Off Page SEO Guide (Complete)

The term Off Page SEO refers to a set of strategies and techniques that allow you to improve the positioning of a site in search engine results (SERP). Many people, even insiders, consider off page SEO as a synonym for Link Building, but is this really the case?
Content index:

  • What is SEO?
    • On-page SEO
    • Off-page SEO
  • How many types of off-page SEO are there?
  • Off page SEO strategies: Link Building and Link Earning (Citations)
    • Artificial vs Natural Backlinks
    • Link Building
    • Link Earning
    • The birth of Black Hat SEO
  • What are the off page factors?
    • Number of linking domains
    • Authority of linking domains
    • Dofollow vs Nofollow
    • Anchor text
    • Relevance
    • Organic traffic
  • Other off-page optimizations
    • Brand mentions
    • Reviews
    • Google My Business
  • Why use off page SEO for your site?
  • Why is investing in off-page SEO essential?

1. What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the term used to describe a set of processes, strategies and techniques that aim to optimize a website for search engines.

SEO is important not only for getting quality traffic , it is also for improving the usability of your site and increasing its credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

Search engines use complex algorithms to determine which pages to include in their index and above all to determine the order in which to show them in their search results.

SEO has two main areas: On-Page and Off-Page .

1.a) On-page SEO

The SEO on page and on site refers to all the optimizations that can be applied directly into your site. The most important factors to consider in this area are:

  • Optimize title and meta description tags ;
  • SEO friendly URL ;
  • Intuitive navigation (breadcrumbs, user sitemaps, etc.);
  • Optimized internal links;
  • Text formatting (use of H1, H2 , bold, italic, etc.);
  • Image optimization (dimensions, nomenclature, alt attributes, etc.);
  • User-friendly 404 pages;
  • Page loading speed;
  • Mobile optimized pages;
  • Always up-to-date and high quality content (this is the most important SEO factor)
  • External links to authoritative sites;

As you can see, these are all activities where we have total and complete control.

1.b) Off-page SEO

The SEO off page or off site is the basis of a positioning strategy, especially in niches where there is more competition.

It refers to all the optimizations that can be carried out outside your site to increase its popularity and authority in the eyes of Google.

Off-page optimization provides Google with an excellent indication of how users perceive a specific site and above all the brand and company behind it.

This is because a site with high quality content and useful information is more likely to:

  • be linked from other sites;
  • obtain shares on social media (Facebook like, Tweets, etc.);
  • be placed in browser bookmarks;
  • get mentions among communities of like-minded users (e.g. forums and blogs).

2. How many types of off-page SEO are there?

The most important types to consider in the field of off site optimizations are:

  • Citations (Link Building and Link Earning);
  • Mentions;
  • Reviews;
  • Google My Business;

We will go through them in detail so that you fully understand the importance and benefits of off-page SEO.

3. Off page SEO strategies: Link Building and Link Earning (Citations)

Backlink acquisition is basically one of the most popular SEO techniques and effective, because the Google search is mainly based on PageRank: an algorithm that examines the quantity and quality of backlinks that point to a web page to determine its value.

There are basically two strategies to acquire backlinks :

  1. Link Building (artificial backlinks);
  2. Link Earning (natural backlinks).

3.1) Artificial vs Natural Backlinks

Before delving into each of these strategies it is important to understand the difference between artificial and natural backlinks:

  • Artificial Backlinks : When you buy, trade or ask someone to insert a backlink to your site in order to improve rankings.
  • Natural (or Editorial) Backlinks : when a webmaster spontaneously inserts a backlink to your site or page because he considers it useful for his users.

The Link Building is to be published, free of charge or, backlinks to our site on pages of other sites on similar topics (pretty much the same subject of our site) and that are influential in the sector.

The effectiveness of link building, since it is based on artificial backlinks, depends on the quality of the sites on which it is published and the concealment techniques used .

Basically if you post backlinks on poor quality sites , such as guest post containers, the chances of receiving a penalty are statistically high.

After practicing multiple link building campaigns in different sectors and analyzing the results, I can say with absolute certainty that acquiring a backlink from an authoritative source is not even comparable to acquiring low quality backlinks.

