The above two sections that we have covered are within the scope of the site itself. They included the technical and content wise considerations for better ranking. However, these strategies are not sufficient in themselves and you must employ various off site SEO measures to complement your onsite strategies. Factors like if or not your site contains links from reputable sources, usage of it as citations in other places – for e.g. as a source in Wikipedia articles, being registered in local directories like yelp etc. affect the ranking of your site. It is estimated that these off-page strategies contribute to about 50% of the ranking weight.
Links were one of the most important factors in search engine rankings for long. Though their relevance has tapered out in recent years, they are still an important factor provided that the links to your site are of high quality and with their context matching the purpose of your content. Search engines take the number of inbound links to your pages as a sign of popularity of your content and its endorsement from other people. Seeing link acquisition strategy being increasingly commonplace, search engines have now started devaluing the weight of the number of links to your site and now instead analyse factors like diversity of the link, page rank of the incoming links, context matching etc.
Things you should especially look to avoid during link building are buying links from link farms, link bartering and commenting on forums and boards for links into your site. Recent algorithmic updates mean a single link from a reputed site will outweigh in endorsement value the number of links from sites with poor search engine rankings.
Make efforts to get your business listed in local directories and yellow pages. Make sure you are on places like Yelp, Google My Business and Craigslist. Social media is a huge source of organic traffic and an important part of your off site SEO strategy. Proper use of social media will help bolster brand profile and will also increase organic traffic, both a plus for better search engine ranks. Push original and multimedia contents through various social media platforms. Do not publish same content from all platforms and answer questions and engage with your audience. (Click here for best social media content practices.) This will help develop a buzzword around your product and service and will also signify to the search engines that you have a strong support base. Encourage your users on social media pages and sites to post reviews of your services. The number of reviews directly affect ranking as search engines will take it as a sign of user acceptance.
For the fact that optimisation is not an immediate result science as it was once, you should instead shift your focus on long term off site SEO measures like building brand value and improving the quality of your service. This will not only improve traffic volume but will increase the average time spent by users on your site. Post information and things that your visitors will value and this, in the long run, will be the best optimisation practice among all.
This article forms a part of our series on the basics of SEO and best practices. For other articles in the series click on the links below:
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