On-page vs. Off-page SEO: The Key Elements of Each

On-page vs. Off-page SEO: The Key Elements of Each
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: October 16, 2022

Brands may rank on search engines through multiple techniques. Some may work, while some won’t.

A comprehensive SEO company strategy is one of the strongest investments in an online visibility campaign. SEO is mainly categorized into two, and understanding the difference between on-page and off-page SEO is a huge step in the right direction.

Here are the basics of on-page vs. off-page SEO.

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What Is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, includes techniques focused on optimizing website aspects that are under your control.

Search engines recommend the best websites for users. On-page SEO ensures that your website page content is crawled, indexed, and understood while improving visitors’ experience.

It refers to optimizing different website aspects that improve search engine rankings. The SERP ranking is determined by factors such as site accessibility, page speed, keywords, optimized content, title tags, and others and helps implement the same changes on the website.

Factors Affecting On-page SEO

On-page SEO elements include:

#1: Title Tags

On-page SEO requires putting your targeted keywords in your site page’s title tag.

Some of the best practices include:

  • Limiting the title to 55-60 characters (including spaces)
  • Pushing the keyword closer to the title beginning (only if it fits naturally)
  • Avoiding keyword stuffing
  • Including the brand name at the end of the title

#2: URL Structure

Putting the keywords into the URL makes it easier for a user to navigate from one page to the other.

However, brands should refrain from changing old URLs unless they are redirected to the new ones. It will be wise to consult a professional for the same.

Here are some best practices:

  • Labeling directories and folders
  • Limiting the use of keywords to only once in the URL
  • Keeping URLs as short as possible
  • Not including redundant keywords

#3: Adding Alt Text to Images

Alt texts are an attribute that contains the text description of the image. They aren't visible to the website visitor. Their primary aim is to provide description for blind users via screen readers.

However, search engines also use alt texts to gauge the relevance of the content. Since search engines crawl the internet for relevant content, adding relevant keywords that accurately describe an image will be helpful. It also complies with the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

These are the best practices when writing an alt text:

  • Comprehensively describe an image in 8-10 words
  • Include targeted words where it sounds natural
  • Include a geo-locator if required

#4: Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals is a real-world metric that helps quantify users’ web experience. It is the newest Google on-page ranking factor.

Core Web Vitals measures essential metrics such as interactivity, visual stability, and load time.

Improving these aspects signals the search engines that the site has a positive user experience.

#5: Page Content

Content is and will continue to be king!

The page content must be relevant and useful to the readers while also making it easy to look for a specific aspect of the page.

For instance, long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter ones. Hence, long-form is ideal for increasing search engine rankings.

Besides adding value, it must also be easy to read.

The usability metrics are as follows:

  • Add at least 500 words of copy. Search engines prefer having great content around a keyword.
  • Copies for each page must be unique rather than identical or copied, while accurately addressing visitors’ search queries.
  • Add the keyword at the beginning of the title (only if it sounds natural).

#6: Social Tags

Content shared across social media platforms signals relevance, credibility, and significance.

However, not every page can be share-worthy, but brands can still optimize the pages accordingly.

The best practices include:

  • Adding open graph tags and Twitter cards
  • Adding social share and “tweet this quote” buttons

#7: Page Experience

Providing a positive user experience is imperative for higher rankings. It is affected by aspects like safe browsing, mobile-friendliness, and HTTPS security.

The above factors make the internet experience accessible across web browsers and improve website performance in terms of mobile expectations.

#8: Internal Linking

51% of marketers notice a positive effect of general link-building strategies after implementing them.

Internally linking the content to other web pages is beneficial for visitors and search engines alike.

When adding internal links, ensure adding a relevant anchor text, which is a clickable text in a hyperlink (usually in blue font and underlined).

The anchor text used for internal linking also tells search engines what they should expect from the destination page and its relation to the linked content. However, it is crucial that the page or content is relevant to the linked page.

