Learn Off-Page SEO Basics: A Quick and Easy Guide

By JoAnne D. | Traffic & Promotion

Learn Off-Page SEO Basics

Off-page search engine optimization (off-page SEO) is a huge factor in search engine rankings. In today’s article, you’ll know what off-page SEO is, find the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO, and learn off-page SEO basics.

“Content is king.” Of course it is.

But if no one can find your content, no one knows about your content and it ends up being a waste of space on the internet.

This is where learning off-page SEO comes in.

In today’s article, we learn what off-page SEO is, the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, and some basic off-page SEO techniques.

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What Is Off-Page Optimization? (And Why You Should Care)

Off-page optimization refers to actions you take outside (hence the term “off-page”) of your blog or website aimed at improving your rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). These actions include, but are not limited to link building, social media, and social bookmarking.

Search engine result page

Link building refers to getting links to your blog from other websites (known as backlinks). However, it’s not enough that you get backlinks from random websites; these websites have to be high-quality and authoritative as well. It’s mistakenly thought of as the only aspect of off-page SEO, but it’s really not. It’s highly important, yes, but not the entire thing.

Social media platforms are also useful in building up your online reputation, as getting your links shared on social media is a great way to attract traffic.

Social bookmarking sites, question and answer sites, and forums can grow your audience, as you’re showing your content to other people aside from your usual readers. Building a community outside of your own blog contributes to your online reputation as well.

You might be asking yourself, “what is the point of all of this?”

The ultimate goal is to gain as much goodwill from the internet as possible..

You want your website to be known to search engines as having high-quality content that a lot of people on the web appreciate, share, and link to. That way, search engines are more likely to pick your site to display when searchers look for your content.

What Is The Difference Between On-Page And Off-Page SEO?

Creating excellent content and optimizing it for strategic keywords are where bloggers start with when beginning to optimize their blog for search engines. But we don’t stop with on-page SEO; off-page SEO is as important.

Well, what’s the difference?

On-page SEO involves making your website impressive enough so that search engines can find your content, store it on their database, and serve it up when internet users search for it.

By contrast, off-page SEO involves getting a number of high-quality, relevant sites to link to your blog. The idea here is that when more high-profile sites link to your blog and more people are referencing and talking about your blog in a positive light, search engines then tend to perceive your blog as authoritative and credible.

On-page SEO may be important, but it loses its power if no attention is given to off-page SEO. Given two pages containing equally high-quality content whose on-page elements are both optimized, off-page SEO can make the difference between a first-page ranking and a second-page ranking.

Building A Restaurant: An SEO Analogy

You can think of building your website as building a restaurant, and the efforts you have to make so that your restaurant gets plenty of paying customers and remains profitable.


On-page SEO has to do with setting up everything in the restaurant for success. You invest in an excellent location (your domain), as well as foundation and building materials (your hosting). You hire a good architect (your site structure), buy the finest ingredients (keywords) and kitchen equipment (writing skills).

You employ the best staff: chef (you, the producer of great content), hosts, and servers (user experience). You make sure everything you’re up to date with food safety guidelines (your own content quality control and website maintenance).

You make sure that the outside of your restaurant and even the road leading up to it is clean, well-maintained, and looks appealing (web design).

Off-page SEO, on the other hand, has to do with setting up everything outside the restaurant for success.

You distribute fliers around, letting people know that you have a restaurant, what you’re serving, and what they can expect (your social media posts). Once the locals take notice of your restaurant, and they experience it for themselves and love the experience, they then spread the word (social media shares).

You need to let people in the food industry eat at your restaurant (blogger outreach). If they liked it, they would probably tell other people about your restaurant (their social media, backlinks from their blog). When other people see that people who know food like your restaurant, they’ll want to check it out themselves.

The lesson here is even if you present the best food and the best customer experience in town, if you don’t let people know that this restaurant exists, no one will eat there. Similarly, even if you have the best quality content in your niche, no one will read or even know about your content if you don’t work on your off-page SEO.

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Basic Off-Page SEO Techniques

To learn off-page SEO, you need to start with the basics. Here are some of the general off-page SEO techniques that you need to know.

Link Building

As I’ve mentioned, this is one of the main off-page SEO methods, and for good reason: links from credible website resources to your blog (known as backlinks) are hugely influential in search engine rankings. Here are some fundamental link building methods.


Ask for backlinks.

Sometimes, when you want something, all you need to do is ask.

You’ll find that having a blogger outreach strategy helpful. Keep in mind that this is not an overnight process, especially if you haven’t built any relationships yet with the bloggers in your niche.

Offer to guest post for other blogs.

Guest blogging is another way to get backlinks for your blog, but backlinks shouldn’t be your sole purpose. Think of the backlinks you’ll gain as one of the major benefits of guest blogging, not the ultimate benefit. I’ve previously explained how to do guest blogging in detail.

Create infographics.

This one might seem to be a bit unexpected, but you’d be surprised at the backlinks an infographic can generate to your blog.

