Off-page SEO recognises that the quality of a website is only part of the equation in improving search results. If on-page SEO deals with internal website content and design, then off-page optimisation is closer to external promotion.
Off-page optimisation looks at how websites connect to each other and how they utilise other internet channels like social media, YouTube, etc.
Off-page SEO is very important! When Google ranks websites in a particular field it is usually the off-page elements that determine who ‘wins’ in the search results battle.
This makes sense when you think about it. Google has to consider far more than the quality of a website in isolation. After all, if all it took was a fantastic website then even a nefarious organisation could leapfrog to the top of search results if it built a good enough site.
Therefore, in order to truly work out how ‘good’ a website is in answering people’s questions, search engines also look at how a website is connected to the rest of the internet.
The primary mechanism that connects websites is the backlink (or link).
When website A includes a link to website B then website A is, in effect, vouching for website B. Think of each of these links as a vote and remember that Google adds them up when assessing websites.
Naturally, it is not as simple as just getting hundreds of links from random directories. The backlink has been overused and abused to such a degree than Google now checks carefully before awarding any credit. Deciding what makes a quality link is an important part of the off-page improvement process. A low-quality or bad link can actually drop a website down the search results so knowing the difference between good and bad links is very important.