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Off-Page SEO: The Definitive Guide

This is a complete guide to off-page SEO in 2020.

In this new guide you’ll learn exactly how to build the type of off-site signals that Google wants to see, including:

  • Backlinks
  • Social signals
  • E-A-T
  • Branded searches
  • Online reputation signals
  • Lots more

Let’s get started.

Off-Page SEO: The Definitive Guide

Chapter 1:Off-Page SEO Fundamentals

Off-page SEO Fundamentals

Let’s start things off with a quick review of the basics.

Specifically, I’m going to share what off-page SEO is and why it’s important in 2020.

You’ll also learn the major differences between off-page SEO and on-page SEO.

What Is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO includes activities done off of a website in an effort to increase the site’s search engine rankings. Common off-page SEO actions include building backlinks, encouraging branded searches, and increasing engagement and shares on social media.

In other words: off-page SEO is all the stuff that you do off of your site to get Google and other search engines to see your website as trustworthy and authoritative.

Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?

Backlinks and other off-site signals still form the foundation of Google’s algorithm.

In fact, our 2020 search engine ranking factors study found a clear correlation between total backlinks and Google rankings.

Top ranking pages have more backlinks than lower ranking page

And Google has gone on the record saying that they still use PageRank.

Google still using PageRank

That said: links are only one part of off-page SEO. Google themselves state that they use other off-site SEO signals to size up your website.

Google uses other off-site SEO signals

For example, Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines largely relies on a site’s off-site reputation to figure out whether or not that site can be trusted.

(They call this “Reputation Research”).

“Reputation Research” includes looking at online reviews:

Google Guidelines on user reviews

Recommendations from experts:

Google Guidelines on expert sources

And mentions on authority news sites and Wikipedia.

Google Guidelines on authority sites

The bottom line? Links are by far the most important off-page SEO signal. But they’re one of many.

I’ll cover links and the other off-site factors that you need to know about in the rest of this guide.

But for now, it’s time to learn about…

On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO is everything that you can directly control on your website, including content, title tags, keyword usage, SEO-optimized URLs, internal links and image alt text. Off-page SEO are actions that happen away from your website, like links and mentions on other websites.

For example, I published this complete list of seo tools a few years back.

Backlinko – SEO Tools post

And to optimize that page, I used my main keyword in my title tag, URL, and a handful of times in my content.

SEO Tools – Keyword in content

I also sprinkled in synonyms and LSI keywords to help Google understand the content of that page.

LSI Keyword "best SEO software" in post

Even though that page was “perfectly optimized”, I knew that my job was far from done.

My target keyword for that page has an Ahrefs keyword difficulty score of 73.

SEO Tools – Keyword Difficulty

Which meant, if I wanted to rank that page on the first page of Google for that keyword, I needed some serious off-page SEO.

Which is why I promoted that post on social media.

SEO Tools post – Promotion tweet

And used email outreach to build links directly to that page.

Because I combined on-page and off-page SEO, this page now ranks in the top 3 for that keyword.

SEO Tools – Google SERP

With that, let’s get into the strategies that you can use to improve your site’s off-page SEO.

Be a Data Source

A few months ago I was looking at the links pointing to Moz’s keyword research guide.

Backlinks to Moz Keyword Research Guide

And I noticed something SUPER interesting.

The vast majority of that page’s links cited a specific stat from that page (that long tail keywords make up 70% of all searches). Here’s an example:

Shopify longtail keywords quote from Moz

In other words: people didn’t link to the page because it was a piece of “high quality content”.

They linked in order to cite a stat on the page.

That’s when it hit me: What if I added more stats to my site? Would that get more people to link to me automatically?

So I decided to put this little hypothesis to the test.

Specifically, I invested a ton of time and money into creating this giant list of email marketing stats.

Backlinko – Email Marketing Stats post

And I optimized it around a keyword that bloggers and journalists search for when they’re researching a topic (“email marketing stats”).

Sure enough, within a few weeks the page started to crack the first page.

"email marketing stats" – Google SERP

And a few days after that, I got my first link.

Email Marketing Stats post – Backlink

Nice!

Broken Content Building

This is a twist on traditional Broken Link Building.

With most Broken Link Building campaigns, you look for broken links that point to a specific page.

The problem is: finding broken pages in your niche can be a huge pain.

Enter: Broken Content Linking.

With Broken Content Linking you use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer as a broken link search engine.

Then, use traditional BLB to build links to your site.

For example, I recently published this comprehensive email marketing guide.

Backlinko – Email Marketing Guide

All I need to do is type “email marketing” into the Content Explorer.

Ahrefs – Content Explorer – "email marketing"

Then, choose “Only Broken”.

Ahrefs – Filter broken pages

This shows you popular content that’s now dead.

Ahrefs – Broken pages report

Just like that I found dozens of pages that I can use for Broken Link Building.

Double Down On Long-Form Content

Will publishing long-form pages magically send links your way?

No.

But it can increase the odds that other people link to you.

In fact, when we analyzed 900+ million blog posts with BuzzSumo, we found that long-form content gets 77% more links than shorter posts

Long-form content generates more backlinks than short blog posts

Strategic Guest Posting

Guest blogging helps your off-page SEO in a bunch of different ways.

First, guest posts get your brand in front of an entirely new audience.

Comment from reader on guest post

(Which helps with branded searches. More on that later).

Second, guest posts can lead to unlinked brand mentions.

OkDork – Unliked brand mention

Unlinked mentions aren’t as powerful as a backlink. But they still help.

Finally, you can build links from your guest posts.

Build links with guest post

And in my experience guest post backlinks DO help your rankings.

(In small doses)

There’s only one caveat:

This really only works if you publish guest posts on sites in your industry.

To be clear: these sites don’t need to be in your exact niche to work.

For example, I published this guest post on the Buffer blog a while back.

Buffer guestpost – Increase conversions by 134%

Most of Buffer’s content is about social media. Backlinko is an SEO blog.

But they’re close enough.

Chapter 3:Generate Brand Signals

Generate Brand Signals

Now it’s time to cover a SUPER underrated part of off-page SEO:

Brand Signals.

Brand Signals are what Google uses to figure out if your site is a legit brand.