In case you haven’t seen one, an infographic is a visual image used to present information in an easily digestible format.


An infographic explaining what an infographic is. (Click to zoom)

Infographics have great potential to spread through social media and to other blogs and continue generating backlinks to your blog for months or even years, but the infographic needs to look professional, display relevant and accurate data, and be extensively promoted.

If you’re curious, and you’d like to know more, check this insanely detailed guide to creating effective infographics.

Remember: Link building is a highly important part of a well thought-out off-page SEO strategy, but certainly not the only component. The key is to balance link building with other off-page SEO methods.

Social Media

Links to your blog on social media aren’t as directly related to your rankings as links on actual blogs, but social media is an effective way to build your reputation and attract traffic to your blog. It’s also a terrific tool for engaging with your audience, as well as other bloggers in your niche.

person thinking about social media

The more your content gets social media shares, likes, and links, the more fans and followers you gain. As your supporters increase in number, your blog’s reputation becomes more solid and your domain gains authority in the eyes of search engines.

I’ve previously talked about how to utilize Facebook Groups and Pinterest to increase traffic to your blog.

Remember: Social media isn’t as important as link building, but it will definitely help your reputation and your blog authority. It’ll also boost traffic to your blog.

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Social Bookmarking Sites, Question And Answer Sites, And Forums

Posting on social bookmarking sites (e.g., StumbleUpon), question and answer sites (e.g., Quora), and forums (e.g., Reddit) should also be part of your overall off-page SEO strategy.

friends around a bonfire

Way back when Google didn’t penalize low-quality sites as long as they had lots of backlinks, the way you used social bookmarking sites was to go on every single one, drop links to your latest (haphazardly written) blog post, and hightail it out of there.

Since Google cracked down on low-quality websites and to sites that link to them, the social bookmarking sites that contained mostly links to low-quality content have now all but disappeared, and the more reputable ones have measures in place to make sure that they’re only linking to high-quality online content.

Similar to social media promotion, posting your links to these sites are more of an attempt to bring new eyes to your content. The difference is that instead of sending your links out into the void, hoping for interested people to see them and click on them, these sites have more targeted audiences.

For example, StumbleUpon shows you more content related to ones that you’ve already liked. Reddit has subreddits that are topic-specific, and Quora classifies questions into categories and subcategories. When you contribute to the conversation, you have much more control over who gets to see your links, making your efforts more focused on your target audience.

You can also go over this article specifically on getting traffic from Quora to know how to answer questions and refer people back to your blog.

pile of question marks

Below are the general steps that you have to take note of.

1. Know where your audience is. Where does your target audience spend most of the time in? That is, where can they be most likely found? It’s smart to focus your efforts on that particular site instead of spreading out your efforts among different sites.

2. Engage with your audience. Gone are the days when you can just drop a link and be done with it. You need to first be part of the community before you earn the privilege of being able to promote your content. So start asking questions, answering them, commenting on other people’s posts, and giving upvotes/downvotes. Show them you’re invested in the other members of the community.

3. Take time to promote other people’s content. Aside from being a “thank you” to other bloggers, sharing links to relevant articles shows the members of the community that you want to be a part of it. It shows them that you’re willing to contribute to the conversation, even if it means promoting other people’s content over your own.

4. Promote your content with discretion. Only promote content that is relevant to the conversation. Don’t promote just for the sake of promoting. If your posting looks spammy, you risk alienating members of the company or worse, you can end up being banned from the community for breaking no-spam rules.

5. Nurture the communities that are productive and don’t be afraid to ignore the ones that aren’t. So you’ve promoted your content. That shouldn’t be the end of it. The point is to foster a sense of community outside of your own blog. Stick around, continue promoting others’ content and your own, and listen to what other people in your niche are saying.

If you’re honestly contributing to the conversation but the members just aren’t very engaged such that the conversation is at a standstill, it’s not a worthwhile use of your time to stay connected to them. There will always be other communities where you can contribute.

Remember: Social bookmarking sites is for building your tribe outside of your blog. Focus on growing your audience and cementing your reputation as an authority in your niche.

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Off-page SEO is a crucial part of your overall SEO strategy that is centered around elements that are outside of your blog. Here’s a quick recap of the main off-page SEO techniques you need to know:

  1. Link Building
  2. Social Media
  3. Social Bookmarking Sites, Question And Answer Sites, And Forums


Before you go ahead and apply what you learned about off-page SEO, let me leave you with a couple of reminders first.

Off-page SEO should supplement on-page SEO.

On-page SEO must work with off-page SEO.

Excellent content means nothing without traffic. Conversely, link building, reputation management, and engagement mean nothing without excellent content to promote.

Be in it for the long haul.

Off-page SEO is not a one-step quick fix. Rather, it’s a strategy that takes time and requires plenty of trial and error to get right. Be prepared for it to take a while to see results.

long winding road

Did you find these tips helpful? Which ones are you most curious about? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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About the Author

JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.

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