If you have ever had to manage a website, big or small, then you’ve probably come across search engine optimization (SEO). Implementing SEO best practices can be a long process, and it can take time to see results. However, ranking higher on search engines means significantly increasing visits from potential customers. It’s why your business should make SEO a priority. To stay relevant online, companies have to employ both on page and off page SEO strategies. On page optimization refers to best practices designed to make it as seamless as possible for search engines to define your website. Whereas off page SEO affects search rankings through authority and credibility. Effective off page optimization can produce amazing results. However if done with malintent, search engines are more than willing to punish your website.

When people think of off page SEO (or off site SEO), they usually think of links and backlinks. Here’s how it works in a nutshell: having authoritative external sources link back to your site tells Google that your page checks out.

When a website provides visitors with a lot of great information and resources, Google is happy. To show it, the crawlers index websites and pages higher up on search results that seem the most relevant.

This is how the internet moves around useful information and weeds out bad sources. To make sure your web pages are optimized for ranking, here are some off page SEO tips to consider.

1. Link Building with Credible Sources

Wikipedia provides a great example of how links need to be built. Links on a Wikipedia page refer the user to a relevant page with information that is useful to the user. Due to the authority of Wikipedia and the structure and relevance of its content you can safely assume that the page a link is referring you to is extremely relevant and useful.

Link building remains one of the most effective ways to increase your search ranking. However, you need to be sure that the web pages linking to yours are relevant and just as (if not more) authoritative. Google rewards websites that have external links that are relevant and authoritative as these links can act as a reference for your web page. Professional sites that review products or services are great connections to have. Any connections you can create between your website and other credible websites will be sure to improve your search rankings.

2. Improving Pages with Quality Content

Many companies choose to promote blog articles as a way to present their website as a resource to users. Having a blog is not only a great way to share information but similar to social media marketing, a blog allows businesses to provide updates and keep visitors coming back. However, whereas a blog is indexable by Google, social media is not. Blogging allows you to write about a host of topics that answers questions that your target market may have. By consistently writing informative content that ranks high on Google, you are able to attract more engaged followers to your website who can overtime be turned into leads and sales.

Your priority should be to make sure that your content is clean, error-free, and provides benefits to visitors. SEO keywords and phrases will improve ranking and headings and titles will help break up long passages of text.

In short, create content that is worthy of being shared. If it’s interesting enough or useful enough, other websites will want to link back to yours. This is how authority is established on the internet.

3. Optimizing Website Layout and Navigation

Along with the quality of the content, the actual website needs to be set up to provide the best possible user experience.

The navigation bar is critical here. Google crawlers look for clear organization with links to more than the typical pages found on a website. This means that in addition to home and contact pages you should create pages highlighting products or services.

Break each element of your service out to its own page and make sure each page is a learning experience for the visitor. Google will reward you.

Get rid of any repeat pages and make sure all the links in your navigation bar lead to useful pages. Dead links are red lights for Google crawlers.

Make sure the overall layout isn’t cluttered with text or too many images. Give descriptive titles and use headings to help organize content into short paragraphs.

4. Building Professional Relationships

One of the best ways to get other sites to link back to yours is direct engagement. Before you start creating links you need to ask yourself whether you have any professional contacts that would be interested in your product or service.

With social media being a strong form of communication between professionals today, you can also leverage Facebook or LinkedIn to find opportunities to host guest blogs.

However, there are few ways to get things rolling faster. Find ways to propose partnerships or link building in personal, or professional environments.

In your efforts to secure links be sure not to sound desperate or urgent. At no point should your proposal sound like begging or pleading (or else it’s likely to end badly). Your professional reputation is critical to the success of your business too.

5. Develop a Strategy

These are all great tactics to help build up your visibility and you should enact them with a structured strategy in place. The key to growing and becoming more successful is measuring your progress and looking for ways to improve.

Keep an eye on keyword search positions and backlinks to learn the eventual results of your strategy. Are you appearing on new pages all the time or did a few specific pages perform really well?

Research what competitors are doing and compare your numbers to theirs. Promote your page and continue to offer regular, fresh content that’s useful to visitors.

Make sure you keep a plan in focus with clear goals, expectations, and tracking to keep the business moving forward.

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