What Is Off-Page SEO? A Guide to Off-Page SEO Strategy

Carlos Silva

Feb 16, 202412 min read
Contributors: Zach Paruch, Rachel Handley, and Christine Skopec
Off-Page SEO


What Is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO (search engine optimization) refers to efforts to improve a website’s unpaid search engine rankings without making changes on the website itself. Common tactics include link building, guest posting, and social media marketing.

The goal of off-page SEO is to get search engines and users to see your site as more trustworthy and authoritative. 

It’s an essential part of a successful SEO strategy.

Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?

Think about off-page SEO as building your site’s reputation. 

And off-page SEO factors like backlinks, reviews, and recommendations help search engines see your site as reputable. Which can lead to better visibility in search results.

One of the best ways to build your credibility in the eyes of search engines is to focus on Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T)—a concept Google’s Quality Raters use when evaluating search results and providing feedback to improve future algorithm updates.

Which all means:

Off-page SEO plays a major role in your site’s ability to rank. 

On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO

While off-page SEO refers to optimization tactics applied outside your website, on-page SEO refers to efforts applied on your webpages.

Here’s a quick overview of the tactics used in SEO—on-page and off-page:

An overview of the tactics used in on-page and off-page SEO

Both on-page and off-page factors play an important role in SEO.

But there’s also technical SEO to consider. This involves making site-wide technical improvements to things like security, loading speeds, and mobile-friendliness. With the aim of improving search visibility.

5 Off-Page SEO Techniques That Work

Let’s take a look at five different off-page tactics you can use to boost your site’s authority and organic (unpaid) search traffic:

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to your site. In SEO, these links are called backlinks

The more backlinks a page or domain has, the more authoritative it may seem to Google. Especially if those backlinks come from domains that are authoritative themselves.

Semrush measures a website’s authority with a metric called Authority Score. It’s based on the quality and quantity of backlinks, organic traffic levels, and the naturalness of the site’s entire backlink profile.

Authority Score metric overview in Semrush

Our 2024 Ranking Factors study shows that domain Authority Score is the sixth strongest predictor of a webpage’s ranking position.

In order, the other most important off-page SEO metrics are:

  • Page Authority Score: The Authority Score of the individual page
  • Number of referring IPs (domain): The number of different IP addresses that link to the domain
  • Number of referring domains (domain): The number of different domains that link to the domain
  • Number of referring IPs (URL): The number of different IP addresses that link to the page
  • Number of referring domains (URL): The number of different domains that link to the page
  • Number of backlinks (domain): The total number of backlinks that point to the domain
  • Number of backlinks (URL): The total number of backlinks that point to the page

You can gather these metrics for almost any site with our Backlink Analytics tool.

Just enter the domain and click “Analyze” to get a detailed report like this:

A section of an "Overview" report in Backlink Analytics tool

Eager to start building new backlinks?

Let’s explore some of the most popular link building tactics:

Broken link building is the process of finding relevant backlinks that don’t work properly and convincing creators to update them with links to your site.

Let’s say an industry publication linked to a competitor resource that has since been deleted.

You could contact the publication to let them know the link isn’t working. And suggest they link to your version of the resource instead.

One of the best ways to find broken backlinks is with the Backlink Analytics tool.

Just enter your own or a competitor’s domain. Then, go to the “Indexed Pages” tab and apply the “Broken Pages” filter. 

This will show you URLs that have backlinks but don’t work properly.

“Broken Pages” filter applied under the "Indexed Pages" tab

Look for pages that you have a good replacement for. 

Then, click the “Backlinks” number in the corresponding row to see all the backlinks to the URL. These are the sites you might want to contact.

A list of all the backlinks in Backlink Analytics tool

Unlinked Brand Mentions

Unlinked brand mentions are online references to your brand name that don’t include a link (e.g., “Semrush” rather than “Semrush”).

In many cases, publishers will be willing to add a link if you ask nicely enough.

The easiest way to find unlinked brand mentions is with the Brand Monitoring app.

Just set up monitoring for your brand name (and any common misspellings). 

Then, go to your “Mentions” report and filter for references to you without backlinks.

Filtering for articles without backlinks under "Mentions" report in Brand Monitoring app

For the best chance of success, you can also filter for: 

  • News sites and blogs (not discussions or social media sites)
  • Mentions made in the last 30 days
  • Articles with positive sentiment

You can then scroll through the results and see which sites you want to contact.

Journalist Requests

Journalists often need expert commentary or other brand assets (e.g., images) for their articles. If you can fulfill those needs, they may be willing to link to your site in return.

You can find journalist requests through platforms like Connectively.

