Offline SEO

When people talk about SEO, the conversation usually involves keywords, HTML tags, site architecture, links, content, social sharing, etc. But did you know that what you do offline can have a significant impact on your visibility in search?

You see, part of what search engines want to do is to mirror the real world. When someone searches for something, search engines want to deliver the most relevant, popular, authoritative results on the subject.

So, if you want to attract organic search traffic, you need to convince search engines that you, your pages, and even your profiles are the most authoritative on your subject matter.

Since becoming popular, authoritative, etc, is hard work, most people conclude that they need to “trick” search engines into believing that they’ve got credibility. So, they try to create artificial signals of authority. They beg, barter and buy all sorts “SEO stuff.” Things like links, followers, etc.

Of course, search engines are constantly evolving to better distinguish these artificial signals from genuine popularity and authority. But they’re not perfect.

So, what’s the point here?

Once you understand that long-term success with organic search marketing requires building authentic popularity and authority, it becomes pretty obvious that real-world recognition can play a large role in search visibility.

The easiest example of this to understand is simply providing excellent client experiences. Here’s how it works.

You provide excellent client service, your clients provide testimonials of your service on Google+, Avvo and Yelp. Search engines use these reviews and ratings in their ranking soup.

You provide excellent client service, your clients say thanks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Search engines analyze and incorporate this sentiment when considering how and when to serve up your profiles and pages.

You provide excellent client service, maybe one of your clients is a blogger. They write a post about how much they appreciate your help and link to your site so that their readers can find information about you. We all know that these organic editorial links are still among the most important signals that search engines use to quantify popularity.

So, it’s easy to see how creating excellent client experiences offline can have a significant impact on your visibility in search engines.

But while excellent client service should be the foundation of your practice, there are literally thousands of other things that you can do offline that can have a substantial SEO benefit.

Should SEO, links, shares and search engines be your primary motivation for taking offline action to demonstrate your knowledge, skill and experience? Of course not.

But for those of you who obsess about your search engine rankings, how many links you’re building and how many followers you’re getting, I encourage you focus on what you can do in real-life that can have an SEO impact.