So far in our series on SEO, we’ve covered all the basics: content creation, keyword research, linking and on-page SEO – but there’s actually even more you can do to improve your search engine rankings.
In fact, several SEO strategies occur off the web entirely – a category aptly referred to as off-page SEO. Today, we’re walking you through the off-page SEO basics you need to create a cohesive and consistent marketing strategy for your firm – let’s dive in.
If on-page SEO has a focus on directly optimizing your web pages, off-page SEO is any action you take outside of your website to drive traffic back toward it. This could include a number of things, such as:
But any SEO expert will tell you that the most important component to a strong off-page SEO strategy is simply building backlinks, also known as inbound links.
To refresh your memory, a backlink occurs when another site links back to your website – when you’ve garnered backlinks from reputable sources, Google gets the message that you’re probably a trustworthy authority.
On-page SEO is about making your website easy to find and navigate for both users and Google’s bots. But off-page SEO is just as important, because it’s the main way you’re getting visitors to your website in the first place.
People are more likely to click on your firm’s site out of the thousands of search results if they’ve actually heard of you before. A strong SEO strategy includes off-page efforts that work together to create brand awareness and trust, therefore driving traffic to your site and encouraging visitors to explore your firm’s page more.
The fuel of any successful marketing strategy is consistency.
Say a prospective client calls and asks to meet with you at your office. Your space is warm and inviting, with professional and old-school vibes. Your team is dressed to the nines and you speak at length about your average client: widows and retirees.
Later that week, that same prospect visits your website – which is bursting with neon hues and chock-full of the latest slang, wedged between photos of youthful couples exploring exotic places. The prospect is left confused, and maybe even feeling a little distrustful – they’re unsure of your firm’s true identity.
Remember, SEO is a component of your larger marketing strategy, not a separate entity. Your website doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it should contribute to a holistic picture of who you are as an advisor.
With so much to consider, where do you begin building your recipe for success? It’s all about choosing the branding strategies that align most with your firm.
If you cater mainly to HENRYs, you’ll probably have better luck focusing your off-page SEO efforts on Twitter or partnering with an influencer. If your target audience is elderly retirees, you may want to focus your off-page SEO efforts around Facebook or an email newsletter campaign.
Whatever ingredients you choose, be sure to link back to a relevant page on your website. If you’re writing an Investing 101 guest blog for a local newspaper, that’s a great place to link to your blog on finance terminology.
Backlinks might be the holy grail of SEO, but did you know that not all backlinks are created equal?
There are actually two main types of backlinks you need to know about, and we’ve got the 411 here.
Earned backlinks (a.k.a. “natural” links) are the best of the best, and occur when other sites link to you without any effort on your part. You didn’t pay for the promotion, partner with a newspaper or anything else. You may not even be aware of some of your earned backlinks, because you didn’t have to lift a finger to make them happen. You can use a tool like Ubersuggest or Ahrefs to find a list of domains that link to your website.
These types of links are a product of great SEO and marketing – someone discovered your site, found useful information and decided to share it with the rest of the world.
An earned backlink is a vote of confidence in your firm, and definitely worth a mini SEO-celebration.
Unearned backlinks (a.k.a. “unnatural” backlinks) happen when you straight up ask for them. Maybe you reach out to an influencer and ask them to review your firm, or pay an e-magazine to promote your services.
Don’t get us wrong – these can be great, too. But they require time and effort on your part, which translates into a cost. Also keep in mind that consumers are quick to spot the difference between natural backlinks and intentionally placed ones, whether that fact is stated explicitly or not.
Some strategies may promise to increase your SERP, but are generally frowned upon and can hurt your rankings in the end. These “black hat” tactics are often in violation of a search engine’s terms of service or otherwise fail to provide a better experience for site visitors. You already know that keyword stuffing is a big SEO no-no, but some other black hat practices to avoid include:
If you’re unsure whether an SEO strategy is above-board or not, it’s probably best to avoid it until you have the opportunity to do some research. Reputations take years to build and seconds to destroy – even in the digital realm.
For the best SEO results possible, your firm should employ both on-page and off-page SEO strategies.
For example, the next time you’re invited to be a guest speaker on a financial podcast, throw in a reference to some of the free resources available on your website (this is the off-page work). Make sure those resources are up to date and easily accessible for site visitors who are interested in learning more (and here’s the on-page optimization).
Remember, off-page SEO is anything you do outside of your firm’s website to direct people back toward it. On-page SEO creates a positive experience for visitors once they arrive there with straightforward navigation and helpful information.
Not sure if you’re doing SEO right? Click here to connect with Three Crowns and take your marketing strategy to the next level, both on your website and off.
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