11 Off-Page Optimization Strategies for Building an Online Reputation

11 Off-Page Optimization Strategies for Building an Online Reputation

Brand reputation is a general concept of how a real and potential user perceives a brand. In the context of SEO, this is the popularity of the site and its rating in the eyes of the search engine. Off-page optimization helps to increase this parameter, brand awareness, and sales.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page optimization is a complex of SEO-promotion techniques that are carried out outside of your site. As with internal optimization, external increases the site’s position in the search engine results but it uses other methods.

The goal of off-page optimization is often to receive as many  from the outside as possible, from social networks, forums, and other sites. Quality links meaning those that are trusted by the search engine.

But off-page SEO is not just about links, and the main mistake SEO-specialists who are building an off-page strategy make is to only include link building. Although brand mentions, positive feedback, etc., not necessarily regarding the resource, are also important.

If users are interested in the results of off-page optimization, they will Google your company themselves, if not, they wouldn’t even click the selling link.

In layman’s terms, off-page optimization concerns the reputation of your site. Imagine that instead of a site you had a car, it is nice, comfortable, and you are glad to bring fellow travelers in it, but rumors circulate the city that the car is dirty and it malfunctions.

You want to meet fellow travelers to prove to them that it is fine, but no one wants to go with you because you already have a bad reputation. So, you need to make better reviews about the car, but if you start from scratch rather than trying to fix your bad reputation, the chances of improvement are much higher.

How Off-Page Optimization Differs from On-Page and Technical Ones

All types of optimization differ in terms of the methods used by the SEO specialist.

Within the framework of on-page optimization, they work only on the site: they make high-quality content, correctly place keywords, etc. Its approach is that the better the site – the more the search engine will trust it and the higher it will list the site in the search results.

In the previous example about the car, on-page optimization is the arrangement of the interior, the creation of comfortable and safe conditions for the trip.

Technical optimization helps the search robot index the site faster and put it in the search base. If the resource has a convenient site map and there are no broken links or nonexistent pages, then the robot will skip it and put it on the white list.

If you compare a site with a machine, then technical optimization would be the repair work and regular check-ups at service stations.

Learn more in article Technical SEO.

Off-page optimization and on-page SEO intersect with each other through their goals. They are done to raise the site in the SERP, but methods for off-page optimization are used outside of the resource itself. For example, if they prepare content with links, then for external sources, and not for the site.

In other words, they offer bonuses to fellow travelers, promising the opportunity to use them when traveling.

What Relates to External Optimization?

Off-page optimization includes all methods that increase link mass, increase brand awareness, and the positive feedback on it.

Why even increase the link mass? For search engines, especially Google, this setting is one of the indicators that a site can be trusted. The logic is as follows: if the site is mentioned on other sources, then it is valued highly amongst users and competitors.

When Google first began paying attention to the link mass, SEO-specialists overused it: put links in manually and automatically, often in dead directories. Because of this, it became impossible to determine a site’s credibility through its links.

Therefore, Google has introduced a Penguin filter against such methods. It was put into use in April 2012, and in response to this, SEO specialists expanded the ways of off-page optimization, this included online and offline promotion.

Learn more about last Google algorithms update in our articles UPDATE: Google May 4, 2020 .

Now, in addition to link building, off-page optimization includes:

  1. Creating a quality product or service. A bad product will destroy any marketing and any good product needs regular updates and support.
  2. Working with the audience by monitoring positive and negative reviews, questions, and interacting with customers both online and offline.
  3. Establishing connections with other brands with the same target audience and opinion leaders.
  4. Monitoring brand awareness.

The Meaning of SEO Off-Page and its Importance for Website Promotion

Good off-page optimization increases the values of three indicators of the site:

  1. Relevance.
  2. Reliability.
  3. Authority.

They are pretty abstract because specific metrics, ranking factors, and search engine algorithms are constantly changing. However, these metrics, factors, and algorithms are always aimed at determining:

  1. Whether the site’s content is relevant.
  2. Whether the site can be trusted.
  3. Whether the site is already trusted.

The third point is especially important because long before clients even Google your resource, they already have presumptions about it. Someone told them about it online or offline, but it was not you.

It is known that 92% of users trust the opinion of ordinary people more than brands even if they are not familiar with them personally. In this case, the opinion should either cause a strong positive response or be repeated several times from different people and have different experiences. According to Pam Moore, it takes 5-7 impressions for an average person to remember a brand.

That is why the goal of external optimization is not a specific amount of quality links but rather generally positive feedback and interactions with the brand.

Successful SEO off-page activities increase:

  1. Ratings. The site is approaching the top in Google’s search results and, as a result, its traffic is growing.
  2. PageRank. This is an indicator of Google site reliability. Measured from 0 to 10. This is only one of more than 250 search engine indicators, but it is one of the most important.
  3. Trustworthiness. In 2014, Google introduced the concepts of Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). These are the three points that we considered above.

The Top 11 Off-page Optimization Strategies

The two most important factors of off-page optimization are links and RankBrain. But we can only impact the first one, so in the case of off-page, we concentrate on the quality of links. At the same time, link building is not the only thing that affects the ranking of the site, although this is a very effective strategy, that we will consider in detail below.

