Everyone wants to be at the top of search engine results. The higher you rank, the easier it is to attract new customers. But that is much easier said than done and requires a targeted SEO strategy.
But before building your strategy, it is important to understand how the search engines rank. Search engines crawl your site and scan for two main categories. They look at what your site is about (the on-page stuff) and how reputable your site is (the off-page stuff).
But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is more important? Let’s dive in and explore the differences!
What is On-Page SEO?
- To put it simply, on-page SEO is optimizing your website features to improve its search engine ranking. It’s everything you can control and improve on your own site.
This is everything from site hierarchy, navigation, images, and so much more. This could be the visual content, but also the HTML source code. These elements help search engines understand what the content of your site is about.
Search engines will analyze your content and determine if it’s relevant to what the searcher is after. So if Google is able to better understand your content, they are more likely to recommend it.
Where your page shows up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) is greatly determined by the on-page elements. Here are a few on-page features and SEO techniques to keep in mind:
Title tags, also known as meta tags, will give the user and search engines a high-level overview of what your page is about. While it’s a myth that you need to keep within a certain length, we still say that keeping it concise and clear is always best. Aim for between 55-70 characters and make sure it’s clear what the page is about.
→ Make sure you use your target keywords in your title tags
The HTML Headings are signposts for the reader to follow. They give insight into what context is coming up on the page. Page titles are typically reserved for the H1. Being the largest words on the page, they convey to the reader what the meaning of the story is with just a glance. It is a good idea to use target keywords and limit them to one per page. All other HTML subheadings should be H2, H3, etc.
→ Using ample subheadings improve UX (user experience), and thus SEO, by clearly guiding your reader through your content in an easy-to-follow way.
People are busy and need information fast. Google wants people to be able to find information as quickly as possible and rewards websites that support this by ranking sites that load fast higher. There are many factors that could affect the load time, but one tip is to keep image size compressed.
Internal linking guides the searchers between pages on your site. This helps search engines understand the structure of your site. You are able to help the searchers navigate your site, gain more value from your content, and keep them on your site longer. This helps establish your site hierarchy.
There are several ways internal linking can be done:
- On the main and footer navigation
- Hyperlinks in content
Make sure that you are using appropriate anchor texts that are relevant to what you are linking to. And don’t go too crazy: too many hyperlinks are distracting and search engines may interpret it as spam.
→ These are just a few of the many techniques you can do to improve on-page SEO. To learn more, check out our detailed library of SEO blog posts.
What is Off-Page SEO?
- Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s presence on the internet beyond its own pages. It’s everything you do to establish authority and credibility, improving search engine ranking indirectly.
Most people associate off-page with link building, but it goes beyond that. It also includes activities such as crawl budget, XML sitemaps, Robot.txt, content marketing, social media optimization, and influencer outreach.
Off-page SEO helps to increase a website’s visibility and credibility in the eyes of search engines. It also boosts a website’s overall rankings in SERPs. Optimizing off-page elements can have a significant impact on your SEO.
How Link Building Works
Link building is at the center of off-page SEO. When others use your content or reference your site, it is a vote of trust that your content is good and credible. Search engines will use this data to rank sites. If lots of people are linking to your site, search engines assume that your content is good, and are more likely to promote it in the results.
You can develop your backlink profile by strategically reaching out to other companies or people to share your content on their websites. However, be careful because it could have a negative impact on your SEO if they are using spam websites or if your purchase links.
Purchasing links is against Google’s guidelines and may potentially result in not showing your site in the search results. The best way to build your backlink profile is to create good shareable content and build a citation list.
There are several tactics you can use to build backlinks for your website:
- Guest Posting: Guest posting involves writing content for other websites in order to build backlinks to your own website. This is a great way to get high-quality links that can help boost your website’s ranking.
- Blog Commenting: Commenting on other blogs and websites is another way to build backlinks. You can use this method to engage with other bloggers and websites and help build relationships.
- Forum Participation: Participating in online forums related to your niche or industry builds relationships and can help you get backlinks.
- Directory Submissions: Submitting your website to online directories can help increase its visibility and build links.
- Social Media Sharing: Nowadays, sharing content from your website on social media is the primary method to get more people to visit your website and link back to it.
With most people searching for products, places, or businesses that are in their local area, it’s important to improve your local SEO. That is the practice of improving your search visibility for queries with localized intent.
There are several local SEO tools like Google Business that help improve local search presence. With a GMB listing, you can add your shop locations, post updates, and highlight key products or services. When someone has a clear local intent (using a city, neighborhood, or “near me” in the query), your listing has the opportunity to show in both the organic search results and the map results.
Keeping your Google Business profile up to date is essential. Things like your opening hours, menus, and contact details should be regularly reviewed. Answering customer reviews is another important detail. Polite and helpful responses, no matter what the review says, go a long way in building trust with prospective customers. Timely responses can also help keep unhappy customers from shopping elsewhere.
What’s The Difference?
On-page SEO is what you can control on your own site, and off-page is the credibility you have outside of your site.
On-page and off-page tactics work together in a complementary fashion to improve search visibility. For your off-page tactics to work, you need to have a solid strategy for your on-page SEO.
We tell every client that we work with that you need to focus on the pieces of your website that you can control, then you can start looking outwards. Just like a house, you need to build a good foundation before you start putting the rest together. SEO is the same.
Improving your organic search performance is not about choosing between on-page or off-page SEO, but rather it’s about finding the right balance.
There are many parts to SEO and it can become overwhelming to navigate. Having a better understanding of the on-page and off-page SEO components will help you get the results you’re looking for. Both on-page and off-page SEO are important for improving a website’s overall ranking in SERPs, so the best SEO strategies target both on-page and off-page SEO.
Start with on-page SEO, improving your website’s content quality and structure while incorporating targeting keywords. Then focus on off-page SEO with appropriate link building, local SEO, and
It can be difficult to know where to start. That’s where we can help! Drop us a line and get in touch with us, so one of our team members can support you with your SEO strategy starting with an SEO audit!