Off-site SEO is the process of promoting your website across the web, and is an ongoing process that requires strategy, planning, and lots of patience. Like most other aspects of SEO, off-site strategy was once rife with spammy, ‘black hat’ techniques, but these days requires a sharp eye for PR, and understanding of the organic link building process — where you build links from other sites that lead to your own.
Think of a link as a ‘vote’: sites want to bring their users optimum value, and so will only link to other sites they feel will help boost that very value. Google sees and acknowledges these votes, and then understands your site as relevant and useful on those particular topics. Votes need to be earned, which relies on how well you’re able to position your brand in a way that makes others want to feature it.
Organic link building is the goal of what we call ‘outreach’, which is the process of identifying sites and influencers your audience is interested in, and starting a conversation with them about your product or service. This conversation often leads to you pitching content for their site that’s of genuine use to their audience, who, after reading it and recognising your brand as author and heading over to your site to learn more, may well become your audience.
Identifying the right sites to target depends on their quality (i.e. how easy is it to navigate through the site? Are the articles easy to read, or is the site design too busy?), metrics (how does Google understand the site, and what is their traffic like?), and the sort of language they use to speak to their audience. Then, we’ll find informational gaps in their content, figure out how to produce content to fill it, and start a conversation about how your brand might be featured. Off-site is a long game, but one that’s worth persevering for. You can’t buy earned press.