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Off site SEO – a simple plan for small and medium sized businesses

Off site SEO is this how some people see it?

What’s on this web page? Using off site SEO to convince Google that your site deserves high rankings in their results page. And choosing key words that attract customers in buying mode.

Before starting your off site SEO work make sure you’ve chosen good key words for your web pages.

First you need pages on your site that attract searchers using terms that tell you they are ripe for converting in to customers. So go to Google’s keyword tool and type in a main key word. I used seo.

Look for key word suggestions that…
1. Accurately describe the page you want to build.
2. Have low competition.
3. Have high local or global monthly searches.

This is a trade off, what you’re really looking for is a topic you can confidently write about and realistically expect your new page to rank on the first page of Google. Pick the search term that makes the most sense with this goal in mind.

Now ask yourself “will a page on this topic help my business?”
If the answer is no, ask yourself why you are going to invest all the time or money it will cost to make the page and optimize it for on and off site SEO.

I chose “off site seo”.

It has…

  • Low competition.
  • Enough local and global monthly searchers to make it worth while.
  • Customer appeal. My customers will search for it, find it useful, and tell their friends about it. So I could get some new customers through this page.

What you really want are keywords that attract customers searching to buy something you can sell to them.

When you have found a topic that will help your business and you realistically believe you can beat the competition to a first page rank on Google, you can move on to the next step.

Now you can start off site SEO link building.

The actual link text you should use for off site SEO.
In any inbound links you get, make the keywords you want to rank for clickable. So if you want to improve your page rank for “buy widgets in Leeds” make buy widgets in Leeds the words that people click on to go to your site. Don’t use generic words like “click here”. Getting the clickable link text right is a fundamental part of off site SEO.

This makes it easy for Google and your customers to understand exactly what they will get if they click the link. Click here doesn’t tell search engines or the person who clicks the link, what they’ll get by following the link. But a link that says “buy widgets in Leeds” tells the user and the search engine exactly what the page offers. Links using your keywords are great for off site SEO.

If you are planning on getting a lot of inbound links mix it up a bit. Don’t always link to your home page. If the link is about a particular product or service you offer and you have a page about that product or service, link directly to that individual web page. Also don’t use the exact same link text every time (unless you only plan on getting a small number of inbound links).

  • In 50% of links use your exact key words.
  • In 40% of links use slightly different but still highly relevant words as link text.
  • In 10% of links use your brand or business name as your link text.

The idea is to help Google see that you’re building real organic links and make it obvious you’re not buying links and not using link farms. Google hates these tactics and may penalise your site if you use them.

Where do you want these off site SEO links to come from?

Trustworthy high traffic websites, that are relevant to your business or industry.

So for good off site SEO get links from…

  • Trustworthy.
  • High traffic.
  • Relevant websites.

The best place to put your link on someone else’s website.
Ideally you’d like a well written piece of editorial text in the page content and near the top of the front page of the website that links to you. Not a link in the side bar etc. This text would explain the benefits your business offers. And the actual clickable link would include your search term. If you could get this it would be great for off site SEO.

  • Front page.
  • At the top.
  • In the body copy.
  • Including your search terms as the clickable link.

You’re unlikely to get this but use it as a guide, try get links in the body copy of other peoples websites and use your search term as the clickable link text.

Who is likely to help you with your off the page SEO campaign in this way?

People you could ask to help with your off site SEO include…

  • Trade bodies and business associations you belong to.
  • People you buy from or sell to. If you’re on friendly terms with them, would they consider doing you a favour in this way?
  • Websites that publish articles written by experts in particular fields (that’s you :-). You write an article for their website and include a text link to your own site in the article body or biography box at the bottom of the article.

You’re looking for trustworthy sites that are relevant to your business or industry but not direct competitors.

Other types of links and mentions that help your off the page SEO campaign include…

  • Reading and commenting on high traffic blogs relevant to your industry. Most blogs let you add links with your comment. These links are called no follow links but are still useful for your off site SEO campaign.
  • Encourage people to like you on Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ etc.
  • Encourage people to tweet (nice things) about you on Twitter.

I know all of this can seem overwhelming. But the fact is that many small and medium sized businesses are not doing this yet. So the more time you put in to your off site SEO link building campaign the more likely you are to improve your rankings.

A simple plan of off site SEO link building actions you can start right now.

Make a list of web directories relevant to your business or industry.
BUT! Remember, you’re looking for QUALITY not quantity. A small number of links from trustworthy sites that are relevant to your business or industry will do your off site SEO more good than getting many links from random low trust sites.

When making your list ask yourself…

  • Are you a member of the local chamber of commerce?
  • Are you a member of a respected businesses association?
  • Are you a member of any business club, group franchise etc?
  • Do you have friends in relevant but not competing businesses?

Try get links from those websites to yours.

A link from a trusted site to your site works like a word of mouth recommendation.

If the local chamber of commerce recommends your services to a customer, the customer is likely to trust that recommendation. That’s because they know the person recommending you is trustworthy. Google works in exactly the same way.

If trustworthy sites link to you they are actually recommending your services and saying that they trust you. If these trustworthy websites trust you, Google will trust you too, this increases your page rank. And boosts your off site SEO efforts.

You could also search Google for directories that are relevant to your industry. You want to find directories that rank highly in the search engines and don’t require a reciprocal link (they list and link to your site but you don’t have to link to them). BUT! Remember, you’re looking for QUALITY not quantity.

Do NOT pay to be listed on any website ever. Unless you know you will get a good return on your investment and be good for your off site SEO. Which is unlikely.

That’s a lot to take in in one go so here’s a recap…

Off site SEO recap

  • Find relevant and trustworthy directories and websites that link to sites like yours.
  • Get listed putting your most important search engine keywords in the clickable link text.
  • Encourage people to like your web pages in Facebook, Linkedin,Google+ and other social networks.
  • Ask friends to tweet about you when you have a new product or web page.
  • Read and comment on trustworthy high ranking blogs that are relevant to your industry. Make your comments valuable and useful to the blog owner and blog readers. Don’t just write “great post”, say why you’ve found the post valuable or useful. Imagine the comment was on your own site, what would you like it to say? Write that as your comment but make sure its honest, believable and useful.

Think of off site SEO as an ongoing process.

After your initial enthusiasm for off site SEO has worn off, make some time every week to add a comment, or try find a quality website or directory you can get listed on. If you do it right, you’ll slowly start to see your site get better rankings in the search engines.

PS. before you add your site to any directories etc, read the instructions for that particular directory or website and follow them closely.

Why not start right now with your off site SEO campaign?

PS. if you have a local business you can find a great set of tutorials here.