The same tricks that are not directly related to links can be summarized in one category called promotion. It does not always directly affect the algorithms of search engines but it creates the reliability of the site that they are trying to evaluate. This promotion includes the following factors:

#1 Branding

The key to good brand promotion is not cool marketing techniques but a good product. If it is, it remains only to tell users about it.

Two other points that determine brand recognition and positive brand perception:

  1. Powerful customer service. If the user has a bad impression after interacting with the site, no SEO strategy can pull it into the top of the list.
  2. Focus on the target audience. In a nutshell, the user needs to be given what they find interesting, then it will be easier to find you. The selection of keywords is based on this parameter, the SEO specialist determines what the client is looking for in terms of a product or brand.

The basic sources of this information are Google Autosuggest, Keywordtool.io, Keyword Explorer, and Answerthepublic.com. If we go further, then, according to Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz, “search, refine, broaden queries, talk to people, read discussion threads, have empathy.” Read more in article The best SEO tools for business.


#2 External content

Content is all the experience that creates and conveys a brand to its audience. With its help, the company tells what the client will get from interacting with it; therefore, the content should convey a guarantee that the potential experience will be positive and useful to the user.

One of the determining factors is authenticity. According to the Stackla The Consumer Content Report, 86% of consumers listed authenticity as being among the parameters they consider when determining whether they like a brand. 57% said that less than half of brands create authentic content. Learn how to make the website content audit for your site.


#3 Audience response

How well the external optimization strategy works is determined by the audience. It either expands or does not. From this, you can get an off-page SEO checklist regarding users, such as the following:

  1. Answer the audience on forums and social networks.
  2. Ask the audience about their opinions.
  3. Track brand mentions without a link.

# 4 Link Building

Link building is building link mass or the number of links to your site (backlinks).

Although we have said several times above that links are not the only goal of off-page optimization, they specify what we are doing this for and turn the abstract concept of positive customer reaction and relevance into a tangible number of links to the resource.

There are three types of links:

  1. Natural.
  2. Manually created.
  3. These you create yourself.

Natural links appear without the specific influence of an SEO specialist. We emphasize the word “specific” because they are the result of well-conducted strategies of non-reference methods of external optimization, including branding.

For example, if a blogger writes about his favorite products and provides a link to your resource, link building was not carried out in this case, but it is considered good promotion that a blogger would even find out about the product.

Manually created links are those that the SEO specialist asks to be placard in blogs, third-party resources, competitors, etc.

By the way, competitors should be used not as though they are enemies, but as they are associates. You and they have a common goal – to provide the user with a quality product. And by the user, you both mean the same people because you have the same target audience. Thus, it is reasonable to be partners and post links to each other on your sites.

Self-created links are those that SEO specialists place themselves, such as in online directories. They are easy to spam and they lower the reputation in the eyes of search engines. But if you select high-quality directories and do not use only this method of link building, it will also lead to success.

In general, no matter how the link is created, it must meet the following criteria:

  1. It is posted on a popular resource.
  2. It is posted on a resource with a relevant topic (on that is intersected with the theme of your site).
  3. It is fresh, meaning that link building should be carried out regularly.
  4. It is active. If after clicking on a link it opens a non-existent page, it is considered to be bad. Bad links need to be tracked and, if necessary, ask the webmaster to update the data. Read more about bad links.
  5. It contains a relevant anchor. Google checks such things: whether the description of the link matches its content. Also, you will lose the user’s trust if they click and go to the site of your resource and do not find what they expect to.
  6. There are not many other links on the link page.
  7. The linked resource is authoritative.

#5 SMM

SMM is a separate field but it significantly affects the results of external website optimization.

In the context of off-page, marketing techniques in social networks are used to provoke positive feedback from the audience and increase brand awareness.

If you google the name of any well-known company, the first in the list will be its Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin. Thus, they can be used as an analog of word of mouth marketing. It’s not necessary to leave backlinks to the site on social networks, especially since not all platforms allow you to do this (for example, you can’t leave a link in Instagram under a post), but you must communicate there with your audience, make advertisements, and maintain your profiles.

The analog of clicks on backlinks in social networks is reposted, with every repost, your community is expanding. Here is a checklist on how to do this effectively for SEO:

  1. Ask and answer your audience. Stay alert for comments under posts, direct messages in posts, and mentions in stories or publications. You can also respond to the potential audience, not on your page – when someone asks for a recommendation of the service that your brand provides.
  2. Pay special attention to negative comments. Take responsibility for customer dissatisfaction, even if it’s not your fault. Apologize and suggest a solution to the problem.
  3. Make partnerships with social community administrators in your niche.
  4. Track your brand mentions on social networks. Google search algorithms perceive them as backlinks and increase the ranking of your site based on them.

#6 Guest Posts

Guest posting is the preparation and placement of articles with a link to your site on third-party resources.

The main mistake of this strategy may be focusing on the backlink and not the usefulness of the information for the reader. Guest posts can often be 100% irrelevant or spam; however, such texts will not increase the traffic to your site because users will not want to click on the link.

