When people speak of search engine optimization (SEO), there are a number of components that come into play: on-site SEO, off-site SEO, technical SEO and local SEO. In this article, we’re going to take the mystery out of off-site SEO (and backlinks) and explain how using it can help your website rank higher in search engine listings.
SEO is used to send indicators to Google and other search engines that your page is relevant to the topic at hand. You want to indicate that you’re a trusted resource.
Building trust and authority is vital to ranking higher in search engines. It’s the reason why your website should be at the top of the list when somebody searches for a relevant word or phrase.
Important elements of off-site SEO:
- Domain authority
- National vs. local indicators
Let’s look at why these elements are important to off-site SEO.
Why do I need backlinks?
When your website is new or growing, Google and other search engines may not be sure what your site is about, or even if it can be trusted to have the information in question.
This is where backlinks can help. While there are on-page SEO elements you’ll have been working on like creating quality content, using header tags, and other bits and pieces, backlinks are vitally important.
Backlinks are when other websites link to you. They are indicators that you are a trusted source. There are different things to know about backlinks, though. Let’s look at how they work and why you need to build the right kind of backlinks to your website.
How do backlinks help you rank?
The more backlinks pointing to your website, the stronger the impact. It says that these other sites find you to be a relevant and useful site on the given topic.
When they hyperlink to you, if they’ve chosen “anchor text” or words that your site is about, all the better. It’s like a secret handshake with Google, that says, this other site trusts you, and you can trust them too.
Now, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting a bunch of backlinks, but not every backlink carries the same weight. It’s like when you tell a story, did you get it from the source’s mouth? Or was it a story that your grandmother told your brother, and your brother told your mom, now your mom is telling you because your grandmother got the scoop from her neighbor’s cousin?
Backlinks that don’t come from relevant sources just don’t carry the same weight. In fact, if they come from shady places, they can hurt your ranking. You want to make sure that when you’re getting backlinks, they are coming from trusted sources.
There are different ways to get those backlinks, but they aren’t always easy. Sometimes it takes solid, link-worthy content like original research or an amazing infographic that people feel compelled to share. Other times, it can be based on an article somebody is writing, and they’ve linked to your site because it’s relevant to their article. Either way, remember, backlinks are good when they come from safe, trustworthy websites that are relevant to your site.
What are citations?
If you’re a local site, maybe providing a service, citations are things like your address or phone number that show where you’re located. These citations help you show up in local searches. They can be a good strengthener that pulls your site up over another if a person is looking for something near them.
Think about when you do a search for a local restaurant. You’ll sometimes see these pop up above regular search listings because Google is trying to give the user the most helpful answers when they search for “Italian Restaurant in Orlando.” If you’re an Italian restaurant in Orlando, these citations may even pull up higher than your own webpage listing! Take advantage of these when you can. They’re also useful in directories and give you extra backlinks.
Think of national indicators vs. local indicators as an opportunity to be found easier in a specific area.
What is Domain Authority?
You’ll also hear domain authority as page authority. Let’s take a quick look at what this is, and the difference between each of those words.
Domain authority is a term that was created by MOZ, which is a trusted SEO ranking resource. What it means is that the more people that trust your site and link to you, the higher your presence should be when a person searches for a given keyword or phrase. Your domain authority is a number based on a few factors but generally says how strong your site is based on multiple components.
How this comes into play, is that if you have a couple of websites all vying for first page Google rankings, the domain with the higher authority will most likely rank at the top. It’s because with many backlinks pointing to their site, they’ve proven that they are trustworthy and authoritative in their niche based on outside sources.
Higher page authority simply means that on a trusted website, this particular page is the one that a lot of people point to because it’s got important content. So, while a website might have an overall domain authority score, each page may rank differently. Your About Us page may have a different page authority than the page that goes into the important content that you’ve highlighted on a quality blog post.
There are a lot of elements that go into website rankings. Each works together with the others to help your website be found. It’s important not to neglect them, as they all work as a system. Take out one piece, and you may falter. SEO is vital if you want to be found in search engines.
Pennsylvania Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Company
Let us help you get found. With our citation packages we can help you boost your Domain Authority and get found easier by prospective clients. To request a quote give us a call today at 443-343-2313 or send us a message via our website.