Many website owners think of SEO primarily in terms of their 'on-page' activities. The things you do on-page, your content, keywords, titles and meta-descriptions, heading tags and organization of code and crawl results. Unfortunately, for so many website owners and novice developers (and even some selling Search Engine Optimization services) that's where their knowledge ends. It's important to have a fundamental grasp of your Off-Page SEO opportunities and how to increase your visibility through ethical off page SEO tactic.
In earlier posts about how SEO works you've read about some of the fundamentals of SEO, and importantly, how to identify if you're being sold a genie in a bottle versus a real solution. In almost no case is this more important for your business than in your off-page or off-domain SEO. That may seem odd since you don't even know what those things are, but it's true none the less.
On-Page or On-Domain SEO activities refer to the things you do within your own website to increase its visibility to search engines. Good content that includes the right keywords. Meta tags, titles, descriptions, keywords, are all examples of on page SEO.
Off-Domain or Off-Page SEO refers to the things that you do elsewhere online to increase traffic to your site, and to enhance your site's digital reputation.
Off-Domain SEO includes things like social sharing, and social bookmarking, guest blogging, and most importantly link building.
Link building is the process of generating back-links to your website from elsewhere on the internet. Links pointing to your content are now, and will continue to be a key driver in the Search Engines' assessments of your site. But again, this is an area where out of date (or dishonest) tactics can really do a lot of damage.
I've seen businesses sign up with an SEO company because of the promise of dramatic results, and sometimes they really do achieve those dramatic results. All too often what ends up happening is that unscrupulous and less knowledgable SEO's use a 'shot-gun' link building approach. Spamming message boards, posting links in any directory they can find. A company's website goes from having 20 or 30 links to their site, to hundreds, and a brief meteoric rise in search rankings does occur, however it is followed by the catastrophic crash and burn of a manual penalty, or worse, being de-indexed entirely by Google for 'Black-Hat' SEO tactics.
More often what happens is, nothing. There is no significant increase in search rankings or traffic. A company goes from page fifteen to page ten. And the money spent on SEO is wasted. In the worst case a company can begin to see an increase in business, receive orders, begin to prepare for the success that appears to be on the horizon, and have the rug pulled out from under them when Google removes the from results altogether. Seriously, this can be a devastating series of events for an otherwise successful small or medium-sized business.
So while there definitely are some secrets, tricks-of-the-trade that often do work, be very cautious about who you let represent your company online. We believe strongly in the power of digital marketing, and utilizing the right partner can help create sustainable growth for almost any business. The wrong digital marketing vendor however can cause more problems than you can imagine.