On-Page Vs Off-Page SEO: What’s the difference

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Search engines results are the primary source of traffic driven to websites; representations that search engines provide targeted traffic – people looking for what you offer. Whether search engines ultimately send value visitors to your website depends on two things: The searchers – what they are searching for and the relevance of the keywords they type in for your site and the ranking your site gets in the search engine result pages. With 59.3% of all internet users using Google as their primary search engine, and a study done by marketing research firm Forrester Research stating that 93% of traffic on a website comes from a search engine, or search directories, search engine rankings do make a difference. This study further reinforces the fact that the number one factor that will determine what sort of traffic and amount a website will receive will be the search engine in most cases. Being at the top of the search engine results page, and getting the additional traffic will provide a website with more revenue potential. People today are doing more searches than ever and have come to know and trust search engine results.

Search Engine Optimization, usually referred to as SEO, is the method of growing the amount and quality of movement to a website from search engines via natural or search results for keywords. The higher your company’s website ranks on Search Engine Result Page (SERP), the more searchers will see your website, and thus the more traffic you will get since more people will visit your site.

Importance of SEO in digital marketing

SEO, an abbreviated form of search engine optimization, is a process of enhancing the visibility of a website on search engine ranking. It is the effort of a marketing professional to attain a top ranking in the search engine results page of some specific search term. In the 21st century, SEO has become a credible alternative to the conventional methods of promotion. High quality traffic to any website can be increased using various SEO tactics and this is the only medium through which a website can reach a broad audience. SEO is also perceived as a smart investment at a time when the marketing budget is facing decline, this is during the current global economic slowdown. This is because SEO is relatively cheaper than other advertising methods, which provides a high return on investment compared to other strategies. These are a few reasons which show the importance of search engine optimization in online marketing. SEO has two main categories which are on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Each requires different tactics to attain high search engine rankings. This essay will explore the differences between the two and their effectiveness in attaining high search engine rankings.

Definition of On-Page and Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO service refers to “measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings. It is the effort taken on the website and is directly related to the website.” On-site SEO, in simple optimization, consists of the steps taken to ensure that search engines understand the content and structure of the site, to give the site the best chance of ranking highly. This includes writing high-quality content that is relevant to the key terms you’re wanting to rank for, but at the same time useful and informative to your readers. Another is the optimization of titles, URLs, and descriptions, as well as the many tags that are hidden in the back-end of the website. Basic on-page SEO will use all of these tags to inform search engines what the website is about, providing the best chances of ranking highly for certain key terms.” Fixed factors for on-site optimization include having a high-quality site and great content, and is essential before moving on to off-site optimization.

Optimization of website content

When considering on-page SEO and optimization of website content, the most important factor and the most time consuming is keywords. Keywords are the terms or phrases that potential customers will input into search engines in order to find your website. It is important to ensure that you have plenty of these terms within your site, in order to increase the visibility and ranking of your website. The key to keyword research and placement is to find keywords that aren’t too generic, but are still frequently searched for. The aim is to get as high a search result as possible, but if you use a keyword such as ‘software’ for example, it is highly unlikely that your website will be on the first page of the search engine results. This is especially true if you have a new website. The higher the competition on a certain keyword, the longer it will typically take to achieve high search rankings. This could be months or even years; time that could be better spent optimizing for a keyword with less competition. Once you have established the keywords, they need to be placed strategically throughout the site. These include: headers, title tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords, image alt text, the URL and in the on-page content. Be careful to not overuse them however, as this can lead to search engines applying a ‘keyword spam’ penalty, which will see the site’s ranking decrease. This was a common occurrence pre-Google Panda and Penguin updates, but is far less frequent today. Although this is only an SEO technique, this can be classed as a useful practice that can be incorporated across the entire marketing mix. An increased awareness and understanding of the general terms or phrases that your potential customers are using will help to better shape your company or product towards customer needs.

Keyword research and placement

The aim here is to find popular keywords with low competition. Alt tags are also an area where keywords can prove to be efficient in driving targeted traffic to your website. This, in turn, will promote a higher chance of sales or whatever the purpose of your website is. Alt tags are used on image links and can be seen when the mouse is placed over the image. Therefore, using keywords to describe the image or product will generate targeted traffic.

Title tags should be placed on all web pages and should be created to fit that specific page in question while also using one to two keywords. Keyword research increases the probability of a search engine finding your website. This is because accurate keywords will generate targeted traffic. SEO book keyword research says that the secret to finding the best high traffic keywords is to develop a specific niche, then search and review keywording data. This research should be ongoing as a change in demand within various search engines will usually create a change in demand for your website’s content.

An important aspect of on-page SEO is also researching for potential keywords that have a high chance of being used by any online user. These are words that can help search engines direct individuals to your website. It is essential to place these keywords in specific areas of the website such as title tags, headings, alt text, and body content. This will, in turn, assist internet users in finding what they are looking for on your website.

