What Website Owners Need to Know About Off Site SEO
So it’s been six months. You’ve been maintaining your website with fresh content, and your developer has optimized every page on your website for the most valuable keywords. Yet you still aren’t ranking well.
Don’t blame your developer just yet!
What most website owners– especially small businesses– don’t understand is that off-site optimization is just as important. (If not more so.) It’s frustrating, but not the fault of your developer.
Most—not all—web developers specialize in something and have added new skills along the way. So you paid for a high quality website, and you received a high quality website with built in SEO. Awesome.
Even with those skills, your developer is no SEO expert. That’s related to their industry, but it’s not what they specialize in. So if ranking on the first page of Google is an important goal of yours, it’s important to hire an SEO expert who will also help you with off-site search engine optimization.
For website owners on a budget, you can choose to invest the time to do it all yourself. Here’s a simple cheat sheet to help you get started on turning your website into a web presence.
- Get on social media. Actively listen and engage on social media.
- It’s a good idea to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, and whatever other networks your audience is on. But… not if you can’t keep up with maintaining an active account. Letting anything go stale shows inactivity and that can actually work against you.
- Claim your listing on legitimate directories that are relevant to what you do. (Ex.- restaurants on Yelp) Complete your listing on regional directories. Look for directory sites that outrank you for target search phrases and use those directories to your advantage.
- Each major search engine has their own built-in directory for local search. Local businesses will outrank even organic listings on the front page. Utilize this… claim your Google Places page and fill it out with Hours of Operation, Contact Info, Pictures, Special Offers, etc. Don’t worry if this means nobody has to visit your website… you’ll still get more customers!
- Rinse and repeat with Yahoo and Bing local listings. Maintain a blog full of quality content, and readers will want to share your articles (therefore sharing your website…). Make it a goal to gain subscribers and ignite conversation on your website. This is part of on-site SEO but it also works off-site as well.
- Write guest blogs for relevant website. (Build valuable backlinks.)
- Keep track of your online reputation. If somebody leaves a bad review about your business online, respond to the review in a timely manner. Professionally offer a resolution and apology (even if the customer was wrong). Others will see the review—and your response will dictate how others view your credibility.
- Answer questions (on Q&A sites) with real valuable information when a link to your website can be included as a resource.
The above are just a few of the methods used to maintain off site SEO. As you can see, it wouldn’t make sense for your web developer to offer these services. Some developers may offer ongoing SEO services that cover both on and off site optimization but for most cases it is more practical to hire a specialist who is dedicated to this service.