So if you need to organize a link building campaign, I recommend investing in a single authoritative domain, rather than 100 guest post containers.

To learn more about the topic, you can read the detailed guide that explains both the link building techniques and where to publish the backlinks for your site: How to do Link Building: Off Site SEO strategies and techniques.

The links Earnings , however, is to produce and promote strategic content capable of spontaneously stimulate the acquisition of backlinks, therefore without entering both forced and without investing budget for direct acquisition.

The effectiveness of this technique is less likely than link building, as being spontaneous publication, you have no control over the sites from which you receive links and the number of backlinks acquired.

Nevertheless, relying exclusively on natural backlinks, it is the off-site SEO technique that produces greater results when it succeeds and that practically never causes penalties for a site.

My advice is to operate a mixed approach , where in addition to link building, content is also produced that have a good chance of being linked spontaneously.

3.4) The birth of Black Hat SEO

Link building initially proved to be a simple technique to manipulate search engine algorithms and many spammers have tried to take advantage of it by building networks of sites that are born with the sole purpose of publishing backlinks and that fall within the Black Hat techniques .

In the past, you could easily post thousands of backlinks and rank higher, but today you need to change your approach and do more if you want to get important results.

Google has become very clever in recognizing black hat techniques, and with the introduction of the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms , they have managed to solve the problem by protecting search results from spammers.

Of course there are still exceptions, but they are making progress in every new algorithmic update and soon none of these tricks will work anymore.

Precisely for this reason, the latest off-site SEO strategies are no longer based on the pure and simple creation of backlinks, but on the free and spontaneous sharing of links by the users themselves.

4. What are the off page factors?

The factors to consider when evaluating a link building and link earning campaign are:

  • Number of linking domains;
  • Authority of linking domains;
  • Dofollow vs Nofollow;
  • Anchor text;
  • Relevance;
  • Organic traffic;

4.1) Number of linking domains

The goal of a link building or link earning campaign is to acquire as many backlinks from authoritative domains to your site.

To check the number of referring domains acquired, you can use link intelligence tools such as Ahrefs .

But always keep in mind that now it doesn’t matter how many links point to your site, but where those links come from.

For example, a backlink from any blog does not have the same “weight” as a backlink obtained from

4.2) Authority of linking domains

Not all backlinks are the same, since the greater the authority of the page linking to us, the greater the value that passes to the linked page. The authority of the domain and the pages linking to us is therefore a determining factor.

After practicing multiple link building campaigns in different sectors and analyzing the results, I can say with absolute certainty that acquiring a backlink from an authoritative source is not even comparable to acquiring low quality backlinks.

So if you need to organize a link building campaign, I recommend investing in an authoritative domain, rather than 100 guest post containers.

To verify the authority of a domain you can rely on third party parameters such as Moz’s Domain Authority, Majestic’s Trust Flow or Ahrefs’ Domain Rating.

My advice, however, is to analyze a site manually to check if it is actually an authoritative site and worthy of being taken into consideration.

I consider connecting your site and your brand to a site of little authority a serious strategic mistake, especially from a perspective of foresight.

4.3) Dofollow vs Nofollow

Google does not transfer link juice through links with the ” nofollow ” attribute (for example: <a href = “” rel = “nofollow”> Example link with NoFollow </ a>), a special attribute that instructs search engines not to transfer value from the linking site to the linked site.

This attribute was introduced by the main search engines to allow webmasters to link to other sites without running the risk of being penalized by link schemes.

So even if the NoFollow type backlinks are useful to thematize our site and are easier to obtain, to evaluate a backlink acquisition campaign it is important to make sure that the backlinks are DoFollow to make them pass value to our site.

4.4) Anchor text

The anchor text (or anchor text) is the clickable text of the link and has always influenced the positioning on search engines .

Precisely for this reason Google tends to penalize sites that abuse exact match type anchor text (practically anchor text with the keyword to be placed inside).

My advice is to balance anchor text with a good 90% between brand and navigation and only 10% manipulative.

4.4) Relevance

It is important to acquire links from sites that deal with the same topic as our site, so that the backlink has a greater weight .

