On-Page vs Off-Page SEO: What's the Difference?

On-Page vs Off-Page SEO: What's the Difference?

A well-optimized website generates targeted traffic and engagement.

But here's the thing:

It takes a lot of work to develop a great site. It takes even more work to get it ranking in search engines.

The two elements you need to explore are on-page and off-page SEO. These are what helps your site achieve higher rankings, more engagement, and greater success. What's the difference between the two? Glad you asked!

Let's deep dive into understanding the differences when comparing on-page vs off-page SEO.

Why We Need SEO

The early days of the Internet were mostly about discovery. It's why people would "surf the Web" because they bounce from site to site. There weren't many ways to index sites and pages outside of manual lists (like early Yahoo). Early attempts were made but it took the introduction of Google to start shaping the Web the way it is today.

Early search engines (even Google) used keywords to understand what a page was about.

While this indexing method sounds fine — it led to many unethical 'black hat' strategies. This mostly revolved around keyword stuffing, hidden text, and the like. It created a terrible Internet experience. 

The champions of ethical strategies and site best practices helped shape the Web.

Before long, Google could understand more about the page beyond just keywords. Search engines became sophisticated. Indexes now used hundreds of elements to contextualize a page. The result is what searches provide today, relevant info that's valuable to the user.

Search Engine Optimization is an adaptation to the evolution of search. 

What is On-Page SEO?

A webpage is a wholly different experience for humans vs search engines.

As a human, we see information, visual elements, sounds, and whatever else on the page. We're engaging with the content and so much more. For search engines, they see code and text. It's mechanical. It's a ton of data for processing.

On-page SEO is a way to:

  • Improve a web page for a specific topic and offer more value to users
  • Optimize a page so search engines understand what it's about so it ranks for desirable terms

Every webpage contains content. This is what users want and search engines need (to apply rankings). Great content has many on-page SEO elements by default because it's more likely to include lots of keywords and phrases. However, there are plenty of extra ways to boost a page's SEO value by way of on-page SEO tactics.

With on-page SEO, you can apply desirable keywords you want to rank for to:

  • Titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headings
  • Body content
  • Internal & outbound links
  • Media descriptions
  • Structured data

The simplest way to think of it is this: You're trying to create an amazing piece of (optimized) content around your topic.

The keyword supports this topic because they're relevant. These keywords also go into elements of the page search engines use to contextualize the page. The result is a better user experience AND stronger SEO value for the page.

What is Off-Page SEO?

If on-page SEO is a measure of what the content is about then off-page SEO is its perceived value. These markers tell search engines the "value" of a page based on the community at large.

Think of it this way:

A great piece of content (or product/service) people enjoy tends to get more mentions. More mentions are (usually) a great indicator that it's valuable. Mix in a touch of on-page SEO and you've got a page that deserves higher rankings.

Off-page SEO tends to include the following:

  • Backlinks (links from other websites)
  • Mentions (social media links and mentions)
  • Authority (trustworthiness, relevance, engagement)

Off-page SEO is still mostly focused on gaining quality backlinks from relevant sites. The currently popular method includes site outreach. The gist of this is to publish content on relevant sites that includes a link back to your website. The same result may be achieved by asking if fellow site owners would link to a resource you created.

One can choose to use services to achieve backlinks, too. This may include blog commenting, Web 2.0 properties, directory submissions, and more. (See our link building marketplace to explore some of the many other link building methods)

Prioritizing On-Page vs Off-Page SEO

Think of your website as the foundational asset all online efforts radiate from.

Your website is your hub. 

You want to ensure it's optimized the best it can be. Otherwise, off-page SEO efforts send people to a clunky, unoptimized site. You don't want that. So, you should focus on on-page SEO first

If you do anything — aim for the high-impact efforts:

  • Keyword and competitor research
  • Applying keywords to the title, meta, h1, and body content
  • Getting the page(s) to load faster and mobile-friendly
  • Following a strong interlinking strategy

Great content should be front-and-center to your on-page SEO efforts. This gives people a solid reason to visit and stick to the site. It also gives them a reason to share or a resource to link to from their site. It also lends to building your brand and authority.

Work on the off-page SEO when you're satisfied with the on-page elements:

  • Build strong industry connections and ask for mentions and backlinks
  • Publish great content on relevant sites in your niche to build authority and links
  • Explore link building and guest posting services to supplement your efforts

Search Engine Optimization is an on-going investment. Increased rankings may take many months. The ideal strategy is to do a little bit every day so that your site continually grows. 

Scaling Your On-Site SEO and Off-Site SEO Efforts

There's quite a big difference between on-page vs off-page SEO.

Now that you know what they are... will you put them to good use?

Start by assessing your resources and skillset. Then, apply strategies that fit your intent and budget. Keep with it and watch your traffic and conversions increase month-after-month.

Then: scale.

Leverage the amazing talent found through the SEOClerks marketplace. Here, you'll find everything needs to scale your on-page and off-page SEO efforts. From design and VA work to writing and more, SEOClerks is the best platform for success.

Get started today by creating a free account and exploring our SEO marketplace.

You May Also Like