In order to become more visible on the web, you can not only optimize your own page, but also adjust various settings outside it. As part of search engine optimization, so-called OffPage optimization measures help you to do this. Through a corresponding backlink audit, i.e. an analysis of the links pointing to your page, you can recognize your status quo. So you can see which methods are best for you. In the following, we will explain step by step how you can improve your rankings through OffPage optimization.
What is OffPage optimization, and why is it important?
OffPage optimization is the second component of search engine optimization (SEO) – next to OnPage optimization. If you have managed to successfully implement the OnPage optimization, it is important to bring the OffPage area up to full speed. Therefore, we take a look at the external influences on a website. The biggest factor here is clearly backlink building. Backlinks are external links that are generated either organically, i.e. all by themselves, or through skilful link building. These tactics pursue one strategy above all: building online reputation and increasing one’s own site authority. By building links to your site, positive signals can be sent to Google. However, this is only the case if the links are placed on a high quality site. Low quality sites send negative signals as a logical consequence. It is a kind of recommendation that other sites give to yours. Meanwhile, not only backlinks count as reputation, but also social signals. This means that every mention, like, and share is correlated with ranking, even if they are not an official ranking factor.
What are the goals of OffPage optimization?
No matter what and how you optimize, the ultimate goal is always top rankings in the organic search results – at best, of course, number 1. Unlike OnPage optimization, however, the OffPage area can not be influenced as much. Above all, however, an interaction of both parts leads to ideal results and thereupon to success. Another goal is to improve and strengthen the online reputation of the website. This can contribute for example by measures to the following increase:
Link popularity, i.e. the number of backlinks, and
Domain popularity, i.e. the number of linking domains.
At the same time, this has the positive side effect of increasing both the trust and the traffic of the site. Nevertheless, this only happens if the corresponding link is also clicked. Therefore, the place of placement and the link or anchor text on the link-giving page is important. The more prominent and higher up on the page and the more interesting the link text, the better. Therefore, users will click oftener and the linkjuice of the link-giving page is passed on. This is also where OnPage optimization comes into play again. If done well, it ensures that your website visitors like to stay there. This in turn sends positive user signals to Google and again influences the ranking.
What basis do you need for the success of your OffPage optimization?
The basis of OffPage is first and foremost a successful OnPage optimization. Through this, you manage to make your content appealing and link-worthy. The given added value encourages users to gladly share it and thus increases the popularity of the content.
Additionally, it is extremely helpful to make contacts. In fact, by having a good network of other site owners, you can save yourself a lot of work when it comes to placing links or distributing your content.
What are the elements of OffPage optimization?
Most elements of the OnPage optimization are, unlike in the OnPage area, not influenceable by yourself. However, this does not mean that you cannot influence anything. However, there are some elements that you can control in order to improve your authority and popularity.
1. Link building
The goal is clear: generate high-quality backlinks. That means building links that point from another website to your own. The background of the whole thing is that the cross-references are a reference of relevant content for search engines. This thus signals high-quality content that answers search queries optimally and that other users are happy to share and link to. All in all, this can have an impact on your page’s ranking.
When it comes to link building, there are various tactics that go down differently well with search engine crawlers. For example, invisible links that are created by having the text and background the same color are not good. Also, undesirable are cloaking, link farms and other black hat link building methods. Therefore, these usually lead to penalties on the part of the search engine, instead of an improvement. In addition to black hat link building, there is also grey hat and white hat link building. Especially the latter combines the optimal measures to send positive signals to Google and Co. Through these methods, you can get linkjuice from the linking site, which is composed of the distribution of backlinks within the website and the reputation of these links. You support the organic backlink building by establishing contacts to other webmasters, who fit thematically to your website. Furthermore, you can not only build links via guest posts, but also show your expertise. Tools such as reverse image search or Google Alerts can be very helpful here.
But watch out: Not all backlinks are the same! You should therefore not accept every link just to be linked. Be sure to look for high-quality and thematically appropriate pages.
2. Backlink audit
You need a link audit if you want to take a closer look at your backlink profile. It is important to identify and disable harmful links, otherwise they can lead to penalties and worsen your ranking. The link audit consists of 4 simple steps:
Collecting of link data
Cleaning and organizing the link data, i.e. combining links from the same sources, removing duplicates and checking the topicality and quality of the links.
Analysis of the backlinks based on various criteria to identify further weak links. Classification into different risk levels.
Sorting out the backlinks. You should really do this only in cases where the link is clearly harmful – for example, because of poor values, etc. If you have found such links in your profile, you can proceed as follows:
Include links that cannot be taken down in a Disavow file and upload them.
3. Social signals
“Signals”, i.e. likes, shares and comments that point to your website from social networks, are called social signals. These are not only interactions in the popular media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., but also comments on blogs, reviews of articles and similar. The exact influence of social signals on the ranking is not known. On the basis of several studies, it is nevertheless assumed that there is a certain correlation between social signals and the ranking of a page. Google additionally keeps dropping allusions and hints that social signals have a positive effect. However, they are not listed as a separate ranking factor. Even if there is ultimately no official confirmation, it is clear that a presence in social media brings a positive effect for your company. It can once again attract users to your site and increase organic traffic. It also increases user engagement and the attention your website receives.
