Websites often fail to meet the expectations of their owners. People tend to think that if they build it, others will come. Unfortunately, this logic only works in the movies.
Building a competitive website requires a dedicated marketing strategy. You need to pay attention to what methods most effectively put your website on top. One of the most important areas is search engine results.
Many people find websites through search engines like Google and Bing. Search engine optimization is the method web designers use to create websites that will rank higher than their competitors.
SEO comes in two important forms: on-page and off-page SEO. Many people see these at odds with one another, which is why this article is all about the differences, advantages, and disadvantages to each one.
If you’re thinking about creating or updating your own website to make it perfectly optimized, read on to learn all about how on-page and off-page SEO might work for you.
On-page SEO is the old school version of search engine optimization. It is the thing that has put countless websites at the top of search results just by a few simple changes to the website structure.
On-page SEO relies on having a website that is easy for web crawlers, the bots that discover web pages, to index the site’s pages. If the web crawler has a difficult time going through a website, they’re more likely to make mistakes or miss important information and web pages.
Each search engine has a different way of determining which website will rank higher than others, but almost all of them take into account how easy it is for web crawlers to navigate pages. This means that SEO, in general, is extremely important.
The typical steps to increase on-page search engine optimization is through the site’s makeup. Web designers will do things like adding descriptive meta-tags, eliminate redundant content, establish a sitemap, produce clean HTML, organize content with headlines, and take other steps to make the site more crawler-friendly.
While on-page SEO can make the difference between your website and competitors, these days it’s not enough to be at the top. Sites like Google have long understood that a website’s make up isn’t the sole or most important indicator of the site’s quality. Search engines that are concerned with displaying top-quality websites will look at other factors as well.
This is where off-page SEO comes in.
As on-page SEO is concerned with a site’s main content and organization, off-page SEO is looking at the website’s presence outside of its own web pages.
In reality, this means that your website has an active role in the greater community of the Internet. This might be limited to its market space, blogs, social media, or other smaller communities that tend to group together based around similar topics and content.
To optimize this aspect of your website, the first thing you have to pay attention to is where the website is mentioned. Having social mentions or links are popular ways that web designers create this outside presence. Other people may mention your website or list it in a directory so others can find it easily.
Search engines measure this performance through backlinks. How often other websites link to your own can be a strong measurement of how popular it is in the virtual community. These links often prove that other people are talking about and going to your website.
Important Factors To Consider
There isn’t an immediate right or wrong answer to which one is better. Most web designers find that having a website that is optimized for both on-page and off-page is a safe and sound strategy to use. If you find yourself on the fence, think about these things to help you decide where to focus the majority of your time.
On-Page Is Often Required
Unless you have an existing website that is already competitive on search engines, it’s difficult to ignore the importance of on-page SEO. For many search engines, it is required to be listed competitively. Search engines concerned with quality websites and content are going to look for good on-page optimization as a sign that your website is worthy of being listed highly.
Most web designers understand this. Whether you’re designing your own website or contracting it out, it’s important to at least spend some time researching and determining how important it is for you. The safe bet is to simply optimize your website ahead of time.
Most on-page optimization techniques take little time and can be done while you are finalizing the content and HTML of the site itself.
Off-Page SEO Relies On Quality Links
Off-page SEO plays a very specific role in many digital marketing strategies, mainly boosting a website’s rank. It can be the fuel that a website requires to take it to the next level. On-page SEO will only take it so far before something else is required to increase overall ranking.
Since many search engines look to off-page SEO as a sign of a website’s quality, this can be an area where you can get the extra bump you may need. Focus on where your website is linked by others.
The important thing to remember is that quality wins out over quantity. In other words, it doesn’t really matter how many websites link back to your own. The quality of those websites is what is important.
If you can, try to choose which websites actually link back to your own. This is possible with many online directories, blogs, and social media mentions.
The more high-quality websites that link to your own, the better. You need to make sure that quality comes before the quantity in order to make the best of off-page SEO.
Both Can Raise Your Ranking
The final few considerations make the argument that you need both in order for your website to succeed. This isn’t a simple case of one or the other.
While you may choose to dedicate more time towards one specific strategy, having both will give you the best fighting chance you need to rank well.
Since on-page and off-page optimization focus on different areas of the website’s presence and ranking, you can easily use both of these at the same time. More importantly, both strategies lead to higher rankings on search engines when done correctly.
Think long and hard before you decide to focus exclusively on one or the other. You just might be shooting yourself in the foot when you don’t need to.
In an interesting article, Enleaf.com asked 18 SEO experts how they divide their time between on-page and off-page SEO and the different tactics they use. You will see that these experts all split their time differently and use mainly different tactics.
There is no set way to optimize your posts that will work for everyone, we all do something slightly different.
Both Require Consistent Attention
It’s also important to realize that any form of search engine optimization isn’t a one-time deal. Websites are constantly changing and updating in order to stay current with the times. Most website visitors even expect changes to occur.
As a website changes, its search engine optimization becomes out of date. This means that constant attention is required for on-page and off-page SEO. For on-page, this simply means keeping your HTML markup up-to-date, meta-tags in check, duplicate content down to zero, and the site organized overall.
For off-page optimization, you need to continue to monitor your website’s presence in the greater virtual world. Pay attention to who is linking back to you and what quality of website they are. If you ignore this outside presence, you may find that a greater number of low-quality websites are backlinking which can decrease your website’s performance overall.
Content Is King
Finally, remember the most important adage in marketing: content is king. This means that no amount of optimization is going to help a website that doesn’t provide useful, engaging, or important information to visitors. It’s difficult to sell a polished turd.
More importantly, content is one of the main reasons other websites will backlink to yours. Quite often, other websites find value in the backlinks that they include. They’re more willing to send their site traffic over to someone else who provides awesome content.
Don’t ignore your content in favor of optimization. The best web designers and owners know how to balance the needs of each category.
Getting The Job Done
As you can see, there’s a lot of different details to think about when weighing on-page vs. off-page SEO. For most people, it’s a balancing act. You should spend a little bit of time on each, with more time going to what’s most important to you.
If you believe that one strategy will benefit you more than the other, then try it out. If you make a mistake, you can most often undo it.
To make this work, pay attention to the results your actions produce. Positive or negative, you need to understand the consequences of your optimization on your website. Keep what works and try something else out when it doesn’t.
Personally, I always recommend carrying out the on-page SEO for every post you publish. To create an outside presence I also share my posts on social media. If you publish great content in time you will start attracting links or you can try a little blogger outreach.
Let us know how you achieve your best rankings in the comments section below.