Or as Google’s Eric Schmidt famously put it: “Brands are the solution, not the problem… Brands are how you sort out the cesspool“.

And in this chapter I’ll show you how to boost your site’s Brand Signals.

Audit Your Branded Searches

Branded searches are how many people search for your brand in Google.

This can be searches of your exact brand name (“Backlinko”). Or your brand name plus a word or phrase (“Backlinko SEO tools”).

You can easily find this info in the Google Search Console Performance Report.

Search Console – Performance report

Look at the “Impressions” column for all of your branded searches.

For example, you can see that 38,997 people searched for “Backlinko” over the last 3 months.

Search Console – Backlinko impressions

So that’s my benchmark.

If I wanted to increase my branded search totals, I’d look to improve this number over the next few months.

Invest in YouTube

YouTube marketing is one of the best ways to boost your site’s Brand Signals.

(Especially branded searches)

Why?

Two reasons:

First, your videos can get in front of A LOT of people.

For example, my videos get in front of 217,391 every single month.

YouTube – Backlinko monthly viewers

This leads to more people talking about, covering and writing about my brand online.

Backlinko – YouTube channel mention

(Plus, having real, popular social accounts may be a Brand Signal itself)

Second, a lot of the people that see your videos will search for your brand on Google.

That’s because YouTube doesn’t make it easy for people to visit your site from YouTube.

In some ways, that’s a bummer.

But the upside is that, if one of your videos does well, it can lead to a torrent of branded searches.

For example, look at how searches for “Backlinko” correlate with my channel’s monthly views.

Topic search vs. Page views

Not a 1:1 relationship. But pretty darn close.

If you want to get started with YouTube, I recommend reading my definitive guide to video marketing.

Set Up Brand Tracking

This is an easy way to see how many people talk about your brand on news sites, blogs and forums… and see how that pattern is changing over time.

There are a lot of great brand tracking tools out there (like Mention.com). I personally use BuzzSumo’s “Alerts” feature.

BuzzSumo alerts for Backlinko mentions

You can even see if brand mentions are trending up or down over the last year.

BuzzSumo alerts – Backlinko brand trend

Publish Research-Backed Content

Research-backed content can directly help your off-page SEO by sending high-quality links your way.

For example, our outreach email study has accumulated 689 backlinks from 314 different domains so far.

Email Outreach Study – Backlinks and referring domains

It also led to A TON of social media shares.

Email Outreach Study – Social shares

Do I think Google uses “social signals” to rank content?

No.

Google has said that social signals don’t help rankings.

Google – Social signals ranking

Plus, they’re super easy to game. Anyone can go on Fiverr and buy 10,000 Facebook likes.

That said, social sharing can indirectly help your off-page SEO.

That’s because social shares get more eyeballs on your brand… which can lead to more branded searches and mentions.

For example, lots of people have mentioned and discussed our studies on SEO forums and marketing subreddits.

Reddit – Backlinko post mention

And I’m confident that most of these people first saw our study being shared on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Chapter 4:Improve E-A-T

Improve E-A-T

E-A-T has quickly become a super important off-page SEO ranking factor.

(Especially in the health niche)

And despite what you may have heard, there’s A LOT more to E-A-T than adding a bunch of author bios to your site.

That’s because Google largely measures E-A-T based on signals that happen off of your website.

So if you want to improve your site’s E-A-T, this chapter is for you.

Get Brand Mentions on Authority Sites

Google’s Gary Illyes recently stated that both links AND mentions can help determine a site’s E-A-T.

Marie Haynes – Tweet about external mentions

So yeah, links are your best bet.

But I’ll take an unlinked mention if it’s on a big enough site.

For example, I recently got mentioned in The Globe and Mail.

The Globe & Mail article

And to get that mention, I had to email back and forth with the reporter a few times. And do a 45-minute interview over the phone.

In the end, that coverage “only” landed me an unlinked mention.

The Globe & Mail article – Backlinko mention

Fortunately, the Globe and Mail is a huge newspaper in Canada. So that mention probably still helped my off-page SEO… even though they didn’t link to me.

Get Links From Trusted “Seed Sites”

As it turns out, Google still uses good ol’ PageRank to establish E-A-T.

Google uses PageRank for E-A-T

But they don’t just look at a site’s overall Domain Authority.

A 2018 Google patent describes a system where they put more weight on links that come from a small set of “seed sites”.

Google puts more weight on links that come from a small set of "Seed sites"

(For any SEO OGs out there, this is basically TrustRank 2.0)

In other words:

Getting links from the NY Times and other authority sites is helpful.

But getting links from sites that have links from the NY Times can also help boost up your E-A-T.

Get Positive Reviews Online

Google’s Quality Rater guidelines put a lot of emphasis on online reviews.

Google Guidelines – Emphasis on reviews

Which makes sense: if people hate your business, why would Google want to show your site to more people?

If you run a local business, you probably already know that reviews are huge for local SEO.

As it turns out, reviews also affect your site’s E-A-T in the eyes of Google.

If you don’t run a business that people review (like a blog or media site), Google relies on any awards you’ve won:

Google Guidelines – Prestigious awards

And how other experts in your field feel about your website:

Google Guidelines expert recommendations

For example, Ahrefs recently listed Backlinko as the #1 SEO blog.

Backlinko as number 1 SEO blog on Ahrefs

From a traditional SEO point of view, the only SEO benefit I get from this post is the backlink.

But it’s clear that Google probably also uses awards like this to determine my site’s E-A-T.

Chapter 5:Bonus Off-Page SEO Techniques

Bonus Off-page SEO Techniques

Now it’s time for a list of super actionable off-page SEO strategies.

So if you’re ready to take action on what we covered so far, you’ll love this chapter.

Let’s dive right in.

Press Release Distribution

Sending out a press release can directly lead to brand mentions and backlinks.

(It obviously helps if you have something newsworthy to share. But that’s another story 🙂 )

For example, we recently had this press release syndicated around.

Backlinko – Press Release

There was (obviously) a brand mention and a link in the release itself.

But more important than that, a handful of sites found out about our study from the press release. Which led to even more links and brand mentions.

