How will AI impact off-page SEO? 6 Steps to building an effective strategy that lasts beyond today

Neglecting off-page SEO is like building the best health clinic in the world in the middle of nowhere and then not bothering to tell anyone it exists. Occasionally hiking Harry may pass by but that’s just because he’s lost.

A key reason it’s neglected is because it’s really hard. It’s the same reason why guys skip core exercises. Guantanamo Bay is like a luxury resort in comparison to standing in a plank for two minutes for many. Yet, it’s for this precise reason the use of AI for off-page SEO is gaining traction.

However, using AI might sound tempting, but the reality is much more complex. It’s akin to buying one of those belts advertised on late-night TV suggesting it will give you a six-pack. It won’t! Yet that’s not to say AI can’t be useful. As we discussed previously AI will change SEO but not in the ways people think. So, let’s analyse the most effective off-page SEO strategies today and how AI may help you going forward.

Urm. I’m hiking Harry. What is off-page SEO exactly?

In a nutshell, it’s everything that happens outside of your website. Alongside on-page SEO (the things you do on your website like content creation) and technical SEO (for development and speed of your website), it forms one of the three core elements of any SEO strategy.

Off-page SEO is a means of getting attention for your website which in return increases your search visibility. Search engines like Google look for signals to tell them how trustworthy your website is and how much expertise you have. This forms a key part of Google’s quality rater guidelines known as E-E-A-T.

The most common off-page SEO strategies focus on link building. This means trying to get other websites to mention your content in one of their articles with a link to your website. Just like in the real world, the more people who reference you, the more you are seen as an expert.

Can AI help me?

Unfortunately, as of today, AI isn’t particularly helpful in transforming your off-page SEO efforts. To put it simply, there are no effective tools you can use that will automatically take your content and share it with the world, guaranteeing you publicity. If you find anyone who claims they can do this – run away quickly.

Yet, AI may help to streamline your outreach processes. For instance, writing emails or identifying broken links are some popular use cases. 

Moreover, as we go forward AI is going to change how SEO works which will impact how you optimise for off-page elements. Artificial search engines are disrupting the search industry and understanding how is critical to ensuring you keep getting website traffic.

Off-page SEO will change with AI

6 off-page SEO tactics for beginners and how AI will change the game

As AI currently lacks the capability to perform off-page SEO and is unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future, it’s crucial to evaluate its usage in light of the most effective current strategies. We will also outline how AI may change these tactics going forward.

1. Create share-worthy content for an effective off-page SEO strategy

This is the most common tactic peddled by digital marketers but also the most misused and misunderstood. Creating great content on its own won’t get people to share it. Moreover, telling someone to create great content is like telling a wannabe musician all they need is to have a great voice and songs. That’s just not the case. Ask Peter Andre.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create newsworthy content. For example, if you are a health testing company you could share data insights around the impact of certain foods on your gut. At Antlerzz, we are a specialist agency for health brands. Therefore, we share content about online trends like the supplement Methylene Blue skyrocketing 300% in interest in the US. This has seen us being published in the leading publication on Longevity Science. Yet, to get your great content seen, you will need to be more proactive which can be seen in the steps below.

However, be warned. Some digital marketing experts will tell you to use AI to create brilliant articles. Do not do this. Tools like ChatGPT and Gemini will aggregate information found elsewhere. In the end your content will just be the same as everyone else’s.  

Search engines like Google have already started cracking down on AI-generated content. Moving forward they will become smarter at detecting it. Using AI to create content runs the risk that your website gets seen as being spammy. Therefore, if you want to use AI consider using it to brainstorm ideas or even find gaps in your competitor’s content.

The types of content that can help with your off-page SEO strategy include:

  • Surveys/data
  • Industry reports
  • Niche insights
  • How to guides

 However, the bottom line is that you need more than great content to start ranking.

Getting links has for a long time been the bedrock of off-page SEO. The concept is simple. If many people link to your content, it must mean it’s of high quality and importance. Right? This formed the basis of Google’s early PageRank algorithms.