A good SEO strategy helps search engines index the website, understand the site’s intent, and navigate the website content and structure, which ranks the website accordingly.

A best practice is to include 1-3 relevant links on each internal page.

#9: Fast Load Speed

Search engines help users find what they are looking for quickly. Hence, optimizing your pages to load faster improves search page rankings. The speed can be improved through images, JavaScript files, caching, and compression.

PageSpeed Insights, a Google tool, analyzes the site on desktop and mobile devices and suggests tips to improve it. These suggestions fix the aspects that slow down your website.

Here are ways to improve load speeds:

  • Set browser caching to at least <200 ms
  • Place all CSS in an external style sheet
  • Minimize the HTTP requests
  • Enable Gzip compressions

#10: Mobile Friendliness

Quick mobile loading is also a crucial ranking metric.

Mobile-friendly sites shrink to fit the size of the device, allowing easy navigation and access. This helps prioritizes user experience through responsive design, easy navigation, and fast page speed.

This can be easily done through a Mobile Usability Report which identifies key website issues.

What Is Off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO strategies focus on promoting the site and brand and increasing the domain authority by obtaining links from other websites.

In simpler terms, these tactics promote the content on third-party platforms across the web. This prompts more discussions about your content in different online communities.

Off-page SEO can be optimized through:

  • Social media marketing
  • Inbound links
  • Guest blogging and guest posting
  • Influencer marketing

Here are some off-page SEO best practices to build links to your website:

  • Including high-quality content that people want to link to their website
  • Content being shared on social media that generates links
  • Outreach emails to industry influencers in the niche relevant to you
  • Guest blogging on relevant sites
  • Link quality is more important than link quantity and is a key factor in determining results.

Brands should refrain from buying links, as that may lead to penalization from search engines. Brands may also be penalized for submitting links to link directories whose main purpose is to increase domain authority.

Factors Affecting Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO aspects include:

#1: Backlinks

Backlink quality and quantity are essential to determine search engine rankings. Its importance has led search engines to have dedicated and multiple algorithms that fight link spam and schemes.

Likewise, increased backlinks to a page lead to higher search rankings and organic traffic, helping the brand look authoritative and credible.

Hence, building links, assessing backlink quality, and conducting link audits are substantial to improve search engine rankings.

#2: Google My Business

Google My Business allows businesses to easily provide crucial information to their audiences.

The information includes address, service areas, contact information, business type, and open business hours. This helps sieve results for Google Maps and Google Local Pack.

With this, local businesses can increase traffic within their specific geographic location.

#3: Unlinked Mentions

Unlinked mentions refer to your company or website’s name being mentioned on other sites without linking them to your website.

Consistent online noise makes it impossible for every brand or website to include a backlink. However, unlinked brand mentions still maintain their value by working as citations for brand authority and trust.

#4: Social Media

Social media is essential for online promotions.

It helps consumers find a website and engage with it online, allowing the brand to reach an increased customer base. Moreover, Google can index social media pages on platforms, so consistently posting can increase rankings.

#5: Building Social Proof

Social proof ensures credibility, which can be done through reviews and testimonials. A Google Business Profile for the company or website can help with the same. A business profile also has a built-in review feature.

Another social proof marketing that helps build trust is conducting surveys and publishing results on the website.

Besides testimonials, partnerships with other brands or influencers help significantly.

On-page vs. Off-page SEO – Key Takeaways

On-page and off-page SEO strategies are complex to implement without a strong process but promise rewarding results.

Rather than choosing only one strategy to rely on, ensuring a good balance between on-page and off-page SEO is crucial. Choosing only one strategy between off-page and on-page SEO means going strong on one front while lagging on another.

Balanced SEO strategies helps earn backlinks, improve domain authority, and more.

Regardless of the strategies in SEO – on-page and off-page – learning the ins and outs of the strategies is substantial to align the market plan with a brand’s current SEO best practices.

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