Offpage Optimization: The Main Event

Do you know that a majority of what you do on your site to optimize for the search engines is not as important as what you do that is outside of your site. It’s odd when you think about it, but the external factors to your site are more important than what you have control over.

Take, for instance, the sites that link you to. You can do only so much optimizing on you actual site, but when it comes down to it, when you submit to the search engines, it can take you a good 6 months to be added to their index. Whereas, if you do one simple link exchange with a website that has a PR of 7 or higher, you can be indexed by Google in under 24 hours. Again, off page optimization is what carries more weight.

In this article, we will examine other off page factors that can help you in the search engines, including examining what types and how many sites link back to you.

The first point I want to make to you is this: where link-backs are concerned it’s definitely quality and quantity. Specifically, if you had a website promoting web design and you wanted to exchange links with another website in order to help you in the search engines, would you choose a link exchange with someone in the wedding industry. Those are some different industries doing two completely different things. Although, it’s not certainly bad for a wedding business to help promote a web design firm, it generally doesn’t help unless that website has a higher page rank than yours and the goal is to help your site to be indexed.

If you have a web design site and you were looking for the maximum boost in the engines, you should generally lean more toward link exchanges with websites that are similar to yours, such as a search engine optimization website, like this one.

If you already have a website established and are uncertain as to who has already linked to you, there are very simple ways to find this out. First, you can go to Yahoo, and type in the search box “link:http://www.yoursite.com/.” I specifically say Yahoo because from experience, I have seen Yahoo contain more data regarding link-backs than other search engines. You can also get this information from the program that I previously mentioned called WebCEO. The link is in one of my first posts. This is a free software that helps you with almost anything search engine related.

If you already have WebCEO installed, open up to your project or start your first project as your website. Then select “Analyze Link Popularity”. This is a powerful tool that allows you to analyze your site’s link-backs and your competitions link-backs at the same time. Take the time to analyze the link popularity of some of your competitors and see if you can discover the difference.

The sites that have the higher page ranks have a lot of links pointing to their site and a lot of quality links. There’s where both of them come into play. There is a fine line between having a lot of links to your site and having a lot of quality links. You want the links that you exchange to be good quality links to better help you in the search engines.

A very good way to do this is by being an active member in your local message boards. You are a website owner and because of that, people can see you as an expert in your field. That’s why it’s very easy to get on and provide solutions to surfers seeking them in your area of expertise. The reason I am quick to suggest the forums is because you can add a signature line to your posts. Now not all search engines can see the signature, but in certain forums you have luck. And depending on the forum that you link to, you increase the density of your links out there and quality of those links because the forum you post on can be related to your website.

Another off page feature you should look at is the anchor text that is used in the link back to you. The anchor text, if you don’t remember is the text that says something and the word is really a link. So, if someone were to link to you, you would have better chances if someone said “The SEO Journal” rather than http://seojournal05.blogspot.com/ . The results are even better if they use one of your keywords in the anchor text, such as “search engine optimization”. This helps solidify that your site is what your meta tags say and establishes your site as a legitimate resource for the search engines to index. The more links back to you that have that anchor text, the better

Next, you should examine how popular the sites that have those links back to you are. Again this can be done in WebCEO, where you can analyze their link popularity to yours. And while we are on the subject of link popularity, check how many outbound links that have coming from their site. Your chances are better with a site that is very popular that has fewer outgoing links.

Again the door swings both ways, where you can become very popular by having a lot of links on your site. I, for one, know of a wedding favors site that has a page rank of 7 with a lot of outgoing links (including some that go to websites outside their industry). But the general finding that I have with those types of sites is that they have a flood of sites that they link to and that link to them.

The sites that have the best statistics (good link back ratios, anchor text, similar content) you should contact for possible link exchanges. If you already have sites out there that link to you that are good quality sites, I would say keep the links as they are. Through this process, you tend to find good sites that you might be interested in linking with so do contact those sites and see if you can exchange links. Doing so, will further solidify your credibility in the search engines or establish credibility where none might have existed.

Good Luck