Last week saw the publication of one of Africa Boy’s longest posts, a near 2,000 word article on the subject of on-page SEO. The post covered nearly every piece of on-page SEO, including internal linking, title tags, and image optimization. If you haven’t read this post, be sure to read it by clicking here. On-page SEO is the easiest way to manually control your websites rankings, so if you haven’t read this highly informative post, you should make sure to check it out.
Off-page SEO deals with just that- the parts of Search Engine Optimization that are not found within your page. They cannot be manually controlled but must be worked for and developed naturally. Thankfully, users on the WordPress free plan can use all of these tricks as they don’t apply to a website’s customization options. If you are on the WordPress free plan, your full focus should be upon off-page SEO.
But what is off-page SEO? Neil Patel, owner of NP Digital and creator of the fantastic tool Ubersuggest, describes it perfectly.
Off-Page SEO” refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your website to raise the ranking of a page with search engines.
Though many people associate off-page SEO with link building, it goes beyond that. Many activities that don’t result in a standard link on other sites are important for off-page optimization.
On-page search engine optimization happens within the site, while off-page SEO happens outside the site. If you write a guest post for another blog or leave a comment, you’re doing off-page site promotion.Neil Patel
Off-page SEO applies to four general areas, all of which will be discussed in detail. However, keep in mind that these are the difficult, time-consuming tactics to apply, so only begin if you really want to see your traffic increase but are prepared to put in the time. Using these techniques is crucial for someone on the WordPress free plan.
1: Link Building
Link building is the most underrated factor when it comes to site customization. The importance of building natural, healthy backlinks cannot be understated, for it is an understood fact that Google regularly checks the amount of backlinks referring to your site, then ranks you accordingly. Eva Nastrut writes on this subject on the popular website Cognitiveseo.
Links are translated as votes or applause to your website, an overall appreciation of your brand. The same link building effort contributed to the rise of what’s known today as black hat SEO. Sometimes, people are so desperate to gather links that they start playing with fire and perform the following: forum signatures, enroll your website in content directories, link exchange schemes, link networks, blog directories, comment link (a.k.a. comment signature), article directories, and so on.Eva Nastrut
Links are built up naturally, over time, as people share your content. A website with a lot of healthy backlinks will receive large boosts in traffic as it begins to rank higher. However, a massive website with tons of content but no links will seem to be unpopular in Google’s eyes, and it may run the risk of being penalized.
In the same way, a website with a lot of links but no content will also be treated with suspicion. After all, if a website has no content, how could it receive backlinks? There would be almost nothing to share. These links would likely be considered spam, and Google would penalize the site as such. If there’s one thing to learn about backlinks, it’s that they cannot and should never be purchased for any reason or any price. Google will see and will penalize you.
There, now that the warning has been administered, let’s get down to a few ways you can naturally build healthy links.
1: Social Media
Social Media is quickly becoming the most powerful force on the planet. Capable of bringing businesses to ruins, millionaires to rags, and countries to ashes, it should never be underestimated in its ability to help you and your website. No website can expect to receive significant traffic without a social media presence. If your website has no social media presence whatsoever, stop reading right now. Go and create a Facebook account, then come back.
Alright, great. Now you have social media presence. Now here’s how to incorporate them.
Facebook: Facebook can be an extremely influential tool for bringing your friends and family to your website. If my mom decided to create a blog today, she could probably have 1,000 followers in about a week, given that those only make up about 1/3rd of her Facebook friends. If you’re new to Facebook, spend a few weeks sending friend requests to your family and friends in real life. Once you have more than one hundred, begin your marketing. Post bi-weekly updates on your website and include links to the posts where necessary. Don’t make the mistake of just posting the generic post titles; spice them up a bit and try to entice your friends to read the post. For more information on Facebook marketing, click here.
Twitter: Another fantastic place to build links, having a Twitter account is crucial. This app should take up about 30 minutes of your day. When you publish a new post, schedule multiple tweets with quotes from the post itself, each with a link going back to your website. Don’t forget to follow other influential bloggers in your niche. If you’re lucky, they may tweet out your content. For more information on Twitter marketing, click here.
Instagram: The final piece to the puzzle. Instagram is yet another powerful marketing tool, capable of driving massive amounts of traffic to your site. This app should operate in a similar manner as Facebook- send friend requests to as many people as you can think of, then make sure to befriend “the big boys”, or the other bloggers in your niche. Once you’ve acquired a large following, begin your campaign. Do not, however, spam your posts. In the same way as Facebook, only post a few times a week and make sure that your titles are organized in such a way as to attract attention from your friends.
Once you have a social media presence in all three of these areas, it’s time to move on to guest posting.
2: Guest Posting
Guest posting should be the most time-consuming activity you engage in. It literally allows you to piggyback on other, well-established members of your niche, and is capable of driving more traffic to your website than any other platform. I wrote about how to guest post in my article “The Problem With WordPress SEO”, and what I wrote remains true.
“Guest posting is another difficult, time-consuming activity. I, personally, don’t guest post for the SEO benefits. I simply enjoy adding my work to other websites or, in the case of a new writer, adding some good content to a developing website. However, there’s no denying the benefits of guest posting. Not only can it raise awareness to your site or cause, but it can be a great way of bringing traffic to your site. If you want to guest post on a website, be sure that the site is similar to yours in both reader size and opinion. If the site is too large, the owner will charge you money (which, by the way, is stupid) to guest post there. If the site is too small, you won’t receive much traffic from it. You shouldn’t, however, ask to guest post on any website until you can answer “yes” to each of these questions.
