Off Site, On Target

Driving traffic to your website using search engine optimization-driven original web content is an absolute necessity. This method, called on-site SEO, is a great first step in building a successful website, which we discussed recently in The ABCs of SEO. The next step involves off-site SEO, which is content developed for online use in places other than your website.

The concept is fairly simple: the more places you have content, the more likely it is that consumers will end up on your site when searching for relevant terms. By creating useful guides, how-to articles, and sharing information in posts that link back to your site, you’re establishing multiple paths for consumers, all of which lead back to your business. In addition, by making this information free, reliable, and current, your company can establish itself as a thought leader, just as when you post white papers.

There are literally thousands of websites to which companies can submit articles for off-site SEO purposes. Many are specific to a given industry, topic, or region, and they’re easy to find by simply Googling “article directory” and your topic. There are also some more general article directory sites, and these are excellent resources to use in addition to those with more specific audiences. We particularly like HubPages, ezineArticles, and Squidoo for their user-friendly formats, extensive topic listings, and popularity with searchers.

To use off-site SEO effectively, it’s important to link back to your own company website by embedding hyperlinks or listing them at the end of the article (the rules vary on different sites, so see their guidelines before submitting a post). As well, be sure to frequently update your materials to reflect current market trends and developments.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not just what you link to that matters, but how you link to it. Here are two examples:

WRONG: Using a “click here” approach disrupts the flow of an informative article whereas “anchor text” is simpler and cleaner. For information about anchor text, click here:

RIGHT: Much less intrusive than “click here” links, anchor text allows you to integrate links without breaking the flow of your article.

Both examples link to the same Wikipedia article, but the second is simpler and keeps the reader focused on your content while providing the link for further information. When that anchor text link leads back to your website, it will not only offer another path by which visitors can find you, it will also increase your search engine rankings.

Just as with on-site SEO content, there are good ways and bad ways to write and distribute these materials. Posting to link farms and other disreputable clearinghouses will do more harm than good, as will generating poorly written content. Freelance copywriters who specialize in SEO content are an excellent resource for this type of work and many will charge by the article, so budgeting is fairly straightforward. If you do bring in a writer for your on- or off-site SEO work, be sure s/he collaborates with your marketing, web development/design, and sales teams to ensure that your message is consistent and your company’s marketing focus is clear.

Still have questions? Connect with TribalVision for a free consultation about corporate blogging, SEO content, and Internet marketing today.