Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Off-page SEO tactics to drive consistent traffic on to your website

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become such a broad term today that whichever activity drives any traffic on your website is considered as an SEO Activity! In earlier days, we – as SEO Consultants -  used to focus specifically on the structure and content of websites only, which we called “On-page SEO”. We tried hard to make sure that our clients’ websites have been set up right with proper page titles, meta text, content placement, image names etc. But today, the definition of SEO has changed expanded drastically. Now-a-days, SEO as a service is divided into 2 categories :-
  1. On-Page SEO - optimize content, internal links, meta tags etc
  2. Off-page SEO - backlinks, social media, forum posting, press release etc.
Honestly, I don’t agree with the concept of Off-page SEO. You may call it ‘Off-page promotions’ or ‘Off-page optimization’ but ‘Off-page SEO’ definitely does not make sense to me. Wikipedia defines SEO as
the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via natural or un-paid (organic or algorithmic) search results.
Then why is everyone writing so much about “Off-page SEO” when, ideally, the term even doesn’t exist at all? I leave this up to you all to help me find the answer in your comments below.
Just because it is such a popular term these days, I could not stop myself from using it as the title of my blog article even though I don’t agree with it :P This is also one of the problems with SEO Consultants & business owners like us – that we have to keep our readers/customers happy with giving them what they want to take!
Image Courtesy - www.topspotoptimisation.co.uk
Image Courtesy - www.topspotoptimisation.co.uk
Coming back to the topic of today’s discussion, which is about the best “Off-page SEO” tactics or “Off-page Promotion” (for my own sake) that can help you drive consistent traffic on to your website for a long run. These techniques are just the ones which I have tried myself and achieved reasonable success for my clients. You may have tried something else which worked for you so don’t hesitate to share that with our readers.

1.  Participate in Forums & discussion boards: 5-6 responses or 2-3 new questions a day (with your website’s URL in the signature) in 5 different popular forums a day is all that it will take to get a decent traffic on to your website. It will hardly take you more than 2 minutes to write a response or come up with a question to ask the community.  Spending 20 minutes a day religiously on forums for 2 weeks will start generating traffic on your website that you won’t even imagine.  Of course, you need to make sure that your responses and questions are intelligent & look like real contribution. Do not post for the sake of posting. It will give wrong impression and other forum members will look down upon you with contempt! Some will even mark you as spam leading to deletion of your account and your hopes as well.
Many SEO companies offer this service really cheap, say 1¢ per post. DO NOT fall for that. They will do more harm than any good. My advice would be that you should hire someone who (1) understands your business’s objectives and can (2) write decent English. He should  really contribute in the forums to lure other readers in clicking on his signature URL.
Some of my favorite SEO Forums are :

2. Publish Blogs / News / Press Releases & submit them in bookmarking websites - Everyone in the web community knows the importance of blog and news updates on your company/ product website. Not only it attracts search engine crawlers to visit your website more often, it also helps you generate more back links by submitting these articles on press release and bookmarking websites. Tons of bookmarking websites have sprouted up recently. And believe it or not, most of them are a good source of traffic generation for your website.  The ones that I use most frequently for my clients are :
There are still more than 200 bookmarking websites which you should definitely consider for this task.

3. Create your social profile & share your news update with the community – The first names that lighten up in our minds are Facebook, Twitter & Myspace. Make sure you create a public social profile for the company that you are promoting. You ought to have your Facebook Fan page, Twitter profile, Youtube profile, LinkedIn profile (of yourself and/or your clients). All the websites I just mentioned require you to sign up and they provide you a unique URL of your profile. This is your social profile. Following are must-do activities whenever you have a new blog or new story published on your website or blog -
  • Tweet about it on Twitter
  • Do a status update on Facebook & LinkedIn
  • Update status on Ecademy as well. Ecademy (has a lot of junk but) is still a good source of traffic once you have a strong network.
  • Share your blog article on discussion boards & forum of these social networks.
  • Flickr – “A picture is worth a thousand words” is not exactly true in the world of SEO which relies heavily on content full of words. But still Flickr stands out and can become a good source of traffic for your website. Just make sure that whenever you write an article, you add an image in your post and submit that image on your Flickr profile with apt tags and description. If you have an online store and sell products, make sure all the images of your products are also submitted on to your Flickr profile. Picasa, Photobucket & Picli are some other photo sharing networks.
Once your profile has been set up, you should start building a community by adding/inviting friends to join your network.

4.  Publish & share videos and slideshows about your product or company – This is usually the one time process unless you introduce new products very often. You should create a slideshow or video that describes your company or product. Slideshows are perfect for any online store owners as you can add all your products and their description into multiple slides and share it on hundreds of video websites. Some of my favorites are -

5. Yahoo Answers & similar question/answer websites – I love Yahoo Answers and On Startup Answers community where you can post any question you want and community members will respond within hours. SEO companies are using similar sites to drive traffic by maneuvering questions in such a manner that makes other members click on their URLs. It may not be the best way to get the type of traffic you want but still it is one of the widely used method these days. Again, you have to be very cautious with your language so that it does not appear as spam.

6. Article re-writing and distribution – Haven’t we covered this in point (2) above? Not really. This is about article re-writing. Numerous SEO companies are hiring writers to re-write the same articles many times in different versions and keep distributing them on hundreds of press release & bookmarking websites.  It works quite often since your content is not copied and the crawlers will see it as original stuff.

7. Local business listings on search engines & yellow pages- All major search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo offer business owners to submit their business with full details of name, address, phone number etc. This helps in getting local traffic for your website. Optimizing for local search listings is the discussion of a different topic that I will publish sometime in near future. For now, you should just make sure that your business has been listed on all local listings websites. A few examples of such sites are -

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