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

Carlos Silva

Dec 12, 20229 min read
Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to SEO tactics applied outside of a website to improve its rankings. These tactics often include link building, guest posting, social media marketing, and more. 

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

It’s one of the essential parts of a successful SEO strategy.

On-page SEO vs. Off-page SEO

On-page SEO and off-page SEO are two essential components of SEO. Each with its own set of tactics and best practices. Let's break down the differences:


On-page SEO

Off-page SEO


On-page SEO includes creating quality content, making sure relevant keywords are present, adding internal links, creating an optimizing title tag, etc.

Off-page SEO includes building backlinks and gaining exposure through various channels, such as news outlets and social media platforms.


You have full control over on-page.

You have limited control over off-page SEO.


The tools you’ll use for on-page SEO include:

- Keyword Magic Tool
- SEO Content Template
- SEO Writing Assistant
- On Page SEO Checker
- etc.

The tools you’ll use for off-page SEO include:

- Link Building Tool
- Backlink Audit
- Social Poster
- Prowly
- Brand Monitoring

- etc.

Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?

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

And highly reputable websites tend to rank better because search engines consider them to have more Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).

One of the best ways to show E-A-T is through off-page SEO factors like backlinks, reviews, and recommendations.

Which means:

Off-page SEO is not only important—it plays a major role in your site’s ability to rank. 

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 search traffic:

  1. Link Building
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Local SEO (GMB and Citations)
  4. Reviews
  5. Events

Link building refers to getting other websites to link to pages on your own site. In SEO, these links are called backlinks

The more backlinks from high-authority sites a page has, the more authoritative it may seem to Google. And that can help the page rank higher

Here are the two key factors you should consider with link building:


Authority” is a measurement of a website or webpage’s overall quality. It’s based heavily on how many high-quality backlinks it has. 

Which means:

You want links from high-authority websites. They tend to be more valuable and can help you rank higher. 

To find a website’s authority score, use our Backlink Analytics tool.

First, enter your domain and click “Analyze.”

backlink analytics tool

Then, you’ll see the “Authority Score.” 

Like this: 

backlink analytics authority score

Note: This doesn’t mean you should avoid links from websites with low authority. They probably won’t be as valuable. But they also won’t hurt your SEO efforts. 

Unique Domains

Another critical link building metric is the number of separate domains (referring domains) that point links to your site.

This Backlinko study shows a clear correlation between referring domains and higher rankings. Getting links from as many relevant, quality domains as possible should be a key focus of your strategy. 

Backlinko study: the importance of referring domains

You can quickly see the number of unique domains that link to your site in Backlink Analytics

Enter any domain and click “Analyze.” The dashboard will quickly show the number of referring domains.

Like this:

referring domains widget

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is an important off-page SEO tactic.

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

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

Some of those channels include:

  • PR
  • Social Media
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Guest Posting
  • Podcasts
  • Content Syndication
  • Forums

And more. 


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

Studies show the average campaign earns links from between 10 and 24 referring domains.

digital PR

PR contributes to off-page SEO signals in more ways than building links. 

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-A-T

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

Social Media

Social media isn’t a direct Google ranking factor. But it’s great for getting more attention. 

The more people on social share your content, the more links for that specific piece of content you’ll probably get. 

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

A win-win for your off-page SEO.

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

social media engagement report

You can publish, benchmark, monitor, and more with one platform. 

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy where brands work with popular bloggers and social media creators to promote their 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, as a business, on tons of different 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:


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


You’ll see a list of filtered results.

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


Guest Posting

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

It signals to search engines that you’re an industry expert. 

Plus, it’s one of the most effective link building tactics—as evidenced in our study of 850+ SEO specialists:

the most effective link building strategies

To find guest blogging opportunities, 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:

guest posting search operators

And once your article gets published on another site, keep track of its performance. Both in terms of referral traffic and social shares.

It’ll help determine which sites are worth reaching out to again and which to avoid. 

To start, open up Semrush’s Post Tracking tool. 

Then, enter your post’s URL and click “Track Content Performance.”

content post tracker

You’ll then see a dashboard with a quick overview of your article’s metrics. 

post tracking quick statistics

Analyze each post’s referral traffic, backlinks, and social shares.

Determine which topics and content types are more likely to attract new audiences. And work on creating (and pitching) more of those. 

For a deeper dive into this strategy, read our definitive guide to guest blogging


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 as part of their strategy, so they’re a great way to gain a competitive advantage.

They’re also a great way to reach new audiences, share your expertise, and gain visibility on other sites.

Podcasts also offer an additional SEO benefit: backlinks. If you’re a guest on a podcast, they might link to your site.

Or if the podcast is discussing a particular subject, they could find your site and use it as a source somewhere in their description.

And if you know what the podcast usually covers, you can reach out to them with a suggestion to link to your content.

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 you’ll get 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.”

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.


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 relate to your expertise. To position yourself as an expert and quickly be seen as an expert. 

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

This is a fantastic way to begin building relationships and trust. 

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 search central help community

3. Local SEO

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

It’s an SEO discipline in its own right. 

But certain local SEO elements are key off-page SEO tactics, like Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) and NAP citations.

Google Business Profile (GBP)

A Google Business Profile 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”:

map pack example

Here’s what it looks like:

google business profile

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 Google Business Profile guide

NAP Citations

NAP citations are places online that mention key information about your business: your name, address, and phone number (NAP).

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

Like so:

nap citations semrush

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

So one of the keys to success with citations is consistency. Inconsistent citations look inaccurate. 

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 “Search.” 

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

listing management dashboard

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 are a great way to help others trust your business.

In fact, reviews are one of the most important factors Google takes into account when evaluating your site’s E-A-T. 

Which means they are vitally important to your local SEO success.

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 our Listing Management tool.

Just click on the "Review Management" tab. 

review management report

This dashboard shows all your reviews. To reply, just enter your comment in the tab and click “Reply.” 

review management reply

Here are a few tips for your 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 

Events can contribute to your off-page SEO strategy.

Not only can they engage your audience, but you can benefit from creating a buzz around your business. 

Which can drive social engagement and links.

For example, you can earn brand mentions while the event is being promoted. Or if attendees write summary articles afterward.

Your event landing page could also attract links. Maybe people just like the event. Perhaps a speaker wants to promote it. Or influencers may share it for the sheer value to 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. 

Keep Learning

Now that you understand how off-page SEO works and know what you need to work on, here are a few more articles to continue learning: 

Find Keyword Ideas in Seconds

Boost SEO results with powerful keyword research

Free Keyword Research Tool

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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