On-Page Vs Off-Page SEO: How Both Can Affect Your Website
When you have your own business, the importance of your website can’t be understated. It has the ability to engage and convert with your target demographic if it’s done properly. There’s one thing you need to know about optimizing your website to maximize your traffic and conversion: on-page vs off-page seo.
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Slow down! What’s on-page SEO? What’s off-page SEO? We get it, you probably have so many questions. That’s what this article is all about. We’ll show you everything you need to know about on-page and off-page SEO and how they can be used to boost the amount of traffic you have on your website. Let’s get started!
What’s On-Page SEO
Let’s answer the first question: what’s on-page SEO? Simply put, that’s any optimization you can make on the specific page of your website. What does that mean? Below, you can see what’s considered an on-page optimization.
First Do Your Keyword Research
One of the biggest parts of optimizing your web page is to optimize it for a keyword, but how do you find which keywords you should use for each page. That’s where keyword research comes in to save the day.
Keyword research is the research you’ll do in order to find out which keywords you should write for. Tools like SEMRush and AHREFs make keyword research easy. They tell you the average amount of searches each keyword has per month, the amount of results you get when you search for that keyword, the difficulty to rank on the first page for that keyword and a guest-emate for the cost per click. Using these tools should allow you to find the perfect words to focus on for each page.
You can also use Google itself to find great keywords. When you enter a word or phrase into the search engine, you’ll see suggestions in the bar as well as the bottom of the page. These can be other keywords you can focus on in your content. That reason those topics are suggested is because they’re being searched by other users. Use that to your advantage.
Once you have the keywords you want to use for each page, you’ll need to optimize your metadata. Metadata includes title tags, headers, meta description, alt text and URL. How you structure these elements can make a huge difference on how your website ranks.
What’s the key to creating great metadata. Simple, use the keyword or related keywords in each of these. This tells Google, “Hey, this is the keyword I want to rank for. The content that follows will be related to this topic”. That’s a great start to your optimizations.
As we’ve mentioned above, metadata tells Google and other search engines what the content is about and what you want to rank for. However, you won’t rank unless the content that follows your metadata isn’t optimized for the same keyword.
You want to make sure that your content is optimized for the keyword you selected. First, make sure the keyword is in the first paragraph at some point. When the search engine crawls your page, it’ll see that keyword again and realize that your metadata is related to your content.
Throughout the article, you want to have the keyword. However, you don’t want to get too crazy with it. If you do use your keyword too much, that’s called keyword stuffing. While this use to be a strategy to rank in Google, it’s now frowned upon. The search engine bots are smart and want you to focus on a keyword while writing natural content. Stuffing the keyword isn’t natural and isn’t considered quality content. Search engines won’t want to rank content that it doesn’t find valuable very high.
So, what’s the target amount of times you want the keyword to appear in your content. You should shoot for around 1.5% – 2.5%. While that seems like a tough number to hit, SEO Yoast is a WordPress plugin that ensures you don’t exceed that percentage.
One thing that people don’t consider with on-page SEO is the technical side. Site speed is a huge part of ranking a page on a search engine. In fact, Google takes site speed more importantly than ever before. This is because pages with slow load times tend to have high bounce rates.
How do you improve your website’s site speed? The easiest way is to optimize all of your images for the website. Making them a certain size and quality will make sure you don’t have long load times. Same with avoiding large, auto playing videos and gifs – avoid them at all cost.
There’s also a much more technical side of site speed. The quality and organization of your website’s code can affect your page’s load speed. Make sure the coe is clean and you don’t have unused HTML, CSS or Jquery.
On Page Linking
Linking in your content is something that you wouldn’t think plays that big of a role on your website’s ranking but it does. When you link out to source, you’re telling the search engine that you didn’t make up the content – it’s 100% factual. It’s even better if you make sure to use sources that search engines find reputable based on domain authority.
You also want to make sure that you link to other pages on your website. It’s less about other people clicking on those links and more about search engines following that link to crawl more pages on your website. This is even more important if you’re linking to deeper pages on your website.
What’s Off-Page SEO
We couldn’t do an on-page vs off-page SEO post if we didn’t discuss off-page SEO. If on-page is everything you can do on your website to make it better, off-page SEO is what you can do off the website to make it rank better. While that may not make sense right now, we’ll explain how important it is below.
It can’t be stressed enough how important backlink building is for your website. Google weighs links heavily when determining the relevance and strength of your website. When you get links from website Google deems “authoritative”, it believes that you’re also trusted. The more links you get, the better.
The location of the link also makes a huge difference. Anyone can go to a blog and comment on a post with a link back to their site. While there’s a time and place for that, it’s important to note that these aren’t the most powerful links. Google and other search engines weigh in-content links higher than comment or navigation links.
Social media is another way to get on a search engine’s good side. With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn being so powerful, you want more and more social shares from these websites. This tells search engines that your content is engaging and relevant.
While directories and business listings can be seen as just another link for your website, it’s so much more. If you’re a regional or local company, you don’t want your results showing up halfway across the globe.
Having links on these directories that are specific to a certain location tells search engines that you want to show up for search only nearby. It also helps with local listings and Google’s local 3-pack (more on that below).
Where Does Local SEO Fit?
Many people who may have heard the term “local SEO” – where does that fit into the equation? If you aren’t aware, local SEO is how you rank in Google and other search engines local pack. These are typically accompanied with a map.
Local SEO is typically most affected by your off-page efforts. You want to make sure you get many directories and business listings from reputable pages. It’s also important to note that the name of the company, phone number, address and email address needs to be the exact same. Street and st are two different things.
What Does Technical SEO Fit?
While local SEO is mostly an off-page effort, technical SEO is mostly an on-page effort. This is something that is often neglected by SEOs because it deals more with the HTML and CSS of the website. It also has a lot to do with the technical aspects of SEO.
What’s all included in technical SEO? The efficiency of your code is crucial. You don’t want to have too much unneeded code because it takes more time to load your page. This is because the bots crawl your entire page before anything is loaded.
Other aspects include having a robots.txt file, creating a sitemap.xml, implementing schema and fixing any 404 errors. These are all things that need to be done on the backend of your website, making them on-page SEO optimizations.
On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO: What’s More Important?
It’s time to get to the entire point of the article: on-page vs off-page SEO! Which one is better? This may seem like a bit of a cop out, but neither is more important. You can’t have one be successful without the other – they work hand-in-hand.
For instance, it doesn’t matter how great your content is if Google doesn’t believe the domain is reputable. On the flip-side, if your website isn’t designed to be keyword focused, you probably won’t outrank many of the better written pieces of content.
It’s important as a small business owner to know how to perform both on-page and off-page SEO. If you can’t you need to hire someone who can. Your website and digital efforts are going to make a huge difference in the success of your business.