Believe it or not…to be a market leader does NOT require having a website, however, you still should have a web presence. As long as some effort is put into building awareness and traffic using off-page SEO, you can still achieve market domination and MegaFluence.
In fact, according to a Digital.com survey, one of the reasons is that 33% believe that simply having a social media account meant they could skip the bother of a website. An amazing 23% of SMBs (Small & Medium-sized Business) don’t have a website with about one-third saying they’ve never needed one.
Yes, it’s true. There are market leading, multi-million dollar generating businesses, that use little more than free social media pages, a free GoogleMyBusiness page and far simpler sales pages and funnels with a singular purpose of taking a prospect or customer through a defined journey.
It’s important to note that research by Hootsuite and We Are Social showed that 97% of customers do start their search for retail or service businesses on the web, and 30% of those said they simply wouldn’t do business with a company that lacked any web presence.
Regardless of the form of web presence or lack thereof, no business can optimally function without traffic, whether it be to a brick and mortar location or to a sales page, and getting traffic happens in one of two ways.
You can either purchase traffic with paid advertising, or you can generate organic free traffic by understanding the basics of Off-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It is an important means for organizations to drive traffic to their websites, attract new audiences, spread knowledge, and ultimately drive revenues.
The numbers mentioned above illustrate the importance of SEO to a customer’s journey. By simply putting at least a little effort into SEO, a business can get more visibility over less time while also reducing overall marketing costs.
But as basic a concept as that appears, there are so many little elements that make it extremely frustrating to know exactly what to do to game the system and trick Google’s search algorithms to work to your advantage.
To understand where to begin, all that’s required is looking at the beginning of SEO when keyword stuffing and filling static web pages with backlinks was the norm.
Although today it’s a far more sophisticated process, those old-fashioned simple off-page optimization tactics still have great value.
One type of on-line business that utilizes this more than most is one that specializes in affiliate marketing – the selling of OPP (Other People’s Products).
Affiliate marketers really have little need for a website, sales pages or even directory listings. They can function each and every day by leveraging free social media with content and using basic SEO backlink strategies to drive traffic to the sales pages or websites maintained by the seller they are affiliated with.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is all the things that you can do on other people’s platforms (OPP) to drive traffic from their site to a web presence, whether yours or someone else’s.
There’s tremendous value in having off-page SEO as it helps raise your domain authority even if it’s just for sales pages and not a full-blown website, and therefore your influence as a trusted source.
It’s also a difficult and time consuming task.
The Power of Quality Links
Today, search engine AI is able to evaluate the quality over quantity of backlinks (as well as the number of referring domains). In fact, a single quality backlink from an authoritative site is worth more than 10 or even 100 low-quality links.
However, getting high-quality backlinks from OPP is not the easiest thing for most businesses to do on their own.
For your backlinks, the 3 most important traits shared among the highest quality backlinks include:
- Backlinks originate from High Domain Authority websites.
- They include target keywords in link anchor text.
- Originating sites should be topically related to your site’s content.
Let’s look at these a little more in depth.
Trait #1: Have Backlinks Originating From Trusted, Authoritative Websites
This concept is known as “Domain Authority”. Essentially, the more authority a site has, the more authority it can pass on to your web presence (via a link). This particular screen snippet from a Google search most likely looks different than what you see on your screen.
A great freemium Chome Extension tool for finding domain authority is Keywords Everywhere which includes information from a variety of sources that will give you most everything you need to get started.
Trait #2: Include Target Keyword In A Link’s Anchor Text
The anchor text is the visible text part of a link. In general, you want your links to have anchor text that includes your target keyword.
Industry studies have found a correlation between keyword-rich anchor text and higher rankings. In fact, Google’s algorithm focuses on sites that build backlinks with exact match anchor text.
For example, a common anchor text is “Click Here,” but the text click here would most likely not be a keyword. However, since this article includes information about Google Search and since Google regularly posts updates, this anchor text “Google Search” includes keywords that are also contained in the link and therefore will help with rankings.
Trait #3: The Site (and Page) Linking to You Is Topically Related
When a website links to another website or sales page, Google wants to see that the two are related. This makes total sense, don’t you think?
For example, an article about the benefits of certain vitamins or minerals with links to a nutritional supplement website or sales page will rank high in SEO. Google will put MUCH more weight on those links.
But what if the included links are unrelated to nutrition? It’s certainly understandable that those would be mostly disregarded.
The Impact of Content in SEO
When playing the SEO game, you need to put in the effort to give search engines the elements they use in their algorithm. It all starts with ranking content.