Have you followed this website for more than a month?
Have you actively participated in reading the site’s posts, leaving comments where needed?
Is the site close to yours in size?
If bringing an opinion, will the owner of this site agree with you?
Will your post be relevant to the blog’s readers?
If your answer is yes, then contact the site owner and ask if he’d be interested in you guest posting on his site. If he is, get his personal contact information and ask for more details.”
Forums are some of the greatest places for readers to find you. I originally “discovered” Neil Patel when he answered one of my questions on Quora. I immediately became curious about this well-written, smart marker and I clicked on his name. Two clicks later, I was at his website and my day brightened considerably. Here was someone I could read for hours! And, over the last year, I have repetitively linked back to him in gratitude for what he has taught me.
Do you see what happened, though? Because of his activity on Quora, he won a new fan, one that would be eternally grateful to him for his contributions to the SEO industry. In fact, Neil is not just active on Quora. He is also active on Reddit, another massive forum website. It is literally called “the front page of the Internet”, and there’s a reason for it.
Do not underestimate the power of forums. They can be extremely valuable in link building, especially if you are being asked for links to your posts. If you want to learn more about link building through forums, click here.
Yet another underused and underrated technique, blog commenting has recently surfaced as an SEO technique after a large study by Neil Patel. In putting those tiny links to your website (preferably under your name or GRAVATAR account) all over the web, you ensure that your website will continue to gain recognition. However, don’t just leave the generic “nice post!” comment. Give them a compliment or comment on something they said. Ask the owner an honest question, or politely give your opinion. Once, by debating with someone within my niche, I received more than ninety clicks to my website in less than three weeks. All of that traffic, just by telling someone why I thought they were wrong. For more information on how to build links by commenting, click here.
2: Build your image
Building your image and brand is an extremely rewarding practice. If you don’t have one, create a logo for your site, something that will show on the tab while the site is loading. If your website only shows the generic WordPress “W”, you need to stop right now and go create one. Whether it’s something simple like Neil Patel’s face or my lion, you need to have something other than that generic image.
Alright, now that that’s done, you’re ready to continue building your image. Make sure that your name is found in every social media account you have. Your users should be almost (but not quite) sick of hearing the name of your site. For example, the words “Africa Boy” are found all over my Facebook, Instagram, Quora, and Reddit accounts. You can’t see my face without thinking “Oh, it’s the Africa Boy again.” Associating your name and face with your blog and logo is insanely important to building your site. Do not forget to do this.
3: Give away free content
Nothing is better than free stuff. If you want to seriously build links, create a killer piece of content (over 2,000 words, like this post), and share it as a downloadable pdf or Word document. As the content gains traction, it will receive more downloads, giving your website more traffic. If people like it, they will share it with their friends, which will also help to build links and increase traffic.
You can also publish this piece of content as a book on Amazon, provided that your niche isn’t too large. If you write about SEO, publishing a book on Search Engine Optimization tricks will probably get lost in the thousands of books published on this subject every month. Instead, try to narrow down your niche into something specific, yet well-known. For example, I might publish a book on Africa. This isn’t a massive niche, so my book will be read, and hopefully it will redirect traffic to my website. If you want to learn about using book publishing to increase blog traffic, click here.
4: Send regular emails
Sending emails is the fastest and most efficient way to remind old users that your site still exists. In this age, everybody is ADHD; we forget things almost as fast as we learn them. Often, we need a gentle reminder that there is still plenty to be learned, plenty to gain from. An email can do just that.
Building an email list should be the number 1 priority of any blogger. No website can expect any traffic without an email list, period. If your website doesn’t have an option to follow it by WordPress and email, drop everything and add both this instant.
“No website can expect any traffic without an email list or social media presence.” –Elisha McFarlandTweet
Using an email list becomes even more important for those on the WordPress free plan. Without all of those on-page SEO techniques that we discussed last week, we will often find ourselves falling behind the competition. Using an email list, however, keeps us ahead of the game and continues to redirect readers back to our sites. For more information on building an email list, click here.
If you want to stay ahead of the game, especially on the WordPress free plan, you have to be alert and active. Passivity will get you nowhere in the blog race. It’s time for us to rally and prove to the world that Christian and SEO bloggers can do something amazing. Get ready world, because we’re coming.
Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks for reading my longest post yet! I hope you learned as much from it as I did! If you learned anything, and own a blog, feel free to reblog this! I know your readers will appreciate it, and it’ll save you having to post new content today. Also, it can help raise awareness to these unknown SEO tricks.
Finally, if you haven’t already, make sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side), so as to not miss out on any new posts. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day!
Related Post: WordPress Free Plan Tutorial 1: On-Page SEO
Next WordPress Post: WordPress Free Plan Tutorial 3: Manual Off-Page SEO
Patel, Neil. “Everything You Need to Know About Off-Page SEO.” Neil Patel, 2019.
My thanks to Eva Nastrut for publishing the article that helped formulate this one. You have my eternal gratitude. The related article can be found by clicking here.