Search engines, specifically Google, use many off-page factors when deciding if and where to rank your website pages. Backlinks are an important ranking factor for SEO, but off-page SEO is more than just building links.
4 Local Off-Page SEO Tactics
There are several tactics that you should add to your off-page SEO strategy that positively influence your brand’s online footprint, trust, authority, and reputation with the added benefit of creating more opportunities for backlinks.
Stand Out with Google’s Knowledge Panel
Make sure your company or brand stands out in search results when people are specifically searching for it utilizing Google’s Local Knowledge Panel in your off-page SEO.
Knowledge Panels are a type of rich results on search engine results pages powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph. A knowledge panel is super useful for any local business that wants to be found for search terms like your brand or business name. You can dominate the right side of the screen on desktop searches if your Knowledge Panel pops up.
If you have a local or branded panel, you might be able to influence what Google shows in the panel, but ultimately Google decides whether or not it will show a Knowledge Panel in search results.
Three things you can do to help Google create a Local Knowledge Panel are:
Optimize Your Google My Business Account
Don’t ever doubt that Google prefers to keep things in-house and use the information they already have on hand about your business to determine whether to provide a Knowledge Panel for your local business and what information should go in there. Give them all the information possible to create a comprehensive Knowledge Graph.
- Verify your business on Google My Business
- Fill out your Google My Business account in its entirety
- Ensure business name, address, and phone number are correct and consistent
Verify Website with Search Console and Add Structured Data Markup
Adding structured data markup to your website content helps search engines understand what your business does and how it operates. When you use structured data, you can take advantage of features such as Logo, Local business, and Sitelinks search box for an enhanced appearance in search results and Knowledge Panels.
Google Pulls Data from Wikipedia so Create and Entry for Your Business (if you can)
It is free to edit or create a Wikipedia page, but note that stricter guidelines strongly suggest that there be a third-party reliable and verifiable published sources you can reference and link to when creating a new page. You can’t use press releases, but mentions or features in local publications and news sources could work.
Share Your Content on YouTube, Pinterest, SlideShare, and Medium
Ginormous hub pages like Pinterest, Youtube, Medium, and Slideshare, have impressive PageRank and authority. Let some of that rub off on your brand by joining and using these massive platforms to post and promote stuff about your local business.
- Optimize uploaded file titles, file names, descriptions, CATs and links
- Remember PDFs and PowerPoint files can’t be crawled, but sites like SlideShare make them readable
- For podcast and videos include transcripts for search engines to crawl
Citations - Boring? Yes. Tedious? Can be. Necessary? Yep!
Citations are listings of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on web pages outside of your website. Think chamber of commerce, community sites, and business directories. Citations are crucial for any business that wants to rank high enough to be seen in local search engine results.
Moz (world-renowned leader in the SEO space) places citation signals on top of local ranking factors when it comes to off-page factors. If you’re already sold on citations, here is a very handy list of local citations sources:
The Ultimate List of 200+ Local SEO Citation Sources for USA 2020
Now refocus if you left to click around. There are two types of citations: structured and unstructured. Structured citations are generally business listings created from a form submitted when the listing is claimed on sites like Yelp and HomeAdvisor.
Unstructured citations are usually the result of social media or a press release where your NAP is visible on a website like a local news story about your business or a “Top 10 of Your City” from a locally relevant website.
The important thing to remember about citations is to ensure your NAP is consistent across the whole internet. Consistent and correct NAP information is the first barrier of trust for search engines, and thus an important local ranking signal. When incorrect or inconsistent NAP is floating out there, Google does not want to give people bad information in search results to they just won’t rank you.
Keep track of all your listings and ensure they have all have accurate information about your company.
Get 5-Star Reviews on Websites and Platforms Where Your Customers Look for Them
You probably already know that off-page reviews, specifically ones posted to your Google My Business account, positively impact local pack rankings. But don’t forget all the good things that happen when there is a plan in place to consistently gather and post positive reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, YellowPages, and BBB (or where your customers in your industry go for reviews):
- You strengthen local SEO signals which help to rank higher
- Your business builds customer trust and influence buying decisions
- Command increased exposure when you to take up more real estate on SERPs
Use off-page SEO to help you get your name higher in search (Yelp business pages tend to rank at the top of search engine results). Also, you'll increase the digital footprint of your positive web presence (which happens when people start recommending your 5-star local business on Facebook).
Off-Page SEO is Way More Than Just Link Building
Off-page SEO isn’t just about link building. Done right, you can increase the ranking of your local business and your digital footprint. All while enjoying the added benefit of getting quality links back to your website from authority sites. Unlike guest blogging or influencer marketing, these four off-page SEO tactics are things you control that can have a direct positive impact on your local business.
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