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A Simple Guide To Off-Page SEO & Link Building in 2021

Link building is a necessary component of your SEO strategy, but it can be hard to get started.

Not all link building strategies are created equal. In fact, many of the “tricks” you may have heard about from shady marketers or unscrupulous businesses may actually hurt your website instead of helping it.

If you have optimised your site’s on-page SEO, it is now time to learn how to implement off-page SEO correctly! This chapter will explore some tips for effective link building across multiple platforms, including web 2.0s, forums, social bookmarking, and more! Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What Is Off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO is the process of taking actions outside of your own website that will affect how high your site ranks.

It is off-page SEO any time you receive a link to your site or content from another source. Google sees each link as a “vote” to your website.

The more “votes” you have, the more Google will view your site as an authority.

Good on-site optimisation and high-quality content are vital. Still, building backlinks is crucial, especially when it comes to ranking highly competitive niches.


Is Off-page SEO Important?

Search engine optimisation is a constantly changing field. Yet, one thing remains constant – the importance of portraying trust, authority, and relevance.

If you want your website to rank well in Google, you need an excellent off-page SEO strategy.

This will help increase your website’s authority and trustworthiness with search engines like Google. 

Although nobody knows how exactly Google’s algorithm works, many experts in the field have stated that off-page SEO accounts for 50% of the ranking factor weight.


Backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO.

They help search engines determine which sites are most relevant for a particular topic and rank those sites accordingly.

The more high quality links you have pointed to your site, the better it will perform in search results (as long as you also do your keyword research right, write good content, do on-page SEO, etc.) That means more traffic and higher conversion!

Links are split into three different types: manual, natural, and self-created links:

  • Manually built links involve contacting someone (a webmaster) who has an authoritative site or blog and ask them to put one of your links on their site.
  • Natural links are created when someone links to your site without you asking. For example, someone who has a sports-related blog sees a great article you have written about rowing machines. They decide to include your link within their content. By doing that, you get to receive a natural link!
  • Self-created links are created to make search engines think that your content is good and worth linking to. These types of backlinks can be done in many ways without spamming, but they’re not allowed by search engine guidelines. They may get you penalized if not done carefully.


Whatever type of links you decide to build, there are a few things that you should look to get valuable links:

  • How popular the website linking to your site is
  • How relevant that website is to the article you want to link it
  • The anchor text ratio used 
  • How trustworthy the linking site is 
  • How many websites the linking page is already linking to
  • Domain age and authority 


Nofollow vs. Dofollow Links

A nofollow link is a hyperlink where the site linking to you has its anchor text replaced with a rel=”nofollow” tag that instructs search engines not to factor it into their ranking metrics.

Nofollow links tend to come from forums, social media sites, and other places where people “post links without editorial control”.

A dofollow link is a hyperlink where the site linking to you DOES affect its ranking. This is common when building backlinks because they pass much more juice to your content than nofollow links.

That said, having too many dofollow links could work against you. Follow these guidelines if you want to safely build links:

  • Have a nofollow/dofollow ratio of about 40% and 60% respectively
  • Have a mix of branded text, naked URL, generic text, exact match text, partial match text, empty text, videos and images with and without alt text, and LSI


Understanding Anchor Text and Ratio

Anchor text is the clickable words or phrases in a hyperlink. When building links, it is crucial to have a healthy anchor text ratio that looks natural and will not get your site penalised:

  • Branded Text – 70%
  • Naked URL – 15%
  • LSI Text – 4%
  • Partial Match Text – 3%
  • Exact Match with Branded – 2%
  • Generic Text – 2%
  • Image or Video with Partial Match Alt Text – 1.5%
  • Empty Text – 1%
  • Image or Video without Alt Text – 1%
  • Exact Match Text – .5%


Key Differences

  • Branded Text: A hyperlink in which the website name or business name appears in the anchor text.
  • Naked URL: A hyperlink in which the URL is used as the anchor text.
  • Generic Text: A hyperlink where generic phrases such as “Read This” or “Site” are used in the anchor text.
  • Empty Text: A hyperlink that does not have any anchor text associated with it.
  • Image or Video without Alt Text: These have hyperlinks, but their Alt tags are not filled in. 
  • Image or Video with Alt Text: These have hyperlinks as well as Alt tags containing keywords.
  • Exact Match Text: A hyperlink that contains anchor text that is an exact match to the target keywords.
  • Partial Match Text: A hyperlink with a combination of the target keyword and related text.  
  • Exact Match with Branded Text: A hyperlink including business name and target keywords. 
  • LSI Text: Terms related to your keywords. 


Ways You Can Build Backlinks

There are numerous methods for obtaining backlinks. You should strive to utilise as many of them as possible to get as much diversity as possible.

Some of the sources from which you can obtain backlinks are listed below:


Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a popular way to build backlinks.

This strategy involves writing articles for other blogs in your niche.

When you submit guest posts, you should ask for an author bio. If the blog accepts your article, be sure to write the post as if you’re talking to your target audience—just like you would if you were posting it on your own site.

The blog will likely ask for the URL of your site or social networks, so make sure they are well optimised.


Press Releases

For small businesses looking for some quick exposure, press releases are probably one of the best options out there.

When done correctly, press releases can help quickly increase brand visibility and online presence, especially when they include a link to your site.

There are plenty of free and low-cost press release distribution sites out there for those who don’t have the budget for private PR firms.


Social Bookmarking Sites

The idea behind this strategy is simple: identify websites that accept user-submitted bookmarks and then submit a link to your site with a short description of why it’s useful.



Infographics have been all the rage lately because they provide an easy way for businesses to engaging content that combines images, text, and links.

The idea is that bloggers looking for infographic submissions will share your valuable content with their audience, which could help you acquire some valuable backlinks.



Forums are another great way to build quality backlinks by demonstrating expertise in your industry.

Wherever you see a forum related to your niche or industry, join the community by adding informative insights of your own.

You can also use private messaging services on forums to connect with other members who might be interested in linking to your site.


Directory Submission

Not as popular as they once were, directory submission is still a great way to build relevant backlinks.

The idea here is that most directories allow for the addition of a short description of your site along with a link back to it.


Blog Commenting

This is another excellent way to build quality backlinks because it takes advantage of other people’s content and expertise.

Simply find blogs related to your niche or industry and leave a thoughtful comment with a link to your site.

If you can, try to relate your comment back to the original post as much as possible.


Web 2.0 Properties

Web 2 0 properties provide another easy way to acquire valuable backlinks with little commitment.

This is a type of link that you can easily build yourself, but you may want to outsource to save you time.

There are a variety of web 2.0s platforms out there. Some popular web 2.0s include WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Weebly, and Medium.



Link building can be a daunting process, but it is easy to do with the proper knowledge and tools. 

Sure, you can do well with on-page optimisation alone, but it is not enough to rank highly competitive niches unless you have some juice coming to your site. 

If link building sounds too complicated for you, don’t worry! These days is very easy to outsource your link building strategy.

The best part? You’ll save tons of time by outsourcing this task to them! Just make sure they have a good reputation before hiring them.

SEO & Web Design

About Scott Latham

For over 15 years, I have been building and implementing WordPress web design and SEO, having worked with some of the largest companies across a range of industries to see their business growth to the next level.

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