What is off-page optimization? Off-page optimization uses branding, marketing, public relations, advertorial, and other tactics to market a brand in the hopes of leading to sales and attracting consumer attention.
Optimizing your pages, site, or brand offline means that you’re tapping into proven techniques that most marketers have been using for decades.
You’re not strictly linking back to your site — instead, you’re continuing to build brand and product awareness while whetting the appetite of potential consumers. Hopefully, when done right, this does lead to a link back to your best work, brand recognition, or a sale.
An off-page SEO strategy could involve connecting with influencers who bring attention to your site. It could also involve a guest posting campaign to build backlinks, domain authority, and brand mentions.
In these cases, off-page optimization takes advantage of a different suite of online tools or content to create backlinks or points of sale and otherwise maximize your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. In practice, when done wisely, your off-page optimization actually feeds the proverbial sales funnel and works in tandem with your more predictable SEO efforts.
Off-page optimization validates your work
“Off-page optimization is the term for the tactics employed to carry your brand “off” your website,” said Digital Media, SEO and Web Expert Sandra Azzollini McKinley.
She added that “If your website is indexed properly, off-page optimization can be used to establish the relevance, trustworthiness, and authority needed for higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). It can be considered as a “third-party” validation of your work.”
Azzollini McKinley, who previously worked at PR Newswire, made the comparison between off-page optimization and “good old-fashioned public relations.” As an example, she said, “earned media mentions that referred to PRNewswire.com helped to raise the authority of the site while it helped the customer’s brand.”
And in case you’re wondering, off-page optimization isn’t new or radical and it certainly isn’t optional. Azzollini McKinley said that, in her line of business, “off-page optimization is one of the pillars of search engine optimization and considered a requirement, along with technical and content optimization.”Curious about off-page optimization? Read more about it along with an example of how Neutrogena got it right. Read more via @rachelcw on @clearvoice #contentmarketing #offpageoptimization #marketing Click To Tweet
Getting started with off-page optimization
Azzollini McKinley had some great tips on how to attract customers in a way that builds their brands beyond links:
- Start with great content. Create great content, add images and videos (if possible) to all pages with high-quality text; images and videos can help you in Google Image searches, which is separate from Google Search and Google News.
- Make it easy to share. Ensure easy social media sharing for all content, including images, and video; use social media platform standards for size, layout, etc.; if there are no blockers to sharing, more sharing will take place. Include Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram where applicable.
- Add some marketing and PR. Use marketing and public relations techniques such as media relations, social media and influencer marketing, guest blogging; earned media mentions are weighted heavily in terms of trustworthiness and authority in Google ranking.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Azzollini McKinley said to “answer questions with your content.” So, for instance, you might want to use bullets and multimedia to keep things concise. What this does is anticipate people seeing before they commit to reading.
- Use keyword research tools and SERP Simulators when creating your content; page headings can get cut off on SERPs and when sharing via social so keep them short
- Avoid low-quality content, since quality — not quantity — is key. Azzollini McKinley explained that “Google wants to share the world’s best information.” So make that your goal. While you’re at it, she reminds us to proofread content and to keep your formatting consistent. Have others review it before adding it to your website.
How Neutrogena used off-page optimization to create buzz
Skincare brand Neutrogena recently launched a partnership with IFundWomen, a funding marketplace for women-owned businesses. To kick off the partnership, Neutrogena created a new grant program, IFundWomen x Neutrogena Fund, which specifically focuses on women-owned businesses in the health and wellness space negatively impacted by the restrictions of 2020.
And here’s where things get interesting. Neutrogena also created a consumer-driven participation angle to support both their products and the grants.
Neutrogena used coupons to drive sales, attention, donations, and more.
What’s also great about Neutrogena’s partnership campaign is that it doesn’t simply highlight the two key players. There are more online partnership elements and participation driven from offline efforts. In addition to the grants, there are coupons that can be accessed via Coupons.com and major participating retailers (Target, Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens), as well as on Neutrogena.com.
