Search engine optimization (SEO) can help search engines and your audience find your website. There are many factors determining SEO, some which you can control, and others which are more unpredictable. Some of these factors are influenced by individual technical aspects and content on your website, while others are influenced by aspects outside your website. Comparing on-page SEO vs off-page SEO means looking at your website’s search potential from all angles.
On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO: What Is It?
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO includes all of the factors that you can control on your website. Some of these are technical aspects, such as how quickly your website loads and the code supporting it. Other on-page SEO factors are influenced by your content; the words that you choose, how you organize them, your images, and formatting choices. When it comes to on-page SEO vs off-page SEO, on-page SEO factors are generally easier to address.
The following is a basic list of on-page SEO factors that you can change to make your website and individual pages most appealing to Google, other search engines, and your audience.
- Keywords: choosing the keywords and phrases that your audience is most likely to use in a search will help your content appear, but this is far from the only aspect.
- Thorough content: If your content is short, cursory and doesn’t provide much information for your audience, it’s unlikely to rank well.
- Headings: Using proper formatting for your first (H1) heading and later (H2, H3, H4) headings will help to organize your content in ways search engines can understand.
- Page load speed: Visitors won’t wait around for your page to load, and high bounce rates will cause your page to lose rankings.
- Images and alt-text: Though search engines can’t “see” images, they can understand the alternative text behind them, and this can help SEO. Your alternative text should contain your keyword.
- Meta description: Your meta description shows what your content is about before users click on it. This should also contain your keyword or phrase.
- URL and title: Your page title and URL should also contain your keyword or keyphrase, so it is clear right from the start what your content is about.
- Site structure: Streamlining the structure of your site, such as combining similar pages, removing low-content pages, and simplifying your site hierarchy can help search engines crawl your pages faster and help your pages load faster.
- Site features: Some features, such as some plug-ins or very large images, can cause your site to load more slowly. Others, such as pop-ups that appear immediately on the page, will cause SEO penalties. Removing or optimizing these can improve your overall SEO.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO are activities that occur outside of your page, but which still influence your SEO. Many of these have to do with links pointing towards your site and shares on social media. When comparing on-page SEO vs off-page SEO, there are fewer off-page SEO factors, but they tend to be more difficult to control. However, there are strategies that you can use to improve these factors.
Off-page SEO factors include the following:
- Backlinks: Links to your website from others are like votes of confidence. These backlinks show that other sites find your content to be reliable and informative. For this reason, backlinks are vital off-page SEO factors.
- Social shares: Cultivating a strong social presence and then sharing your content can help to expand its reach. When you are an active part of a relevant community, you can reach your target audience in an organic way and increase your traffic, which will ultimately help your SEO.
- Domain authority: The legitimacy, reliability and accuracy of your website, among other factors, determine your domain authority. Websites with greater domain authority tend to rank higher in search results.
On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO: How to Improve
How to Improve On-Page SEO
When it comes to on-page SEO vs off-page SEO, on-page SEO factors are generally easier to improve. This is a good first step to take when you’re working on building up your SEO. Here are a few ways to improve your on-page SEO.
Start With Your Site Architecture and Features
First, take a closer look at your pages. It doesn’t make sense to optimize pages you’re going to delete later, so this is a good first step. Audit your content and look for the following across your site:
Errors: Use your server logs or Google tools to look for errors. This can improve your crawl rate, site speed, user experience, and more.
Redundant or low-content pages: If multiple pages cover the same or similar topics, combine them to create one thorough, high-impact page.
Organization: If it takes more than three clicks for a user to get to a page, they’re unlikely to find it. Try to organize your pages in a simple, straightforward and accessible way.
Optimize Your Pages
Once you have your best pages organized in an intuitive way, improve them. Use these on-page SEO strategies to get the most out of each of your pages.
Choose keywords and keyphrases: Conduct keyword research to choose general and specific keywords and phrases that users are most likely to search. Any page intended to be found in a search should have a target keyword or phrase.
Format properly: Use H1, H2, H3 etc headings properly. Separate paragraphs, use bulleted or numbered lists and other formatting features to make your content organized and engaging.
Meta descriptions and title: Give each page a meta description and title that contains the keyword or phrase.
Images: Give each page at least one image and include your keyword or phrase in the alt-text.
How to Improve Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO factors are more difficult and will take more time to improve than on-page SEO factors. For these improvements, you’ll be relying on others to notice your content, but you’ll also have to reach out. Since your audience and colleagues are unlikely to spotlight or share poorly-written or laid-out content, make sure your site, pages and posts are optimized.
Work on Backlinks
Backlinks are an essential part of SEO. To build backlinks, reach out to websites that might benefit from linking to your content. You might start by researching backlinks towards competing posts. If your content is better written or more thorough than your competitors’ posts, the content authors may be inclined to link to your content instead.
Contrastingly, you might look for posts or pages without any links or references to content like yours, and ask for a backlink. When you make these inquiries, focus on being helpful and informative. Emphasize what your content offers to the web author and their audience.
The goal of SEO is to reach your target audience and ideal customers. Your audience and customers may already be involved in online communities aimed at sharing information and communicating with colleagues. Being active in these communities can help you share your website, services and content with a larger audience.
Choose your communities carefully and consider the audience, content, and best practices of the community beforehand. Participate and focus on being helpful, instead of simply sharing your content. Spamming these communities without considering the community may get you banned.
SEO improvements don’t happen overnight. As you make on-page SEO vs off-page SEO improvements, be patient, and give them time to work. Use SEO tools to monitor your progress and make sure you’re moving in the right direction. If you hit a wall, or you’re not sure how to make these changes, enlist the help of experts.