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When it comes to optimizing for search engines, the work you do on your website is only half the effort. Your off-page SEO strategy, or the actions you take to optimize your off-site presence, can make a huge difference in traffic, search engine rankings and revenue.

In fact, Moz estimates that an off-page SEO strategy could make up more than 50% of Google’s search engine ranking factors.

Yet, many business owners still prioritize their on-site SEO.

So, what is off-page SEO? The many off-page factors that contribute to a successful SEO  strategy can get a little murky, so we’ve put together a helpful guide and off-page SEO checklist to get you started.

Here’s an overview of what we’ll cover:

What Off-Page SEO Is

On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO Checklist

Final Thoughts: What Off-Page SEO Is and How To Optimize It

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO is any effort made outside of your website to improve your search engine rankings.

The Google algorithm doesn’t just use your website to rank pages; it uses your entire web presence. According to First Page Sage, backlinks alone make up 16% of ranking factors.

Pie chart of Google’s on and off-page ranking factors

Which websites and in what context they refer to your brand says a lot about your content. In this way, off-page search engine optimization is very similar to word-of-mouth marketing.

Off-page SEO is a digital record of who’s talking about your brand.

When high-authority websites reference your blog posts, that improves your post’s authority and trustworthiness. This is known as link juice. The equity passed through links ultimately helps your website rank higher in search engine results and gain more organic traffic.

The primary way Google determines this is through backlinks. Link-building efforts are a part of every content marketer’s successful off-page SEO strategy, though there are other ways to boost your website off-page, which we’ll also explain.

On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO

Although the end goal is the same, on-page SEO and off-page SEO activities differ. On-page SEO focuses on the content you create, while off-page SEO focuses on how that content is received.

Here’s a brief overview of the elements involved in on and off-page SEO.

Off-Page SEO Factors Include:

On-Page Ranking Factors Include:

  • Post title
  • Meta description
  • Header tags
  • Engaging images
  • User experience
  • Internal linking strategy
  • Page load time
  • Content quality

An advantage of on-page SEO is that it is entirely within your control. Off-page SEO can be a little more difficult to perfect.

Let’s dive into our guide to off-page SEO to get you started.

Off-Page SEO Checklist

  1. Analyze your backlink profile
  2. Conduct link-building outreach
  3. Leverage social media
  4. Increase branded mentions
  5. Optimize local SEO

Off-page SEO is a powerful tool that helps your online presence-boosting efforts. However, it’s a little challenging to grasp at first. With that in mind, we created an off-page SEO checklist to help you get started.

Here are five things you should check off your off-page SEO checklist to ensure you’re on the right track.

1. Analyze Your Backlink Profile

Backlinks are among the most important off-page ranking factors because they help build page-rank authority, a significant ranking factor for Google. A backlink essentially signals to search engines that others like your content.

High-quality links benefit off-page SEO. There are two ways backlinks can be created:

  • Natural links, sometimes known as earned links
  • Built links, sometimes known as unnatural links

Natural links occur organically when a publisher links to you, while built links occur as the direct result of your efforts.

Your link-building strategy should begin with analyzing your website’s link profile, using a backlinks checker like Moz, or Ahrefs or Semrush.

Referring domains in Ahrefs will look something like this:

Ahref’s referring domains report that finds linked off-page SEO mentions

These services will show how many links to your site you currently have and your domain authority (DA). Take a look at which pages already have a high number of links. This data will tell you which pieces are most successful and may be good to build additional links.

Keep an eye on the anchor text of your links as you build links to your website. The anchor text of each link should be diverse and relevant to your niche.

Too many identical anchor texts can result in a penalty from Google. Optimize the backlinks you already have by disavowing links from irrelevant and low-quality websites.

From here, you can also see the types of links you have, which will be a combination of Dofollow and Nofollow. You want to acquire Dofollow links as Nofollow links essentially get ignored by Google.

While examining your website, it’s also a good idea to evaluate your internal links to ensure your on-page SEO is optimized as well. After all, off-page SEO is most effective when combined with an overall SEO strategy.