Unfortunately, by the noughties, some unscrupulous SEO experts decided to game the system. Known as Blackhat tactics, they were spamming websites with links to their content to rank higher. For a period of time, it worked.

Yet, in recent years things have changed. Google has updated its algorithms to become more sophisticated at detecting black-hat tactics. Yet, backlinks have continued to play an important role. The more backlinks you get from trustworthy websites the more likely your content is to rank highly.

However, with advancements in Google’s AI algorithms, the importance of backlinks appears to be falling further away. In 2023 at the Pubcon Pro conference, Google Search Team analyst, Gary Illyes claimed “you need very few links to rank pages…over the years we have made links less important.

Moreover, this trend has continued. In March 2024, Google updated its spam policies and wrote “Google uses links as a factor in determining the relevancy of web pages”, which differed from earlier documentation that said it was an “important factor”.

As per Google’s documentation, it remains a factor. Therefore, links are important. However, they need to be natural. The worst thing you can do is buy links or spam websites. If you are looking to outsource link building, this is something you need to be careful of.

Moreover, you may find platforms claiming to be driven by AI that will help you build backlinks. From our experience, most of these platforms use the word AI loosely. Simply put, they are platforms that identify opportunities for you to reach out and ask for a backlink. However, asking for a backlink is not as simple as you may think. Webmasters get many requests from SEO’s and getting in touch with the right person can be time-exhaustive.

However, with the advancements in Google’s AI algorithms, it is likely backlinks will continue to diminish in importance. Google’s use of natural language processing and its algorithms’ understanding of what your content is about, is likely to drive further importance to quality content over backlinks. More importantly, they are likely to get better at understanding other factors such as your influence on other social platforms. 

To build natural backlinks, your focus should be on creating content that adds value to other websites. However, it’s also important to understand your existing influence in a field. For example, imagine you write a brilliant article about how cold-water therapy can help with mental health. If you are an unknown brand, it’s unlikely websites like Healthline will use your content as a source and give you a link. However, some of the most common backlink methods include:

  • Creating skyscraper content
  • Finding broken backlinks
  • Identifying unlinked brand mentions
  • Outreaching to companies in your niche and asking for a backlink

Yet, it’s important to understand how each of these works and when and how you can use them.

3. Building a local presence for off-page SEO

Have you ever wondered why Google gives you a list of local businesses when you type something like “best coffee shop near me.” It’s true that the search engine giants have become more intelligent at understanding what is happening in different locations. Yet, a key part of this is optimising for local SEO.

Creating and optimising local SEO profiles such as Google Business and Yelp pages with accurate and relevant information helps strengthen your online visibility. This is especially true for businesses looking to drive traffic from a specific locality.

So, for example, if you have a health clinic in the Chelsea area of West London, creating a Google Business page can help people in that area find you. This is especially powerful if you are one of the few businesses in that location. Creating a local presence also offers you the chance to build additional credibility by collecting reviews.  

However, be warned about the use of AI. At Antlerzz we have spent time looking into different platforms that claim they will automatically add your website to different directories. Adding yourself to a directory also offers backlinks. However, it’s not always clear which directories you will be added to. In the end, you may end up with spammy backlinks that harm your off-page SEO strategy.

4. Utilise PR to drive your brand awareness

Getting mainstream press coverage can really help drive your online presence. Not only do you get a valuable backlink, you also get brand awareness. This can lead to more organic traffic as people search for your company.

However, getting press coverage is difficult without a budget or prior media contacts. Yet, that shouldn’t stop you. Imagine you are a start-up selling state-of-the-art CGMs that can help people with their gut health. It’s likely you have a story to tell or insights that may grab attention. Therefore, you could consider:

  • Answering journalistic queries. Platforms like Connectively and Featured allow you to find and answer questions from journalists. Whilst this may not be a story about your CGM, it can help you build up your reputation as a thought leader
  • Guest blogging. Writing articles for trustworthy websites is an effective way of getting noticed. However, this should not be used as an advert. Instead, provide data insights from your CGM or industry analysis. For example, Antlerzz data insights have found online interest in CGM’s has grown 200% in 2 years. This is a great news story for people in the health optimisation industry. Just make sure you focus on writing for publications in your niche.
  • Press Releases. There are digital PR platforms that charge a lot of money so you can send journalists press releases. However, these are not effective unless you already have built trust and authority. Therefore, consider finding a handful of journalists and building a relationship with them.
  • Twitter. The hashtag #Journorequest is used by journalists on Twitter to find sources for their stories. Follow your chosen journalists to provide them with information whenever you can.

