The reason why I get some outstanding results from my off-page SEO is that I ensure the off-page perfection of the highest order. Before giving the final touch to the optimization, I rely on an off-page checklist to ensure I have done everything perfectly.
Simply put, adhering to an off-page SEO checklist is like ensuring that all your car’s components are in the right place and following the quality standards before you let it on the track to reaching your destination. In our case, we call it the top rankings of the search engine result page.
A well-organised off-page SEO checklist helps me thoroughly review each off-page SEO component, such as link-building, content optimization, social media, brand mentions, and PR and ensure compliance with search engines.
In this article, I will share my decade-long experience in SEO to guide you through an off-page SEO checklist and show you how you can use it to your advantage.
Let’s get started!
Setting Off-Page SEO Tools
To analyze each off-page SEO factor individually, it would be great to install the off-page SEO tools.
I like to rely on as few tools as possible, so ensure you have Google Analytics, SEMrush and Google Search Console ready. These tools help you by providing you with real-time insights about your site, such as website performance, pageviews, bounce rate, and average session duration.
Top Off-Page SEO Checklist Items
Let us consider whether you have an old website or a reasonably new website with a good number of pages and several backlinks.
But do all the links provide the same value?
The answer is no!
Search engines do not consider all the backlinks as equals.
Henceforth, having a backlink analysis is very important, but before that, you should begin assessing your off-page SEO, and quickly note some quick insights into your Domain Authority, Page Authority and Spam Score. Record the above-mentioned aspects of your site.
Now that you have an idea of your overall off-page SEO performance, we can proceed with our assessment.
Checklist to Get Quality Backlinks
The first part of this off-site SEO checklist focuses on evaluating the backlink profile. Ensure you have the data about all the pages and links pointing to your website, and then check for each page and analyse which of the pages of your website are getting the highest number of backlinks.
As mentioned above, not all backlinks are created equal, so check how many of them provide you some value and a competitive edge.
But how would you do that? Check the following:
Check the origin: Use SEMRUSH to generate the backlink report for your website (that has the information such as number of backlinks, referring domains, anchor texts), and relevant information, from there you can check for the origin of each link.
Anchor tags: Check whether the source that has given you a backlink is relevant to your agenda and redirects the user to the right page. For instance, confirm anchor tags are well-distinguished and adequately fit the context.
Authoritative websites: A diversified backlink profile with a collection of inbound links from high-quality websites provides more value to your off-site SEO integrity, so ensure that the websites you interact with have an acceptable domain authority. The Domain authority between 50 and 60 can be called as acceptable
Range of backlinks: Now, create a list for the do-follow, no-follow links, and contextual links and make sure that the do-follow and no-follow links are in a recommended proportion of 60: 40.
Spammy or low-quality backlinks: Parallel to working with this off-page SEO checklist, look for spammy or low-quality backlinks and make sure you disavow them in the next step.
If you don’t know the type of links that can negatively affect your off-page SEO success, have a look at the image below.
Evaluate Competitor Backlink Profile
Once you know what you are up to, know what your competitors are doing. Understand that the difference between your ranking and your competitor’s ranking boils down to their strategy. Search engines only favor the best.
SEMrush can be one of the most reliable competitor analysis tools for this.
As you noted the current stats of your backlink profile, do the same for your competitors. Skim through their keywords and dedicate some of your time to conducting advanced keyword research. Note down the keywords that your competitors rank higher.
The motive of competitor’s analysis is not to blindly copy your competitor’s strategies but comparing the backlink profiles of your website and your competitors to find link-building opportunities. You can create a list of potential link-building targets by identifying the websites that link to your competitors but not to you.
Identify the sources of their links: First, we’ll look into your competitor’s link-building strategy and find the sources of each of the backlink. Also, look for the domain authority of these sites and note how many are from high DA sites.
After you get to know about these sites, you, too, may find opportunities to get links from them. (Only white-hat techniques).
CTR: Next, assess what impact these links are making in their click-through rates. In order to do that, look for the websites they have backlinked with and how much their CTR has improved because of these links.
Relevance: Check whether your competitor’s backlinks are from relevant sites and if they possess any spammy links. Search engines are well-equipped with the advanced mechanisms that can understand the relevance of the backlinks you acquire.
