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Off-site Search Engine Optimization
Off-site Search Engine Optimization refers to activity outside of the web site pages. In their constant pursuit of excellence in providing the most pertinent results, the Search Engines are more and more looking where else the web site is mentioned.
If such mentions include a link to the web site (the home page or any constituent page) and provides a clickable link, this is referred to as a "backlink". The more of these backlinks that the Search Engines find, assuming that the links are relevant, the more they assume that your web site is an "authority" site and relevant for the keywords you are optimizing for and hoping to be found under.
Google has a ranking algorithm that gives any given web page a score of between 0 and 10 with 10 being the best. (NOTE: A ranking may not mean that your site has ranked badly but rather, that the site has not yet been found and indexed by Google).
You can use this free tool to check the page rank of your site or any site you may be considering as a source of backlinks.
Check Page Rank of your Web site pages instantly:
This page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service
Backlinks from sites with higher page rankings themselves carry more weight than backlinks that originate from sites with a lower ranking (They all count though!). Likewise, if they can be obtained, backlings from governement (.gov) sites and education (.edu) sites carry a lot more weight.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ also provide great opportunities to provide backlinks to your site and should be considered as an integral part of any optimization plan.
YouTube and other video, podcast or article sites are also ideal sources of tailored backlinks.
You can check what backlinks already exist for your site with tools such as iWebTools Backlink Checker