The Only Off-Page Optimization Guide You’ll Ever Need

What is off-page optimization?

Essentially, just about anything you can do to improve your positioning the SERP’s that isn’t actually on your website falls under the umbrella of off-page.

Most people assume that off-page optimization refers strictly to link-building activities.

While link-building is certainly the foundation, off-page also encompasses other factors like social media, and brand mentions. In hyper-competitive online verticals like law firm search engine optimization, you need to build as many high-quality backlinks as you possibly can from quality websites that have high domain authority ratings. 


graphic depicting the various aspects of off-page seo


Why is off-page SEO so important to search engine rankings?

Off-page, at least the link-building aspect of it, is a lot like a popularity content.

It’s helpful to think of backlinks as ‘votes.’ Search engines look at backlinks as the measure of a website’s ‘popularity’ with other websites – and people as well.

The more backlinks you have from other websites, the more value you build in the eyes (the algorithms) of the search engines.

All these ‘votes’ for your website must mean that you have plenty of high-quality, authoritative content on your site.


No one actually knows how the different ranking factors are weighted in Google’s algorithm.

But according to data from a study conducted by Moz, it is widely believed that off-page related factors account for more than 50% of where a site ranks in the SERP’s.

Trust And Authority

When you first launch your shiny new website, you’re the new kid on the block, with o friends, and no reputation.

The more backlinks (votes) you accumulate for your site, the more trust you establish with the search engines.

It takes time to develop trust with any search algorithm, but if you stick to acquiring backlinks from other quality sites with strong domain authority, you will enhance your reputation with Google.



Off-page signals, such as anchor text, are also used by search engine algorithms to help determine what your site is about.

Because anchor text has been such a widely abused part of link-building, it’s best to follow a conservative anchor text strategy.

You will still be able to let the search engines understand what your site is all about, and the anchor text in your backlink profile will look natural.


Types of BackLinks

How a link was earned determines how it is classified for SEO purposes, and there are essentially three basic categories of backlinks.



icon depicting the concept of link building


Natural links

These are he type of links you earn by producing content, and they require no direct action on your part.


Manually-created links

These are the links that you acquire through the direct result of your efforts. Manually-created links usually involve some form of outreach on your part.


Self-created links

These are the links that you create yourself – hence the name. Forum comment links, directory links, press releases, and blog comments are a few examples of self-created links.

How the value of a backlink is determined

It should come as no surprise that SEO professionals will always advise you to avoid links from low-quality, or spammy websites. You want links from other high-quality, authoritative websites ‘voting’ for – linking to, your site.

But what factors do search engines use to assess the quality, or value of the links pointing to your site?

  • Popularity of the referring domain
  • Topical relevance between the referring domain and your site
  • The anchor text in the backlink
  • The trustworthiness of the referring domain
  • Authority of the referring domain
  • Authority of the specific page (URL) contains the backlink.


screenshot of a backlink profile in ahrefs