online-vs-offlineInterested in search engine optimization (SEO)?  Well, conventional wisdom dictates that you must focus your efforts online if you want to improve your online search engine rankings.  Seems obvious right?

That’s why there’s so much information about on-page optimization, article marketing, video marketing, link building, blogging, guest blogging, and other online strategies to boost your search rankings.  If you invest enough time and energy online, then eventually you’ll improve your online marketing.

However, that kind of thinking completely ignores all of your off-line opportunities to improve your SEO. And many businesses actually have large untapped off-line resources that can jumpstart SEO campaigns.

I know what you’re thinking… “Phil’s been sipping too much eggnog this holiday season. How the heck can you improve your SEO using off-line tactics?

Well, I’m not going to waste time arguing that first statement, but let me answer that second question..


How Off-Line Tactics Can Improve Your SEO

In order to explain how off-line tactics can improve search engine rankings, I need to give a quick primer on SEO.  Since the dawn of Google, the prevailing factor in ranking websites has been hyperlinks.  If my website hyperlinks to your website, then I’m telling Google that I know, like and trust you.  I want my website visitors to go check you out, and I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t think you had a quality website.

So, Google looks at the quantity of hyperlinks from other websites to your website.  Plus, Google looks at the quality of the websites hyperlinking to your website.  Obviously, if higher quality websites are hyperlinking to your website, then that gives Google confidence your website deserves to be ranked at the top of the results.

Now let’s put this all together…

If you have a relationship with someone who owns a high quality website (i.e. a friend, business partner, associate, etc.), then all you have to do is ask for a hyperlink to your website.  No need for fancy SEO tools here.  Just pick up the phone and see if there’s a creative way to get a hyperlink.


Real World Example

Let’s take a look at a real world example, so you see this in action.  Two years ago, I was brainstorming ideas to get more hyperlinks for one of my private clients’ websites.  I knew this client was an adjunct professor at the law school he attended so there was a strong off-line relationship already established.

Therefore, I  contacted the school’s Alumni Association and I was able to establish my client as the “Alumnus of the month” for the law school’s magazine.  And in the process, my client received a hyperlink on the law school’s website. That’s an extremely valuable link for SEO purposes because Google (like everyone else) considers college websites to be very authoritative.

Unfortunately, there’s no online SEO tactic that could have established a hyperlink on this particular law school website.  The only way was through creative off-line networking and that’s why this tactic is so important.  So, the next time you’re brainstorming ideas about how to improve your online search engine rankings, don’t forget about your off-line relationships!