Off-Page SEO: Why Is It Important?

Off-page SEO definition and best practices.

According to Rand Fishkin, 61.5% of Google searches result in a zero-click search. Meaning Google is now taking the content from your website that’s ranking well and keeping people on Google.

If you don’t get traffic to your website, what’s the point of putting effort into SEO?

Well, while on-page SEO is still important, it’s honestly a little less important than it was previously. I’d argue that off-page SEO is becoming more important and is just as important as on-page SEO. And, by putting some of your focus on off-page SEO, it can help you pick up some of the organic traffic and brand impressions you may be losing to Google’s zero-click searches.

So, what exactly is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO refers to anything that can show up on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) that does not appear on your website. This can include third party referrals, social media, YouTube, Wikipedia, Google My Business, and more. These channels all impact your overall search presence without touching your website. 

Below is an example of how these off-page channels can show up on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for a specific brand. Taco Bell is a great example of off-page SEO. The brand has taken special care in how it appears in every aspect of a search engine results page. In this screenshot you can see Taco Bell’s Knowledge Panel, Google My Business pages, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Wikipedia, videos, and more. All of these third-party channels work together to create Taco Bell’s organic search presence.

Taco Bell SERPs page featuring the best off-page SEO examples.
Taco Bell SERP featuring off=page SEO examples.

Here, I’m going to outline how to use these channels, like Taco Bell, to help your off-page SEO and why they’re important. We’ll focus on Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, and Google My Business.

Wikipedia

How does Wikipedia impact off-page SEO?

Quite simply – Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites in the world and carries a lot of weight with Google. This makes it easy for a Wikipedia page to rank on page one of your brand search results. So, if you want more brand recognition and to control more of the conversation around your brand, get a Wikipedia page.

Here’s an example of how a Wikipedia page could appear in the search results of your brand.

This is an example of how a Wikipedia page will appear in the search results of your brand and impact your brand's off-page SEO.
Taco Bell’s Wikipedia page in Google’s search results.

If you need a little more detail about why Wikipedia is important, here’s an explanation from Search Engine Land:

“A Wikipedia entry for your company or organization is valuable. It lends credibility to your organization, giving searchers who see a Wikipedia entry while searching for you the impression that your organization is bigger and more legitimate. Because of the authority status of Wikipedia, it’s easy to get a newly created entry for one’s company or brand to rank on the first page of the SERPs, no matter how competitive the keyword is.” – Stephan Spencer

Let’s talk Wikipedia best practices.

First, to start a Wikipedia page Hubspot has a great tutorial.

The primary thing to keep in mind with creating a Wikipedia page are the citations. You need a number of articles, from as many credible sources as possible, published about your company that you can link to. This is one way your PR efforts can positively impact your SEO.

In addition, it can take multiple tries to get a Wikipedia page submitted, so don’t fret when it doesn’t get published the first time. It may take a few weeks or even months of re-submitting the page until it gets final approval. I know this can be incredibly frustrating, but stick with it because it will impactful for your off-page SEO.

YouTube

How does YouTube impact off-page SEO?

YouTube is its own search engine, just like Google. And, because it’s owned by Google, videos posted to YouTube have a greater chance of ranking on Google than posting videos to other platforms.

Google also has a number of video snippets built into its search engine results. Here’s just one example of how YouTube videos can appear in search results.

This is an example of how YouTube videos can appear in search results and impact off-page SEO.
Example of how YouTube videos can appear in Google’s search results.

Let’s look at YouTube best practices.

YouTube best practices generally follow basic SEO content best practices.

  1. How-to videos are searched for more than any other type of video content, so try to incorporate these into your video content strategy.
  2. Use keywords in the title of the video where it makes sense.
  3. Tag your video with relevant keyword tags.
  4. Include a transcript of the video in the description for ADA compliance.
  5. Include specific keywords in your video script. Google can now rank videos based on the audio transcript and will start videos in different places, rather than at the beginning of the video, based on what’s being searched.

Click here for some additional YouTube best practices from Hootsuite that includes thumbnail best practices, CTAs and more.

Twitter

How does Twitter impact off-page SEO?

Your tweets actually show up in search results. Here’s an example of how tweets can appear.

This is an example of how tweets show up in Google's search engine results and can improve your off-page SEO.
Tweet from Taco Bell that appeared in Google’s SERPs.

In addition to tweets showing up in the primary search results, tweet images will also show up in Google’s image search results.

Let’s talk through some Twitter best practices for SEO.

Twitter follows similar SEO content guidelines to YouTube.

  1. Use long tail keywords in the tweet where you can.
  2. Always link to your website to drive referral traffic.
  3. Always use an image and edit the image to include alt text. The alt text is how your images will be found in Google’s image search results. Your alt text should be 1-2 sentences and include keywords where it makes sense.
  4. Tweet three or more times per day so they have a larger presence in the SERPs and take up more space. Below is an example.
This is an example of how tweeting three or more times per day can populate Google's SERPs differently than tweeting 1 or fewer times per day. It takes up more space and looks more prominent.
Search Engine Land’s tweets populating Google’s SERPs.

Click here for more Twitter best practices from Search Engine Land.

Google My Business (GMB)

How does Google My Business impact your off-page SEO?

Google My Business is Google’s directory of businesses – it’s how Google populates Google Maps, Local 3-Packs, Knowledge Panels, and more. It also populates the vast majority of local search results and, according to Moz, accounts for more than 25% of your local ranking

Here’s an example of how a Google My Business page will appear in a Local 3-Pack.

This is an example of how a Google My Business page will appear in a Local 3-Pack and how it can impact your off-page SEO.
Example of Taco Bell’s Google My Business pages appearing in Google’s search results.

In short – if you want to be found on Google – it’s imperative you have a Google My Business page.

Let’s talk through Google My Business best practices.

First, to start a GMB follow Google’s instructions. They will walk you through the process step-by-step to create it.

Here are a few quick GMB tips:

  1. Take time with your business description. You get 750 characters to describe your business – use them wisely.
  2. Post to your GMB page often. You should treat your Google My Business page like you would any social channel. 
  3. Add your service areas. The services areas help Google determine where to populate your business in the Local 3-Pack. If you only use your business address you’ll limit the area in which your business will appear. 
  4. Ask for reviews. Reviews on your Google My Business page account for more than 15% of your local search ranking (which is HUGE). 

For more Google My Business tips read my blog post on Google My Business Tips and Optimizations.

So, what does this all mean?

Phew! This was a lot of information. So, what does this all come down to? If you take one thing away from this article, this should be it.

Off-page SEO is just as important as on-page SEO. We need to stop thinking of SEO in terms of our website and think about it it terms of our entire search presence.

Have more questions about your off-page SEO? Send me a note with your questions to amanda@therosedigital.com. I’m here to help.

Published by Amanda Leeman

I’ve worked in digital marketing in Columbus, Ohio for almost a decade in a variety of roles.

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