AI platforms for PR to improve your off-page SEO

Since building relationships with journalists and writing content for blogs can take time, many people decide to try and take shortcuts. In recent years this has seen some companies emerge claiming to offer AI platforms that can target journalists more effectively.

However, these platforms are unlikely to drive the results you want. Journalists receive hundreds of emails a day and unless they know you, it’s difficult to get their attention unless you have spent time building a relationship. Therefore, AI platforms are unlikely to transform your online presence.

5. Building your digital eco-system to drive your off-page SEO strategy

As AI algorithms become more advanced in search engines the role of other platforms will increase. Therefore, start building your presence elsewhere. The two key components of this off-page SEO strategy are:

  • Social Media
  • Online Reviews

Firstly, building a social media presence can foster a loyal and interactive following. Active engagement on social platforms can signal trust to search engines, especially if you have a large following. Going forward the importance of social media platforms will increase as the AI algorithms are enhanced to understand these social signals more effectively.

However, whilst it’s tempting, it’s important not to fall into the trap of using AI to drive your social media presence. Using AI in social media needs to be carefully understood. This means you will need to build an effective social media strategy and understand how to grow your followers on platforms like Instagram in an organic fashion.

Secondly, social media reviews provide positive signals to search engines that your products and services are trustworthy. After all, why would Google want to rank the content of a company that has poor feedback at the top of their search results? Doing so also impacts people’s trust in Google, impacting their ad revenues. Today, the algorithms are not perfect but it can still happen. But going forward things are set to change.

Therefore, building a strong digital ecosystem is likely to be one of the key ranking factors in the next few years. This will include everything from your own social media presence and online reviews to your presence on other people’s social platforms and their trustworthiness. This will include podcast appearances in which influencers are talking about your brand. It’s time to start building and networking.

6. Driving off-page SEO excellence with the physical world

There is a tendency for most digital marketing advice to overlook the importance of the physical world. After all, it’s just a case of creating a great website and social media presence and everything just works right? I mean, kids today have it so easy because anyone can create a million-dollar business…

This is the biggest load of nonsense I have heard since the millennium bug. The truth is the physical world and digital world directly impact each other. Stop thinking of them being separate.

Therefore, consider how you can leverage events and activities happening around you. For example, this may include:

  • Speaking at industry events
  • Submitting your work for awards and recognition
  • Sponsorship
  • Joint marketing ventures with other brands
  • Conduct training courses
  • Perform joint projects with charities or complementary businesses

In truth, your options are endless and will depend on the type of business you have. For example, a health clinic may decide to offer free consultation to people with a specific condition in a joint partnership with their local health provider. On the other hand, an NMN supplement company may partner with a health testing company to work on a joint project or speak at a health optimisation event.

By doing many of these physical world off-page SEO activities you are likely to attract press attention, backlinks or social media mentions.  Consequently, they can help you to rank on Google.

The future of off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is critical if you want to rank highly on search engines. Yet, this is likely to become more complicated as we see advancements in AI. Google’s algorithms are getting smarter and understanding user intent. Therefore, there will be a greater focus on original niche content.

However, many of the old principles around backlink building will remain, albeit they will become more advanced. Search engines will still want to see you are relevant in your industry and other people are talking about you. However, rather than backlinks these will be increasingly replaced by your authority across multiple channels from social media to review websites.

Therefore, it’s important to start building your off-page SEO presence today. Using AI offers some minor benefits such as helping you to brainstorm or organise your content. But the reality is that user-facing AI tools are not currently advanced enough to transform your off-page SEO strategy. Moreover, it’s unlikely AI will ever be good enough that you don’t need to work on it yourself.

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