Link Insert Analysis: You can also conduct a link intersect analysis, which compares your and your competitor’s sites sideways to help find new link-building opportunities and get ahead in the search engine rankings.
A few off-page SEO tools can be extremely reliable for the link intersect analysis are:
- Moz Link Explorer
- Ahrefs Link Intersect
Reviews and Recommendations
So, after you have assessed your website against the competitors, evaluate your page’s credibility from a user’s point of view. Whether it is your GMB (Google My Business) or your website, make sure to closely look at the following:
Reviews and testimonials: Be it on-page SEO or off-page SEO, good reviews can help potential clients to know a brand better and ensure that your GMB has at least a decent amount of reviews and testimonials.
Public Interaction: Ensure you have professionally answered all the queries. Make sure your audience has heard from you for both good and bad reviews and if you haven’t responded to all of the reviews or comments, prepare your answers and reach out to them.
Participation in Q/A sites: Check how many Q/A sites, such as Quora and Reddit, have you participated in and if your content has driven some organic traffic from these sites. In addition to this, keep track of the backlinks you have generated from there. If you have got a good number of backlinks from Q/A sites, you are on the right track.
Create Off-Site References
Keeping a check on your Off-site presence is crucial; hence, the next step of this off-page SEO checklist will be about that
By off-site references, I mean the off-page network you have created so far!
The value of reputable local directories in providing better rankings and visibility can’t be overstated. Hence, I suggest you go through each of the following points
Check for reputable local directories: Do a thorough analysis of all the local directories you have associated with and ensure your chosen reputable ones, Also, make sure that your details, like NAP information, are accurate.
Identify top-performing sources of referral traffic: Take a deep insight into the referral traffic and assess the sources that work well for you. Moreover, note the ones that need to be changed.
Help a reporter (HARO): Check whether you have generated a backlink from journalists or reputable sources in your niche. If not, expand your network and plan how you can use HARO to your advantage.
Video submission: Make sure that the images, infographics, documents or videos you submit are up to the mark with off-page SEO standards.
A well-planned guest blogging strategy has the potential to generate significant amounts of traffic. You can get traffic by leveraging the power of strategic content writing on third-party websites.
So when your content has the power to get you highly-valuable traffic from guest posting, it’s essential to check your guest post quality based on the following:
Authoritative and relevance of the websites: Make sure the websites with which you are doing guest posting are authoritative and relevant to your niche. You may brainstorm the ideas and keywords that relate to your business and check if there’s a possibility to reach out to a few more relevant websites.
Check the quality and originality of the content: Another marker for a successful guest post is the content quality. Check if your content is keyword-rich, avoids keyword stuffing and has a good readability score.
Search Intent: Go through your content and check if it sounds engaging and doesn’t have an over-promotional pitch.
Contextually relevant anchor tag: Skim through your content again, particularly in the sections with anchor tags. Make sure they are short, descriptive, fit into the context and do not hinder the reader’s reading flow.
Author’s Bio: Check whether your guest post has a section of the author’s bio and describes enough about the author’s expertise in the relevant niche.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is an SEO tactic of finding broken links in a website and asking the owner to replace them with the links of your website. This helps you establish relationships with good DA and relevant websites and gain a competitive edge.
Checking broken links: So, the sites you have listed during the competitor analysis (the ones you want a backlink from), you must evaluate them. Carefully look for those websites one by one to identify their broken links.
Backlink replacement: Make sure your web link has replaced the broken link and is navigating the users to suitable and relevant pages.
There are a few easy-to-use tools to check for broken external links on other websites, such as:
- Ahrefs Site Audit
- Dead Link Checker
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Content Optimization for Off-Page SEO
So far, we have observed that the content is the backbone of off-page SEO; hence, serving content with the utmost quality is the need of the hour.
Understanding the value of quality content, let’s go for a quality check of your content across other sites and platforms.
To ensure that your content aligns well with the quality standards and can help you fetch some great results, you must check for each of the following:
Appealing content: Ensure that your content is more value-oriented and qualifies as rich content. By rich content, I mean that the content should have excellent and diverse visual elements such as images, GIFs and videos.
Infographics and videos: Assess if the linkable content assets, such as infographics and videos, are used across the different platforms and have superior quality.
