Step 12 to SEO: Off-Page SEO

Am I building authority to my site from external websites?

We’ve arrived at the final step. And last certainly doesn’t mean least. Building authority to your site from external websites, also called link-building, is one of the most critical steps in SEO.

But with all the work you’ve done up to now, you probably already know that. In fact, we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to share any stories, challenges, or wins from your SEO journey in the comments below.

First of all, what is link building and why is it so important?

Link Building 101

Link building is the act of getting other websites to link to yours. Not only does having lots of high quality links pointing to your page increase your traffic, it also helps search engines crawl the web and between individual pages on your site.

Link building can involve a very basic strategy and set of techniques, or it can be the most difficult part of SEO. It just depends on how you do it.

Anatomy of a Hyperlink

There are four parts in a hyperlink. Links can point to other sites, graphics, sounds, files, email addresses, and other locations on the same page.

The first ‘a’ is the anchor tag that tells search engines a link is going to follow.

Second is the ‘href’ which stands for hyperlink referral and indicates the URL the link is pointing to. (A # indicates a local link to somewhere else on that page).

Third is the visible text, meaning what users will see on the page. It’s the front end of the hyperlink usually highlighted in some way to signal that it’s a link.

Finally, is the link tag closure.

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Link building helps search engines discover new webpages, extract and index content, and determine how well they should rank in the search results. So when we type a keyword into Google’s search bar, we’re not actually searching the web, we’re searching Google’s index of the web, that is, what it has determined good enough to store and show in the search results.

Page ranking is dependent on more than high quality, relevant content. Lots of high quality external links to your site mean a better report card with Google, which is great news for you because you’ll rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP) than without them. It’s a vote of confidence in your favour.

But there are more benefits to link building that just ranking. A well defined and executed link building strategy can:

  • Help you build relationships with key influencers in the industry
  • Send referral traffic to your site
  • Boost brand building

Whether you’re collecting natural links or manual outreach links, we’ll take a look at what types of links you want pointing to your site and how to make that happen.

How to Get A High-Quality Link (or many!)

Start a Link Building Campaign

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of link-building, it’s important to mention that link-building takes time. If you manage to acquire 10 links in the first month of your campaign, that’s a job well done, but you’re not going to notice a difference overnight. It takes time for those links to have an impact on your site’s traffic.

Determine your hook.

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You need to reach out and offer up a relevant asset. What will make people care about your site and what you offer enough to want to link to you? This varies according to your business and industry. Examples are: content, data, products, services, and people.

If you want to offer content then you need to know what people want to know about. Social media can steer us in the right direction here when we scout out and analyze the type of stuff people are sharing. Offer content that is relevant and gives a unique angle on a particular subject. (See Step 9 to SEO for more info).

Get various types of links.

  • Links to your homepage
  • Links that contain your brand
  • Links containing your target keywords
  • Links to deep pages, eg. a product or category page

Identify targets.

If you’ve been following from Step 1, then you’re getting to know a little bit about dogs, if you didn’t already. Let’s stick with that example.

You have a dog training website and you’ve just created the Ultimate Guide to House Training Your Puppy. Who might be interested in this content? Pet bloggers, e-commerce shops selling dog merchandise, dog trainer apps, pet stores, and pet sitter companies.

Go through each one (yes, it’s time intensive), and contact sites that are relevant to your pitch. To narrow down results a bit, consider only looking at pet bloggers that have a resource page, to which you could contribute with your guide. Such a search looks like this in the Google search field:

Pet bloggers inurl:resources

That command will return a list of pet bloggers’ resource pages. Boom. Those are the ones you want to start with.

But don’t just cold call them. Learn about their ethos to determine relevance to your site. Also, check on whether or not they link to other sites.

Then, prioritize them first by domain metrics, influence, and the probability of them linking to your site.

Check up on the competition.

If you can become a master in link building you’ll be way ahead of your competition

Here’s an excerpt from Step 2 to SEO on how to get insight from your competitors:

“How many referring domains do your competitors have? This points to site popularity and strong SEO.

You can use the MOZ link explorer tool (free for 30 days) to generate a list of all the backlinks to your competitors’ sites. From there you can compare those links against yours (use a spreadsheet for this) to see where the gaps are, if any.

If you’re already ahead of your competition, this is not your current focus (but, don’t lose focus of this important aspect). If you are behind, time to step-up your link-building strategy.

What sites are linking to your competitors and not to you? Reach out to them.”

Become a Master Builder

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Link building is full-on. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time trying to get links. Compared to every other SEO task on your plate (creating content, on-page SEO, keyword research, etc., etc.), we recommend devoting as much as 30% of your SEO time to link building, at the very least.

Once you have your strategy in place, you may consider hiring someone to manage this task if you want to go all in. Otherwise, MOZ gives us a free downloadable link-building guide (for beginners!)  that helps out big time. Get it here.

If this is your first visit to Logical Mix, check out our blog for a comprehensive 12-step beginner’s guide to SEO. And feel free to contact us anytime you have questions about the process.

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Step 9 to SEO: Content Creation

Am I creating quality content that solves the searcher’s problems?

