Before writing this article, I had two thoughts. Should I be really telling this out to the world? The trade secrets that is. As a matter of fact, off-site optimization is the trump card up every SEO’s sleeve and so is mine.
It is my favourite tool, and experience has proved that out of all the weapons in my armour, off-site optimization works best that anything else. But, I thought I should let you guys know some of the secrets in off-site optimization, after all information and knowledge is to be shared. So here I go, hope you enjoy it and make good use of it.
So what is off-site optimization?
Off-site optimization includes all the strategies an SEO implements other than on the website, to increase the chances of ranking higher.
So that means everything except title tags, meta tags, keyword density, internal links, layout/design etc fall into the brackets of off-site optimization.
What are the factors in off-site optimization?
Off-site optimization consists of many factors that directly and indirectly affect your rankings. Having said that, they are not non comprehensive.
The Incoming links
I’m sure all of you are already aware of this. The incoming links to your website is the biggest offsite optimization factor that directly affect your rankings. Incoming links are of various types based on their relevance and importance in SEO. Though they are all essentially the same in code, based on where they are located, their weightage and placement, each of them carry a different weightage.
1-A sitewide incoming link,
2-A contextual incoming link
3-A homepage icoming link
A sitewide incoming link, is one in which an incoming link is repeated in every page of a website with the same anchor text. Examples are links placed in teh sidebar of a blog, footer of a website, navigation bar of a website etc. Essentially, a sitewide link will carry more importance than any other type of incoming link, as the link is more relevant. But there are problems with it as well.
When the link is placed at areas like the sidebar/navigation bar/frames, there is no textual content near the links most of the time, since the code is seperate for the sidebar or frame. But yes, if you can manage to get a couple of authority sites giving you sitewide links, nothing else like it.
A contextual incoming link, is the one that is placed in a relevant link, among all the other textual content on a webpage. Examples are the normal links a blogger would place in an article. Even though such links carries a good amount of weightage, and increases the relevancy of your webpage, it will not help you beat your competition, if you have a few of those. You need to have a healthy (not huge) number of contextual links to prove your point on the SERPs. But Google gives much importance to a relevant, contextual link than a sitewide link. When considering competition, it all comes down to numbers and equations.
A homepage incoming link, is obviously the link that is placed at the homepage. It carries a certain level of importance and when combined with other factors of the link provider can work wonders. But again the number factor will play a huge role when deciding your ranks, as a single homepage link from a single site may only give you a push of two-three positions.
So mostly, though the different types of incoming links carries their own importance levels, it’s ultimately a mix and match of these factors that gives you the results. Like when sometimes several single homepage links fail to give you the desired result, a single sitewide link may do the trick! Again, the competition is the factor that decides what is the equation that has to go into it.
The nxt most important factor in off-site optimization is the quality of the site that links to you.
A true quality website is not always the one with a high PR. Clear that mis conception off your head first off. Many a times, SEOs refer to sites as “authority websites”. Well, authority websites are the ones that have already managed to get into the Googles good books basically. One peculiar feature of authority websites are that they are listed at the DMOZ directory. Of course, that is not the litmus test for an authority website. Every website cannot find it’s way to the DMOZ directory after all. But yes, many of the top authority websites would be there on the human edited directory – DMOZ.
But I have a different take on the authority websites theory altogether. I don’t think that authority websites are those that are on the DMOZ or those that have a high PR.
To me, authority websites (in the context that they will be a sure shot way to boost rankings), are the ones that have quality backlinks, and have been around on the internet for quite some time. Sadly, all the authority websites in my list are not on the DMOZ.
Some factors that may be taken into account when deciding authority of a website are the number of incoming links to that website, the number of outgoing links, the amount of information rich pages, the number of pages listed on google, the number of supplementary pages, the age of domain etc.
The moral of the story is that, out of all the seo methods, on-site optimization may fail, but if there’s one thing that will give you an edge over others, it is indeed off-site optimization. So forget the header tags, and H1 tags go for some serious link building my friend, that’s were the soul is.