Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing your website’s content in a way that improves its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) While SEO may seem daunting for those unfamiliar with its processes, it can effectively increase traffic and sales over a period of time.
If you do any research on the subject of SEO, you’ll quickly come across the terms “on-page” and “off-page”. Without a clear understanding of these terms, putting any SEO strategy into practice will be difficult and likely ineffective.
On the other hand, understanding these terms and the individual benefits that each of them brings will help you implement strategies and plans that will help your organic search rankings increase. Here’s what you should know about on-page SEO vs off-page SEO.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is the more familiar of these two terms. It focuses directly on your website and optimizing its content to improve rankings. It includes common terms like:
- Keywords in your page title and page copy
- Optimizing the meta description to increase visibility in the SERPs
- The use of HTML code and alt tags
On-page SEO is all about the content on your web “pages”. The clear organization of your web content allows search bots to easily sort through and categorize your content in a way that is easily accessible later on. On-page SEO means knowing what those bots look for, and including it in your site.
What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO, while similar, deals entirely with optimizing everything that is NOT included on your website. You can increase your visibility and rankings without making changes to your site. Common off-page SEO practices include:
- Backlinks from another site
- Promotion methods
- Social media posts
- Email campaigns
While both types of SEO deal with different components, the end goal remains the same, which is to improve your rankings and draw more traffic to your site, therefore increasing your sales and profit.
Examples Of On-Page SEO
Even though there are similarities between on-page vs off-page SEO, they both possess several different strategies that can be employed for your benefit. Here are a few examples of on-page SEO.
The content on your site will directly impact your rankings as well as your bounce rate. Good content that is relatable will draw traffic, whereas poorly written content and blog posts will cause people to avoid your website if it even shows up in the SERP.
One of the most famous aspects of SEO, keyword research allows you to include certain phrases in your content that are most frequently searched in relation to your product or service. This will increase your site relevance and improve your ranking.
The title tag is the title of your web page or the heading that shows up in the SERP. It should be clear and accurately describe what your page is about. This will increase your click-through rate (CTR) and send more traffic to your website.
This is the short description that appears under the URL in the SERP. It gives a brief description of your web page and should catch attention and give the consumer reason to want to visit your page and find out more. Try to keep your meta description under 155 characters as any longer and part of the message will be cut off.
Search engines can’t see images, they can only see text. Alt tags allow you to add text to an image which improves its chance to show up in google images results. For example, say you write a blog about fishing and you use a graphic that illustrates a fishing knot as the featured image. Adding alt text that says “tying-a-fishing-knot” will let that image rank for that key phrase.
Internal linking is an important part of on-page SEO as it makes it easier for search bots to navigate your website. As an added bonus, it keeps users engaged longer as they can easily find pages and topics related to their initial search.
While this doesn’t directly deal with content, it can be an indicator of poor performance. Page performance allows you to monitor your website and identify weak areas such as pages that take too long to load. That can frustrate users and increase your bounce rate. Poor website performance can negatively impact your ability to rank well.
Mobile-friendliness is necessary for any website because 63% of all Google searches are made on a mobile device. As a matter of fact, Google made mobile-first indexing the default for web pages in March. Making sure that your website is optimized for mobile use will allow for better rankings and less frustrated users.
Examples Of Off-Page SEO
Just as on-page SEO includes several different areas that could be addressed, so too does off-page SEO. Here are a few areas you can get started with.
One of the best ways to improve your rankings with off-page SEO is through the use of backlinks. When other sites link to yours, it increases your domain authority, which then increases your rankings. A few great ways to get backlinks are:
- Guest blogging
- Seeking out contacts who would share your links in exchange for your sharing theirs
- Guesting on a podcast
- Industry communities such as forums
- Hosting events
Domain authority is a number given to you by Google which essentially works as a grade. With a scale of 1-100, Google gives preference to websites with higher authority. There are several aspects that can affect your domain authority score including:
- How long you’ve had your domain name (longer is better)
- History of your domain name
- Broken links
- 404 pages
Social media can generate a lot of traffic as you post links to pages and articles. While this isn’t technically SEO, it certainly impacts your traffic and ability to rank well as it can drastically improve link shares.
Google My Business
Google my business lets you see your website and rank well in the local area. The ability to rank locally is more important for some companies than others, such as restaurants and retail stores. However, all companies should reach their area first before branching out.
Pay-per-click and SEO go hand in hand as PPC is part of a good SEO campaign, especially for newer companies. If you have good content on your site, using PPC to promote that content will generate a lot more traffic which can improve backlinks and other SEO ranking factors.
While these lists are not exhaustive, they do include the main features and components of on-page and off-page SEO. IF you’re finding yourself overwhelmed at the prospect of handling all of these areas, don’t stress. SEO doesn’t have to be done all at once. Pick one or two of these areas to begin working on and as your business grows you can continue working on others.
If you need help or advice on putting together and proceeding with an SEO strategy, reach out to a digital marketing expert today!
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