Every search for something begins with a problem. It’s the reason you’re reading this blog right now––you have a problem that needs a solution. Maybe your problem is small and you just need a little help on how to create great content. Great––but it’s still a problem because it means a few different things:

Maybe you’re not already creating awesome content and you need to to sell your product.

Maybe your revenue is down and you’re looking for ways to improve sales.

Maybe someone told you your copywriter stinks and it’s time you took matters into your own hands.

Maybe you’re your own copywriter.

Don’t worry, you’ve come to the best place to find out if:

  • You’re already producing awesome content (you might be, in which case you’ll be nodding your head as you read this)
  • Your content is readable but not clickable
  • Your content stinks and how to make it better

Now, if you’re not a writer and you don’t like to write, don’t waste your own time. Get a copywriter. Pay for a good copywriter. And trust us, price usually indicates quality so low ballin’ on the Fiverr side of things may get you a crapload of content for the cost of double-fat chai latte at your local barista, but it won’t be very good.

Several sources claim that quality content is the number one ranking factor. That’s right, NUMBER ONE. That means that content is more important than anything else on your site.

The #1 Most Important Question You Need to Ask Yourself Before You Write Anything

Who are you writing for––the person or the machine?

Well, both actually. And we’ll get there in a minute but it’s super important that you know “the machine” is much, much more like a person these days than ever before.

Back in the days of yesteryear, Google didn’t care so much about content, their algorithm paid attention only to having content with highly searched terms up on a page. Times are different now. Google will actually penalize sites that stuff keywords into content, even if that content reads sensibly enough. Sophisticated algorithms are now able to assess content quality––meaning, relevance, and where and how often you use certain keywords through a script (keyword density and frequency).

So, start with the person––your ideal customer––and write content that she (or he) cares about, that speaks directly to her, that solves her problem. Don’t write a sales pitch (even though selling is your goal).

Remember this:

Writing and Writing for SEO: What’s the Difference?

Straightforward copywriting is the art of using words to sell a product or service. A copywriter knows how to use words strategically to engage a reader and persuade her to purchase whatever you’re selling.

An SEO copywriter employs the same tenants, except she tailors the copy for an online presence, optimizing it for Google The tricky bit about SEO writing is striking a balance between optimizing for a search engine and serving your potential customer. You need to do both.

Write Clickable Headlines

You want to spend more time putting together a smashing headline than you do on your entire copy. Why? Because the title is what engages or repels readers. If your headline makes people snore, they’re not going to care what your page is about and they’ll bounce away.

If you’re walking the plank and doing your own copywriting, here are a few tips for writing a title that converts:

  • Lead with a 6-7 word phrase
  • Make it clear, snappy, and simple
  • Use adjectives, strategically
  • Promise to solve a problem
  • Use numbers wherever possible

Maybe that sounds like a lot to cover in just a few words but it’s easier than you think, especially when you get the hang of it.

For example, you’re writing a blog about dog training for your pet niche site.

Instead of: “Training Your Dog”

Try: “6 Easy Ways to Make your Dog Smarter”

See the difference? You’re speaking to the ultimate goal of the reader. No one wants a dumb dog, right? That’s why we train them, and it makes our lives “easy”.


“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy


If you’re stuck, check out copyblogger’s 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work for some ideas.

Deliver on Your Headline’s Promise

Beef your content without the bloat. You want to publish content that is meaty, meaning it satisfies the reader with lots of useful information. Google penalizes sites with thin content––only there as a base for keywords, which is why 1000 words is a recommended average for any piece of content. Build your content around a keyword, but ensure your copy reads smoothly and engages the reader.

Make your content compelling by putting the most important information first. In The Copy Cure, Marie Forleo refers to the first words of a sentence or paragraph the corner real-estate spot. Fill it wisely.

Link to Authority Sites

Why would you want to send your reader elsewhere for information? Isn’t the point to keep potential customers on your page?

There are two schools of thought. At Logical Mix, we want to help people solve their problems. If someone can do that better than us, then people should know about it. Keep in mind that selfishly coveting your customer and withholding useful information from them may do harm than good.

Linking to authority sites (like we did back there with copyblogger) also shows social proof, that you’re connected, sociable, value good content and want to share it around. Not only does this put you in Google’s good books, but it helps your customer––and they’ll remember you.

The Tail End…

Remember from Step One, always start with keyword research. It’s how you know what people people’s problems are and therefore, what they’re searching for. Then use free tools like Google Analytics to find out what part of your site is getting the most traffic and why. Use that info to generate new content to improve user experience.

And if you can’t write, don’t enjoy it, or don’t care enough to try, get a copy writer. The cost is worth the result.

Photo credit: Neil Patel

the Griswolds looking at the sky in front of a house with Christmas lights

Happy Holidays from Logical Mix

Taking time to reflect on the internet and digital marketing business in 2017 has brought much joy to our hearts.

The internet is becoming more user experience focused…and we like that trend! The 2018 digital marketing landscape is going to be filled with change. Adapt or die.

The Good News:

We’re on pace to reach our long term goals with all our clients.

Thanks to all our clients for trusting us and believing we are the right company to grow your company online. We will not let you down.

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!

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