Social sharing buttons: Social sharing buttons can actually be a game changer in driving traffic to your site. Check if you have all your social sharing buttons incorporated with your content and if each of them works well.
Research papers, white papers, and Industry reports: Depending on your niche, if you have ever diversified your content in research papers, white papers and industry reports, make sure you have a few mentions of your business’s name.
Social Signals and Engagement
If you have incorporated social media as a part of your off-page SEO strategy, you are going to get some referral traffic and backlinks; however, there are a few things that you must keep an eye on, such as:
Active social media profile: Check if your social media profiles are active on each of the platforms your business can benefit from. Create a list of the social media marketing platforms you are using and evaluate your performance for the ones that matter the most to your brand.
Content’s quality: You must closely observe the quality of the content you have been sharing on your social media. Check the quality of both graphics and text and even assess if the tone you use fits the platform. For instance, the tone for Twitter and Instagram may vary for different niches.
Audience engagement through comments and shares: Check if you have promoted your content using strategies like group commenting and sharing on social media.
Social Interactions: Keep track of all your social media posts and see if you have interacted with them in a positive manner.
Competitor’s social media profile: Observe your competitor’s social media profile based on the content they share and the likes and comments they get for the same. (This may help you in devising a new content strategy as well).
Checklist for Influencer Outreach
The power of influencer marketing can’t be underestimated as it can improve your business reach and visibility, and that too very soon. However, it is imperative to understand that influencer marketing works for those who make informed decisions.
Influencers resonate with your target audience: Apart from reach, make sure that the influencer you have chosen or are thinking of collaborating with is popular among your target audience. You may choose to evaluate the profile manually.
So, one of my clients had a product-based company with teens as their target audience. While assessing their influencer marketing strategy, I found out that the influencer they chose had more influence and popularity among working-class people than the teens, and that’s one of the reasons why the overall success was affected severely, and this was enlightenment for them which later help them collaborate with the influencers who can provide them with a strategic advantage.
Check their engagement metrics: After assessing whether the influencer aligns with your business and can help you reach potential customers, look at their engagement metrics. More particularly, check their likes, followers and comments. This helps you understand their graph over months, and you can even predict if continuing with an influencer is worth it.
Influencer reporting: Generate the influencer’s report using tools such as Buzzsumo or Ninja Outreach and check whether the influencer marketing has worked out for your brand.
Checklist to Optimize Google My Business Listing
Local SEO is extremely important for any business and GMB is one of the most important aspects of it.
Did you know? Every 6 out of 10 consumers use Google My Business to find contact details for local businesses.
Let’s move to the parameters based on which we’ll evaluate Google My Business listings.
Accuracy: Check if your Google My Business displays the right details such as address, working hours, contact information, services/products and reviews. If you have updated your number or changed your address, make sure to cross-check the updated details.
Category section: There are nearly 100 categories for GMB; you must ensure that all your categories and additional categories resonate with your business.
Images and videos: Your GMB is the first point of contact for the customer in your region. Hence, it would help if you appear legit. Check whether your GMB has images related to your business, such as logos, workplace pictures, and videos. In short, make sure your business looks trustworthy.
Complying with the local SEO parameters can help you get a long way in the search engine rankings.
Unlinked Brand Mention
I find brand mentions to be a great source of generating traffic. When your business is mentioned on various online platforms such as social media, blogs, news articles, or customer reviews, it increases your brand awareness and reputation.
However, if you have unlinked brand mentions, you may lose some great referral traffic.
Assume that a reputable company, XYZ, which is related to your business, likes your content and provides a reference to it in their articles. However, they do not link to you. While this may seem beneficial for brand awareness, it does not increase traffic to your website
But how do you find the unlinked brand mentions?
Find unlinked brand mentions: Using tools like Brand24 Google Alerts, you will know where you have an unlinked brand mention. Before requesting a link, it’s important to check if the site that mentioned your business has a high DA, DR, and traffic for successful results
Cross-check the links: Make a list of unlinked brand mentions you have requested for link addition and test individually to ensure they accurately redirect visitors to your page.
Last but not least, we will evaluate the press releases related to your brand. When your brand is mentioned in the different news publications, articles and blogs related to your business, you gain credibility, popularity, and visibility.
So, let us look at a few things that ensure your press release is good to go!
