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Understanding Search Engine Optimization – What Is Off-Site SEO?

Good SEO requires site owners to go beyond their own pages. Search engines want to give their users links to sites which are relevant and credible. A site can ensure its own relevance by providing great, keyword-driven content, but credibility can only come from off-site sources.

Off-site SEO is everything site owners do outside of their own sites to improve their sites’ positioning on search engine results pages. It involves a number of different techniques including link building, establishing authority, and getting social shares–all of which are intended to improve a site’s credibility.

Off-Site SEO Begins With Trusted Links

For as long as search engines have been around, links have been one of the most important tools for off-site SEO. While this still holds true today, site owners must pursue quality links and not rely on the number of links alone.

A good link is one which comes from a trusted authority. If a cyclist is looking to purchase a new bicycle, he or she is more likely to trust a review posted on a popular cycling site than a review found on someone’s personal blog. The cyclist trusts the editors of the popular site to know a good bike when they see one.

Search engines have a similar concept of trust when it comes to links. When a search engine crawls through the web, it gives more weight to those links it finds on popular, well-known sites. One of the reasons Wikipedia shows up so frequently at the top of search engine results pages is because so many other trusted sites link to articles found there.

Most site owners obtain their first trusted links by commenting on appropriate, well-trafficked blogs and by submitting press releases to news services. Knowing where to seek trusted links requires site owners to do a little research but the positive effect these trusted links will have on their off-site SEO is worth it.

Site Owners Can Become Authorities In Their Own Right

While trusted links form the foundation of good off-site SEO, site owners can go much further when building their site’s credibility. In addition to getting links from trusted authorities, site owners can take steps to become recognized authorities themselves.

This approach to off-site SEO requires site owners to develop quality content for sites other than their own. When a site owner combines good off-site content with authoritative links, users and search engines alike are more inclined trust the site owner’s expertise. They’re also more likely to trust what they find on the owner’s site itself.

Creating quality content for sites like HubPages is one way site owners can demonstrate their knowledge outside of their own sites. Guest blogging is another popular means of establishing authority, and Facebook and Twitter each provide unlimited opportunities for site owners to show their expertise while also promoting their own sites.

Great Off-Site SEO Gets Users Talking

Social networking hasn’t just changed the way people use the Internet, it has changed the way search engines look at it. While the jury is still out on exactly how influential social shares are for a site’s ranking, it’s clear their impact is significant. The more users talk about a site, the more likely it is that the search engines will give that site a higher ranking on results pages.

Any good off-site SEO strategy requires site owners to be active on the most popular social networks, but that’s only half the picture. What site owners post on sites like Twitter and Facebook must not only be relevant to the topics they care about, it also has to be relevant to their followers.

Sharing product reviews, informative articles, and insightful commentary are all great ways for site owners to give their followers a reason to keep coming back. If every link a site owner shares is to a product he or she wants to sell, their followers will quickly abandon ship.

Site owners should build on their authority by sharing links they believe their followers would be interested in, not just links to their own sites. This kind of social sharing will attract followers and make the ones a site owner has more likely to share with others what the site owner has to offer.