Off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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A good search engine optimization can be roughly divided in two: on-page and off-page optimization. As its name says, the first optimization takes place inside a page and consists of a reorganization of the content displayed in it. On the other hand, the off-page optimization takes place in other pages and consists in gaining incoming links pointing to the optimized page.

The task is very easy to understand: what you need is to get other websites to set up links pointing to yours. This may or may not involve a negotiation between you and the webmaster of the page you’re trying to get the link from, but in any case, you should follow these guidelines to get the best from every link:

  • Always try to use your keywords in the anchor text of the link, as search engines use anchor text as a description of the content of the destination page. You may not always achieve this because you can’t control the content in other people’s websites, but try it whenever possible. Pay attention to other links on the page (if any); if other links display keywords as anchor text it’s very likely that the webmaster will accept yours.
  • Note that the importance given to the words in your anchor text will lower from left to right, so you may want to put your keywords first whenever possible.
  • Whether you should or shouldn’t get links from low PageRank pages is a very discussed topic in SEO. Some experts say that you need to focus your work in the higher PR pages only. In my opinion you shouldn’t take PageRank that seriously, because it doesn’t have such a close realtionship with search results. Google is very far from giving you information you can use to intentionally affect their search results and even less, to buy, sell or exchange links.

Once you got the idea of how you can get the best of a link, you need to know where and how you can make other websites link to you. Next, I’ll give some hints of where you can start your link building.

Articles

Write an article about a topic related to the niche your website belongs. Use your knowledge or experience to come up with something others may read, enjoy and find to be very useful.

This will rise your image among your visitors and will also allow you to submit your article to article directory websites like EzineArticles.com, GoArticles.com and iSnare.com. In most of them a link can be added to your website at the end.

Press releases

Write a press release about the opening of your business, something new you’ve discovered in your industry or some data you can add about experiences in your field (e.g. some data about buyers in the after recession summer season).

Publish your work in press release websites like PRweb.com or Free-press-release.com, where you can get a link at the bottom of the press release. Remember that by definition, a press release must have news value.

RSS and Atom syndication

Syndicate your content using RSS or Atom feeds. Feeds are “what’s new” lists that will allow your visitors and other websites to see and/or display the latest news you have to offer. Submit this content to feed directories like FeedAgg.com or Plazoo.com, where you will have a link to every news in the feed.

Remember, that for feeds to work, you need to keep your content fresh. Nobody wants to see a “what’s new” list that never changes.

Web directories

Submit your website to web directories like Dmoz.com or Yahoo! Direcotry, that may or may not charge you for the review service. In any case, you should have a quality website that offers good and useful content to increase the chances of getting accepted in the directory. Writing good descriptions and following the guidelines will also increase the probability of getting accepted.

Social bookmarking

Create accounts in social bookmarking websites like Digg.com or Del.icio.us and bookmark your website. Tell your friends to bookmark your website too. The more people bookmark your website, the more visibility it will have.

Create a page for your website on Facebook or Twitter. Tell your friends to become fans and spread the word. This may provide you with a lot of popularity as Facebook is the second most visited website in the internet.

Place bookmark buttons on your website so your visitors can bookmark it with just one click to their favorite social network.

Forums and blogs

Sign up in forums related to your content and start talking. Most forums allow users to add links in their signatures. Recommend your resources in answers posted at Google Groups, Yahoo! Answers or any related article in blogs.

Having your own blog or forum may be something that you will need to maintain daily, but it’s a natural way to gain links from people that may find the answers useful. Besides the maintenance and control, all the content in a forum depends on its users (it’s free content).

Whatever you do, use these techniques wise and respectfuly. Don’t spam e-mails, forums or blogs with your links. Always avoid promotinal language and meaningless answers. And never forget that a link that that is accepted for good reasons will last longer.

Diego Ponce de Leon writing for the web directory WWPlane.com

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