Introducing the Good, Bad and the Ugly in Off-Page SEO
by Constant Content
The world of search engine optimization a constantly changing one. As Google improves the way that its search engine algorithm works in order to provide quality content to its users, the older methods of SEO are no longer quite as effective. In fact, in some cases, such methods can even lead to you getting penalized by the Internet search giant.
As opposed to on-page SEO, which is all about optimizing your SEO content for the search engines, off-page SEO is only partly under your control. Off-page SEO refers to those elements which are more often influenced by your readers and other publishers. It incorporates the essential key elements of link building and social media marketing. The following takes a look at the things to do and the things to avoid when it comes to off-page SEO.
In spite of what some people might say, the latest release of the Google Penguin algorithm did not kill link building as an effective form of SEO – it just changed the game somewhat. There is now a greater emphasis on where you place your links rather than how many you have leading back to your website.
* Links on quality, relevant sites. Having your links posted on sites containing content which is relevant to your own is still useful. If the website where your link appears is a respected one with a high search engine ranking and a large number of unique visitors every day, the value of the link will be much higher.
* Diverse anchor text. Anchor text refers to the text which accompanies a hyperlink. This is the underlined, highlighted text which shows that it is a link to another page or website. Anchor text is often made up of keywords chosen from the content of an article and turned into a hyperlink. The more you diversify your anchor text, the less over-optimized your content looks.
* Internal linking. When you refer to a subject about which you have more information on your website, do you place a link to it in the content referring to the information? This can be very useful to your readers and it makes it easier for the search engine crawlers to index your site.
* Links on unrelated or low quality websites. Having links on the wrong websites can be counterproductive. If you have used aggressive link building strategies in the past, then it is likely that your links appear in places such as low quality article directories and online magazines. Such links will do nothing for your search engine marketing and you will be best off removing them entirely.
* Spam containing links. Particularly unscrupulous search engine marketers often try to boost their number of backlinks by posting spamming blog comments, social networking sites and online forums. Often, the places where they post such things are completely irrelevant to the content of the website that they are supposed to be advertising. Spam is a sure-fire way to get yourself kicked off Google.
* Link buying. Link buying is a completely artificial and unethical method of increasing your search engine ranking and it has always been against Google's webmaster guidelines. While it may have once worked to a degree, Google is getting better and better at finding out who has been paying for links and is blacklisting them as a result.
Trust and Social Media
Another factor that heavily influences your standing with the search engines is your reputation. Your reputation largely goes hand in hand with your interaction with others through social media channels. Factors such as content sharing, brand identity and authority are all important when it comes to increasing your standing with both your visitors and Google itself.
* Showing yourself to be an authority on your subject. Links to your site and sharing of your content should reflect your authority on the subject you are dealing with. If you can show that you are an authority, your standing will increase with both your visitors and the search engines.
* A well-established site. The older your site is and the longer you have been dedicated to it, the better it should perform in the longer term. A site which has a long history of using the right marketing techniques is one which is more likely to earn the trust of your readers.
* People sharing your content. People are more likely to share good content on their favourite social media services. This effectively means that they end up advertising for you and without you having to pay either. Content that is widely shared tends to do very well in the search engines. It is sharing which makes content go viral.
* Interacting with others via social media channels. Social media is just as much about listening as talking. Interacting with your targeted audience helps to build up rapport and has the potential to improve your reputation.
* Excessive posting and blatant advertising in social media outlets. While social media provides an invaluable medium for you to advertise your business and its products and services, it is generally not a platform for sales pitches and aggressive advertising. Social media is for sharing content rather than constantly posting your latest sales pitches.
* Not getting involved. Ignoring your targeted audience instead of responding to their questions is a quick way to lose their respect and make your social media marketing campaign and related SEO fall flat on its face.