Neutrogena is already well-known for print and TV commercials and prominent placement in drugstore aisles. But while many of us spent less time in stores in 2020, there’s a good chance that even with online purchases, sales of Neutrogena products might have been impacted. By creating a program helping female entrepreneurs and brands, Neutrogena is positioning their own brand as part of the recovery process for business in general.
Key takeaways from Neutrogena’s off-page optimization strategy
When done right, off-page optimization is a natural extension of the brand itself, even if that involves extensive planning and maneuvering to get there. In this case, Neutrogena is creating positive buzz in ways even smaller brands or companies can emulate.
- Create buzz: Neutrogena isn’t only giving money in the form of grants to women business owners, they’re also brilliantly promoting their own brand.
- Partner up: By including partner organizations, Neutrogena is also supporting companies or outlets that already help consumers shop for their products.
- Score brand mentions and backlinks: The long-term impact of this promotion and partnership will likely continue. For instance, imagine that 100 women receive grants. Those 100 women will likely use that funding in their businesses and then include Neutrogena in their thank-yous and brand stories.
- Reach a wider audience: By including individuals, online shops, and mega-retailers, Neutrogena creates a streamlined approach to attracting attention to their products and selling more as they do it.
How to create a multi-pronged off-page optimization strategy:
Now that you have a better idea of how it can be done, here are some idea prompts to get you started along with the potential benefits of each.
1. Create a guest post strategy.
You may be the expert of your own realm, but it’s entirely possible that nobody knows who you are, what you do, or what you’re selling. Try to identify other websites, brands, or corporations with similar or supporting but non-competing messaging.
For instance, if you run a small bed and breakfast, consider creating a series of guest posts for a hospitality blog or cooking website. In this way, you’re sharing your best tips and advice, while introducing your product or specialties to an audience already receptive to hearing more (or spending more).
Off-page optimization end result: More visitors to your site, more backlinks, more conversations around you and/or your brand and product.
2. Consider an influencer marketing campaign.
While you may be the brains behind the website, you may not be the name that potential consumers recognize. By partnering with someone they already know and trust, you’ve allowed them to draw a conclusion or comparison between you and their favorite TikToker or Instagram yogini. They already seek out top tips or content from this person. By creating a sense of brand alignment, you’re using a shortcut to join their list of trusted brands.
The key is to choose someone who very closely aligns with your brand and then come up with an outline of expectations and responsibilities. Instead of going for the most famous influencer out there, choose one who shares your brand values or even one known to spend wisely.
Off-page optimization end result: Increase of social shares and recognition, retweets, brand mentions, and hopefully, new followers.
3. Up your digital PR strategy to get quotes in articles on high-quality sites, etc.
The point of off-page optimization done right is that it enhances your SEO plan. By creating an extremely strategic PR plan, you can choose which outlets to target and the types of stories you hope to be quoted in. Will you pitch articles about your C suite or instead will you go for holiday guides or product roundups? Depending on your brand or goals, you may see your online cred rise significantly depending on the positive press (and links) you secure.
You might also consider using press releases as a way to get news and quotes picked up by other outlets.
“Do not forget the power of a press release,” Azzollini McKinley added. “… Distribution and syndication of a press release exposes your brand to new audiences in an easy and efficient way.”
While you’re at it, update your press and media kits to include recent brand highlights and more.
Off-page optimization end result: Brand reputation management can be tricky, but by positioning yourself carefully, you’ll allow others to positively tell your story and hopefully gain loads of links in the process.
How to know if your off-page SEO efforts are working
But what will happen is that you might start seeing immediate and ongoing results and you’ll be able to track them as you work through your campaign. Azzollini McKinley also said that “you should start to see your site rank higher in search result pages for non-branded queries.”
Use an analytics tool like Google Analytics to track performance
“Rather than doing a bunch of those searches to check, make sure to use Google Search Console (or even the Search Console section of Google Analytics) to check for queries that referred people to your site,” says Azzollini McKinley.
Your off-page SEO strategy should be ongoing
Here’s something you might not want to hear spelled out, but your off-page optimization doesn’t actually have a start and end date, no matter your current campaign parameters.
“Off-page optimization is part of your always-on processes, so unfortunately it is never done,” said Azzollini McKinley.