Most business owners don’t realize that there is work that needs to be done off of their business website to really dominate the coveted Google Maps 3 pack. Many have heard the term “Off-Page Local SEO”, but have no idea what it means.
Off-Page local SEO consists of two functions. First, it is a method of controlling the accuracy and consistency of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) as it is listed anywhere on the internet. Second, it is the process of getting the most authoritative referral links from industry and city websites to build the authority of its website in those two key areas.
People often ask, “Is Off-Page Local SEO still effective?” They ask this because, in the early days of the internet, SEO included spammy backlinking tactics that were artificial and gamed the system. But modern SEO creates the quality, trust, and authority search engines are looking for, so it is now highly effective.
In this article, we will give an overview of each of the parts of Off-Page Local SEO so that you understand each area that it is important to focus on. We will also link to other articles that will go more in-depth in explaining how to do each process we talk about.
Before we get into the meat of this article, I would like to make a suggestion. If you have found this article because you are trying to learn Local SEO, I recommend you read our article “How To Do Local SEO – An In-Depth Overview!”
Building NAP Info Accuracy & Consistency
The first part of Off-Site Local SEO is about establishing the accuracy and consistency of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) across the internet. This might not be as big of a deal as it was ten years ago, but it is still a very important part of Google’s algorithm.
When search engines like Google see your website, they don’t trust the NAP information on your website; they think you might be a scam.
So, the search engines scan the internet for other places where your business name, address, and phone number are listed to see if they match what you put on your website. And the more that Google trusts a website that has your NAP info listed, the more they believe it is accurate.
So, to establish your NAP information as accurate and trustworthy online, which is important for Google Maps ranking, what you need to do is get your NAP listed on as many of the websites Google trusts as you can (such as major online business directories like YellowPages.com or Yelp.com).
One common mistake businesses make in this area is they list their NAP info slightly differently each time they list themselves on a website, including their own website. Search engines only trust the information if it is listed identically wherever it is listed. The more identically, the more they trust it.
So, wherever you list your NAP information, list it identically. In other words, if you use a period or spell out the word street, do it everywhere.
And for your address, use your address the way Google lists it. Stick your address in Google and do a search. However, Google lists it back to you; that is how you want to list it as part of your NAP everywhere online.
For a breakdown of how to build local citations, please see my article: “How to Build Local Citations – A Complete Guide!“.
Building Industry & Location Authoritative Backlinks
The second part of Off-Site Local SEO is all about building a website’s authority with respect to its industry and location. Search engines measure this by assessing the websites that link to your site.
When a website links to your site, the higher the Domain Authority it has in relation to your industry and location, the more authority it passes on to your site. So you want as many high Domain Authority sites from your industry and city to link to your website as possible.
It goes without saying that these links must be real, natural links from credible websites. If they are perceived as fake or manufactured links, or if the links are from untrustworthy sites, they actually hurt your site’s authority and ranking.
Acquiring High Authority Social Media Profile Backlinks
What do you need for social media profile backlinks? Well, after correcting all of your NAP discrepancies online, the next thing you want to do to establish your legitimacy online is do all those things that normal businesses do in your industry.
For example, most local businesses set up social media pages for their businesses. Google highly trusts social media sites, and many of them have really high-quality do-follow links that will link back to your website.
These backlinks are not as powerful as normal high-domain authority backlinks because the search engines know you control your social media accounts, so you are just linking to your website. However, these still are links from highly trusted sites, and most importantly, you are doing what is standard in your industry: setting up social media accounts for your business.
So, set up accounts for your business on every trusted social media website that you can. Google sees this as adding to your legitimacy. And the high Domain Authority backlinks do have SEO value.
For a deep dive into how to set up an authoritative business footprint, see my article: “How To Create An Authoritative Digital Footprint!“
Acquiring High Authority Backlinks
These are the best, most important, powerful backlinks you can get. You will want to get as many of these links as possible, even if you have to pay for some of them.
What you do here is contact your various industry associations and magazine websites and either offer to guest write for them or contact them and see what you can do to get them to link to your website from their website.
Often, they will also have industry-specific business directories that you will want to be in, which will include a link to your website.
You will want to do the same for city business associations, city business directories, city magazines, and the like. These give your site high authority for your city, which will really help your ranking in Google Maps.
Pro tip: The BBB allows a very high-quality backlink to your website that you get for free, just for registering with them.
For a deep dive into how to acquire high authoritative backlinks for your local business, see my article: “How Do I Acquire High Authority Backlinks?“.
Doing Competitor Backlink Analysis
You should always be checking out all of the SEO methods used by any of your local competitors that outrank you in Google. Checking out their backlinks is a very important thing to do. You can sign up for a membership with either Ahrefs.com or Semrush.com month at a time when you need to check your competitor’s backlinks.
With either of these services, you can look up all of the highest quality backlinks going to your competitor’s websites. You will find many of them you can just list your business in and get backlinks. You might need to contact others to see if you can get in, and some might require payment.
If your competitor is outranking you, their backlinks might be why. Researching them and going after them can give you a serious competitive advantage.
For a more in-depth look at how to do competitor backlink analysis, please see my article: “How To Analyze Competitor Backlinks.” You might also find this article valuable: “How To Build A PBN The Correct Way.”