These metrics won’t mean much unless you also take a look at your competitor’s backlink profile.

Examine your direct business competitors and competitors who often create content to rank for the same keywords. These competitors are not always the same.

Note which websites your competitors get links from and which content has the most links. That is known as a link intersect analysis.

2. Conduct Link-Building Outreach

Once you understand where your backlink profile stands, it’s time to continue to build your backlink profile. There are many ways to do this.

Here are the most common:

Find Broken Links

This link strategy involves finding broken links to resources or references on other websites. When you find a broken link, email the website owner or webmaster to let them know and suggest your content as a replacement.

An SEO tool like Linkminer identifies all broken links on a webpage with one click.

Chrome extension Linkminer identifying broken links

Write Guest Blogs

Offer to write unique posts for blogs and other publications. When done correctly, guest blogging can be a great way to gain a link back to your website from a high-authority website.

Identify Unlinked Brand Mentions

When a news outlet, blog, or other online publication mentions your brand without linking to it, reach out to them and ask them to link to your homepage or topic page.

That can be beneficial for both parties, as it allows their readers to learn more if they want to and adds a link to your site.

Pitch Shareable Content

Successful off-page SEO is sometimes about quality on-page content. Infographics get 178% more links than regular articles. Build links to your content by creating infographics, videos, press releases, list posts, and printables.

Find publishers already posting about the subject of your content, and email them to see if they are interested in sharing your valuable content with their readers.

Offer Expert Advice

Leverage your niche knowledge to provide input across a variety of channels. Appear as a podcast guest, do interviews, and sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

Keep Link Quality in Mind

It’s critical to remember that the quality of the links is more important than the quantity. The links you acquire should be highly relevant, and you shouldn’t pay for links. Paying for links falls under black-hat SEO links that not only cut corners but could result in a penalty from Google.

Keep these link factors in mind when building links to ensure you’re acquiring links that pass the most link equity:

Of the websiteOf the Link
●Website relevancy
● PageRank
● Authority of
linking domain
● Anchor text
● Dofollow link
● Diversity of link
Backlink Quality Factors

3. Leverage Social Media

What Off-page SEO is about is not always about backlinks.

Traffic from various sources is a positive indicator for Google, so you should also consider your social media marketing as a part of your larger off-page SEO strategy.

However, Google said in 2014 that social signals like likes and follows do not directly influence your rankings.

So why is social media important at all?

You should still share your content across your social media channels because it drives website traffic, improves engagement data, and increases the chances that someone will discover your content and link to it organically.

Influencer marketing can also help increase the off-page authority of your website and get your content in front of more people.

4. Increase Branded Mentions

Without links, branded mentions can still positively impact your search rankings. That’s because they act as an implied link.

Since links are Google’s indicators for online relationships, it makes sense that mentions also provide information about relationships.

Social media brand mentions are an off-page SEO factor that you can optimize for. Create an engaging and targeted social media campaign to increase your branded mentions across multiple platforms.

5. Optimize Local SEO

What is off-page SEO’s impact on local businesses?

Local SEO is a must-have form of off-page optimization if your business has a physical location or service area.

The main local off-page SEO strategy that you should be employing is Google My Business.

Localized search results for “computer repair” generated from Google My Business profiles
Image Source

Optimize your listing by adhering to guidelines and providing relevant and accurate information about your location, hours and services.

Reviews on third-party sites like Yelp also play a part. Increase the number of positive reviews by prompting customers to complete reviews from their email. Practice active reputation management to ensure your presence is positive.

Final Thoughts: What Off-Page SEO Is and How To Optimize It

Off-page SEO is essential for ranking in search results, generating website traffic, and growing your business.

The main thing that successful off-page SEO techniques have in common is authority and trust. Links, mentions, and social signals combine to provide a complete picture of how authoritative your brand is.

Active Link-building and social media strategies will go a long way to improve your off-page SEO.

Need help to take your SEO strategy to the next level? Our SEO services help get your website more exposure with website analytics and custom content.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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