Whenever an off page SEO tutorial is bandied around, there’s usually mention of guest posting. There’s certainly a lot to be said for reaching out to more authoritative bloggers in your niche with a proposal for a guest post. In fact, I was asked only the other day in a Facebook group if I thought guest posting was a good idea.
The questioner had just listened to a podcast in which the speaker said that guest posting was a better way to drive traffic to a blog. Better than what? I don’t know. But I answered that to my mind, guest posting was darn hard work and since a couple of Google updates, guest posting backlinks were not seen as a strong indicator of your blog’s own value. Black hat, content farms and other dodgy SEO tactics put paid to the honesty of the backlink. It’s a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – both genuine guest posting and spammy guest posting were lumped together. I think Google can ‘sense’ more dubious links. But, let’s be frank, Google has around 200 algorithm factors that rank our blogs in search, so guest posting isn’t the be and end all. Also, guest posts are one of the hardest ways to get that single backlink.
Think about it, with a guest post you have to pitch and then get the guest post in the first place, research the topic more acutely than you might otherwise, and then, when it’s posted on the third-party site, hope someone clicks through to your site. The chances are the reader will stay put on the larger more renowned site you’re guest posting on! Wonderful, the other blogger says, thanks for the free content!
I’d prefer to get my own SEO going nice and robustly and rely on myself. There are easier ways to get backlinks. If you’ve come across a guest post advocate, do ask yourself about their motives. Perhaps the source is trying to sell you an ecourse on how to guest post successfully to quadruple your traffic?
Off page SEO is more than about guest posting.
But what is off-page SEO?
Let’s recap first. On-page SEO is everything we do on our blog posts and pages, and in tweaking our site structure (categories, for example) to help Google, Bing and other search engines understand what our blog is about and whether it’s a quality source on our chosen topics.
Off page SEO is everything we and others do on other sites to give value to our blogs. Basically, if others find our blog content valuable, they might link to it or give it a mention even if not a linked one. Both those routes are important link juice to us. As the search bots come across us more often through links and mentions, they will think, ‘ah, that’s a blog worth noting and ranking higher for this, that and the other term or topic’.
But how can you influence those mentions or even create them, without seeming spammy? Promote ourselves out there we must do as it’s unlikely that in our early blogging years a more authoritative A-list blogger is going to do a shout-out for us.
Your Route to Easy Off Page SEO
Worry not though, as there are several non-spammy but incredibly useful ways to can get yourself out there without writing a single mail proposing a guest post. What off-page SEO is all about is creating opportunities for natural links back to your site from quality sources. The emphasis is on natural. If you get yourself out there with these tips, you should gain authority in search bots’ eyes.
Easy Off Page SEO Tutorial: tactics with no guest posting required
1. Comment on other blogs
This is an old one, but still effective. I comment on a dozen, quality blogs in my niches – ones that allow inclusion of my blog url. Check how comments are gathered as it’s less easy if bloggers are using Disqus or Facebook to manage and post comments.
By commenting intelligently and relatively regularly when you’ve genuinely got something to add to the thread (not so often you are seem spammy), you will discover a flow of backlinks. I noticed that visitors from a particular blog ended up, nearly always, signing up for my optin.
Now, that is really useful to me. Note that to get back traffic and sign-ups you need to target blogs that really are aligned with your niche. That way, your valid comment with useful points will attract the original blog’s visitors to click through to you to find out more about your point of view and what you have to offer. Don’t, please, comment for comments’ sake nor post off-topic. Google bots like links that follow through to content of a similar nature.
2. Write a post on Medium
Medium is a magazine-style blogging platform set up by the founder of Twitter. But, Medium is all about long, quality posts not 140 character snippets and hashtags. Oh no, I can hear you groan, don’t say it’s guest posting by a different name which still means I have to make time to post somewhere else? I hear you! But no, it isn’t a waste of time. I think it’s the ultimate replacement to guest posting. Here’s why…
You are putting your content on a different platform, but you don’t apply to do so, you just do it! You set up your ‘account’ and start your own ‘magazine’ or contribute to group ones. Your article can have in-content links as well as a bio with links. You can put your direct contact details in. Take a look at this example of a niche skincare company in Spain which has a couple of posts on Medium. Ideally, they should add a few more, but they’ve lodged a good backlink on a platform that is known for quality writing.
Think about it like this: one post out of every four, you write for Medium. There’s some debate about whether you can simply lift a current blog post and duplicate it on Medium. I’d recommend not doing that as Google may see it as duplicate content and downgrade your original blog post in search results. If you need to rehash a post for Medium, change around 60% of it, rephrasing here and there and topping and tailing it differently.
