Off-Page SEO is all about increasing the amount of inbound links (backlinks) from other websites, but making sure these are 'quality' links from high value websites.
Off-Page SEO differs from On-Page SEO, which is the practice of optimising your actual website and its content.
In simple terms, Off-Page SEO is where you increase referrals from elsewhere on the Internet and On-Page SEO is the optimisation of your actual website.
Is Off-Page SEO Important?
Off-Page SEO (sometimes called Off-Site SEO) is very important as it's a direct indicator to search engines about how important your website is to other users on the Internet. Every backlink to your website is essentially an endorsement from a 3rd party site, suggesting they perceive your website as quality and worth linking to.
When there are 2 competitive websites, site A and site B, both targeting the same target keywords and both sites score exactly the same with their On-Page SEO, considering there is only one 'Position #1' in the search engine results pages (SERPs), which site will rank higher? Site A or site B?
Assuming all other key SEO indicators that the website owners have control of also score the same, the only real indicator left to differentiate the ranking position is that of Off-Page SEO.
Because of the Backlinks and Social Signals that site A has, the search engines will determine that Site A is more valuable to users and therefore more likely to rank site A ahead of site B in the SERPs.
In summary, a website with great On-Page SEO but poor Off-Page SEO is akin to a well stocked, brilliant department store with very few visitors.
Types of links for Off-Page SEO
There are 3 types of links for Off-Page SEO. The one's you haven't asked for (Editorial links), the ones you have asked for (Requested links) and the ones you've done yourself (User-generated links).
When it comes to SEO, getting quality backlinks you haven't asked for is the goal for all for most, if not all site owners. With editorial links, someone writing content for their own site has made the decision to link to your web content - they typically either follow your business or brand, they discovered your web content via a search engine, or they've been sent a link to your content by a colleague. Either way, to get an editorial backlink from a quality source is like gold dust.
Requested links can have the same weighted SEO value as editorial links, but they can be very difficult to get. It's likely that the people you're reaching out to, such as journalists, publishers and webmasters, are also SEO savvy and may well be wary of linking to your content for fear of damaging their own SEO score. Again, a backlink of this nature is like gold dust.
These types of links are, in many cases, from low quality sites and are therefore more likely to be the backlinks that the search engines either ignore or don't apply much ranking weight to. This is largely due to the fact that these types of links are created by you, with the goal of promoting your own web content and improving your own SEO. The search engines don't include self endorsement as a ranking metric, as their primary objective is to produce SERPs based on merit.