The difference between on-page and off-page SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an ever-changing process, and since search engine algorithms change all the time, you need to update your digital marketing efforts just as often. Understanding how search engine optimization works, and what its main categories and elements are, can be extremely helpful here. In this article, we will focus on the two different types of SEO, both of which are equally important and necessary for success. Now, what is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, and how can you benefit from each?
What is on-page SEO?
Just like its name suggests, on-page SEO is the optimization of your pages and other content on your website. Whatever we do directly on our website to make it more visible and improve its ranking can be considered on-page SEO. Some of its elements are less popular now than they used to be, but they are still crucial for meeting search engines’ standards.
Some essential on-page SEO factors include:
- Meta description
- Title tags
- Alt text
- URL structure
- internal links
- page performance
Keywords used to be the most critical factor in search engine optimization. Even though some other elements have stolen their popularity, keywords are still the foundation of optimization. After all, they are the best way to reach your target audience by giving them the info they need. Ensure that you are not overusing them since that is one of the practices that are no longer useful.
This is a short description of the content that follows. A meta description consists of a few sentences that should be interesting enough to attract your audience. It should also include your targeted keyword to be recognized by search engines.
The title tag is the main title that your visitors see when your content is among the search results. Naturally, it should include the chosen keyword.
For those visitors who use screen readers to get the full impression of your content, you need to include alternative text to describe every image. Incorporating the keyword here as seamlessly as possible will help your content rank better.
This on-page SEO element has little to do with user experience, but a bit more with search engine crawlers. URLs should include your targeted keywords and be as short as possible.
If readers are interested in what you have to say, their visiting time will be longer. Direct them to other pieces of your content by including internal links. Crawlers value them more when the anchor text is relevant to the linked content.
You can have the most exciting content in the world, but if it takes too much time to load, nobody will bother reading it. Your content should be optimized for all devices on which it is available. Investing in your digital marketing strategies and losing your prospective customers just because your website is not mobile-friendly makes no sense.
As you can see, the on-page optimization is what you can do to make your website better for your audience and search engines alike.
Off-page search engine optimization
Off-page SEO is what you do outside of your website to make it rank better. In other words, on-page SEO is showing what you know, while off-page is more about who you know. It is all about connections here.
The main factors of off-page SEO include:
- domain authority
- social activities
This is the strength of your website in comparison to others. The factors considered here are your domain name’s history and how long you have had it (without alternating it), the number of quality links and broken ones, etc. While there is nothing you can do about your domain’s past, backlinks are the aspect you can work on – make them better or remove them if they are corrupted. Do this regularly, and you will improve your domain authority.
Backlinks are an essential element of off-page optimization. To have top-quality backlinks, you need them coming from the most relevant websites in your niche, or in general. The number of websites linking to your content also matters. Just like in real life – the more people talk about you, the more popular you become. Search engines can tell poor-quality backlinks apart from good ones, and, naturally, they rank them differently. Getting the most popular websites to link your way is a great thing, but you can benefit from linking towards them too.
Google does not rank all backlinks and mentions the same way. Search engines give better ranking to those backlinks that appear more natural than they do those that are clear examples of affiliate marketing.
Being visible on social networks is crucial for your ranking and your overall popularity these days. When someone shares your content on social media, search engines recognize that people find it useful or interesting and automatically give you a better ranking.
Other ways you can differentiate between on-page and off-page SEO
There are some more ways to tell on-page SEO apart from off-page. For instance, in terms of ranking, on-page optimization is what you rank for, while off-page is how high you rank. On-page can be compared to what you do, and off-page is how good you are at what you are doing.
On-page and off-page SEO – which one is more important?
When in doubt about choosing your next SEO firm, you can ask them which side is more important. If they choose any, you should know better than to hire them. Working on one aspect and disregarding the other will bring little to no results, so the answer is clear – you need to put in just as much effort in on-page as you do in off-page SEO. They are interlocked and one drives the other.