SEO Competitive Analysis Part III: Offsite Optimization Factors
SEO optimization, as previously discussed, is primarily broken down into onsite and offsite optimization. While you may have more direct control over onsite optimization factors, offsite optimization is even more critical. The reason it is even more important is that offsite optimization is what governs how many sites are linking back to you site and that, after all, is the prime factor effecting your sites popularity and/or PageRank (along with the quality and relevance of those backlinks). Therefore, it is imperative that you have a thorough understanding of the offsite optimization factors that can assist in your quest to dominate the SERPs (search engine results pages).
There are many different offsite optimization factors which will affect your site’s SEO efforts but they are primarily broken down into the number of backlinks you have, the relevance of those backlinks and the quality of those backlinks. One other very important factor with backlinks is the anchor text used in a backlink. For those that aren’t familiar with the term “anchor text”, it is the words that appear underlined or highlighted that you click on to activate the link. Anchor text is extremely important in the link building process because Google uses the anchor text to determine relevance to the search term. So, if you want to build up backlinks for the keyword “computer office equipment”, you would want to get as many links as you could with that exact anchor text. Now, keep in mind, you want to keep your results normal, so you will want to mix it up a little and use some variations of that anchor text or else your efforts may get flagged as not being organic in nature.
When it comes to getting backlinks to your site, there are different factors that apply and different benefits of each. For example, one important factor is the sheer number of backlinks. The more people you have linking back to you, the more Google looks at that and determines you to be popular. But it’s not just a numbers game. Google also wants to see high quality (high PR) backlinks as well as extremely relevant backlinks. Those three priorities don’t align – you’re not going to get a high quantity of highly relevant high PageRank backlinks – just not going to happen. So your link building strategies will likely focus on just one of those three priorities and you will likely have multiple link building strategies to address each of them. One campaign will be designed to get lots of incoming links, another to get highly relevant links and yet another will be more concerned with a high caliber of links.
There are various strategies for building backlinks and you need to be very careful in how you approach this. There are many blackhat strategies out there for link building and they may be very risky for you to employ. It is highly suggested that you consult with an SEO expert before starting a link building campaign if you do not have significant experience in this realm. Some of the more common backlink building methods include article marketing (especially good for targeting specific anchor text), social media posting and bookmarking, other web 2.0 social sites, comment posting on relevant blogs, high quality article submissions (to high PR websites like ezinearticles.com) and other techniques.
Each technique has it’s specific benefits and drawbacks. Article marketing is usually done with either of two goals in mind – either quantity of links, or quality of links. Typically you should choose to have very high quality content written either in-house or by a market specialist for posting to high quality article directories. But if your goal is just to get a bunch of incoming links, then you might choose to go a cheaper route and get dozens of articles (usually shorter ones) and sprinkle them across many different article directories via a programmatic distribution or submission software as Google eye candy. In other words, your intent with them is purely from a backlink acquisition standpoint, you’re not as concerned with the content itself. Now, this is a personal decision that you may not want to engage in – it totally depends upon your business plan and objectives (as well as your budget – high quality niche expert article writers are clearly more expensive). The primary benefit of article marketing is that content is still king on the Internet and articles serve that need very well. Also, with article marketing, you can very specifically go after keywords with laser like precision via the title of the article and the anchor text of the links – very powerful.
Social media is also very popular for creating backlinks in a variety of contexts. For example, social bookmarking sites, video distribution (very powerful approach) and other social sites like Facebook all generate good and high quality backlinks. Of these techniques, videos are probably the most powerful (though many will argue social media and social bookmarking). There are tools in the marketplace which will largely automate the video submission process and other tools that will even transform an article into a video for you automatically (utilizing enhanced text to speech capabilities). The power of videos is that they are very well likely by Google and often rank very highly in the search results pages. Also, there is no way to check for duplicate content with a video, so the same exact video may rank multiple times from different sites. Using a combination of these techniques you may even be able to briefly hold multiple listings on page #1.
Offsite SEO optimization is critical to the growth of your site and its ability to increase in PageRank as well. Don’t forget, however, that the formula must be adequately balanced between quantity, quality and relevance. Google wants it all, so you may have to get creative in solving those needs, just don’t forget to consult an SEO expert before you begin. You don’t want to waste time, money or, worse yet, risk a Google penalty for doing something Blackhat that you weren’t aware of.