Keep the heading keyword optimised: Make sure the heading keyword is a part of the press release and is mentioned a couple of times but accurately.
Give factual and newsworthy content: Affirm that your press release provides accurate information without any informational discrepancies.
Insert relevant link to appropriate anchor text: Double check if the links in the PR possess the apt anchor text and link to the right page.
In a nutshell, consistently following this off-page SEO checklist can enhance search rankings and online visibility and even ensure you adhere to the off-page SEO. This comprehensive checklist thoroughly covers each and every aspect of off-page SEO; hence, I suggest that users follow this word by word for better results.
One must also acknowledge that the above points are essential from an off-page optimization perspective. For continuous improvements in ranking in search results, it’s essential to create a better link-building strategy and serve high-quality content to the users.
It is imperative to understand that off-page SEO is a continuous process and needs patience, consistency and regular monitoring; the SEOs must also get a grip on tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics to keep track of their performance in off-page SEO efforts and change their off-page strategies. In addition to this, keeping up with the latest SEO trends and guidelines can actually keep you in the ongoing off-page SEO race.
How long do search engines take to index the backlinks?
The indexing timeline for backlinks can be unpredictable. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for search engines, like Google, to find and index new backlinks.
How do you disavow links?
The whole purpose of disavowing harmful links or unnatural links is to protect your website from any penalties and improve your site’s reputation. Once you identify such links, a few tools, such as Google Disavow Tool and Google Search Console, can be handy to disvow from the linking page.
Does this off-page checklist cover everything for every business, or must I follow an industry-specific checklist?
Well, I come across this question quite a lot, and this checklist serves as an answer. Let’s understand that the most basic requirements of any industry’s off-page SEO checklist are similar; they only vary slightly. My checklist is designed to consider the different industries you want to target; be sure you have covered everything that can help you rank higher.
How do internal links and external links impact the off-page SEO?
Both internal links and external links are important for off-page SEO. An external link improves your site’s credibility. It signals the search engines that you have relevant content, while a strategically placed internal link becomes the initiator of spreading link juice throughout the website.
What are blog and forum comments, and what role do they play in off-page SEO?
Comments made on blogs and forums are user-generated content that can be used to participate in discussions and express viewpoints. They have the potential to aid in off-page SEO by contributing to backlink creation and directing referral traffic to a website. Even though these are nofollow links, they can help your website generate decent referral traffic. In the same light, we must also understand that not all blog and forum comments contribute well to your off-page SEO.
What sets your off-page SEO checklist services apart from competitors?
We offer personalized and thorough off-page SEO services to enhance website factors, focusing on quality, user experience, and continued assistance to reach SEO objectives. Additionally, we’ve created an off-page SEO checklist that caters to various niche websites, making it a reliable resource for optimization. If you have read this checklist so far, you can agree that we have paid attention to even the minute details. From fixing your anchor text to brand mentions, all the major off-page SEO factors have been covered in this guide.
How does this off-page SEO checklist complement my existing efforts?
This off-page SEO checklist aims to ensure compliance with search engines and advance search engine rankings. By adhering to the points mentioned above in the checklist, you will be doubt-free about what you have done so far, and even if you have some problems, they can be fixed. In short, this checklist can maximise your reach and get you the desired results from your off-page SEO efforts. In case you find there’s a scope for improvement in your current off-page SEO, you can always reach out to us.
I’m having trouble implementing the necessary changes to my off-page strategy. What should I do?
It is common to find problems in implementing solutions to off-page SEO. If you find problems implementing changes in your website, please contact us. Write your problem in the comments, and be assured your problem will be solved. You may also reach us by writing your problem in the email at email@example.com and get a prompt response.
How does social media help me in the off-page SEO?
Social media can prove to be a game-changer in off-page SEO. By promoting your brand on social media platforms, you expose it to different audiences, offer them your solutions and connect with them in a more personalised way. However, only a suitable social media marketing strategy can help you go a long way.
Do you also offer support in on-page SEO?
Yes, of course, similar to this one, we have an on-page SEO checklist that focuses on ensuring compliance with the on-page SEO factors. My support is not limited to SEO alone, as my 11+ years of experience helps me cover various branding and Digital marketing aspects, from your site’s content to Google ads; we can handle everything.