Meta tags and title optimization

Title and meta tags create an impact on the on-page factor. They are pieces of code which are ‘not seen’ by the users visiting the site, but provide the search engine with important information about the website. The title tag of the page is the first and most important factor in on-page search engine optimization. It is a piece of HTML code that resides in the section of the web page. The title tags should always be placed within the <head></head> tags of the HTML code. This is an important tag to optimize around the keyword. Each title tag should be unique and contain the keyword for that particular page. Optimizing the title tag is one of the main factors in on-page SEO and it should not be overlooked, the title tag should be informative to the topic of the page but also not too long. A rule of thumb is to not exceed 60 characters as this is approximately the amount of characters that search engines display on their search results. Meta tags are tags used to provide structured metadata about a web page. Meta tags will not affect the appearance of the web page visible to users, but provides coded instructions to web crawlers and are a vital component for on-page SEO. Consider creating meta tags as providing the search engine with a title and summary of the page. The most important meta tags are the meta description and meta keyword tags. The meta description tag is a brief and concise summary of your web page (30 words or less), meta descriptions are displayed when the web page appears on the search result. Ensure your meta description is unique and also contains your keyword. Although the meta keyword tag has lost popularity as a prime factor in on-page SEO, it still is a method to provide the search engines with relevant keywords for the page. This tag should not be cluttered with keywords and should be monitored every few months for changes to the relevancy of the page. These tags should also be placed within the <head></head> tags, an easy method to locate and modify these tags on any web page is by using the View>Page Source option in the internet browser.

URL structure and internal linking

Another aspect of on-page SEO is the URL structure and internal linking of your website. Having a good URL structure is important as it helps the search engines to index your website and provides a relevant description of the page to the reader. Notice the URL for this page. It has a descriptive URL which includes the keyword that you are trying to rank for. This page can be useful to both the reader and the search engine. Contrast this with the URL for the Wiep.net search engine optimization page. This URL does not give the viewer or the search engine any information on what is on the page. This is why it is important to change dynamic URLs to static relevant URLs. It has been debated whether this gives any advantage in terms of search engine rankings. The general consensus is that it is useful because of the relevancy a URL gives to a page. Static URLs are also easier for the end user to paste into a blog post or article, as the URL is more likely to work. It is also easier to link to a specific page of your website. The ability to internally link pages within your website is also a useful way of improving on-page SEO. The anchor text of the internal link is very important as it enables search engines that crawl through your site to determine the content of the destination page. Say you have a website about how to play guitar, and you have a page which has a user guide on guitar chords. If you have a link on a related page which has the anchor text “guitar chord chart”, this will be of benefit to the destination page as the search engine will associate the destination page with the anchor text. This can also work for ranking for specific keywords; however, care must be taken not to over optimize as this may look like link spamming and result in a penalty.

Off-Page SEO

Self-created links are links that you have acquired by creating the link yourself. This can be through blog commenting, forum posting, etc. These links are considered the worst kind of backlink, but they are still useful to some extent. An example of a self-created link would be if you were commenting on a blog post and you decided to link to your website. While self-created links do not carry much weight, they are safe and can be used to diversify your backlink profile.

Manually built links are links that were acquired through deliberate link building activities. This can be through emailing a blogger and asking for a link, asking a site owner with a broken link to a competitor’s site to link to your corresponding content, etc. While it is arguable that Google has stated that all link building activities are against their TOS (bookmarked for citation), manually built links are safe and will have a positive effect on your website. Manually built links are also the most common kind of backlink in competitive niches.

Natural links are links that you have not had to build yourself. Search engines consider these links as the best kind of backlink a website can get. An example of a natural link would be if webmaster A was reading a post on webmaster B’s blog and found the post to be very informative. Webmaster A then decides to link to the post so his readers can also read it. This link would be considered a natural link by webmaster B. Natural links are great for your website’s reputation and can also bring in a lot of traffic. Because of this, natural links are the best kind of link.

When it comes to off-page search engine optimization, link building is the most popular method. When going about their link building activities, most webmasters (as well as SEOs) will focus on the following 3 types of backlinks: natural links, manually built links, and self-created links.

Building high-quality backlinks

Obviously, unique amazing high-quality content makes the off-page SEO way much easier. By this content, mostly people will notice about the website and create a link to the content. For instance, some bloggers link to interesting study or research in an article. It’s called a free backlink from the blogger. And also, good quality content can make its own viral and get a lot of benefit for the website. So you can get both backlinks and ROI (Return on Investment) from the content. If you don’t have an idea how to create high-quality content, you can hire a professional writer to make the content. Remember, always check the article using Copyscape or plagiarism software to avoid a bad reputation because of bad and copied content. This is the best and safest investment for your website. Writing or creating content should also be done periodically. The freshness of an article can affect the reader, whether the author is still active and concerned with his website or not. If not, it will probably reduce the chance to get a backlink from other people.

Social media engagement and promotion

Cause a reaction. If you get people talking, then they will share or link to the content. You could even ask friends or colleagues to help get the ball rolling if you have just started up a new site. This factor ties in with what we suggested earlier about the need for quality content. If it’s good enough, it should speak for itself, but there is no harm in giving it a push in the right direction.

