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Off-site SEO, or how to effectively implement external linking?

SEO is based on both activities on your own website and outside it. Activities on external portals are referred to as offsite SEO. What does it mean exactly and how does it work? How to establish an effective strategy to strengthen the SEO effects of your website? Find out in our article.

What is off-site SEO?

Offsite SEO is a series of different website positioning activities that are carried out outside the target site. They are intended to present the website as being trustworthy and quality. The following offsite SEO activities include:

– building the number of valuable backlinks,
– taking care of the quality and appropriate profile of backlinks,
–  increasing brand awareness,
– authority, age and history of the domain,
– brand popularity on the web,
– encouraging user involvement (e.g. by sharing information about the company and visiting its website).

In order to better present what off-site SEO is, it is often said that it is the opposite of on-page SEO, which is focused solely on activities related to the positioned website. With off-site SEO, the activities are performed off-site.

Why is off-site SEO so important in your SEO strategy?

Everyone who positions their website dreams of success and top positions in Google. The difficulty on the road, however, is the intense competition and the amount of ranking factors that Google takes into account. There is a lack of official guidelines from Google, which is the most important element in an SEO strategy, so when positioning you should rely on the tips from industry specialists. After all, many people ignore advice from SEO experts and focus solely on on-site optimization. The activities on the website are important, but not the most important, which is confirmed by the research carried out by the Baclinko portal . The results of their research say, among other things, that:

– A website’s overall linking authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) correlates strongly with higher rankings in search engine results.
–  Google’s # 1 results average 3.8 times more backlinks than pages in positions 2-10.
– The number of domains linking to the website is correlated with the rankings.

Furthermore, Google officially announced that it is still using PageRank, the first Google update that happened in 1998. The change introduced at that time was to lead to the fact that websites with the most external links were placed in the first positions in Google. PageRank was removed from the Google Toolbar, but in 2016 Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that Google was still using PageRank . He later confirmed this also in 2017. This means that Google uses this factor internally.

To sum up, external linking is one of the most important factors influencing the position of your website on the web.

Effective link building, or how to perform an off site SEO audit?

Do you do SEO yourself and are not sure what your external linking situation looks like? To assess the current potential of your website and plan your action strategy, you should perform an off-site SEO audit. The analysis of inbound links will allow you to verify the differentiation of links in terms of anchors, landing pages, the quality of these links and the diversity of types of linking pages.

Off-site SEO audit tools

To fully analyze external linking, it is necessary to use specialized tools, you are not able to do it manually.

Search Console – in this tool you can find out which subpages have the most incoming links and which domains have the most of them. You can also download information about the latest links to keep track of the changing situation. To get an internal linking report in Google Search Console, go to Search Traffic and then Links to Your Site. The next step will be to click More in the sources of the largest number of links and download the data via the button Get more sample links.

Majestic – is a powerful external linking analysis tool. The results are broken down into a historical index, which is based on data collected over the lifetime of the tool, and a fresh index that collects the latest 90 days of data. In the tool, you can check the total number of backlinks, the number of linking domains, as well as the website power resulting from the number of links (Citation Flow). At Majestic, you can also check Trust Flow, which is the trust indicator. It depends on how many clicks / links separate the analyzed website from the most trusted ones.

Ahrefs – is a tool that presents a similar range of information to Majestic. The parameters used, however, differ in terms of names. The same parameters that evaluate the quality and number of links here are URL Rank and Ahrefs Domain Rank. The list of Ahrefs backlinks can be found in the Inbound Links -> Links tab. It’s worth noting that Ahrefs also gives you the option to compare domains. To do this, just go to the Domain Comparison tab.

External linking – the most important principles of operation

In order to successfully implement off-site SEO, it is worth remembering about a few golden rules of external linking.

Avoid automating external linking

Automation is a very useful solution that will help you improve your work. However, you need to know to what extent you can use them, so as not to achieve the opposite effects. Use automations only to search for linking sites, not to post links. In this way, you could completely lose control of your actions. Automation means mass activities that are based on patterns that are easily detectable by Google. Of course, there is a chance that you will get your dream positions quickly this way, but you can lose them even faster. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to fix such a bug.

When it comes to off-site SEO, focus on quality, not quantity

Of course, the number of links is very important in off-site SEO, but the quality of the links obtained is a more important factor. One link from a page with high authority will be more valuable than ten links from pages with very poor quality. Don’t know how to define high-quality links? First of all, make sure that external linking is not based on the idea of ​​a raise. Thus, instead of SEO directories, choose web directories. Instead of mass entries on weak websites, choose high-quality entries on thematic websites. Instead of automatically linking the page on forums, build your position as a user and publish valuable posts there.

Take care of the topic of external linking

Google expects quality in every way, remember that. It makes no sense to act massively, because it will not bring you the expected results. Google restricts the reach of pages that operate randomly, massively. Therefore, instead of directing external linking to multi-topic websites (or worse, completely unrelated to your industry), try to find pages that are thematically close to your offer. Also, remember to surround the link with content relevant to the topic, then the search engine will be able to associate the link with specific keywords.

Vary your off-site SEO activities

Google pays special attention not to work with diagrams, so your website positioning strategy should as much as possible resemble the natural increase in interest around the website . Therefore, take care of a diversified profile of links, linking to different landing pages, as well as differentiating anchors.

Strengthen external links

You can influence (to some extent) the power of the obtained link on your own. Therefore, if you link to your website, for example from the forum level, make sure that your account is active and well-developed. Participate in various discussions, this way your profile will gain trust. The link leading to your website will be stronger if you post 10 different posts on the forum than one post with a link to your website. You can also strengthen your back pages in a similar way – link to them from other pages.

Where to get external links from?

Off-site SEO can be broken down according to the nature of the activities that are being undertaken. You can get some of the links yourself by posting entries on selected pages, but to get some links you will have to try harder.

Where can you put external links yourself?

– Information services / guides / courses,
– Classifieds websites,
– Thematic blogs,
– Back-end pages,
– Thematic forums,
– Websites with reviews, opinions,
– Citizen journalism services,
– Catalogs of companies / stores / startups / websites / blogs,
– Databases of training / conferences / industry meetings,
Social media.

Other ways to get external links

The sites from which you can get the most powerful links are usually the ones where you won’t be able to post yourself. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up trying to get backlinks from these sites. Sometimes a proper strategy is enough for this. Below are some proven ways to get external links.

Sending out press releases – Don’t be afraid to brag about your achievements. Sometimes Google’s search results are based primarily on messages, so it’s a good idea to use this method. However, consider what information you can include in your press release. These may be, for example, the results of important industry research, a report on the situation of employees in a given sector, an e-book, industry interview, etc. Perhaps a portal will decide to provide this information on its website.

Content exchange – A great way to get external links is to collaborate with the owners of other websites. Find pages that are thematically related to your content and offer them to exchange guest posts. You can also ask about the possibility of publishing a sponsored article.

Searching for already published entries – you can also try to get links from articles that are already on the web. However, it is important that you suggest some benefit for the owners of this website. For example, you can find an article and propose to expand it with an aspect in which it is a specialist.

Retrieving links – an effective way is also to search for published articles that use your graphics or texts without specifying the source. Then, citing the copyright, you can ask the website owner to add a link to your website. However, make sure that the link is positioning (to follow), it should also be directed to the appropriate subpage.

Off-site SEO, or how to effectively implement external linking? Summary

The SEO consists of many elements, it is impossible to determine which of them is the most important. There is no doubt, however, that off-site activities are as important as on-page activities. Do not underestimate them and ensure effective external linking to enjoy high positions in Google search results.

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