Techniques and Checklist
Off-page SEO is the work and reputation you build for your company externally, off your website itself.
Essentially you want all of your off-page SEO techniques and work to come back to your website.
Some of the elements of off-page SEO rankings are:
- Trust - are you reputable? What kind of reviews, links and comments come back to you, your website and your brand online from other sites?
- Relevance - are you getting mentioned and linked to from quality sources online within your industry, or are you getting a bunch of low-quality spammy links?
- Social Shares - create great content, get it shared out by fans and influencers and you’ll start acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks that check all the boxes mentioned.
These elements make up off-page SEO:
- Robots.txt file - this file tells search engines which pages and folders you want indexed and crawled and which ones you want to stay hidden.
- Sitemap.xml file - this file tells the search engines how the pages on your site are linked and connected, making it easier to crawl and index your website.
- Citations - these are your brand and company mentions online from external sites and sources.
- Backlinks - these are links coming into your website from external sites and sources. Google sees these as votes of confidence and authority for your company.
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Robots.txt - telling Google what to grab and what to leave behind
Your robots.txt file is a text file that is created to be read by web crawlers like Google.
It tells Google which pages of your website to crawl and index and which directories and pages to ignore.
It’s a technical exercise and messing it up can cause your entire website to be ignored by Google!
Leave the robots.txt file up to a quality SEO expert and web developer to create and maintain for you.
Your Sitemap File
As it sounds, your sitemap is the roadmap of your website that Google interprets.
It exists to guide google through the directories and pages of your website and to tell Google how they are all linked together.
Another document that can wreak havoc on your marketing if it’s done incorrectly.
Again leave this one to your SEO professional and web developer to create and maintain.
Citations are a fancy way of saying your Name, Address and Phone number mentioned across the web.
Every time a page references your name, address or phone number, that is a citation.
You want to ensure that all citations are accurate and only the most relevant information is online and correct.
There are many citation services available to check online and look for brand mentions.
Ensuring these are all the same is very important to your local SEO.
Backlinks - the Votes of the Internet
Of all the ranking factors Google analyzes when going over your website and deciding where it stacks up against competitors is your backlink profile.
Backlinks get created when another website links back to yours from theirs.
Each link that comes back into your website domain is a vote of confidence and authority.
Yet, not all backlinks rank the same.
Backlinks coming from quality websites that have a lot of domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) tend to carry more weight than backlinks from low-quality spammy sites.
Where and how your website acquires and values backlinks will also depend on your business strategy.
If you’re a locally owned business that only serves customers within a specific geographic area within your city, you’d want to collect backlinks from locally owned businesses, blogs, websites and directories.
If you’re a business with a national or international focus that’s not bound by physical space or geographical factors, you’d want to collect as many backlinks as possible from relevant, industry-specific businesses that match yours.
This is one huge area where local and non-local seo require different strategies and tactics.
Guest posting is creating content that is featured on someone else's website.
The advantage to doing this, is you get a link (vote) back to your website from another external site.
The more popular and authoritative this website is, the more value that link will have.
I would advise creating content and collaborating on other websites within your industry from the most relevant links.
Getting links from locally owned and run websites is great also for local seo as it reinforces your relevance and ties to your area.
Guest posting is a cornerstone strategy of content marketing.
Local SEO is how well you show up in your local area for searches that are based on your city name, and proximity to your business.
Local SEO has some different components and strategies than national/international SEO.
As it is such a large topic, we will cover Local SEO in a future guide.
As you have discovered there are many pieces to consider when implementing an SEO strategy.
We hope this guide has cleared up some of the mystery around SEO.