Do you want to boost website traffic and rank on search engines? Using the right SEO strategies is the best approach, but they are complex and constantly updated. Therefore, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques may need to be clarified for new digital marketers or business owners.
It would be best to understand that we have two primary and different SEO strategies. There is On-Page SEO, which focuses on work done on the website, and Off-Page SEO, which deals with any effort made outside your website.
Even though each SEO strategy uses a different approach, the end goal is to dominate your rankings, boosting website traffic and increasing online revenue.
In this lengthy guide, I’ll discuss On-Page and Off-Page SEO, the differences, ranking factors, and their importance in dominating your rankings.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-Page or On-Site SEO are actions made on your website and are under your control. They influence where your website appears on the search engine results pages (SERP) when someone searches online for a word or keyword phrase through Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
Examples of On-Page SEO are:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Content creation
- Image optimization
- Internal links
What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-Page or Off-Site SEO are actions done outside your website to improve your rankings on the SERPs and are beyond your control. It can be challenging to perfect, but its effectiveness can be much better than On-Page SEO.
With Off-Page SEO, you don’t have to be present on your website for it to work. This is because it mainly focuses on backlinks directed to your website from other websites.
You can calculate your website’s authority over other sites through Domain Authority. In other words, Off-Page SEO tells search engines and users what other people say about your brand.
Examples of Off-Page SEO are:
- Brand mentions
- Social media shares
- Guest posts
- Influencer marketing
On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO
Now that we explained On and Off-Page SEO and listed a few examples, it’s time to go into more detail on what makes these strategies different.
It should be clear that On-Page SEO focuses on what’s done on the website, like creating content, while Off-Page SEO is any technique done outside the website and involves how that content is received.
I’ll break down each category to understand their differences and discuss the elements or ranking factors involved.
On-Page SEO Factors
On-Page SEO ranking factors are basic techniques a site owner uses when optimizing web pages to improve rankings on top search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Performing more on-page SEO optimization will increase your website’s traffic because Google and other search engines recommend ranking web pages to online users.
Here are On-Page SEO ranking factors.
1. Title Tags
Title tags (or page titles) are the HTML part on the SERPs that defines and tells readers what your page content is about.
When your title tags are relevant to search queries, Google recommends your content to users, leading to more clicks.
Ensure every title tag is unique, descriptive, and optimized with relevant keywords to display your web pages first on SERPs. They appear as a part of the clickable search snippet on SERPs.
Tips for writing effective title tags:
- Ensure your title tags have 55-60 characters
- Don’t stuff your keywords
- Add keywords naturally to the beginning of the title
- Include brand names separated by a piper bar (|)
2. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are usually just below the title tags and display a short, relevant summary of what a particular search result or web page is about. When you search for a query on Google, the results are displayed as title tags and their summary (meta descriptions).
They act as a pitch that convinces users to click through your site rather than selecting other links from search results.
Tips for writing clickable meta descriptions:
- Don’t use auto-generated descriptions: Sometimes, they don’t make sense and don’t display the information you want to convey to users.
- Add target keywords: It makes the meta descriptions more relevant and enticing to the searcher, leading to more clicks.
3. URL Structure
The next noticeable ranking factor is the URL structure which should mimic the actual content of a website. The small details in your URL are essential when maximizing your SEO techniques, giving your web pages a relevant description on the address bar.
An excellent example of a URL should be http://www.xyz.com/off-page-seo instead of http://www.xyz.com/12345.
From our example, you’ll notice the URL is optimized using the keyword Off-Page SEO and every term is separated by a hyphen.
The best SEO practices are:
- Keep the URLs short as possible
- Don’t alter old URLs
- Avoid repeating keywords in your URL
When creating SEO-friendly URLs, you can further group your pages into categories to help search engines like Google and users find the information they want faster.
4. Relevant Content
You can boost the chances of dominating your rankings with On-Page SEO strategies by creating relevant, high-quality content that will appear higher on SERPs. Then, Google Algorithms will display the best and most relevant content to users after a search query.
It would be helpful to create informative content with visually appealing layouts and images to serve its functional purpose of getting ranked on the first page of Google.
If you’re a blogger, you’ll want to stick to a niche you’re familiar with to establish credibility in your subject area. Also, keep your readers updated daily or each week with suitable content by producing new, relevant blog posts.
They specify the headlines and subheadings of your content when a website page opens, helping your visitors better understand your entire content’s description for easier reading. Headings fall under H1, H2, H3, and so on categories.
So, add relevant and optimized headings to your content and use the correct format for better search engine results.
Note: H1 is usually the post’s title, and the other subheadings are denoted as H2 through H6.
When writing the headings, avoid stuffing them with keywords. The best SEO strategy is to incorporate keywords naturally in the headers to enable readers to quickly find your content on the first search engine results pages (SERPs).
6. Images and Alt Text
Images make a web page more exciting and easier to understand. You should optimize the images using lightweight, high-quality ones because search bots favor them.
Add image descriptions through an Alt tag to help search engines understand the image. The Alt text for images is not visible to the average visitor, but it also helps users understand the content of your images.
To optimize your images for search engines, you should include a keyword in each image description of 8-10 words.
It’s arguably understandable that images might lower your page loading speeds, especially if you have many of them on a single page. However, you can use a CDN (Content Delivery Network), which uses several servers to boost page loading speeds.
7. Page Loading Speeds
Optimizing your pages to load faster on a web browser helps your website rank higher on search engine results and provides the best experience to your visitors.