Requirements for SEO change frequently, and this is something you need to take into account, so you should always be aiming to stay ahead. Always try to reinforce your brand on social media platforms. You might not get any visitors straight away, but imagine that you will at some point in the future, and the availability to share content from new audiences is nigh on impossible with just site development alone.

Social activity increased dramatically when Google was discovered to have access to Twitter’s fire hose at the beginning of 2015, but in recent news, they have been reported to have lost access which resulted in new contracts with IBM and Apple. In the past, there have been many conflicting messages about whether or not social media has factored into search engine rankings, but Rand recently tweeted that Google does not use social signals in its ranking algorithms. This doesn’t mean that it won’t be put into place soon, so if you can generate a substantial social media presence, it will be beneficial for the future.

Back in 2010, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land stated that social media links were similar to backlinks and that they may soon factor as ranking signals. Over the last few years, research into social media and SEO generally reaches a dead end, but in his 2011 Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin gave out some very useful information. Rand encouraged viewers to have an experiment with manipulating social media to see the effects on search engine rankings, a task which is entirely possible with new websites. He also stated that it was important to look for both direct and indirect benefits. An example of a direct benefit would be an increase in rankings from received Facebook likes, and an indirect benefit might be an increase in links from a more visible piece of content.

Many people are of the impression that off-page SEO is just about building links, which is incorrect. There are many things that you can do off your website to increase your search engine rankings. This post now looks into social media for the first time, with a slightly different message. A very shrewd question at the beginning of the video asked “are tweets indexed by Google?” which should lead to an interesting SEOmoz blog post soon!

Guest blogging and influencer outreach

Influencer outreach is much about getting others to create content on a company’s behalf. A great influencer can be seen as a potent advocate for a brand, and if their image and message are in alignment with that brand, it can be a highly effective method of disseminating a targeted message reaching a broad yet well-defined audience. This method should require the influencer to behave much like a guest blogger, with that the SEO and content created can be monitored to ensure that it is in alignment with its goals. An influencer may simply be asked to share a piece of content created elsewhere, or ideally they will create something themselves hosted on their site or other web property. This is something that would require the creation of content assets and calls for a content strategy parallel to link building and keyword strategy.

Guest blogging can take many shapes and forms, and the same can be said for influencer outreach. Pairing with another company or organization to post content can provide value in numerous ways. Whether it provides a direct lead to sales or simply broadens the content to a different yet relevant audience, a brand can look to do this in many areas. Examples might include writing a guest post on someone else’s blog, an interview or podcast, or building a website on a partner’s domain. This should also be a consideration for on-site and off-site SEO work, as it would provide tactical information for the SEO to develop content around certain topics for a relevant audience and add towards an overall strategy for link building and content marketing.

Understanding the synergy between On-Page and Off-Page SEO

Building upon this point, there’s really no argument that off-page SEO is intended to manipulate the factors of the site itself and the factors others use to describe it for the purpose of changing search engine performance. An example of this would be that changes to anchor text and inbound link quality have a direct effect on the site and page being linked. If this is representative of changes to on-page SEO for the linked page, it will in turn raise the position of specific terms.

Proof of this can be found in testing the theory out on a website with Google Analytics. It’s likely that the landing pages for traffic from different sources such as keywords, AdWords, or incoming links via other websites usually represent similar traits to the queries or means in which the traffic was facilitated. This is paramount to the essence of on-page SEO, where changes are representative of changes in traffic source. Because search engines only display a cached copy of a page, it’s impossible to directly track changes in on-page SEO. However, testing the landing pages for various keywords and comparing these to the original content provides a good indication of the changes in relevance to specific terms. High-level changes of this nature can have a direct influence on the time Googlebot spends on a page’s visit during its deep crawl. This is good because it makes a strong correlation between on-page content and the time it takes to increase the ranking of a specific term.

The distinction between on-page and off-page SEO is an artificial one because the two are both dependent on each other for success. It is widely believed in the industry that before off-page SEO can be successful, on-page SEO needs to be right first. It’s like that old saying, how do you expect someone to love you if you don’t love yourself first? This is a similar connotation to the on-page/off-page relationship. Slightly amusing analogies aside, this is because the changes made on on-page SEO are what search engines use to decide what a website is about and which terms are relevant to a site. Which in turn provides answers for the questions in which an off-page campaign seeking to target specific terms seeks to raise the position of.

The role of Sotavento Medios in providing SEO services

Sotavento Medios began its journey with a strong interest in digital marketing and a goal to assist businesses in achieving success online. As the field of SEO and digital marketing progressed, we have made a conscious effort to stay ahead of the competition and offer top-notch services to our clients. With years of effort, commitment, and a focus on quality, we have become a prominent digital marketing agency in Singapore. Our team of professionals is knowledgeable in the latest SEO and marketing techniques and is committed to delivering outstanding outcomes for our clients. The story of Sotavento Medios is one marked by passion, diligence, and a dedication to supporting businesses in their online endeavors. We provide various SEO services that can cater to your needs.