On one side where on-page SEO works within your blog/website, the off-page SEO takes your blog out to the wild.
Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages outside your website by getting links back to it as the only thing you can do outside your website is to build links back to it. These back links act as a vote to the content of your blog. The more and better votes (links) you can get to your webpage the better it will rank in search results.
Link building is the word that refers to off-page SEO in the best manner. They are one and the same can take a blog up the ranks of a search engine result.
What is Link Building?
Link building means to build links back to your web page from other blogs or websites. Search engines are deeply interested in the number and quality of links over the internet that point back to your web page.
Considering your blog as a nominee for the number one spot, these links are the voters for you. Search engines get updated every now and then in routine for the purpose of deciding which web page gets at what position in the search results. These links determine that place for your blog in a search result.
Google and other search engines crawl the internet to find the number of links pointing back to your web page and index them. Their algorithm then decides on how to position different web pages.
It can be explained better in this way - say you have 100 links back to your web page on "How To Lose Weight" from 100 authority sites in fitness niche. So when Google visits these websites it'll know that if these websites are linking back to your web page then there must be some very useful content present there. And hence your web page may end up higher in the search results.
It's much like 100 people voting you as an authority person.
Google loves a web page if most of the backlinks to it is natural and created by people who really liked the content as this is what acts as a real vote for your web page other than the artificial links created by you. And getting natural links is not at all easy, not everyone will link back to your web page even though the content is great. So when building links yourself you should try to keep them as natural looking as possible so that Google can trust it as a vote.
There are a lot of things that you have to take care of when building natural looking and quality backlinks. I've shared below some of the most important properties of a quality backlink that you should always take care of when building them.
Properties Of A Quality Backlink
A quality backlink has the following properties and is considered good in the eyes of search engines and has the maximum effect on your off-page SEO.
1. From High PageRank Web Page
PageRank (PR) is a ranking given to a web page (from 0 to 10) by Google algorithm which tells about its authority. Always try to get backlinks from web pages with high PR, preferably higher than the PR of your own website.
Backlinks from higher PR web pages means quality votes for your web page. You can check the PR of a web page using the Firefox Plugin - WebRank Toolbar or if you don't use Firefox you can use this online tool PR Checker.
2. Use different anchor texts
Having the same exact keyword stuffed anchor text for all your backlinks is bad for your web page's SEO. It does not look natural to Google as its not practically possible for all your backlinks to have same anchor text. So try to use different anchor text for your backlinks.
I personally use this model of anchor text to build backlinks to my blogs - 30% exact matching keyword, 30% phrase match keywords, 30% generic words like click here, know more, read more etc and 10% url of the webpage.
Example - Say you have a web page http://your-website.com/rain-boots/ that you want to rank for the keyword "rain boots" then try to have about 30% of the backlinks with exact keyword match anchor text "rain boots", 30% with phrase match anchor texts like "cheap rain boots", "good rain boots", "rain boots review" etc, 30% generic words like "click here", "click here to know more", "this blog", "great site" etc and the remaining 10% with anchor text as "http://your-website.com/rain-boots/".
3. Nofollow or Dofollow Links
The attribute rel="nofollow" when added to a link tells the search engines to not pass the reputation of that web page to the linked web page. When this attribute is not present it means that the link is dofollow and that web page passes its reputation (or what it is called as the PageRank juice) to your linked web page.
The nofollow attribute is used by webmasters to stop the flow of their build authority to other sites. And hence these links are not much useful for off-page SEO also. You should always try to get dofollow links back to your web pages for getting the link juice and also increasing the chances of getting ranked higher.
A lot of search engines do not regard rel="nofollow" attribute for ranking your web page but a lot of them do. There has been battling on whether you should build nofollow links or not with no logical conclusions so far. So to be on the safe side I split my links into 70/30 parts -that's 70% dofollow links and 30% nofollow links. It's not been bad so far.
Building dofollow links can be a real pain in a** as they are not easy to get. Most of the websites where you can leave your comment in return of a backlink are nofollow and even forums where you can spam your links are nofollow. So you should have a proper strategy in place to get your backlinks.
4. From Similar Niche Blog and Website
Try to get links from niche blogs or websites similar to your web page as these are the real natural links. A car blog will never link to a fitness blog so you should keep this mind when building your backlinks and only try to get links from blogs or websites relevant to your niche.
You can search blogs in your niche using Google to put your links on.
5. Don't do Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is a process of getting thousands of links back to your web page in a very short period of time. This used to work earlier but not now. Getting thousands of links to your web page overnight is a sure shot way of suicide for your blog/website.
You may find a lot of schemes out there that claim to provide thousands of links for just a couple of dollars and they do too. But the quality of backlinks is very poor and it will not do any good for your web page. Search engines are smart enough to know which backlinks are natural and which are not.
These backlinks are mostly low quality and from PR0 spammy websites. These sudden backlinks spikes can even lead of deindexing of your web pages from Google's database. Also avoid link farms (sites with 100+ outbound links per page).
Influence Of Social Media On Off-Page SEO
The first and foremost priority of Google is to provide quality content to its searchers. And the best feature of a quality content is that it gets shared more. Search engines like Google take social signal as an important metric for ranking web pages.
Make profiles for your blog or business website on social networks so that you can stay connected with your users and visitors socially. When you grow a strong social community making your content go viral becomes a lot easier. You just have to share your web page's link with your followers and the rest is done by them. If you write really great and compelling content it will get shared more and hence increase its chances of getting better rank in search results.
Engagement with your social community is a very important aspect when you want your social community to share your content virally. So try to provide as much value you can to your followers so that they are loyal to you and love to share your content.
Social bookmarking is also a great way to do off-page SEO for your web pages. There are hundred of social bookmarking sites that help users bookmark your web page if they liked it. If your web page gets bookmarked more it sends good signals to search engines that your content is great and should be ranked higher.
You can also bookmark your own web pages using tools like Social Poster or Social Marker to bookmark them over a large number of social bookmarking sites. It saves you a lot of time as it semi-automates the process of bookmarking and you also don't need to wait to for others to bookmark your page for you to tell Google about it.
So I'd like to conclude by saying that when it comes to off-page SEO - create high quality content and everything else will take care of itself. High quality content not only gets shared more but also gets linked to more. High quality contents are self-promoting and you don't have to work hard for ranking it better in search results.
Still creating high quality content is not enough as nowadays everyone is creating quality content everywhere. So you also need some good link building and social media strategy in place for properly executing off-page SEO and get to the top of SERPs.