3. Answer some questions on Quora
I admit I was a slow starter on Quora, but it has proved a very useful place to add my voice and do some less overt PR. Quora offers you the chance to show your expertise by answering questions on your niche topic, and adding a link to a relevant post on your blog by way of expanding on your points. You can build your authority quite easily, dropping by every so often to lend a hand. Here’s a very relevant thread on Quora on the very topic of backlinks. The answers also cover the issue of do-follow and no-follow links. I’ll be posting on this soon as anyone offering sponsored posts or links on their blog will need to know the difference between do- and no-follow and how Google treats them.
4. Start using Pinterest
Pinterest is a search engine, not social media. And that’s a crucial point when it comes to knowing how to deal with it and garner backlinks from it. First up, create your Pinterest account now! If you have one, then get strategic about it, and don’t just pin randomly.
But for now, just ensure you pin your own blog’s images to all the relevant boards on your account. Pin first to a board with your blog name; then repin that pin on to other boards. Why do this? (1) Because not all your followers follow every board; and (2) your pin will gain more repins as you keep on repinning it from relevant board to board on your account – and that’s important as pins with more repins go up Pinterests ranking. Each pin is going to have a backlink to your site. Simple as that.
Pinterest, if used strategically and thought of as a search not social platform can soon become your number one for referral traffic. Pinterest is worth its own training session; I recommend taking a look at these two Pin-divas running courses on using Pinterest for traffic growth and content marketing: Melyssa Griffin and her Pinfinite Growth course; and Kristen of Believe in a Budget. I am really seeing growth in the month since I started upping my strategic use of Pinterest, and really suggest you dive into it too.
5. Stategically use other Social Media
If you’ve been on my Blogger Bootcamp, you’ll know I don’t recommend setting up accounts on every single social media platform if you don’t feel comfortable on them. I do suggest at least Instagram and Facebook, and perhaps Twitter – the latter you can automate from Facebook so you don’t end up posting on it too each day. There are numerous social media management tools, free and paid-for to ease your burden.
Even if you aren’t super busy on some accounts, the backlinks will be lodged online. When you Google someone, inevitably not only their site but also their social media handles come up, sometimes even above their site in the rankings. This is because social is updated more frequently, usually, than a site which may stick with static content for months.
I have written about how we can get away with blogging less often but more in-depth, rather than stressing over three posts a week. We do however use social media several times a day to add quick thoughts or to curate content. Keeping up to date with your social media, re-tweeting and reposting old content from your blog is a double whammy: keeping your social fresh and found; and also giving you more backlinks out there.
6. Join some Facebook Groups and be a valuable contributor
I am sure you’re members of some Facebook Group in your chosen blog niche, but are you active on it? Time to whittle down to a few then where you can hang out easily, and contribute helping others with your insights and expertise. I was a late convert to Facebook Groups but now schedule time to participate with a genuine wish to help. I’ve found that after I comment in threads offering pertinent pointers, I see a traffic surge and list growth.
People click through, suss me out, and decide that my blog has more content they need. Facebook is a route to getting people in the door, and word of mouth is hugely powerful. So don’t disappoint them when they arrive and always link to useful content to back up your thread comments.
Most groups offer select days of the week where you can freely promote your latest in goods or services; just ensure you adhere to the admin rules. I’ve listed some choice Facebook Groups for bloggers, freelancers and solopreneurs which I’ve found helpful.
7. Create Infographics others want to share
Infographics are great link and traffic juice, and have been doing so for several years now. There’s a down side though – infographics can take time to create, especially if you’re not a graphic designer. Canva and Picmonkey offer templates and you can also find some on Creativemarket. This is a real bonus and time-saver.
But what if you can’t design or wish to share an infographic from someone else, yet benefit from the link juice? Easy: just paste the shareable code in a blog post, and then write an intro and conclusion round totaling not less than 350 words, with keywords, so Google is happy. Make sure you credit and link to the source, then share your blog post on all your social media.
Neil Patel, a guru of SEO who has some really deep and long on and off page SEO tutorials, suggests you can even cut a portion of the infographic, and then remodel your post around that part alone. This way, you are adding value to a niche part of the info on the infographic and giving it a different, second life. You always need to credit and link to the original source, don’t forget.
Repin your version of the infographic and see it repinned again and again – so long as you chose a really good infographic and can add your own take to it. Ideally, include your own creations though, to really add value to your brand as a trusted authority.
Off page SEO tutorial recap
None of the tips above are hard work, but do need consciously factoring in to your post / content planning. Try some out, see how you fare with them or enjoy implementing them.