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Do Offsite Search Marketing Strategies Still Matter?

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2013 has been a big year for changes to Google’s search algorithm with repercussions far and wide for SEO experts and businesses. There are no longer shortcuts or loopholes that get your site ranked quickly and easily. Onsite SEO is a different game, and this also applies to offsite efforts. In fact, many popular offsite SEM tactics either need shifting, or need to be abandoned altogether. Let’s take a closer look…

Anchor texts

Using keyword rich anchor text links is a proven search marketing strategy, whether in guest blog posts, offsite articles, online press releases and other offsite content. Often, the same main keyword string is used over and over again.

With the Google algorithm shifts, it is recommended that this anchor text strategy not be overly aggressive. Change things up and ensure that you have a mix of keywords using different variations and sometimes shifting away from the exact match strings. You can do this by using branded variations, e.g. “Bob’s web hosting” versus “web hosting” or just simple words, such as “click here.” Long-tail variations are another recommended consideration. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, so make sure you mix it up.

Quality Inbound links

Any business owner will have the experience of being contacted by overseas SEO firms offering what seem to be great deals; hundreds (or even thousands) of links for just a few dollars. Don’t be fooled. These are links from poor quality and often totally unrelated sites. With how things stand right now, this can actually hurt you. If you’ve suffered from a drop in rankings, carefully going through your incoming links and removing the poor ones can be one way to help your situation. Remember that in the future, the only links you want pointing to your site are from high quality sources and authentic sites.

Those coming from blog posts or articles on relevant, credible sites in your industry, often accomplished by guest blogging, are still powerful types of incoming links. Setting up business listings on credible, quality directories and having a strong social media presence (including Google+ of course), are other good bets.

The way things are now, you can get content to rank without major backlink efforts through quality content, but the way backlinks and social signals are intertwined with quality content has changed drastically. Backlinks alone are not enough any longer. Think about how social media can play a part and use it to your content’s benefit to spread the word, and get social credibility.

Paid text links

Getting your keyword rich anchor text links from as many sites as possible and/or paying for their placement, is another strategy you should avoid. Link schemes just don’t work anymore, and haven’t for quite some time.

Link building velocity

When executing a link building strategy, being too aggressive can do more harm than good. The appearance of a whole slew of links all of a sudden can cause Google to raise some red flags; definitely not a situation you want to be in. Build things up gradually and naturally while focusing on quality, quality, quality. With social media, if the velocity is genuine and not a spam attempt, you will benefit from users’ social signals and the buzz that they bring to your site. Just remember that buying shares/likes etc. is not genuine and eventually may come back to bite you if you do engage in these spammy tactics.

Spamming tactics

If your business has ever dabbled in spamming tactics, such as blog commenting, there’s a good chance you were affected with a drop in rankings. These types of tactics are precisely what Google is targeting and must absolutely be stricken from your search strategies list. If commenting on blogs is done genuinely, don’t stop doing it for the sake of pleasing Google. If you have been paying for a service to do this for you, you might want to reconsider since these are likely spammy tactics.

Offsite efforts should still be an important part of your search engine marketing strategy. They just need to be executed with care by someone who understands through and through what the new Google search climate is all about.

About the Author

Hartland Ross is an online marketing strategist, entrepreneur, and founder and president of eBridge Marketing Solutions - an online marketing agency and consulting firm catering to B2B Technology companies. Considered a pioneer in the online world, Hartland has been working in the sales and marketing of web based technology companies since 1999. He is well recognized and regarded in the hosting industry and to date has worked with over 150 web hosting companies providing business growth, marketing strategy and industry direction advice and recommendations. With 15 years of business development experience, plus over 12 years experience in working specifically with technology companies, Hartland is a sought after speaker and online authority who is often interviewed and quoted in various industry related case studies and articles.

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  1. Hartland, I enjoyed the insights you shared here. Talking about adjusting your anchor text strategies in light of Google algorithm changes is necessary. Quality inbound links is still good but your advice about not being too aggressive is wise. You are right about avoiding buying up lots of low quality links from overseas sources as this will not work. Using socila media and backlinking campaigns together is a winning formula. You are dead on about the link building has to appear natural of Googles flags go up and you could get de indexed. Spamming is dangerous to your site and business so clearly you should avoid this practice at all cost. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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