Also, ensure your pages are mobile-optimized because most searchers use their mobile phones to access the web for information. With over 5 billion mobile internet users, mobile-friendly pages will significantly boost your rankings on search results.
Smooth navigation encourages users to read and share more content on your page, creating a loyal fan base.
You can use Core Web Vitals to monitor your site performance by accessing page loading times and stability. Once you get your Core Web Vitals score, optimize your site by implementing lazy loading or caching.
8. Internal Linking
It involves linking to other pages on your site to help visitors find more in-depth content about a particular subject or topic. You should use a proper anchor text that tells users what to expect once they click the link.
Internal linking also helps search engines understand the content on the destination page for easier indexing so that the page ranks higher on the SERPs.
What’s more? You can include a call-to-action link that lets visitors know what to do next or a link to product pages where users can directly purchase products from your site.
The longer visitors stay on your website, the higher your conversion rate will be.
Why Is On-Page SEO Important?
First and foremost, On-Page SEO helps search engines like Google and Bing understand your website content and decide whether it matches a user’s search intent.
Once the search engine determines the relevant content, your website will rank higher on SERPs for that particular search query.
When you incorporate proper On-Page SEO ranking factors in the recommended way, you can dominate your rankings on the SERPs. Therefore, you can turn your visitors into potential customers and convert more leads.
Other On-Page SEO benefits are:
- It boosts your website’s overall search engine rankings
- It impacts your online business growth
- It helps increase website traffic
- It attracts target customers by consolidating potential visitors
- It is inexpensive because you only need to do proper On-Page SEO optimizations
Off-Page SEO Factors
Off-Page SEO involves applying strategies outside your website to dominate your rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Therefore, its ranking factors are quite the opposite of On-Page SEO since they focus on getting backlinks and mentions from other websites.
These SEO techniques help you establish credibility and authority when other websites give you that important exposure, helping search engines and users find your content faster.
Here are Off-Page SEO ranking factors.
1. Link Building (Backlinks)
Link building is the most important part of Off-Page SEO because it refers to other websites linking to your pages.
That can help your pages to rank higher on the SERPs because it enhances your site’s domain authority. Backlinks help your site appear more credible and authoritative in the eyes of search engines and users.
You should obtain backlinks from high-authority sites (70+ DA score) to build a solid reputation for your site. However, avoid link spam or schemes since Google uses multiple algorithm updates to fight these bad SEO manipulation tactics.
2. Brand Mentions
Another useful Off-Page SEO technique is brand mentions, which promote your site without using a backlink. This usually happens when an unaffiliated site mentions or cites your website without linking back to your site.
Brand mentions in articles, forums, reviews, podcasts, social media platforms, or case studies positively impact your search rankings.
Aim to create and share valuable information online and have other people with no direct connection mention or cite your content to boost website traffic.
3. Social Media Shares
Social media is the best platform to improve your Off-Page SEO tactics, get more attention, and grow your online presence.
You can share your content on any social media platform, including links, target keywords, and stunning images to drive website traffic and improve engagement. The more people share your content, the more likely search engines will recommend it to other users.
Note: Social media shares, likes, and comments are not a direct Google ranking factor. But they help your content get easily discovered online.
4. Guest Posts
Writing unique guest posts for other blogs or publications is an excellent Off-Page SEO strategy to add backlinks to your website. Also, you‘ll expose your brand to a different audience and gain mentions.
Submitting a guest post on a high-authority site that gets published signals the search engines that you’re an industry expert in that field. You’ll undoubtedly get a backlink from that high-authority website, boosting your site’s Google rankings.
You should analyze each guest post’s backlinks, social shares, and traffic to determine which topic or niche will attract new audiences.
5. Influencer Marketing
You can collaborate with popular social media influencers or bloggers to share your content or other services with a wider, new audience.
This strategy enhances your site’s social proof to new users, resulting in more clicks.
When users visit your site, you’ll receive many referring domains from a high-traffic site or platform, which boosts your overall search results rankings. Therefore, influencer marketing improves your Off-Page SEO authority when it gets your content in front of more people.
6. Local SEO
Local SEO is the best Off-Page optimization for online businesses with a physical location or service area.
It uses Google My Business and NAP citations to help users or customers quickly find information about your business, such as an address, phone number, working hours, services, and reviews. You’ll build trust and increase your site’s visibility on search engine results pages.
Here are a few tips when using local Off-Page SEO tactics.
- Provide accurate business information (location, contact information, services, opening and closing hours)
- Add your Google My Business profile to Google Maps
- Regularly add videos, images, and posts to keep your users updated
- Respond to all online reviews
Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?
Off-Page SEO focuses on quality over quantity. So, when your site earns trust and reputation from high-authority sites, your content will rank higher in search results. You’ll get the exposure your site needs to gain more organic traffic.
When done right, Off-Page SEO can improve your Domain Authority, which determines your site’s ability to rank in the SERPs.
Here is a summary of the importance of Off-Page SEO:
- You’ll gain trust and more recommendations
- More opportunities to turn new visitors into customers
- You’ll boost your online presence
- It’s a way to advertise your content or services to a larger audience
- Quality backlinks will boost your overall site authority and rankings
Optimizing your site with On and Off-Page SEO strategies can significantly impact your online business by dominating your rankings.
Remember that On-Page SEO involves strategies on your website, like creating high-quality content and optimizing page loading times. In contrast, Off-Page SEO focuses on obtaining quality backlinks and mentions from authoritative websites.
Therefore, a good combination of On and Off-Page SEO will increase your website’s visibility and help it rank higher on search engine results.