The Drum – Backlink from press release

Participate In Roundup Posts

Roundup posts are a SUPER easy way to get links and mentions.

(Especially compared to traditional guest posting)

As an example, I recently submitted a quote to this expert roundup.

Elementor Growth Roundup

Which led to a solid (dofollow) link and another mention of my brand.

Elementor Growth Roundup – Backlink

Get Interviewed

Getting interviewed on podcasts or on other websites is an untapped off-page SEO strategy.

For example, I was recently interviewed on a popular startup blog.

HackerNoon interviews Brian Dean

Sure, that interview came with a link. But almost as important is the fact that Google sees Backlinko getting coverage on authority sites.

How about another example?

A while back I went on Pat Flynn’s podcast.

Being a podcast, most people that listened to my episode didn’t visit Backlinko via a link.

Instead, they searched for “Backlinko” or “Brian Dean” in Google.

Which helped boost my brand searches.

In fact, I noticed a large uptick in organic traffic from people visiting my homepage after that interview went live.

Bump in organic traffic after podcast

Partner With Bigger Brands

You might think that big brands have no time for small business owners like you and me.

But you’d be wrong.

If you can provide legit value to a big brand, they’re usually happy to send some traffic your way.

For example, in the early days of Backlinko I reached out to HubSpot. And I offered to create an infographic for them.

Brian's email to HubSpot

All they had to do on their end was to publish the infographic on their blog.

They agreed. So I hired a designer on Upwork to create this infographic.

Backlinko – Infographic for HubSpot

Not only did HubSpot publish the infographic on their blog (and promote it on social), but they agreed to have our logos side-by-side at the bottom of the image.

Backlinko and HubSpot logos on infographic

Needless to say, as a guy starting out in a competitive space, having the HubSpot logo next to my logo was a HUGE credibility booster.

Create Visuals That Other Blogs Can Use

Visual content is an awesome way to get other blogs to mention your site… without needing to rely 100% on blogger outreach.

For example, in our guide on LSI keywords, I asked our designer to create this graphic.

Google now aims to find the overall topic

As you can see, nothing fancy. But it’s a helpful visual for people that aren’t familiar with how Google figures out a topic of a page.

Which led to people using that visual in their post (and linking to our site as the original source).

In my experience, most people that use your image in their content will link to you.

Even if they don’t, you still get an unlinked brand mention out of the deal.

Unlinked brand mention

Which can still help your off-page SEO a little bit.

Chapter 6:Off-Page SEO Case Studies

Off-page SEO Case Studies

This chapter is a collection of three all new case studies.

You’ll see how Daniel went from DA0 to DA48 in 90 days with ONE link building strategy.

I’ll show you how Josh and Ash built SUPER high-quality links to their site using some pretty creative approaches that you probably haven’t tried yet.

Case Study #1
How Josh Used Broken Link Building to Get Links to His SaaS Tool


Josh Howarth is the co-founder (along with me) of a new tool called ExplodingTopics.com.

Exploding Topics – Homepage

Back in January, Exploding Topics was brand new. And Josh and I were both thinking of ways that we could build links to our new site.

Then, one afternoon, I saw this:

Google correlate shutdown

A semi-popular tool called Google Correlate just shut down. Bingo!

The next day, Josh started sending out super-targeted broken link building emails.

Josh – Broken link building email

Even though Exploding Topics wasn’t a 1:1 replacement for Google Correlate, it was close enough to land Josh several decent links.

Exploding Topics – Nimbus backlink

Not bad.

Case Study #2
How Daniel Skyrocketed His Domain Authority in 3 Months


Daniel Daines-Hutt runs Amp My Content, a content marketing agency.

Amp My Content – Homepage

Like most people, Daniel was initially tempted to build links to his agency site with guest posting.

But then he realized that there was an easier and more scalable way to build links:

Podcasts.

The issue was, Daniel wasn’t a big name in the marketing space. He was just getting his agency off the ground.

So: how was Daniel able to get on 60 podcasts in 90 days? And take his Domain authority from literally zero to DA48?

Insanely targeted email outreach.

For example, here’s one of the pitches that Daniel sent:

Daniel outreach email

And because Daniel went the extra mile to personalize each email, people were happy to have him come on their shows.

Reply to Daniel's outreach email

Daniel starting racking up backlinks left and right.

Amp My Content – Referring domains

Which has helped his new site get some early SEO traction.

Case Study #3
How Ash Got Dozens of Media Features With Zero Marketing Budget


Ash Turner runs a mobile device trade-in site called BankMyCell.

BankMyCell – Homepage

Because Ash was bootstrapping his new site, he had essentially zero marketing budget.

But he DID have experience getting press for small businesses using surveys.

So the first thing Ash did was look for surveys in the mobile phone space that already got press coverage.

Mobile space – Surveys with press coverage

Then, once he found a successful survey, he popped it into Ahrefs to see which data points journalists cited most often in their coverage.

(Very clever)

Next, Ash basically used The Skyscraper Technique on an existing survey… and pushed out a bigger and better version of his own.

BankMyCell – Mobile phones survey

To get the word out, he creates a press release with the key findings and sends it to journalists that covered the initial study.

And because he’s promoting super valuable content to people that WANT to cover it, Ash has racked up tons of authority links from sites like The Guardian, Wired, CNET, Forbes and more.

BankMyCell – Backlinks

Pretty cool.

Conclusion

Off-Page SEO: The Definitive Guide

I hope you enjoyed my guide to off-page SEO.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which tip from today’s guide do you want to try first?

Are you going to send out more press releases?

Or maybe you want to get interviewed on podcasts.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

    1. Thanks Chris. I tried to distill what I know about off-page SEO onto a single page. It wasn’t easy. And I had to leave some stuff out. But I tried to make this the most comprehensive guide to off-page SEO out there.

      1. Why would you leave stuff out? You know there are hundreds of thousands of people dying for your tips? 🙁

  1. Hi Brian. Thank you very much for another insightful post.

    I’ve been hesitant about off-page SEO, mainly because somehow I’m afraid of reaching out to people. Probably because I think that my content maybe isn’t good enough or because I’m afraid I’d waste their time, because other than guest posting I have a hard time accepting that anything else would be worth their while.