Content is King. That’s because it is content that ultimately brings traffic to your site. Sure, the technical aspects of SEO are important, but both on-page and off-page SEO is meaningless without content.
Because it is so crucial, not just any content will do. It doesn’t matter what type of content it is (whether it be blogs, videos, infographics, web copy, polls, quizzes, etc.) as long as that content is derived from an intent-driven content plan.
Your content must 1) address current problems your ideal customer needs to solve, 2) is relevant, interesting, engaging and has value, and 3) is easily shareable so that people will want to repost it.
Unless there’s a valid reason, such as a membership site or subscription paywall where you would NOT want content to be sharable, your goal should always be to reach as many eyes as possible. Make it easy, and if you’re lucky, your content may even go viral.
The key to creating a traffic-driving content plan is 1) understand what people are actively searching for (in your area of expertise, of course), and 2) be sure to include that keyword information in the title and lead paragraph in your descriptions. If its audio or video content, that same keyword information should also be in the first 3 seconds of your content.
When it comes to knowing what people are actively searching for, a great place to start is AnswerthePublic. You can do two searches a day for free by entering a couple relevant keywords and selecting the country, and it gives you results compiled from all public search engines. It was recently purchased by Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, where you can pay to do a deeper dive into search data should you want to.
In other words, you become a valuable resource when you plan your content with intent in mind.
If you want to attract viewers, you first need to create content that answers the questions they are actively seeking answers for, and then you need to do what’s necessary so that search engines can easily find your content.
It’s essential that your content be original (unless you explicitly state otherwise and provide attributions). If you’re unsure, use these ways and tools to check for duplicate content.
Best Practices In Getting Backlinks
There are specialists you can hire who are experts at helping you get links, but most small businesses lack the resources to put into this. Therefore, the best practice that anyone is able to implement is simply by creating valuable content that others will want to include or share in their content.
There are free tools available that you can use to facilitate this such as ShareThis.
Create Linkable Assets
Search engine optimization and content marketing are closely tied together. If you want people to link to you, you need an amazing piece of content posted somewhere that’s worth linking to such as blog posts, photos, videos, or quizzes.
- According to Backlinko, the top 4 link building strategy today includes:
- Content Publication/Promotion, Guest Posting (90%)
- Resource Pages/Link Lists (56%)
- Digital PR (53%)
- Local Citations & Business Directories (52%)
According to one of the premiere guru’s in this space, Neil Patel, there are a couple relatively easy tactics you can employ in your backlink building strategy:
- Create content to promote yourself as an expert in your field and post it on high domain authority blog sites such as Medium and Reddit.
If you really want to take it to the next level, find sites that will accept guest blogs. Many sites are actually willing to pay you for content. To make this process easier, there are 3rd-party sites like Accessily that you can check out.
- Write content that both mentions and tags influencers in your field, because posts like this are highly popular, and consider building an influencer marketing strategy if you see this as a big part of your business or role.
Other Off-Page SEO Best Practices
Although building quality backlinks are the backbone of an off-page SEO strategy, there are other techniques you can use to increase site authority and encourage more links.
Include Local SEO in Your Strategy
Be sure to include your business to local listings and internet directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and other local directories such as those published by the Chamber of Commerce.
But don’t stop there. Check frequently to ensure that all information is accurate, and consistent in order to best protect your identity as well as for SEO. In fact, business identity theft is as huge of a problem as individual ID theft.
Engage in Discussions
By participating in high domain discussion sites like Quora, you can enhance your credibility and build brand recognition as well as the essential “know, like and trust” factor with your prospects. It’s also another way to engage in off-page SEO.
Submit Back-linked Content
Elements such as images, audio and video content can be hosted and shared on high-domain authority platforms such as Vimeo (video), Soundcloud (audio), and Flickr (images). Just be sure to include hashtags, keywords, copyright notices, as well as information and descriptions that link back to your site where possible.
For example, when I worked in sports information, I was a prolific photographer and I uploaded over 10,000 photos to Flickr. I made sure to not use the file names that were exported by the camera (such as DSC_07220901, but would be sure to name each photo appropriately so that it would be easy to search and retrieve photos.
As web user and online consumer behavior constantly changes, so does search engine optimization best practices. No matter how it is evolving, the best approach to SEO is having a solid strategy that addresses both on- and off-page elements.
On-page, the main concerns are quality content and making sure the technical aspects of the site have been optimized for speed, efficiency, and keywords.
Off-page, the most important thing you can do is encourage quality backlinks from authoritative sites. You’ll be rewarded with a higher rank when search engines see your site as important and relevant.