. You may also combine social media with your content marketing efforts to drive more attention to a great article featured on your blog.

As you build a social media following, you may find yourself gaining exponentially more likes and shares on all of your content. This creates more links pointing to your site and more opportunities to appear higher in SERPs.

6. Influencer Marketing

With the boom in social media, there has also been a substantial rise in influencer marketing.

Sites like YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and TikTok are all personality-driven platforms. These influencers start as everyday users that happen to create compelling content. As more users begin to follow them for their content, their relative fame and star power increases.

However, social media influencers offer a unique benefit as opposed to a direct brand partnership. Audiences see these influencers as grounded, down-to-earth individuals. This creates a form of trust that is not easily replicated by a company or corporation.

You can still leverage that audience trust to your advantage by partnering with these influencers. Instead of trying to convert new customers with typical sales strategies, you allow the influencer to speak about your brand on your behalf.

How Influencers Affect Search Engine Rankings

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This is typically done by agreeing to pay the influencer a monetary sum in exchange for a set amount of exposure. It's a great way to connect with new audiences in new areas that your other strategies may not reach.

7. Business Reviews

You can never underestimate the power of a business review.

Where consumers hesitate to trust the voice of a brand, they eagerly place their faith in reviews from customers regardless of the rating.

A staggering 98% of consumers look for local business reviews before interacting with them or making a purchase. We want that validation of knowing we will have a positive experience before we take a financial risk.

However, less than half of consumers will leave a review of their own.

Taking the time to solicit more reviews from paying customers is an excellent way to gain more traction online. A primary way to achieve this was discussed earlier, through local directory listings. Keep your GMB and Yelp profiles up-to-date and more customers will leave reviews.

There are also dedicated business review websites you can register with such as the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

Finally, you can solicit more customer testimonials through direct conversation or email marketing. Consider providing some minor incentive to help persuade them. Know that collecting a variety of reviews can be useful in future content creation on and off your website.

7 Simple Ways to Get More Online Reviews for Your Buisness

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Improve Your Off-Page SEO for Better Rankings

Off-page SEO is an excellent way to connect your brand to new audiences.

It's also a tactic that requires a genuine approach and a willingness to connect with your community and your peers. If you prioritize high-quality content creation, you'll find it that much easier to make these connections.

To quickly review:

  • Evaluate your existing backlinks
  • Ask webmasters to remove backlinks from untrusted sites
  • Get your internal links and redirects in order
  • Generate new backlinks through blogs, local citations, forums, and competitor backlink espionage
  • Promote your content on social media
  • Network with trusted social media influencers
  • List your site on platforms that allow for customer reviews

These tactics not only boost your brand visibility but simultaneously boost consumer trust in your authority. As you continue to improve your off-page SEO, results may start to come more naturally with time.

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Unlimited Sub-Accounts

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All Apps

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Active Community

Mobile App

Live Support

100+ Tutorials