But if you see guest posting as a strategy to distribute useful content, it can significantly increase the rating of your site. For this:

  1. Choose sites that are relevant to your niche.
  2. Post articles only on high-quality resources (with a high rating), otherwise Google will perceive such backlinks as spam.
  3. Create interesting guest content that will motivate the reader to go to your site.

#7 Forum Posting

Posting on forums is to place content with a backlink on communication platforms.

To some extent, this strategy can be understood as a mixture of SMM and guest posting. From the former, you take user interaction on online sites and from the latter, the placement of quality content with a link to the resource.

The most useful sites for this external optimization strategy:

  1. Quora
  2. Reddit
  3. Yahoo Answers
  4. eHow

Keep track of the questions that users in your niche ask, mark what interests them in forum trends, and give them what they want. At the same time, as with guest posting, focus on the benefits and put a link to your resource between the lines. If you can naturally add backlinks to high-quality content, posting on forums will bring you a lot of traffic to your site.

#8 Different Types of Off-page Content

Content in SEO is primarily understood as text, but this is not always the best , or only format.

A person perceives 30% of the information visually and 20% audibly. By combining visual and audio exposure, the level of the perception of information rises to 70%.

Visual formats include text, images, infographics, and according to a study conducted by educator Edgar Dale, we remember only 10% of what we read. Among trending audio formats, the most important is podcasts, but neither they nor the infographics and illustrations, are as strong as videos.

This is because a video combines audio and visual impacts right away. According to Wyzowl, 87% of marketers said that this format increased the traffic to their site, and according to Hubspot, 54% of users want more video content from brands.


At the same time, videos have some disadvantages:

  1. Videos cannot be scanned like a text.
  2. To watch the video, you need certain conditions, at least, good Internet and silence.
  3. A brand needs more resources to create a video than to write a text.

To partially solve the first two problems, try adding subtitles and duplicating them in the comments of the publication.

#9 Influencers

Influencers, or opinion leaders, are users of social networks that have an impact on an audience in a particular area. The size of this audience depends on the niche. For highly specialized areas, the number can be about a thousand, and for popular accounts, it can grow up to several million.

A blogger’s level of influence is determined by the impressions of his or her publications, the involvement, and the sales of the products they recommend. The format of the content that they publish is not important, but the niche is very important.

In highly specialized areas, expert bloggers in their field have the greatest influence. These are specialists who work in a niche and maintain a blog in which they talk about tricks and products. They are trusted because they are professionals.

In popular areas, media people who actively enhance their pages on social networks also have a great influence. These are the bloggers who first became popular offline and then created an online presence.

How to make connections with influencers:

  1. Establish long-term relationships and do not order one-time advertising.
  2. Start with micro-bloggers, they may have a smaller audience but more trust. Also, they collaborate with fewer brands.
  3. Look for influencers with the same target audience as your brand.
  4. Coordinate mutual goals. The trendy type of cooperation is being an ambassador. You agree that the blogger points you in a bio profile and will also regularly wear, tell or show your brand, in return, you will send them products, for example, from new collections.

Read more about interacting with bloggers in our blogger-outreach article.

#10 Powerful Customer Service

Customer service is how a brand responds to a user’s needs. This spans from the welcome, to the initial interaction, and to the provision of information about the service.

According to a study by Vonage (formerly New Voice Media), US companies lose about $62 billion each year due to poor customer service. Also, during their survey, 51% of users said that after one negative experience with a brand, they would never buy from it again.

While not completely negative, the difficulty of the experience also matters. According to Salesforce, 74% of customers will cancel a purchase on a site if they find the process too complicated.

Positive online interaction with a brand is the task of the UX department. And their offline maintenance is also not engaged in SEO. But traffic on the site drops if link building attracts new customers, and the customer service repels them.

Also, instead of high-quality and positively colored content with the mention of your site, after a client’s negative experience, users begin to get more and more negative feedback with backlinks. But if you evoke good emotions, they will speak well of you.

#11 Converting Old Types of Internal Content to New Ones for External Sources

Content conversion is a change in the presentation format of data. For example, an article can be transformed into a podcast, or complex information on a table can be shown using infographics, which are easier to read.

Some formats are equivalent in perception but they affect different groups of people in different ways. For example, for those who do not like to watch videos, a podcast is suitable and for someone who does not understand information well hearing it will look through a series of illustrations.

Conversion is also an ideal strategy for preparing content for different sites. In highly specialized forums, you can speak with text and infographics, while the audience on social networks prefers entertainment content, so pictures and short videos are more suitable for them. positive feedback on it.

Why even increase the link mass? For search engines, especially Google, this setting is one of the indicators that a site can be trusted. The logic is as follows: if the site is mentioned on other sources, then it is valued highly amongst users and competitors.

About author
Viktoriia Pushkina is a writer with 5+ years of experience in the field. She started in 2014 as a copywriter and now works as a content and blog writer and freelance journalist. She specializes in writing about SEO, technologies, culture and society.