    However it did click with me when you mentioned in your post that people mention stats/case studies. This makes a lot of sense to me and I think I’ll somehow try to focus on that, as well as beautiful graphs.

    I haven’t done any off-page so far, but I think I’ll start with something like that.

    Thank you very much all your hard work and your help!

    1. Hey Oana, you’re welcome. That’s actually really natural. Sending those first few emails can feel weird. The key is really focusing on outreach that adds value to the person you’re reaching out to. For example, when someone adds a link to your awesome guide to their list of awesome resources, their page just got better. That’s the kind of outreach that works the best.

  2. Congratulations for the great content, Brian!

    This article consolidates the revolutions we are facing in the world of SEO.

    Here in Brazil I’ve seen a great correlation between performance and brand searches.

    Best regards,

    Diego Ivo

    1. You’re welcome, Diego. For sure. Brand searches are a metric that’s tough to game. And helps them figure out which sites are big brands that people want to see in the SERPs.

      1. Dear Brian,

        This is awesome. I have always been a fan of your Quality Vs Quantity approach throughout… Number of blogs, Videos etc. Coming back to this topic I have seen way too many “strategies” which are not actionable, way too many agencies having thier secret recipies which they don’t divulge for Off Page Seo ( this is true for India). This comes very close to being implemented. Here are two questions that come to my mind for creating a rationale based approach to ensure execution is not wasted.

        Firstly I just wanted to know pre- planning , implementation and measuring templates which can be used to showcase to a client / employer. Even if it is not time framed it’s ok.

        Secondly each of the strategies might not work for eg doing a press release especially from reputable print media websites require to spend fair bit of money. So when starting off page activities below are activities which need to be done to ensure we can conduct elimination based process and then double down on what works

        1) Get your website on page optimised and publish content which when a person agreeing to link back to you must be able to see and establish trust in when he lands on your website.

        2) social media promotions

        3) Email outreach to existing database and cold outreach ( may be )

        4) Try all of the above tactics depending on the practicality and cost based priority for the company and see what works

        5) Within the industry see what’s already done or lacking and then make a decision about possible Off Page Seo Tactics.

        Ps – If there are any helpful templates which can be used to plan this and present would be more than grateful 🙏

        1. That’s a pretty sensible process to me. And, as you said, you definitely want to tweak your approach depending on the site, niche etc.

    1. You’re welcome, Erez. Definitely worth a shot. There are more podcasts now than ever. Which means more places to go on for an interview.

  3. Really helpful forge of actionable advice Brian! hats off to you. Is off-site SEO or specifically link-building a white hat or a grey hat thing?

    Btw the graphics are awesome!

    1. Thank you, Jean. It depends a lot on how its done. If you’re sending super targeted emails to people that want to see them, it’s white hat. If you send generic “hi there!” emails to 5k people, that’s black hat.

      Also, if you want to learn more about white hat vs black hat, I recommend this guide.

  4. Hi Brain,

    Good to see your Off page SEO post, the strategies you talked about makes perfect sense .
    Loved the term E-A-T used in your guide which is kind of most important factor in regard to Off page SEO, thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  5. What a great piece of information. I had to read 10 different articles to have all those informations that you have put in place in a single article.

    I had a tough time in link building and even though I could able to, it did not yeild any outcome. Your article pointed out that it might be gray hat techniques.

    Leaned couple of things here which I was doing wrong for years. Thank you so much Brian for this great article.

  6. Hi Brian,
    Really helpful and much needed content.
    I have a question from you as i started my website. Its 2 weeks old and i am writing content for it.
    Q:- What is the right time to start off page SEO for your website?
    Should i write 15 to 20 posts before implementing some of tips that you have given here

    1. Sounds good, Koen. To be clear: links >>>> unlinked brand mentions. So I’d definitely focus on getting links.

  7. As a small business, competing against major brands in a market where EAT is clearly important, I’m always on the lookout for any information that will sharpen our sword. You never fail to leave us with a plateful of new ideas to exploit. Thank you – and the battle continues.

  8. Great article and perfect timing.

    I’m getting ready to start a YouTube channel here shortly and looking forwards to implementing these off-page SEO tactics to grow it.

    Doing collaboration videos feels a lot more fun to me.

  9. Hello, our site lost 80% visitors at the beginning of this month. Many of our sites disappeared from the first page in Google. We researched a bit and found that hundreds of websites took our content without permission. Many of those just copy and pasted our content. So we thought we need to build E-A-T so Google sees that our content is the original. Since we have many good links we thought it might be something on-page.

    I noticed that many of the new top sites have schema.org mark up witch mention the authors and the date of the published work.

    Since our brand is mentioned all over the internet, I wonder if it helps to add on-page author signals/tags to our site and if it should be a person (mentioned quite nowhere yet) or an organization (in our case the website’s URL)?

    1. Hi Michael, that could be part of the problem. But it’s hard to say without looking at your sites and the sites that copied you. I recommend copying and pasting snippets from your content into Google. If your site comes up first, that means that Google sees you as the original.

      1. Yes, I did that. 5-10 sites come in front of us with our original content (many of those take 500 words and more from our site). Maybe it helps when Google sees when my site was created when I mention it in the schema.org mark-up and/or put it onto the site itself. I wonder if the update date would destroy these efforts.

        1. Hey Michael, that’s a bummer. Super frustrating when that happens. Moving forward I’d also use Search Console to help get your new content indexed ASAP. Other than that, it couldn’t hurt to use Schema as a way to confirm to Google the dates that your content was published.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Do you really think so PR links will helpful for Link Building? I never tried for my software development company website but I would like to try that.

    Thanks for sharing wonderful and in-depth article.

    1. Hey Carlos, most relevant links from authority sites will help with SEO. So yeah, if they fit that criteria they’re usually solid.

  11. First, i thought you are going to discuss the same strategies like strategic guest posting and email outreach.

    But you have done a very great job.

    Thanks for sharing such an amazing guide.

  12. Hello Brian, this a pretty darn collection. Every time I come across your content I am sure to get my scope! Kudos.
    However I got one question, does quora give backlinks?

