How Google Works In Simple Terms (off-page SEO)

In my last post I wrote about on-page search engine optimisation.  Of course that is only half the story.  Unless you are lucky enough to operate in a vertical with no competition then you are going to need to do some off-page SEO too. Understanding how google works is imperative if you want to make progress in this area.

Build links to elevate your website in Google (SEO for SERPS)

Build links to elevate your website in Google (SEO for SERPS)

Off page SEO is where most sites fall down.

Most sites fall down somewhere in their SEO efforts.  If you are happy that your on-page SEO optimisation is up to scratch then it is time to look at off-page optimisation.

How Google rates your site in plain english.

The currency of the web is links. Every link provides important information for search engines like Google. This information is used to rank your website in terms of importance when somebody does a search.
There are some key factors in establishing which sites are most relevant for whatever has been typed into the Google search bar. In establishing how important your page is relative to others, these are some of the more important factors: –

  1. How many other pages link to your page? Look at it logically.  If I find a great bit of information on something I’m writing about then I will link to it.  If it is rubbish then I will link to something else.  Therefore, the more inbound links a page has then the more likely it is to be a useful page.  That makes it more important.
  2. How relevant is the content on the linking page to your page? Is the page that the link is on covering a similar topic?  Indeed is the website itself generally writing on the same topic as your page?  If it is not then your link will carry less value.  There must be relevance.
  3. How important is the linking page? How well does the page the link comes from rank itself?  If that page also has a high trust and multiple inbound links to it then it will increase the value of the link to your page.
  4. How many people click on that link? Think of each click as a vote.  The more people that follow the link the better.
  5. What do those visitors do when they reach your page? Do they stay and read for a while and visit other pages on your site or do they just leave straight away?  If they leave (bounce rate is high) then that will devalue the link too since it is obviously not providing visitors with a good experience.

Turbocharge your links

Ideally you want keywords in the link text.  This will turbocharge your links.  This site is about SEO training, and my main site also has a page on Search Engine Optimisation on it, so linking to it like that makes sense.  It is relevant to this site and provides a further resource for people who want to have their website optimised.  Because I have used the text that I want the page to rank for (in this case “search engine optimisation”) as my link text, I am telling search engines that the page I linked to is important for that phrase.

SuperTurbocharge your links

Don’t forget to add in your title text to your links.  This is another opportunity to tell both humans and search engines more about the page you are linking to.  In this example I have used the text “SEO consultant Wicklow”.  By hovering over the link this text will come up.  The code for doing this is <a href=”http://whatever.ie/whatever” title=”SEO consultant Wicklow”>

Where can I get links to my site?

At some stage every webmaster (that’s what you are if you run a website) runs into the problem of where to get links back to their site.  Here are six ways to get links

  1. Ask for them.  Ask people who run relevant websites to link to your website.  The worst they can say is “no”.
  2. Directories.  Submit your site to relevant directories.  Some of these are useless, but some still carry a little weight.
  3. Submit Press releases and articles to press release sites and article sites.  Many of these have just been depreciated with the so called Google Panda update, but as a rule of thumb if you can find a suitable site easily it probably has not been affected by the update.
  4. Utilise social media.  You will not get a lot in the way of useful links from the sites themselves usually (most have nofollow attributes on their links), but by getting your content out there in the social world there is a higher chance of somebody else reading it and linking to it (organically the way all links should theoretically be made!).  It is also a good PR exercise, so no excuses for not using social media like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Digg etc.
  5. Forums.  These really come under the social media category in some ways.  They are of limited use but can sometimes create a good stream of traffic which is never a bad thing.
  6. Blog.  This is my favourite way.  Establish a good blog and it will become a resource in itself that will gain in importance.  It is a low cost way of building links for long term gain.  Commenting on somebody elses blog is less useful.  What about doing a guest blog post on someone elses popular blog?

Do NOT do this to get links!

Here are some things you should definitely avoid when building links to your site…..

  1. Buying links: This is the number one thing not to do to boost your SEO.  Buying links is bad.  It goes against Google policy and you WILL be penalised for it when you get caught.  Think you won’t?  Trust your competitors not to drop you in it by reporting you when they find out how you got above them in the Google ranks?  Don’t do it.
  2. Reciprocal Links: “I’ll give you a link if you give me a link”.  My next post will probably be on Reciprocal links for more information.  The short reason is that you want more links in to your website than out of your site.
  3. Pay somebody else to build your links without knowing exactly what they are going to do: It may seem obvious but lots of people pay for others to build their links (I even provide that service myself), but many do not know where those links are going to come from or the methods used in getting them.
  4. Go for quantity over quality: Leading on from the last point, you need quality links and quality is harder to get than quantity.  If you have many links from unrelated sites it could lower the level of trust in your site.  If you owned a search engine would you rank sites you trusted lower than sites you didn’t trust?

Link Building is not an exact science.

All your links are not going to be ideal.  What I have done here is give an overview, but there is quite a bit more to it.  There are times to break the rules and times not to.  I have paid for links because of positioning and only on specific, relevant sites.  This has been more to do with gaining traffic through them than what it will do for my own sites Organic Listing SEO.  I have never and will never bulk buy links (I learned from others mistakes there).

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About Ian Wortley


Ian is one of Irelands leading SEO consultants with over 8 years experience in the Irish market. Ian discovered his love of all things internet related in 2005 and has been living nearly exclusively online since then, causing much worry to friends and family, but getting great results for clients. Contact Ian: Phone: 01 6854806 Mobile: 086 3817149

2 thoughts on “How Google Works In Simple Terms (off-page SEO)

  1. Web directories are a great way to market your website, but I’d recommend checking out article directories where you can submit free articles about your website, product or service.

  2. Yes, but the jury is still out a bit on the future of article directories. Sending the same content to multiple sources is no longer as effective as it once was due to Googles panda update. I would recommend changing the article for each site it is uploaded to and only submitting to ones you can find easily on Google in the first place.

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