For the newbie webmaster, SEO can seem like a grueling process.
You need to consider tons of things to get your site ready to impress the search engines. You strategize and design for optimization, with the hope that Google will pick up your site and award it favorable rankings.
The simple fact is . . . SEO is simple.
In fact, with the advent of Google Panda and Penguin, it’s much easier to play the SEO game than it used to be. Sure, you still need to consider both on-site and off-site factors, but you don’t have to sweat it.
Here’s the thing: no one really knows the exact formula Google uses for ranking websites, and no one knows exactly how sites are ranked for various keywords. Google has set out some guidelines to live by, and by trial-and-error, top SEOs have uncovered some a few factors for optimizing a site for search.
Today, we’ll focus on off-site optimization tactics that are, it’s safe to say, Google-approved. We’ll analyze six of the most important off-site SEO factors you should always pay attention to, based on the rules by which Google — and other search engines — want us to play the SEO game.
Backlinks are one of the foundations of SEO. Backlinks are outside links that point back to your site. In other words, they are links from other people’s websites. People choose to link back to your content because they have found it to be relevant and useful.
However, you can also create backlinks yourself by posting content that links back to your site via social media profiles and directories.
These days, one of the best and most powerful ways to create backlinks is to do guest posting on other authoritative and high-PR blogs.
Also, if you want to attract tons of high-quality backlinks to your site, it inevitably comes back to this: You have to create interesting, timely, and relevant content that people active in your niche would want to link to, and you have to do it on a consistent and continual basis.
That is the ultimate guarantee that links around your site will be created naturally.
Quality, quality, and quality
Linking back from sites with higher pagerank than yours will help jack up your own pagerank.
However, you need to be careful when picking sites from which to link back. Before Google did a major overhaul on their algorithm, quantity seemed to be the dominating factor behind successful off-site SEO strategy. Today, quality trumps quantity.
Quality backlinking calls for links from very relevant and high authority sites. You want to create links from sites with good reputation, and ideally they will relate only to your niche.
The more relevant the site you are linking from, the better. There’s little advantage in creating backlinks from home improvement sites if you are working around the gadgets and electronics industry.
Don’t just link from one source or one type of site. Link back from as many different kinds as possible. Create links from blogs, industry directories, article directories, forums, and social media properties.
The more you diversify, the more you’ll attract traffic from a variety of sources. This will increase your chances of winning a favorable ranking from Google.
Creating several hundred links to a new site within days is a recipe for disaster. It raises red flags and runs the risk of being deemed unnatural. Keep the process natural by building several links at a regular pace; say, two to five per business day.
Here’s where Google Penguin has lowered the boom on many thousands of sites. The norm used to be for SEOs to create tons of exact-match anchor texts.
These days, the Penguin wants to see variations or you will pay a huge price and see a significant drop in rankings and traffic.
You can still use exact-match anchor texts, but keep them to a minimum. Use related terms for variations.
Backlinking will continue to be a crucial SEO factor — one that should be part of your optimization strategy.
For a thorough site assessment, contact us. We would love to give you suggestions on how to improve your off-site optimization strategy.