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On-page SEO vs. Off-page SEO Primer

In the past 18 months the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the world’s shift online, making SEO more important than ever as even those brick-and-mortar businesses that had resisted the digital siren call realized they needed to beef up their online visibility to survive.

“Brands need SEO first, as it is the most viable and cost-effective way to both understand and reach customers in key moments that matter,” wrote Sam Hollingsworth in Search Engine Journal last month.

SEO, or search engine optimization, has had enough books, blogs and brochures written about it to fill an Amazon warehouse, but the topic is constantly changing as digital marketing evolves with new tactics.

In simplest terms, SEO is the process that helps your site rank high when somebody “Googles” the string of words that describeUntitled design (1) your business, product or service.

Search Engine Journal says, “The higher your site ranks, the more visible your business is, and the more traffic and sales your business is likely to generate.”

Of course, the fact that Google is constantly tinkering with its search algorithms, means that your SEO constantly needs tinkering.

“SEO is a never-ending battle to get more eyes on your website and convince Google that your site is worth sending searchers to,” says Loren Baker in Search Engine Journal earlier this year.

SEO Battle is Fought on Two Fronts: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO

The SEO battle is not only static, but it is fought along two main fronts: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Like any battle with two fronts, ignore one of them at your own peril.

“A good search engine optimization strategy will focus on both on-page SEO and off-page SEO tactics,” writes Stephen Hockman in SEO Chatter.

The difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO essentially comes down to a matter of control: on-page SEO refers to those things on your own site that you have control of such as content and headings, while off-page SEO occurs outside of your site such as backlinks and social shares.

On-page SEO and off-page SEO play different roles in how and where you rank on Google and other search engines.

“What you rank for is mostly determined by on-page factors, while how high you rank in the search engines is largely determined by off-site activities,” writes Hockman.

Understanding On-Page SEO

Once you determine the key words or phrases that you need to rank high for, then on-page SEO is completely in your control as you can tailor your HTML and content as needed.

Backlinko says that Google’s “How Search Works” report gives an insight to how important on-page SEO is: “The most basic signal that information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as your search query. If those keywords appear on the page, or if they appear in the headings or body of the test, the information is more likely to be relevant.”

On-page SEO includes such things as:

  • ALT Text
  • Core Web Vitals
  • Headings (H1-H6)
  • Image SEO (includes ALT text, filenames, captions, and title attributes)
  • Internal Linking
  • Keyword Frequency
  • Meta Description or Title
  • Mobile Experience
  • Page Content
  • Page Speed
  • Structured Data
  • Title Tags
  • URLs

Remember that adding quality, in-depth content to your site goes a long way to on-page SEO along with other actions such as making sure your code is cleaned up, your site navigation is streamlined, and your pages load quickly and are optimized for mobile users.

Understanding Off-Page SEO

While you may have less control over off-page and it requires a more nuanced approach, the payoffs can be immense.

“Off-page SEO is crucial for improving the relevance, trustworthiness, and authority of your website,” says Hockman.

TechTarget says that while off-page SEO may take longer to be reflected in search results, “the improvements are likely to last longer and to have a greater effect on the overall business.”

Examples of off-page SEO include:

  • Being Featured on a Podcast or Online Publication
  • Brand Mentions on Other Sites or in Social Media
  • Creating Assets that are Linkable, Such as Infographics or White Papers.
  • Cross Linking Your Own Sites
  • Domain Authority (including total number of links pointing to a domain)
  • Hosting or Participating in Industry Events Virtually or In-Person
  • Issuing Press Releases or Media Alerts
  • Page Authority
  • Requesting Other Sites Link to Your Content
  • Social Media Shares
  • Writing Guest Posts

At adWhite we understand that all your resources and time spent on developing a beautiful site will be wasted without the proper SEO. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business build quality content and social engagement that will improve both your on-page SEO and off-page SEO.