    1. On-page SEO is definitely easier. That’s why being good at off-page SEO can be a huge competitive advantage for your site.

  13. Hey Brian! This off page seo guide was AMAZING. I will be using these strategies to grow my websites. I am 15 years old and LOVE SEO. I wrote an article “How To Clean Tile Floors: The Ultimate Guide” and am almost on the 1st page for the main keyword, any tips?

    I would love to be one of your next case studies and inspire your readers that I’m 15 and am getting traffic to websites using SEO.

    1. Thanks Josh. More backlinks can never hurt. Other than that, I’d also look at CTR. In other words: create a title and description tag that compels people to click.

      1. I’ll definitely do that. I would love to interview you for my podcast, it would only take 5 minutes. I’m a big fan and have read all of your articles and watched all of your videos.

  14. This has some really interesting ideas I’m looking forward to trying this year. Thanks for the informative and helpful walk-throughs, I make my employees read them all the time ha.

  15. Hi Brian, Great post with some interesting ideas. What are your thoughts on mailing lists for off-page SEO? Are mailing lists a Google ranking factor? Also, should a website publicly show the amount of followers that it has? Thanks.

    1. Hi Hazel, thanks. I don’t think mailing lists are a direct Google ranking factor. But a list can indirectly help with SEO because it gets your content in front of people (in fact, I’d be willing to bet you came here via the Backlinko newsletter).

      To your second question, it depends. If you have a decent amount of followers, sharing can boost conversions via social proof. But if you don’t have as many, sharing your followe count can actually backfire.

  16. Hello Brian
    I have to recognise, I didn’t know about this strategy. But, because my online shop it was very new, sorry no money, I tried something else. I used a lot of platforms as archive.com or storeboard where I uploaded my PDF articles. I uploaded even the categories of shop. And than… surprise. Very useful strategy and free. You need just time. All the best. Regards. Stefan

  17. Thank you so much Brian, for another exclusive guide! I’m very much benefited by reading your articles.

    Things have become much easier for me to understand. Especially the graphics are pretty good.

    I decided to try the podcast interview once!

    1. You’re welcome, Bin. Definitely try a few podcasts. They’re pretty easy (especially compared to traditional guest posting).

  18. Absolutely amazing! I never knew about broken links and having them as a strategy for building backlinks. Now to learn how to use them effectively. Thanks, Brian, an incredible post (as usual)

    1. Hi Bette, thank you. For sure: broken links are a super valuable way to get your foot in the door with another blogger. For link building or just to kick off a strategic relationship.

  19. Dope article Brian! I love the podcast strategy. I’m going to personal pursue that one just like Daniel in your example. Lastly, I didn’t know that you were on SPI podcast (#176). I’m not surprised either because your strategies and Pat both are Awesome. Gonna have to listen to it this week. Anyways sorry for fan’n out a bit…Lol…Thanks and Cheers!

  20. Yes indeed this is a complete guide to off-page SEO in 2020.
    Fantastic One, I loved the explanation of each step with examples.
    Highly impressed by the fact that after completing the first year you created the best event for yourself & got Infographic published in Hubspot .

  21. Hi Brian,

    Is there a reason why you chose to include ‘guide’ in your url? I noticed that the ‘on-page-seo’ guide url did not include the word.

    cheers!

    1. Hey Justin, just testing some things out. I usually go with URLs that only use the keyword (like with my on-page SEO guide). But I want to see if adding “guide” has any effect (+ or -).

  22. Brian, this is a very impressive article. I only got into SEO a few months ago and you have been my go-to resource as I continue to learn and grow. Keep up the amazing work!

  23. Awesome stuff, Brian. I actually knew almost all the tricks you mentioned, but I’m glad I now know I’m on the right path 🙂 Also, I should focus more on Youtube as well. Offsite isn’t simple, but if it was, everyone would be doing it great and we cannot all rank #1, can we?

    1. Thanks Jamie. For sure: on-page SEO is helpful. But anyone can do it. So it’s really just a ticket to entry. Off-page SEO is where SEO is won or lost.

    1. Thanks Alun. We’re going to open enrollment for SEO That Works this fall (I’m working on a big update as we speak).

      1. Hi Brian,
        Thank you so much!… That is really amazing!!! The broken links strategy is really something to keep in mind when building new links. Actually there are so many great ways to build new links, so thank’s once again for this super valuable content!!!

  24. Brian Dean, good afternoon!

    Answer me one thing…

    When you write your articles, do you check templates of other articles and base yourself on them or do you write something totally new on google docs ?

    Thanks Brian.

  25. Thanks for the break down on off page SEO. Here in Ghana, there is so much potential for applying creative off page SEO techniques like what you have described. Will definitely give them a go.

  26. Hey Brian, a great guide just like always. I’m starting a new site and was thinking of sending out a press release. This should result in a couple hundred links. What’s your thoughts on press releases? Should i just ignore it and start building editorial links?

  27. Amazing post. I love the Broken Content Link strategy. Besides Shotgun Skyscraper I will try that out for our business. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  28. Great content as usual.

    There is more to SEO in general than our naked eye can see. Sometimes this is an endless stream of the ocean.

    This is my second time hearing the word E-A-T.

    1. Thanks Emmanuel. That’s true: a good chunk of SEO is “invisible”. And there are signals (like E-A-T) that only Google really picks up and processes.

  29. Great content as always Brian! I can attest that getting brand mentions, backlinks from big publications, and using PR has been helpful in growing my DA fairly quickly and building my EAT score.

    In a few months when I first started a new blog I was able to go from 0 -35 DA and now more recently bumped that to the mid-40s, which has helped more of my content rank and even beat some of the big publications in my space.

    BTW, I’m always digging the graphics on your posts and the color schemes. Makes the content more engaging (:

    1. Oh nice! For sure. Google is more concerned with giving searchers TRUSTED info. And they use all of that stuff you mentioned to figure out how much to trust a site.

  30. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for this guide! When Guest Posting, would you say its safer to link back to a similar blog page on your site and then internally link to the product/service page you want boosted?

    Thanks!

  31. This was such an informative article and gave me so many things to look into to continue adding credibility to our website. One question, how do you get to be a part of roundup posts? Do you have any more info about those?

