Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a confusing and sometimes controversial topic for many new business owners. In this article we help you break down the differences between on-page vs off-page SEO, so that you can become a little more confident in achieving better SEO results for your website.
To begin, lets first understand search rankings. Search rankings play a key role in the amount of traffic websites generate. According to a study conducted by Zero Limit Web, websites that rank in the top five organic listings on Google account for over two-thirds of clicks for the respective search query. If your website ranks lower, fewer users will click it, meaning your site's traffic will suffer. You can perform search engine optimisation (SEO) to increase your website's search rankings, but you'll need to use both on-page and off-page SEO processes to get the best results!
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO encompasses a wide range of optimisation processes that you perform on your website to increase its rankings. Also known as onsite SEO, it's defined by where it occurs. If you change your website's content, design, code or technology in any way to increase its rankings, it's considered on-page SEO.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO, as you may have guessed, covers optimisation processes that you perform on other websites to increase the rankings of your website. Search engines use information gathered from the entire internet to calculate your website's rankings. When crawling the internet, for instance, they'll check to see how many websites link to your site. Off-page SEO encompasses optimisation processes performed on other websites, such as building backlinks.
How to Perform On-Page SEO
Assuming you publish it on your website, creating content is considered an on-page SEO process. Google and Bing both encourage website owners to create unique, high-quality content. Without it, your website will be of little or no value to visitors, so search engines will rank it low. Publishing high-quality content alone can yield a noticeable improvement in its rankings, but you should combine it with other on-page SEO processes for maximum benefit.
Optimising your website's title tags is an effective on-page SEO process. SEO experts know that title tags are one of the top three ranking signals used by Google. A title tag is a small piece of HTML code that tells search engines what a page is about. More importantly, search engines use title tags to structure the titles in organic listings. For valid HTML markup, each page on your website must have a title tag. Each title tag should offer an accurate representation of the page's content, with an ideal length of 50 to 60 characters.
While they don't carry as much weight as title tags, meta descriptions are an onsite element that can affect your website's rankings. Search engines use them to structure the descriptions in organic listings. Whether on Google or Bing, organic listings are generally comprised of a title tag at the top, followed by a meta description directly below. To optimise your website, create a meta description for each page that describes the page's content in no more than 160 characters.
You can optimise your website for higher rankings by building internal links as well. Internal links are hyperlinks published on your website that direct visitors to other pages on your website. It's not just visitors who follow them, though. Search engines also follow internal links. Therefore, building internal links will point search engines to pages on your website that they may otherwise miss.
Switching your website's network protocol from HTTP to HTTPS is another on-page SEO process that can increase its rankings. Search engines prefer to rank HTTPS websites at the top of the search results because they are more secure than HTTP websites. If your website uses the HTTPS network protocol, its traffic will be encrypted while in transit. To transition your website from HTTP to HTTPS, you must purchase and install an electronic document known as an SSL certificate.
How to Perform Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO revolves primarily around building backlinks. Also known as inbound links, backlinks are one-way hyperlinks on third-party websites that direct visitors to your website. Since they are created on other websites, search engines use them to judge your website's popularity and quality. If your website is popular and has high-quality content, other websites will link to it.
With that said, there's a right way and a wrong way to build backlinks. Search engines are adept at distinguishing between natural and artificial backlinks. If you pay a blogger or another webmaster to link to your website, search engines may devalue the backlink. In some cases, they may strike your website with a penalty. To stay in Google's and Bing's good graces, you should build natural backlinks by publishing superb content on your website and then asking other webmasters to link to it.
Alternatively, guest blogging is a digital marketing activity that you can perform to create natural backlinks. It involves partnering with third-party blogs where you write and publish unique content. The blogs with which you partner should receive content for free. In exchange, you can add a backlink to your site in the content you supply.
In addition to building backlinks, social media marketing is an off-page SEO. Many website owners neglect to promote their site on social media networks, believing it won't improve their site's rankings. Research conducted by Searchmetrics, however, shows that websites with a strong social presence rank higher than those with a weak social presence.
Finally, building brand mentions is an off-page SEO process that can help your website rise to the top of the search results. Like backlinks, brand mentions are published on third-party websites. The difference is that backlinks are comprised of a hyperlink, whereas brand mentions are not. A brand mention is simply a piece of unlinked text featuring the brand name of your website.
As long as your website has a unique brand name, it will benefit from brand mentions. Search engines associate brand mentions with popularity. If other relevant websites mention your site's brand name, search engines will deem it popular.
Don't limit your SEO strategy to either on-page or off-page processes. Instead, use both types of SEO processes. By performing both on-page and off-page SEO, you'll send positive signals that motivate search engines to rank your website above its competitors.
Developing your Organic SEO strategy for the future of your business, is as easy as booking a 1-hour consult with a Marketing Your Brand marketing consultant. Or enquire today for a digital marketing quote and we can do all the SEO work for you.