When thinking about optimizing a website, most people focus on the on page elements of search engine optimization, like title and meta description, alt tag optimization and the inclusion of anchor texts in content, which brings great benefits to any page or blog post. However. many forget that a wholesome SEO strategy includes additional elements, like content strategy, technical SEO and off page SEO. In this article, I am going to focus on the most relevant off page strategies to try in the upcoming year.
Many marketers and website owners choose to ignore the off page elements of SEO completely, because the outreach process can be time consuming and its results, in the form of link placements, are not always guaranteed.
Why should you still bother with off page SEO?
Off Page optimization has many benefits, according to Moz:
“Optimizing for off-site ranking factors involves improving search engine and user perception of a site's popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. This is accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet (pages, sites, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website, and effectively "vouching" for the quality of your content.”
Any dofollow links to your website from reputable sources, will contribute to the ranking factors and domain authority of your website. Simply put, Google counts links as “positive” votes, and if you get many links directed to your site, it means that your content brings value to others.
Here are the best backlink strategies to try in 2021:
1. Find Unlinked Mentions
Find websites that mention your brand name but don’t link back to you. Then, reach out to these websites and ask to include a link to your brand. Since these websites already mention your brand name, it should not be very hard to convince them to add your link on their page.
Free: Use Google’s advanced search options to find unlinked mentions. If you want to find websites that include your brand name in their content, exclude your website and social media profiles and paste this phrase into the Google search box:
intext: Brand Name -yourbrand.com -twitter.com -facebook.com -pinterest.com -youtube.com
Create Google alerts for specific keywords, like brand name and decide how often you want to receive alerts to your inbox. (You can also spy of competitors, and add alerts to their brand names as well.)
Paid: Use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool to create a ready-to-go list of your unlinked mentions.
Go to the Content Explorer report. Then, write your brand’s name and select “In content”. Make sure to select the “Highlight unlinked domains” option. Export when you are ready.
2. Fix Broken Links
Discover websites that have broken links (404’s) to your website. Reach out to the webmaster or the blog post writer and ask to repair the broken link with a live link. Make sure to include the URL with the broken link and its anchor text in the outreach email, to make it hustle free for the website owner.
This website offers a limited free link check. Enter your URL and go to “Issues”, then click on “Broken”, to view broken links.
Paid: Using Ahrefs, insert your URL, then go to the Backlinks report, then click on “Broken”. You can select the “Dofollow” link option, to only focus on links that pass “link juice”.
3. Remove Low Domain Authority Links
Low Domain Authority websites are often spammy pages that link to your website. They can be harmful and might pose a Google penalty risk. Check if your website is being linked to for these unvalued websites, then reach out to the webmasters and ask to remove them.
Paid: Using Ahrefs, insert your URL and go to the Backlinks report, then click on the “DR” (domain rating) filter, to show links from low domain authority websites first, then export the report. Focus on websites that have domain authority of 0-10, since they have the most potential of being toxic links.
4. Perform Competitor Gap Analysis
There is an easy way to do a competitive gap analysis by spying on competitors’ backlink strategies. You can check which websites are linking to your competitors, but are not linking to your website. Then, you can manually check websites that are more likely to link to you and reach out to their webmasters.
Paid: For a backlink competitor gap analysis, use ahrefs Link Intersect Tool. Enter 3 to 10 URLs of competitors and in the “But doesn’t link to(optional)” field, add your website’s URL.
In the table below, you can see some of the backlinks that link to competitors but don’t link to your website, in this case, Moz.com. Export the report and filter our all the irrelevant websites. Reach out to websites that might add your link.
5. Do Content Syndication
Syndicating existing content on websites like Medium and Linkedin, can increase brand awareness and help you reach broader audience. These links will be “nofollow” links, which means that they don’t pass “link juice”, but you can still attract new readers without publishing new content. It’s important to note, that when republishing existing content, it’s critical to include a canonical tag to the original blog post, to avoid content duplication.
6. Write Guest Posts
Writing guest posts for other websites, or engaging in guest post exchanges with relevant websites in your niche, can be a great way to increase your link popularity.
Free: You can find which websites accept guest posts by searching “submit guest post” + your niche or other similar variations of keywords, on Google Search results.
There are many additional ways of finding which websites accept guest posts, some of them are explained in detail here.
7. Submit Pitches to Reporters
Submit pitches to reporters and journalists that are looking for an expert opinion in areas like high tech, finance and general knowledge. One of the most popular websites for pitch submissions is Haro, which stands for ‘Help A Reporter Out’. Additional websites for pitches include Quoted and Source Bottle.
Free: Once you subscribe to these websites, you can get daily pitch opportunities to your inbox. Make sure to answer to relevant pitches right away, because most of them are time sensitive. Here is an excellent guide by The Content Factory, on how to write killer pitches for reports and journalists.
8. Submit Your Website to Directories
If you are a local business owner or you are working in a specific niche, you can benefit from submitting your website to relevant directories.
Free: Search for website directories on Google and include your relevant niche or keywords, for example, if you are a lawyer, you can submit your practice into directories for lawyers. You can also search for directories based on your location.
Now that you have discovered all the best backlink strategies to try in 2021, you can dedicate a few hours a week to get your website more links, increase your brand awareness and popularity and gain new leads, and hopefully attract new customers as well.