4. Reputation, brand management and public relations
Similar to social signals, PR and brand management has only an indirect impact on the OffPage optimization of your site. If you have already made a name for yourself with your brand or present yourself strongly on the web, it will be easier for you to achieve good positions for brand-related search queries in the SERPs. If you want your site to get a top ranking in generic search queries, you need a perfectly optimized landing page with high-quality content and a good user experience. The digital reputation of your website is thus a decisive factor in OffPage optimization.
What measures can be taken in OffPage optimization?
There are four different measures you can work with OffPage.
However, search engines are very critical of link purchases. Therefore, you have to make sure that the linking site is relevant to the topic, reputable, of high quality and, above all, not a link buying network. Links should be natural and appropriate.
The situation is similar with link exchanges. This is also considered more of a grey hat link building method and should therefore be treated with caution. What you should avoid at all costs are link exchange programs.
Both measures should not be used in abundance and in any case, when choosing your link partners or the parnter site operator, class is more important than mass!
Link bait focuses on voluntary linking of content and has the main task of promoting it. This in turn means that links are generated completely naturally. You can simplify the whole measure if you stick to the following:
Don’t buy and manipulate.
Be subtle. Don’t impose.
Pay attention to intentions.
Find the right multipliers for your target group.
Bait through the right channels.
Make sharing your content as easy as possible.
There are several content types that are particularly well-suited for link-baits. Sweepstakes, infographics, top rankings and the like always encourage sharing and make the process easier.
Link acquisition is ultimately the key point, which in principle includes all the methods already mentioned. However, you can resort to many more measures for link acquisition. For example, it is helpful to contact webmasters directly, either by phone or e-mail, to talk to them about your topic and your site. Of course, the first step is to find suitable link sources and their owners. You have to consider the following:
Seriousness of the page (you can recognize this, for example, by the imprint)
Relevance of the page to the topic
Visibility/keyword rankings/authority of the page
There are some tools that make it easier for you to find the right partners. You can find out more about them in our article on link building tools.
What are the dangers and limits of OffPageoptimization?
Google and other search engines have always been at war with link spam and unnatural link building. Through various updates, they are therefore trying to “train” or improve their algorithm so that manipulations can be better detected and combated. This is where you directly encounter the greatest danger: unforeseen updates. At the same time, the updates also define your limits, as some measures are simply penalized and thus have no positive effect on your website. Artificial linking is often noticed by search engines. Therefore, try to maintain a natural link profile to send the right signals to Google and Co.
Which tools help with OffPage optimization?
Similar to OnPage optimization, there are also OffPage tools that can make optimization easier for you. In the following, we will introduce you to the most helpful ones, from our point of view.
OpenLinkProfiler Thanks to the OpenLinkProfiler you get a good overview of your backlink structure. You can examine your links in detail and filter them according to different criteria. In addition, there is the possibility of “Link Alerts”. You will always receive an e-mail that informs you about the latest backlinks.
Monitor Backlinks With this tool, you can easily find out the number of links pointing to your site. For each link, you will be provided with different data. For example, you can find out more about the backlink status (i.e. DoFollow or NoFollow), the exact URL that links to your site, the anchor text that was used to link to your site, and much more.
MOZ Link Explorer With the free version of MOZ you can collect, sort and export link data. Here, you can also compare several link metrics with each other. So you get a detailed overview of:
all incoming links and domains
the weighting of these links
the anchor texts used
Majestics SEO To find out who is linking to your website, you can also work with the Majestics SEO tool. This tool also analyzes your backlink profile and optionally that of your competitors. You are then offered various filter options with which you can make the analysis clearer or sort out the results that are relevant to you.
Ahrefs With Ahrefs you get different domain and page metrics for each target. This gives you a good overview of your backlink profile, which you can then sort thanks to various filters. The analysis functions of the tool also allow you to go into more detail and examine the ratio of DoFollow to NoFollow links, the anchor texts, etc. even more closely. You can then download the entire analysis as a PDF or CSV. You can also find out the following, for example:
Number of referring domains
Number of backlinks
Domain Rating and URL Rating (key figures developed by Ahrefs)
Google Search Console Definitely worth mentioning is also the tool you should always use: The Google Search Console (formerly: Webmaster Tool). Here you are offered an extra section that deals only with links, with which you can examine both internal and external links and have them evaluated for you.
Sistrix Sistrix is an all-purpose weapon. You can not only start OnPage analyses, but also check your backlinks. It sorts your backlinks by visibility, so you can directly see which links are the strongest. The tool also detects broken links. Your link profile is also checked for DoFollow/NoFollow distribution, start page and deep links and much more.
Contentbird Workflow Plattform Thanks to this tool, you can maintain your link profile very easily and also make changes quickly. This is relevant, for example, if you discover harmful links. The Contentbird Worklow platform has two different sections for this reason:
Link analysis Here you enter your backlinks into the tool and then receive a detailed analysis of various key figures.
Link management This helps you to maintain a structure for self-initiated links (through link acquisition). So you always have the overview.
You can upgrade MOZ Link Explorer, Ahrefs and Majestics SEO Tool to access additional functions. However, this will make these tools subject to a fee.
Which tool you want to choose exactly and whether you want to have a free or paid version is, of course, completely up to you.
In summary: What are the advantages of OffPage optimization?
As you already know, OffPage optimization has several advantages. Here you get all possible effects on your page collected and at a glance.
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