Off the Page SEO
In previous guides we have introduced the overall idea behind SEO and highlighted just why it is so important for every commercial website to have a clearly defined SEO strategy. We have also taken a closer look at the basic principles of off the page SEO. In this guide we will similarly take a look at off the page SEO.
What is Off the Page SEO?
Off the page SEO is a term used to describe all of the practices which make up the overall SEO strategy for a website, which do not deal with the actual physical site itself. Predominantly, off the page SEO comes down to building the popularity of a site, and raising the authority level.
Off the Page SEO Basic Principles
In order to raise the perceived popularity of a website, we need to make it seem as if many people refer to the site as a source of knowledge and information, the same holds true for building authority, although authority also relies upon providing fresh and relevant content regularly, more on that in our next guide.
What is Google Pagerank?
No discussion of off the page SEO would be complete without talking about Google Pagerank. Google were the first search engine to change their search algorithm, and add the popularity of a website into the mix, when it comes to discerning SERP. Google Pagerank is a direct indication of the combination of popularity and authority of a site, and is expressed as a number between 0 and 10. If two sites are returned with exactly the same search results, then the site with the higher Pagerank will be placed above the other in SERPs. So the higher the Pagerank for a site, the better it will theoretically do in search results, although this is not always true 100% of the time.
Acquiring a DMOZ listing
The Open Directory Project, usually known as DMOZ, is important for one specific reason. Google tend to use it as an impartial source of sites to index, they also attribute sites maintained in the DMOZ listings with a fair amount of weight towards their Pagerank, as DMOZ is a Pagerank site in its own right. However, DMOZ is notoriously hard to become listed in, as it is maintained by impartial volunteers. If you can manage it though, it is entirely beneficial.
Getting Listed in the Yahoo Directory
Most people do not realize that Yahoo is not actually classified as a search engine. It is in fact the larger manually maintained internet directory in the world. IN a similar fashion to DMOZ, it is entirely beneficial to have your site listed within the Yahoo directory, which luckily is a lot easier than getting it listed over at DMOZ.
The Importance of Backlinks
As we have already explained, the number and quality of backlinks as site has (other sites linking too it) is used to calculate the popularity and authority of a site. Although some search engines ignore this completely, most noticeably those known as Tier 2 search engines such as Lycos and Ask, each of the major search engines Google, Yahoo! and Bing (formerly MSN) do take it into account to varying degrees, especially Google.
Building quality backlinks is not as easy as most people may think. Previously, mass directory submissions seemed to do the trick, but the search engines caught on to this pretty quickly and started ignoring directories when it comes to giving weight to valid backlinks. Article submissions still work well, although certain changes to the Google algorithm, such as a single piece of content only being valid for as single link, means that one article posted to hundreds of article directories now only produces one backlink. Forum posting can be good, as well as blog commenting. In the past sites were keen to set up link exchanges, but these kind of links, known as reciprocal links, are now ignored when calculating link popularity. Overall, it is probably best to employ a specialist link building firm to perform this task for you, as it is time consuming, and if done incorrectly can actually damage your site.
One of the current trends for off the page SEO, is to use social bookmarking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg and a whole host of others, to both build backlinks, and also generate traffic in its own right, a very viable practice overall.
So there we have it, a very basic overview of off the page SEO, which makes up our third basic SEO guide. Our next guide will attempt to pull everything together and give some insight upon how to develop an effective SEO strategy, for the short and long term.