When it comes to SEO, the first major focus is ensuring that your website is properly optimized and set up so that the search engines understand what your site is about and can rank it for the proper keywords. Once your website is all set, you want to start looking at off-site factors.
Off-site factors mostly boils down to obtaining links from other sites that point to pages on your site. There are varied methods of obtaining these links and each can help your site in its own way.
To begin with, one of the easiest links to obtain is from social media. You can create accounts or pages for your business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so many more. During the initial set up of many of these, they will ask you for your website address. This is a perfect time to give yourself a few easy and beneficial links.
You can also utilize the actual posting of content to your social media profiles to create some links to your site. This will help by directing traffic from the social media account directly to your site.
The next type of link is useful only for businesses looking for local SEO – directory submission links. These links are gained similar to those from social media. You can sign up for an account, enter the details of your business, and link back to your site. These links are typically not very powerful and won’t often be what helps your site rank in the organic listings; however, if your business is signed up with Google and can be found on Google Maps, these links will help your business rank in the Google local search results (the area of search that shows up to 3 results and a map, usually above the organic listings).
Next, we have press releases. A press release is exactly what it sounds like. An article is written about your site or your business and it is distributed to many news and press outlets. Each outlet that picks up your press release will have a link back to your site.
The last type of link can be a little more difficult to obtain. These links are directly from other websites or blogs that aren’t open publicly for anyone to sign up for. More often than not, these links are included in an article on the site that may focus around the topic of your site.
Sometimes you obtain these links without your knowledge as the author may have chosen to write about your business (a review, experience, etc.). Other times, you may have to request to guest post on the site. In this case, you have to write an article that the site owner feels fit to publish on his or her site. There are numerous ways to obtain these links, and ultimately, these are the links you should be most interested in.
With social media, directories, and press releases, you often gain a large number of links with little to no actual power in helping your site rank. When your dealing with other websites and blogs, the links you get back to your site could potentially be very helpful if the site is trusted and authoritative. A link from an un-trusted and spammy site, however, can have a negative effect on your site. Keep in mind that these links are typically harder to obtain but can have a major impact on your site.