Or by monitoring hashtags like #JournoRequest on X (formerly Twitter).

A section of the page showing the hashtag #JournoRequest on X

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is an important off-page SEO technique.

Publishing great content is an effective way to earn backlinks, gain media attention, and show E-E-A-T. 

And finding ways to distribute that content to other channels can help boost off-page signals.

Let’s look at some of the best ways to distribute content you’ve created:

Digital PR

Digital PR involves using PR techniques to gain backlinks and is now the link-building tactic of choice for many SEOs. It’s a great way to earn authoritative links at scale. 

A great PR campaign can also:

  • Increase brand awareness and branded searches
  • Put your business in front of your target audience
  • Drive referral traffic
  • Show E-E-A-T

Take your PR strategies up a notch by learning Brian Dean's proven, step-by-step system.

Social Media

Social media doesn’t directly impact Google rankings. But it’s great for getting more attention. 

The more people share your content on social media platforms, the more traffic and links to that specific piece of content you’ll probably get. 

And even if you don’t get a link or immediate traffic, you’ll get more attention. And more attention leads to more branded searches and mentions.

That’s a win-win for your off-page SEO.

If you need a hand with your social media efforts, check out Semrush Social

The app lets you schedule content on multiple platforms, track your social media performance, and much more.

social media engagement summary report in Semrush Social

Check out our guide on social media management for more ideas on how to improve your social media results.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves working with popular bloggers and social media creators to promote your products or services. 

It’s a phenomenal way to build your brand, amplify your content, and reach new audiences. 

Influencers have large audiences. And can help ensure you’re present on relevant platforms. 

A quick and efficient way to find influencers is to use the Influencer Analytics app. 

For example, we can search for YouTube influencers, as shown here:

"YouTube" option selected under "Influencer Discovery" drop-down menu in Influencer Analytics app

Filter by the number of subscribers, category, price, and more to find influencers who may be most helpful for your brand.

Influencers filtering page in Influencer Analytics app

You’ll see a list of filtered results.

Once you click on the influencer’s picture, you’ll see their engagement stats. And a contact email if it’s publicly listed. 

Influencer’s profile for Travis Garland found in Influencers Analytics app

Guest Posting

Guest posting gets your brand in front of a different audience and can lead to mentions and backlinks. 

And it can help with link building when done right. You just need to make sure you’re focusing on publications that are relevant to your niche and that you’re focused on providing genuinely valuable information.

To find guest blogging opportunities that are relevant to you, try searching on Google with search operators like these:

  • “your target keyword” + “this is a guest post by”
  • “your target keyword” + “this is a guest contribution”
  • “your target keyword” + “guest column”
  • “your target keyword” + “guest post”
  • “your target keyword” + “contributing writer”
  • “your target keyword” + “contributing author”

This will show you sites with at least one post written by a guest author.

If they’ve accepted guest posts before, they might also accept yours. And they might allow you to include a link to your site in your contributed piece.

For example, if you’re writing about affiliate marketing, you can search for “affiliate marketing” + “this is a guest contribution.”

Like this:

Google search for "affiliate marketing” + “this is a guest contribution"


Podcasts are immensely popular right now. And that popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

If you are not using them as part of your marketing strategy, you could be missing out on huge opportunities. 


Most businesses still aren’t using podcasts, so they’re a great way to gain a competitive advantage.

They also enable you to reach new audiences, share your expertise, and gain visibility on other sites.

And if you’re a guest on a podcast, they might link to your site. Or an external podcast could find your site and use it as a source somewhere in their description if it’s relevant.

If you know what a particular podcast usually covers, you can even reach out to them with a suggestion to link to your content in their show notes.

Content Syndication

Content syndication refers to republishing content on one or more websites. 

Some publications like to syndicate content because it’s easier than creating fresh content all the time. 

And it’s great for you because it gets your brand in front of a new audience. 

Here are a few popular content syndication platforms:

You can also find sites in your niche and reach out to them about syndicating your content.

But syndicate content carefully. 

Google says it will “always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.” Meaning the version of an article published on a site that syndicated it could possibly outrank the version published on your site.

To prevent that from happening, make sure the syndicated version of the piece links back to your original one. And properly configure your canonical tags—which entails adding a bit of HTML code to your site to show which version of a page is the main version.


Dropping links in forums for SEO purposes won’t help you rank better in Google. 

But you can use forums to get involved in conversations that are related to your expertise. To position yourself as an expert and help new audiences become aware of you. 

Very few other platforms allow you to have open discussions with potential customers who are already asking questions about what you have to offer. 