    1. Thanks Alexa. You’re best bet is to keep an eye out for roundups in your niche. Then, contribute something that they can copy and paste into the roundup.

    1. Thanks Gabriela. Specific is how I roll 😎

      To answer your question, Google Surveys can definitely work. You can also scrape data from different sources too.

  32. Hi Brian,

    I am always very happy to see a new email from you, I know I am going to read an awesome post 🙂

    But I have one question about what you said here about guest posting:
    “There’s only one caveat: This really only works if you publish guest posts on sites in your industry.”

    I have a website about fitness, and I try to guest post to high DA sites in the webmarketing area, explaining how my business is working, to get some backlinks.
    Do you think it is worthing it, or not ? (maybe can do some harm because fitness and webmarkerting have nothing in common…)

    Thanks a lot !

    1. Good question, Thibaut. A link in that scenario would help your SEO a little. So you can guest post on unrelated sites now and again. But I’d definitely focus on related sites in your niche.

  33. Hi Brian Dean,

    You’re at it again – what you do best. I must say this has cleared up the air and I now feel motivated to soldier on and take my site to the next level.

    I’ve been researching keywords, but muddled on whether I should continue creating posts for.my site or guestpost to get backlinks.

    Fortunately, you gave an insight about broken links and because I already have ahrefs, I’m going to implement this idea and see the results.

    Of course, I’ll be happy to share my success here.

    Thanks.
    Denzil

    1. Hi Denzil, thank you. If you’re starting out, you’d ideally do guest posting and also create posts for your own site. But yeah, BLB definitely scales better than guest posting.

  34. Thank you very much indeed, Brian for all the information. These are very important to me. I will read and practice again and again.

    I saw a comment above and your answer: Is it really healthy to get links for new blogs or websites?

    1. You’re welcome. Yes it’s healthy as long as you don’t go overboard and buy 10k blog comment links or something like that.

    1. Thanks Hope. You can definitely built up E-A-T and other off-page signals without YT. It just happens to be a powerful platform for that.

  35. Excellent guide and excellent strategy the proof I arrived by the link of your newsletter. Today you have to be very cunning to get quality links and you share excellent ideas with us. Thank you again for this very comprehensive guide. It’s always a pleasure to read you for a seo fan. Soon !

  36. I haven’t been on Facebook in years due to it’s creepy feel and now hearing from you that marketers can “go on Fiverr and buy 10,000 Facebook likes” makes that decision feel ever better. Thanks.

  37. At always, you shared some good stuff here but most of your tips can not be applied in all niches.

    For example, I have some gambling websites and it is very difficult to obtain “natural” backlinks without buying them.

    How about an article about off-page SEO for a gambling website?

  38. I’m not super knowledgeable about SEO, so please forgive my ignorance, but once you find the broken links in your niche, what do you do next to do Broken Content Building?

  39. Hey Brian! Thanks for this another awesome content. Been reading a lot of your posts lately. We’d really like to overhaul and strengthen our off-page SEO. And this one will surely help our team. Keep sharing amazing contents!

  40. Hey Brian, another great guide!
    FYI – your link for Mention points to socialmention.com rather than mention.com. But, nice that Mention has a free plan to try out.
    Also, after reading this I was wondering again if it’s time to start paying the fees for Ahrefs, then of course I thought, I bet Brian has a free SEO tool listing…. BINGO:
    https://backlinko.com/best-free-seo-tools

    Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi Kris, thanks for the heads up. I’ll change that link. Of course. I’ve got a post about almost anything SEO-related at this point 🙂

  41. Brian: You are the SEO Guru! Thank you for all the actionable tips and strategies you give out. And your posts, with all the clever graphics, always look stellar! Sounds like press releases are not dead yet? I’ve heard they are and they aren’t and was curious about that?

    1. Thanks Chris. Press releases definitely aren’t what they used to be. But they aren’t dead. I have more info on that here.

    1. Thanks Gourab. Off-page SEO is a ton of work. But compared to other SEO approaches, the results can be 1000% worth it.

  42. Great stuff Brian. I’ve recently started investing more in off-site SEO and have started to see some results. Time to kick it up to the next level.

    1. Hey Aaron, thanks. That’s good to hear. One of the not-great things about SEO is that it takes time. But once you start seeing results it’s definitely time to double or triple down on what’s already working.

  43. Brian, Will read the guide later and I’m only here to thank you for everything that you have been doing for the SEO community..

  44. Whenever it some to off-page, everyone thinks it’s an easy game but this is an eye opener. How smartly you can build links and grow the audience too. Really awesome tips, loved the case studies too.

  45. Hi Brian,

    I think this is the best blog post I’ve read this month on off-page SEO.

    Thank you so much for taking time to spell them out in the most understandable format.

    Expert roundup post and interviews have really helped me to grow my business blog.

    A couple of mentions here and there also helped but the little challenge I have about that is that there’s a popular footballer bearing the same name (Emenike Emmanuel) with me. I think it contributes to why I don’t get to fully enjoy all the unlinked mentions on other blogs.

    But gradually, I’m beginning to create a path for myself where I can now be easily found when you add “Blogger” or “Writer” to “Emenike Emmanuel.”

    I look forward to interviewing you on our business blog soon. The last one I had with Larry Kim was amazing.

    Keep it up with the great work you are doing.

    – Emenike

    1. Hi Emenike, you’re welcome. It sounds like you’re doing a good job helping Google figure out that you’re not the footballer. And be glad that you’re name isn’t Cristiano Ronaldo. That would make this process 10x harder 😂

      1. Haha… That would have been terrible.

        I’m appearing on more platforms and constantly associating my name, “Emenike Emmanuel” with “Entrepreneur” and “Blogger” hoping that it works out this time.

        Anything to split the ranking with him is important to me now. That way, when people search for “Emenike Emmanuel” Google will ask them which of the Emenike?

        Do you think this is a smart idea?

        1. Yes, that’s exactly the right approach. It will take some time. But Google is getting better at disambiguation.

  46. Hi Brian, what do you think of content partnerships? say if my brand were to partner up with a high authority publisher such as New York Times etc to develop a content piece. Would that add on to my brand’s off-page SEO efforts?

