Understanding Off Page SEO and How it Work

Search engine optimisation is a set off development practices used to organically grow your positioning in the search engine results pages. Traditionally, this has involved a strategy of techniques on your own website, however it’s now as much about what you do off-page. So – what is off page SEO and how does it work?

What Is Off Page SEO?

Off page SEO is made up of two distinct parts. The first is what activity you do away from your site to increase brand awareness, grow your social profiles and improve your site’s credibility on other sites. The second part is everything that happens beyond your control, such as social sharing, customer reviews, user generated content and general discussions of your brand online.

In order for the second part to take place, you have to nail the first part – basically the activity that’s within your control. For example, if you create and promote a Google My Business page, you have a greater chance of clients leaving reviews. And, if you strategise a strong set of social media marketing campaigns, you increase your chances of your brand being discussed and shared.

How Does Off Page SEO Work?

Google looks at off page activity as a significant rank signal – a strong indication of how popular your brand is. The reason off page signals are so important, is because they are a truly organic representation of your brand. You can do all the activity in the world on your site to improve SEO, but if your brand is not present elsewhere on the web, your on page efforts can be lost.

Your off page SEO tells search engines and users that your website is important to others on the web.

When Google decides which sites from its index to rank and in what order, it’s looking for a selection of the best value experiences for users searching for a particular query. Some of the top factors it looks at are:

  • Quality of content
  • User experience
  • How well it’s networked with other information sources (onsite and offsite)
  • Site load speed
  • Bounce rate
  • How active your brand is online
  • Who links back to you and how credible those sites are
  • How much your brand is being talked about
  • Whether your site appears on local citations
  • Whether you have popular and active social profiles

The first half of these factors are determined by your on page SEO. The second half are determined by our off page SEO.

What Off Page SEO Activity Should I Be Doing? 

We have listed the top off page SEO techniques that will help you to increase your site’s credibility away from your own site.

Link Building

The most obvious example of off page SEO is link building. This is the earliest off page discipline and has always existed as part of early SEO. It was thrown into the limelight in 2012 when the Google Penguin algorithm shook up sites that had a network of excessive or low-quality links.

We recommend: evaluating the inbound links you have pointing to your site. Some of these could be spam sites referring traffic and could be doing you more harm than good. If you discover some links that look spammy, you can ask for these to be removed. Failing that, you can discredit the links in your Google Search Console and if necessary, submit a spam report to Google.

Concentrate on building a smaller network of quality links back to your site. Obvious ones to go for include news sites and product/service review sites for your industry. Natural backlinks beyond your control include social media signals and user generated content where users have mentioned you. Increase your chances of this activity happening by promoting your brand away from your own site. See below.

Social Media Activity

At the very least, you should have social media profiles as a way of referencing your brand off site. The type of platform businesses use greatly impacts on your social media success.

We recommend: choosing the right platform(s) for your business. Businesses with aesthetic products would find that their audiences might hang out on visual platforms such as Instagram.

Businesses with professional services such as accountancy, might find their target audience on LinkedIn. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, you can choose a number of suitable profiles to maximise your online popularity.

Stay active on these platforms. Post regularly about content your users find interesting and worthy of liking and/or sharing. A trainer brand using Instagram could post numerous times a day with an aesthetically pleasing photo of a pair of trainers, with a price tag or an offer, with a clear CTA and a sense of FOMO. E.g. if a brand’s post is about a top-of-the-range pair of trainers that are half price for 24 hours, a targeted user is likely to like it, share it and possibly even take an action to buy.

Professional services are harder to market on social media than aesthetic or entertainment products, but many businesses with professional services are successfully using social media to improve their social signals. The trick is to offer users something for free, such as a how to guide or complimentary tool. And to post breaking news about their brand that puts them ahead in the market or well-known causes they support.


Citations are sites that reference your businesses name, address and phone number (or NAP). is important for businesses wanting to rank well in the local organic search results. Search engines like Google take the data into account when determining which companies to show for geo-targeted searches.

We recommend: auditing your localised SEO to discover where you might be listed on the web and whether the NAP data is accurate. Google cross references your NAP protocol across all citations and your site, looking for consistency and authenticity. If there are discrepancies in the NAP data, the citation won’t count.

Citations, if correct for your business, count as a rank factor. Some citations also encourage users to leave reviews, which further increases your off page SEO signals.

So, there you have it, the top three off page SEO signals to analyse and improve. Happy SEO-ing!

Whitefish Marketing is a digital marketing agency based in Folkestone, Kent. If you’re a Kent-based business looking to improve your website’s SEO, you can use our FREE SEO audit tool. Alternatively, why not give one of our SEO experts a call on 01303 720 288.

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