Off-Site SEO (or off-page SEO) refers to search engine optimization techniques that are not performed on your own website or page, and are therefore termed "off-site."
Only optimizing the content of your pages isn't enough to get them to rank highly. For effective SEO you need help from other websites in the form of incoming links, commonly referred to as backlinks.
That's basically what off-site SEO is all about – getting quality backlinks relevant to your topic which assist the search engines in establishing the value of your web page and what it focuses on.
You can view each backlink as a vote of approval for your page. The more inbound links a page has, the greater its link popularity. Google's PageRank is itself based on link popularity, but uses a complex formula that takes several factors into consideration, including the quality of the link.
Tips For A High Quality Backlinks Strategy
Links from high quality pages are far more valuable than links from mediocre ones, which in turn are much better than links from low quality pages. The greater the number and quality of links links pointing to a page or site, the more powerful links from it will be.
One-way links to your website are of far greater value than reciprocal links obtained from engaging in link exchanges.
Backlinks from pages covering the same or related topics are much more valuable than those from totally unrelated sites, which may in fact dilute your subject relevancy. Have links pointing to the most relevant page on your site (known as "deep linking"), not simply the homepage. You want inbound links to reinforce the relevance of a page to the topic it covers.
Links to your pages should have its primary keyword in the anchor text. But as you build more links, introduce variations of the text. Change the order of words and add modifiers, sometimes use secondary keywords or popular synonyms in place of your primary keyword. You'll get better results and it looks more natural to search engines, avoiding a red flag for possibly attempting to manipulate the listings. Don't make frequent changes to existing anchor texts, as that looks fishy to Google. The topical relevance of text surrounding a link is also of some importance, and part of the reason links from within content often carry more weight.
Don't build backlinks too fast. Hundreds of backlinks appearing for a site in a short time frame appears unnatural. Unless related to a viral buzz (perhaps from link bait), it suggests to search engines that you're probably doing something you shouldn't be (in their eyes). As a result the links will be discounted and the page or site may be penalized. But because the rate of link growth over time is also used by Google to indicate the freshness of a page, building links fast is often not that desirable anyway: If you create a lot of links to a page and then slow down, the page may be considered stale and rankings will fall as a result. Try to build backlinks steadily, if possible building more each month to imitate the upward curve of organic link growth that popular sites exhibit.
Links from high PR sites are important, but don't obsess about getting them. You'll often get as much value from a highly targeted low PR link as from an untargeted high PR one. The search engines aren't the only reason to have links, and good links bring traffic themselves. But bear in mind that if a page that links to you isn't indexed, the link won't count since it has no PR. Don't waste time on sites that look like they are seldom updated because links from pages that are considered stale carry less value.
Build links to pages that link to you. This will send more PR to your page and increase your visibility due to the other page's improved rankings. You may want to restrict this to profiles, listings and the like that you consider to be your pages, even though they are on another site. But really there is no reason why you shouldn't do this for any page that links to you, wherever it is.
Backlinks are the way to get your site found and crawled by the main search engines. Don't bother submitting to the main SE's, it's better and faster to get links from websites that the search engines already value, and which are regularly crawled as a consequence. Let them "discover" your pages themselves, by putting links where you know they'll be found and followed, such as on popular social sites or blogs.
Try to resist the temptation to participate in organized link exchanges or link farms. Although the better ones may be effective in the short term, often they will end up harming rather than helping your rankings. This is because the search engines see it as manipulation of the SERPs and once they discover the network they either penalize linked websites or at a minimum devalue the all links. If you want to ignore that warning, Article Underground has been going for years now and offers good value for money.
Link diversity is becoming increasingly important as search engines try to make it harder to cheat them. Natural inbound links to quality sites come from all kinds of places; blogs, reviews, press releases, directories, forums, articles, etc., in diverse geographic locations, link to many different pages on the site, and have a wide variety of different anchor texts. Basically search engines are looking at sites that deviate this pattern as potential spammers, especially if the site hasn't been around long.
Linking out to relevant, quality resources is good and increases the value of your site in the eyes of both search engines and users. But linking to low value, spammy sites, or those engaged in SEO practices the search engines frown upon can negatively effect your own website's rankings.
Use words in the anchor text of outbound links that will reinforce the theme of the site or page they are on. In other words, if your page is about potatoes and you add a link to a food blender, make the anchor text something along the lines of "good potato blender" or "food blender for potatoes".
It's a waste of time to build links on pages with hundreds of links. The amount of the linking page's PR that gets voted to each of the pages it links to, is inversely proportional to the total number of links on it. In other words, the more links on the page, the smaller the share of its PR your page will receive.
If you can't get a link on a particular high PR page, aim for a link off one of the pages it links to.
Ignoring Off-Site SEO Isn't An Option
Don't underestimate how important off-site SEO is. Good backlinks with targeted keyword anchor text carry so much weight these days that if done well it's entirely possible to get high search engine rankings for terms not even occurring on the page. And the more high rankings you get, the easier it will become to tackle more difficult keyword phrases.
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