Last week I discussed on-page SEO factors affecting rankings. I reviewed the top 5 websites competing for “calgary web design” and their on-page SEO elements. Then I summarized the key findings from this short study. This week I’d like to talk about off-page SEO factors affecting website rankings as these tend to be more important.

This time I’ll keep looking at the top 5 websites competing for the same key phrase “calgary web design”. Let’s first look at how the websites stack up against each other using Open Site Explorer (OSE) tool by SEOmoz.

Off-page SEO: Page authority by SEOmoz

Page authority is an overall score for a homepage in the case. Based on the OSE tool Wedge IM is in the lead. If you recall, this website has had #1 position in Google for the term “calgary web design”. The Wedge IM lead in this table tells us that Google does rank this website according to its Page Authority score. Three out of 4 other websites are following close behind with the exception of MediumRare, which ranks significantly lower on Page Authority by SEOmoz. The next logical question is: What are the key factors that contributed to a high PA score?

Off-page SEO: PA score and key factors

As you can see in the image above, there are 3 factors that has put Wedge IM in the lead here:

  • Followed linking root domains: The number of root domains that have at least one followed link to a page or domain. In other words, this is the count of all followed links from unique websites / domains that lead to Wedge IM homepage.
  • Total linking root domains: The number of root domains that link to a page or domain. Just like above but including the no-follow links too.
  • Linking C Blocks: A number of linking C blocks indicates link diversity. A significantly lower than “total linking root domains” number tells us that links are coming from same servers, and therefore indicating that links inventory is not diverse. In this case 579 is NOT significantly lower than 747.

Before we go further, here’s more on C blocks from itrogers.

It is not necessarily the case that the two are owned by the same company, but are related. Google uses these C blocks to determine likelihood of relationships if any.  Google would tend to assume that these two sites are related, since they are on IPs right next to each other. It would be even more so if they were on the same IP.

Links from the same C block aren’t necessarily bad. Just make sure ALL of your links aren’t from the same C block. If you own several sites it’s natural to link to your others. Google just lowers the value of these links so that people who own several domains don’t have an automatic advantage over others due to excessive linking. Basically, the more C blocks the better. 100 links from 10 C blocks probably won’t rank as well as a site with 100 links from 35 C blocks. I hope this helps!

You will notice the three measures above are significantly higher than those of the other four competitors. On the table above you will also see that there are other link measures on which competition outperforms Wedge IM in but apparently those are of less value according to SEOmoz algorithms.

Off-page SEO: Quick takeaways

So, what did we learn and what do we need to do to outperform our competition on off-page SEO factors. Here’s two important takeaways.

  1. Links from different websites is better than many links from the same website. If you regularly comment on 2-3 blogs / forums, consider adding more blogs / forums to your network.
  2. Having a large total links inventory is good (the more votes the better), however make sure that at least half of those links are followed links (no rel=”nofollow” specified). One of the best ways to get Followed links is guest posting on other blogs.

There’s definitely more off-page SEO factors that play a role in website rankings, but it is worth simplifying to: the more quality links you have, the better you rank. I’ll go into ways to gain those quality links in the future posts.

On-page + off-page SEO results summary

Now that we’ve gone through key on-page and off-page SEO factors affecting rankings, let’s summarize the points to see if WooRank and OSE tool by SEOmoz combined score gives us any relevant results we can compare with Google Rank.

You can see that #1 and #4 are matching what Google ranks and this website review of top 5 sites competing for “calgary web design”. Variations, although insignificant, do exist with results 2, 3, and 5.

Again, I do realize that this is a very simplified picture of off-page SEO factors affecting rankings, but keeping it simple helps keep sane when it comes to SEO. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to drop a comment here and let me know if you have questions.

Alex Zagoumenov - Free SEO Audit (Rounded)

Get a FREE SEO Audit + 30-minute actionable tips session

Want to know what you can improve on your site to start ranking better in Google? Let me look at your site and provide you with actionale insights on how to improve rankings. I want to make sure it's clear, so I'm willing to take another step and offer a 30 minute discussion call at no additional cost.

You have Successfully Subscribed!