    1. Hi Gerald, it depends on where the content is published. But if you were able to get a feature on the NY Times, that would definitely help your SEO.

  47. Definitely with all the data shown in the article it is clear that backlinks are still a fundamental part of the seo-offpage. Now all that remains is to apply the tips you share with us.

    Greetings and successes.

  48. Hey Brian

    This really amazing guide for off page seo. I have a question

    I think my blog is in sandbox right now because from past few day my articles do not rank on SERP.

    Some days ago I made almost 100+ backlinks in a day and after that I facing this issue. So, can you please tell me how to fix it.

  49. Fantastic piece of content on off-page SEO Brian! Thanks for doing this for SEO community. Love the use of examples and case studies . Keep doing great work and again thanks for your help !

    1. No worries, Ashok. These case studies take some extra time to put together. But they really round out the guide.

    1. Thanks Jhon. You’re right: it definitely wasn’t easy making a name for myself in the super competitive marketing niche. It took a lot of hard work.

  50. Hey Brian,

    Thank you for this article.
    Like always, lots of facts backed knowledge about SEO and super engaging content that I love to read.
    Keep it up…👍👍👍

    1. You’re welcome. SEO opinions are everywhere. Which is why I try to back everything up with facts and specific examples.

  51. Hi Brian, excellent blog it includes each & every aspect of off-page SEO. I’ve been doing off-page SEO for the last 2 plus years but there’s always something new to learn from your blog. Keep writing to inspire us.

    Btw the illustrations are amazing!

  52. Thank you Brian for the detailed explanation of SEO Off Page. Currently I am learning to develop a web about the content of rural tourism in Indonesia (Tinalah Tourism Village). Hopefully I can apply this knowledge to my web development.

  53. Great share Brian. Do you have guide that can provide step by step off-page SEO technique for those who are new in Amazon Affiliate marketing and are looking to build their traffic. Most of the techniques discussed are for those who are at some stage and would like to go further while if you have a post for newbies will be grateful. Thanks

  54. Hey Brian, great post with good ideas!

    I will definitely pursue the idea of press releases more. I tried it for one client, and it gave a huge boost, because the google-news approwed websites have a lot of authority in Googles eyes.

    I agree with guest-posting, it gives very good quality backlinks.

    Another thing Im doing is using syndication of content on different social media and web 2.0 sites, this also gives a decent overall boost in rankings.

    Best regards Jesper

    1. Hey Jesper, glad to hear that. As you saw, press releases can still work when done right. They’re still a little bit hit or miss. But worth doing IMO.

  55. This is another great article, congratulations, Brian!!

    I really agree that infographics are so powerful. Do you have any favorite tool that you use to create graphs/infographics?

    1. Thanks Yuka. We actually get these graphics custom illustrated. So it’s more about the designer than a specific tool.

    1. You’re welcome, Nitin. Off-page SEO is a HUGE topic. So making something that covered everything wasn’t going to be happen. So I tried to add as many actionable strategies as I could fit in one guide.

  56. Great article, thanks Brian.
    It’s ironic to ask this on-page SEO question in this blog post, but I feel I have to ask.
    Why are almost all headlines h2? Except some h6 you have in the Contents at the top. Is it better to put everything in h2, instead of h2 and h3 combination?

    1. Hi Pablo, it doesn’t matter that much. As long as you use the same H tags for different elements (headlines, subheaders etc) you’re good.

  57. I can’t imagine how long it took to research and write such an in-depth article on off-page seo.

    … then you get a bunch of replies saying how much they like the illustrations. lol!

    … seriously though. Great illustrations!

  58. Really love those case studies.
    I got to admit that it’s hard to implement them without having a full time professional doing this..

  59. Great content, Brian. The more I learn about SEO, the more I fall in love with it. The article says you’re in Berlin, is it hard to watch your favorite New England sports teams from there?

    1. Thanks Ron. I actually don’t spend as much time as I used to in Berlin. To answer your question, NFL Gamepass changed my life.

  60. Another great guide, Brian. My biggest takeaway here is in the EAT section. A lot of marketers often obsess over backlinks (not to say that they are not important), but there are tons of other off-page factors like you mentioned. EAT + brand signals go hand-in-hand. Even if there’s no link, a lot of mentions in relevant circles will have a positive effect (assuming the mentions are positive).

    1. Thanks Jon. That’s 100% true. Nevermind the fact that getting press. Or doing interesting things so people search for you in Google. All are just good things to do in general. Not just for SEO.

  61. “Then, once he found a successful survey, he popped it into Ahrefs to see which data points journalists cited most often in their coverage.”

    Do you mean he checked the backlinks to the survey page, and then read through the different articles to see which points were selected from the survey?

    1. Exactly. Ahrefs also shows a preview of the text around a link. That way, you don’t need to visit every page one by one.

  62. Hey Brian excellent post! I have a doubt. I’ve been following the blog for years and I noticed that you removed the sidebar. I’m sure there was a reason for that. Could you tell us? I don’t know if I should do the same on my blog. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Joao. I removed it because no one really interacted with it. So it was more of a distraction than anything else.

  63. Brian,

    I have been participating in round up posts over the past 6 month. While I have received some backlinks from high authority sites, most of the time there are several other links on the post, and the page itself has low authority. Some of them ask me to repost or share. I thought about having one of the bloggers do a roundup post on my site so the people in the post can share and link back to it. Have you ever posted a round up on your site, and if so, did it generate backlinks for you?

    1. Hey Bobby, I haven’t done my own roundup before. But yeah, the links you get from participating from them aren’t amazing. But they still count.

  64. Hi Brian,

    Your guide is perfect as always.

    I want to share a link building approach we use.

    Here in PRNEWS.IO we help companies to put advertorials and sponsored posts in online media. The huge problem for marketing and PR specialists is to find the perfect website to get mentioned. We help them to find the best solution by providing data from Similarweb.

    We also use the Data-Driven PR technique to get backlinks to our website. We regularly perform researches on the most popular news website in the niche or in the region. We put together a press release and send it to all the websites in niche and region.