Contextual backlinks reinforcing the relevance of the site for a given topic.

Logically, too, if a mortgage company receives a backlink from a financial blog, it will likely carry more weight than a backlink from a furniture blog (why should a furniture site link to a mortgage site?) .

4.5) Organic traffic

A site that gets organic traffic is likely an authoritative site, while a site that doesn’t get traffic is likely a low authority site.

Backlinks published on pages with a lot of traffic have more weight than backlinks published on pages with little or no traffic.

Furthermore, it is preferable to acquire backlinks from sites whose organic traffic trend is increasing , compared to sites that, following a loss of relevance or even a Google penalty , present a downward trend.

To estimate the organic traffic of a site and check its trend you can use tools like SEMrush and Sistrix.

5. Other off-page optimizations

Off-page SEO refers to any optimization done outside of a site with the potential to affect search engine rankings.

Backlink acquisition is certainly the most obvious example, but there are many other off-site strategies to consider for proper optimization, including:

  • Brand mentions;
  • Reviews;
  • Google My Business;

5.1) Brand mentions

A mention occurs when a site refers to our brand, but without placing a link to our site.

So the difference between quotes and mentions lies in the fact that the quote is clickable, while the mention is not clickable and cannot bring referral traffic.

Brand mentions represent signals of popularity that Google takes into consideration to evaluate the authority of our brand, as explained in this patent .

In practice, Google has understood that people often mention sites and brands without linking to their site and that therefore such mentions still deserve to be included in the classification algorithm as it happens for citations (backlinks).

Nevertheless, my advice is to turn mentions into citations, even if only for the referral traffic that you can get.

For this reason it is always worth contacting all the sites that mention our domain or our brand, asking them to insert the link to our site.

To find your brand as often as it is mentioned you can use Google search operators by making the following query:

  • theoretical example: “brand” -site:
  • practical example: “grownupdigital” -site:

5.2) Reviews

Reviews are one of the most important off page factors for Local SEO and for positioning in the results of the Google ” snack pack ” (also known as ” Local 3 Pack “).

In general, the more positive and genuine reviews you get on the Google My Business listing and on trusted third-party sites (such as Trustpilot or Ekomi), the more likely you are to be placed in the ‘snack pack’.

Please note : negative reviews, on the other hand, have the opposite effect.

5.3) Google My Business

Google My Business is a free company profile that Google makes available to us.

It is these profiles that rank in Google’s “snack pack” results and appear at the top of search results for local search intent queries .

If you want to rank for keywords with local intent (for example “Milan accountant”), claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile is one of the most important off-page SEO factors.

6. Why use off page SEO for your site?

Properly and competently off page SEO optimization generates the following benefits for a website:

Increased rankings: The site ranks higher in the Google SERPs and gets more organic traffic.

Greater authority : the site becomes more authoritative in the eyes of Google in its reference market with a consequent increase in visibility (practically Google tends to show our site more often in the SERPs).

Greater visibility : Better placements also mean more exposure on Google, because when a site ranks in the top positions it gets more backlinks, more visits and more mentions.

Practically there is an infinite sequence of positive events for a site that invests in SEO services of off site optimization.

7. Why is investing in off-page SEO essential?

The SEO off page SEO is as important as the on page and if you want that your SEO campaign to be successful you have to invest on both fronts.

Good On-Page SEO can get you to the first page in Google search results, but strategically applied Off-Page SEO will get you to the top.

Google takes many off page factors into consideration to determine its rankings and return the best results to its users (backlinks are one of these factors, but as we have seen there are many others).

This makes it difficult to rank for high search volume keywords with only good content but without a high link building budget.

So while it can be a complex activity, because many off-page factors are not entirely under our control, you have to see the bright side: the harder it is to get something, the more reliable it is as a ranking factor for Google.

When you think about link building I advise you not to choose the easy way (like guest post containers), but to get backlinks from authoritative and hard to reach sites. The harder it is to get a backlink, the more value it has for Google .

Today it is no longer possible to shoot in the pile, but it is a precision game that requires the search for the right context to promote your page.

It took me several hours to write this article on off page SEO, I’d love to share your opinion or have your opinion in the comments.

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