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This is Part 4 of Cannabiz Media’s 5-part Guide to SEO for Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis-Related Businesses. Follow the links to read Part 1 – Introduction, Part 2 – On-Site SEO, Part 3 – On-Page SEO, and Part 5 - SEO Mistakes.
Off-site SEO, also referred to as off-page SEO, includes the steps you can take to provide signals to Google about the content, authority, and quality of your website and web pages.
To improve off-site SEO, cannabis businesses and cannabis-related businesses should focus on two key areas of Google’s 200 search ranking factors: link building and brand/business signals.
The majority of Google’s off-site SEO ranking factors are related to backlinks, which are links from other sites to your cannabis or ancillary business website.
As I’ve said before in this series of articles, Google wants to deliver the best possible results to every query. Therefore, Google’s algorithm uses incoming links to your site as signals related to your site’s quality, authority, and usefulness under the assumption that a high quality site, which would truly be helpful to users, is one that other sites would want to link to.
However, getting lots of incoming links to make it seem like your site is amazing isn’t what Google’s algorithm rewards. Google’s algorithm looks for a natural link profile in an attempt to identify and punish sites that pay for backlinks or use other techniques to artificially inflate the number of incoming links to their websites.
You’ll learn more about SEO mistakes to avoid, including mistakes related to link-building, in the upcoming Part 5 of the Guide to SEO for Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis-Related Businesses. For now, I want to introduce you to some of the key off-site SEO ranking factors related to backlinks that you can use to improve your site’s authority and search traffic.
Google also looks for brand/business signals on social media and other websites to verify the authenticity of your website and brand. Some of the key signals you should consider are:
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of off-site ranking factors that Google uses to rate your website and pages, but it does give you a good place to start to improve your content and increase your search traffic.
After many years of people trying to game the system by generating tons of backlinks to their websites and boost their search rankings, Google made significant modifications to its algorithm to crack down on blackhat link building tactics. Today, Google rewards sites that have a natural link profile. That means you need to publish high quality content first so other sites will want to link to your content.
Following are 10 questions to ask yourself as you work to improve your off-site SEO. When you can answer yes to these questions, you’ll know you’re doing things correctly.
Link building is one of the biggest areas where SEO mistakes occur, and I’ll cover many of these mistakes in Part 5 of this SEO guide. For now, use the information in this article to start building a plan to generate “good” backlinks to your website, and your search engine rankings and traffic should increase.
Once your website is set up and pages are written to optimize them for search, it’s time to build off-site signals that Google can use to evaluate the authority, quality, and usefulness of your site and pages. Focus on building a natural link profile that won’t be at risk when Google changes its algorithm again, and your business will win in the long-term.
Stay tuned to the Cannabiz Media blog for Part 5 of the Guide to SEO for Cannabis Businesses and Cannabis-Related Businesses series, which will discuss SEO mistakes to avoid.