    Some of them are glad to be rewarded. They share the info on their websites together with our name and sometimes a link. We got 150 mentions in 4 months due to this technique

  65. Congratulation on listed no.1 on Ahref. BTW I found your blog there and I read your posts, It was amazing. Following you for future updates…

  66. Hey Brian,
    I am just starting out with Google SEO and I want to get a SEO tool that will help me track back-links and rankings.
    Do you recommend any particular one for beginners? I noticed they are pretty expensive so I cannot afford multiple ones for now.
    Great blog!
    Thank you!

  67. Hey Braian,

    Appreciable piece of content, this is a very useful and informative guide. I am a health blogger and as you mention above about improving E-A-T by this guide i really understand the importance of this as before i don’t know about this factor.
    One more thing is that i always think that social share helps us in ranking directly then backlinks but i was wrong this guide clear my thoughts on this as well.
    I will follow this amazing off page SEO guide so that i can boost my ranking, and I always feel really proud that we have a perfect guide like you who always helps us with amazing and informative content.

    Thanks for sharing

  68. Thank you, Brian!
    Really awesome and actionable guide.
    Links from “Wikipedia and articles from well-known websites” work great even if they are tagged with nofollow.

    Was funny to read about link reclamation from Globe and Mail – tough guys, indeed!

    Also wanted to share one actionable technique with you when it comes to links acquisition:

    If you have a website to promote, say, about foodstuff or catering you can create a “Top/Best Restaurants in ” article, prepare a nice infographic or even a gifographic and post it on your website. The next step is to contact these guys you mentioned in your content/graphic piece with a nice email telling them that they are featured and you can politely ask them to link to this super awesome infographic. They will most likely get excited and link to your creative!

  69. Fantastic content, as always, Brian. Over the years, we at Searchbloom have developed our internal processes to follow your guides and SEO That Works training. To say that by incorporating your strategies have been a game-changer for our company would be a dramatic understatement.

  70. What about blog comments and niche directories for backlinks. Do they still have some impact (assuming done in moderation)?

  71. Fantastic bundled advice Brian. I’ve been using the techniques you talk about and applied them for the past year. Thanks to your insights we currently rank #1 for 7 out of 10 of our targeted keywords. SEO has changed so much over the years, but you’ve always delivered. Thanks!

  72. Backlinko is the No.1 SEO blog.

    Thanks Brian for another awesome post.

    Brand queries has been playing on my mind for sometime. I’m determined to form a strategy to increase brand searches. Added to my calendar 💪

    Your posts fuel my SEO efforts. Can’t thank you enough!

    Thanks again

    1. Thanks Chad. It depends a lot on your resource, how much you personalize your emails etc. But it’s around 5-10%.

  73. It is like you said. Offpage also takes a lot of time. Real quality is all that matters. SO SEO Freelancer like I am only can take a few clients, because otherwise quality will be limited. You opened my eyes again. It is better to concentrate on a few clients.

  74. Hello Brian!
    faithful reader here 🙂

    I was wondering, will you be publishing a guide or tips on optimizing a website for the future Google’s page experience update?

    I have read a litle bit about it on Neil Pateil and searchengineland but there is not much information out there yet, and I am sure it would be great to have all the websites prepared way before the update goes live

    1. Hey Kimo, good suggestion there. I might cover that in a blog post or newsletter in the next few weeks.

  75. Brian, your SEO help is amazing. Thank you! Forgive me if this has already been asked…I already get about 80K pageviews a month because of my large social media following. I am just now focusing on SEO. Would you bother going back over every blog post to SEO optimize it? Even my blog post that gets about 50K views a month? I don’t want to mess anything up. Should I just focus on my blog posts that have less traffic? I have 337 posts. Thanks for any tips!

    1. Thanks Delynda. I’d focus more on the posts that don’t get a lot of traffic. As you said, there’s always a risk with tweaking a page that’s already ranking.

  76. Cute post but I’ve got to say that reading your articles is rather annoying – all you do is pat yourself on the back, giving example after example of how “look at how I did this (insert internal link) so well”. It comes across like a guy in a bar talking about all his amazing achievements in a not-so subtle way to make himself look even more amazing.
    Gets tiring real quick.

  77. Hey Brian,
    This article piece is a gem. Especially the focus on ‘E-A-T’. If a company has expertise in a field and can generate great results that it shall lead to authoritativeness and trustworthiness. It shall eventually lead to creating a ‘brand’, which shall lead the website to receive more backlinks from others.
    This is a great article. Thanks for sharing.

  78. Thanks, Brian for this Off-page SEO guide typed in extensive detail 🙂

    I would invest more to encourage brand searches and create engaging visuals.

    I noticed you didn’t mention blog commenting.

    Could you shed some light on this topic (wrt: follow / no-follow)?

  79. Hi Brian, I like the idea of Boosting Off-Page SEO With Backlinks through stats citation. My website is fairly new and I don’t have email list to test it. Any idea if this could also work for me?

  80. Hi Brian!
    You mentioned about LSI keywords in the post, but can you please tell me which LSI keyword generator tool is best? I have tried two but they just change the words totally.

  81. Fantastic advice Brian packed. For the last year, I’ve been using the techniques you ‘re talking about and applying them. Thanks to your feedback we rank # 1 for 7 out of 10 of our targeted keywords at this time. Over the years, SEO has changed so much but you have always delivered. Thank you!

  82. Hey Brian, You have written really one of the best articles on On/off-page SEO activity. I loved about the Social Signals which really bring 50% traffic on My webpage and there’s no doubt that genuine social shares do have a positive influence on rankings—albeit an indirect one.

  83. Great strategies, studies add more and more value in your content. And can you share your page social shares plugin name, Thanks.

  84. Great guide on Off-page SEO Brian. I have a question. How long does it take, on average, for a link building strategy to start to reflect on the positioning of the pages of a website?

  85. Incredibly value post as always, Brian. I wish I’ve stumbled upon the blog a little bit earlier on my journey, but what do you do, right?

    Anyways, I do have a question for you. I was wondering if there is a way to improve the branded searches? I realize that social media would be the best way to get people to search for your blog online but are there other methods / techniques?

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