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In Part I of this three-part series, we talked about why you might have trouble wrapping your mind around what your SEO company is giving you for your money, and explained a little bit about the on-page SEO process. It’s time to get back into it, and talk about the next step in the process: off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is the murky part for most companies who hire SEO specialists. That’s because there’s a lot of misinformation out there about the process. Here’s the truth: off-page SEO is all about building a set of powerful, natural(-looking), persistent links that start at authoritative, industry-relevant sites and end at your website — preferably, specifically at your landing page.
A few years ago, it was common to focus on both quality and quantity, with a lot of easy-to-build links coming from directory sites, link-sharing sites, Web 2.0 pages, and other sites that an SEO company could create themselves. With the advent of Google’s Penguin update, however, the path of quantity was cut short. Today, you don’t need to have hundreds of links to compete, but they absolutely must be high-quality links.
That means that a lot of off-page SEO time is spent on outreach — looking for authoritative industry sites that would be willing to link back to your page. This is where the majority of the time goes; once the relationship is established, the actual linking process takes minutes at most. It’s also where the process can go south the fastest: when several prominent sites in rapid succession rebuff your outreach efforts, you can watch a week spiral down the drain quite rapidly.
SEO specialists also spend a lot of time and effort building a base of content for your site. Blog posts, standalone articles, infographics — almost anything that a surfer would find interesting and relevant can make it onto your site as part of a content marketing effort. The purpose of this content is to get links, but the target of the effort is social media and smaller websites. In short, we do outreach toward the big sites, and then we post bait in an attempt to get smaller sites to link to you without having to put the time into building hundreds of relationships with tiny sites’ webmasters.
Off-page SEO is the majority of what SEO specialists do all day, and also the majority of what customers don’t really ‘get’ about the SEO specialists’ daily schedule. But it’s certainly not the last part of what an SEO company does — come back for Part III next week to see.