So, this is a fantastic way to begin building relationships and trust. And if community members want to know more, you can share relevant content they’ve expressed interest in.

Reddit and Quora are key large-scale platforms to use. But forums within your niche can be just as effective.

Like Google’s Search Central Help Community, for example. 

Google’s Search Central Help Community

3. Local SEO

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online presence to increase traffic, visibility, and brand awareness in your business’s local area. 

Let’s explore two off-page SEO techniques you should use as a local business:

Google Business Profile Management

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a free business listing tool that helps you influence how your business shows up in Google.

And because that occurs outside of your website, optimizing your Google Business Profile is a key off-page SEO tactic.

In fact, it’s a critical local SEO ranking factor.

And it can increase your site’s visibility in high-value positions on Google’s search results pages. 

Like the map pack for our example, “plant store near me”:

Google map pack for “plant store near me”

Here’s what the Google Business Profile for one of those businesses looks like:

Google Business Profile for "GROW Geneva"

Here are a few Google Business Profile tips:

  • Be meticulous with your contact information
  • Respond to all reviews
  • Publish posts regularly (including photos and videos)

If you want to learn more about this subject, read our guide on Google Maps marketing.


NAP SEO is the process of getting your business’s correct name, address, and phone number (NAP) in online listings.

These citations usually appear in business directories, social media profiles, and review sites. But they can show up on all kinds of websites. 

Like this:

NAP citations Semrush

NAP citations are important because Google uses them to confirm that all your business information is accurate. 

So, one of the keys to success with citations is consistency. Inconsistent citations are confusing to both people and search engines. 

You must take the time to ensure that all of your NAP references match.

And a quick way to do that is to use our Listing Management tool. 

Start by entering your business name and clicking the search icon.

You’ll see a dashboard with a summary of your overall online presence. Including reviews, listings with errors, and more.

A dashboard showing online presence summary for "Big Mario's Pizza&quot

Here are a few NAP citation tips:

  • Keep your citations consistent everywhere
  • Submit your information to niche and local websites
  • Run monthly NAP audits

4. Reviews

Reviews can persuade others to trust your business.

In fact, reviews are one of the most important factors Google takes into account when evaluating your site’s reputability. 

And they’re particularly important in local SEO.

Google recommends replying to all reviews. Good and bad. Doing so shows that you value your customers’ business and feedback. 

You can quickly find and reply to reviews with Review Management (part of Listing Management).

Once you’ve configured the tool, you’ll see a dashboard with all your reviews. To reply, just enter your comment in the tab and click “Reply.” 

Replying to a review from the Review Management tool

Here are a few tips for online reviews: 

  • Kindly ask all customers to leave reviews
  • Build trust by responding to all reviews
  • Don’t accept (or offer) money in exchange for reviews 

5. Events 

Not only can events engage your audience, but they can also benefit you by creating buzz around your business. 

For example, you can earn brand mentions across social media while the event is being promoted. And on other websites if attendees write summary articles afterward.

Your event landing page could also attract links if people are interested in it, if a speaker wants to promote it, or if influencers want to share it with their audiences. 

Events may require more effort to run properly, but that buzz can be difficult to replicate in other ways. They’re also a great way to pick up some fantastic PR coverage. 

To learn more, read our guide to experiential marketing.

Dive Into Off-Page SEO

If you’re not sure where to start with off-page SEO, consider link building. Which is simple with the Link Building Tool.

It finds link building prospects (sites that might link to you) based on your target keywords and competitors’ backlinks. 

"Prospects" report in Link Building Tool shows sites that might link to you, and their metrics

When you select a prospect, choose the link building strategy you want to use (e.g., add link to article).

"Select an outreach strategy" drop-down menu opened next to a prospect from the list

Then, go to the “In Progress” tab and click “Contact” to send your outreach email.

You’ll need to connect your email inbox the first time.

"Contact" button highlighted next to the "decormatters.com" prospect

The tool might suggest an email address for you. But if not, you can follow our advice to find the contact’s email address.

Once your email is sent, you can monitor whether it’s been delivered, opened, or replied to. 

Monitor emails in the "Status" column in Link Building Tool

Finally, track any backlinks you acquire in the “Monitor” tab.

That way, you can track your off-page SEO progress and ensure your backlinks remain intact.

"Monitored Domains" dashboard in Link Building Tool

Looking for more information about off-page SEO? Our off-page SEO checklist provides some great tips.

Author Photo
Carlos Silva is a content marketer with over 8 years of experience in writing, content strategy, and SEO. At Semrush, he’s involved in research, editing, and writing for the English blog. He also owns Semrush’s Educational Newsletter (4M+ subscribers).
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