On-page vs. Off-page SEO

On-page vs. Off-page SEO
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: January 31, 2024

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. Understanding their differences is essential for anyone who aims to improve their online presence. 

What Is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, includes techniques focused on optimizing website aspects under your control, such as web page content, to improve its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It ensures that search engines can effectively crawl, index, and understand your site's content, while also contributing to user experience (UX).

Key factors that influence SERP rankings include accessibility, page speed, keyword optimization, content quality, and title tags.

Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

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 user web experience. It is one of the newest on-page ranking factors by Google.

Core Web Vitals evaluates key performance indicators (KPIs) such as interactivity, visual stability, and load time. Improving these aspects sends a positive signal to search engines, indicating that your website has good UX.

#5: Page Content

Page content should be relevant and valuable to readers and shouldn’t impair website navigation. Moreover, long-form content receives 77.2% more links than shorter pieces, so it’s ideal for boosting search engine rankings. The content should also be easily readable.

  • Aim for a minimum of 500 words per page, as search engines favor comprehensive content around keywords.
  • Ensure each page has unique content that directly addresses visitors' search queries.
  • Incorporate the keyword in the first paragraph of the content, but only if it fits naturally.

#6: Social Tags

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

  • Although not every page can be share-worthy, brands can still optimize the pages accordingly.
  • Add open graph tags and Twitter cards.
  • Add social “share” buttons.

#7: Page Experience

A positive user experience is crucial for higher search engine rankings. It is influenced by safe browsing, mobile-friendliness, and HTTPS security. These elements enhance accessibility across web browsers and optimize website performance for mobile users.

#8: Internal Linking

51% of marketers advise including at least two to three internal links, as internal linking benefits both visitors and search engines.

When interlinking pages, use relevant anchor text, the clickable text in a hyperlink, to guide users and search engines about the linked page's content. Ensure the related content is also relevant to the anchor text.

That said, internal linking is part of having a broader, effective SEO strategy, and done on its own might not yield the desired results.

#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.

Receive proposals from top SEO agencies. It’s free.

What Is Off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO focuses on external strategies to promote your site and increase domain authority, mainly through backlinks from other websites.

Off-page optimization methods include:

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

Off-page SEO best practices include:

  • Creating high-quality content that others want to link to
  • Sharing content on social media to generate links
  • Sending outreach emails to relevant industry influencers
  • Prioritizing link quality over quantity

Avoid buying links or submitting to link directories solely for boosting domain authority, as these actions risk search engine penalties.

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.

On-page vs. Off-page SEO FAQ

What is better, on-page or off-page SEO?

Both on-page and off-page SEO are essential components of a comprehensive SEO strategy, and neither is "better" than the other.

On-page SEO optimizes elements within your website, such as content, meta descriptions, and HTML tags, to improve search engine rankings and user experience. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, involves external factors like backlinks and social proof to enhance your site's authority and credibility.

A balanced approach that incorporates both on-page and off-page SEO techniques is crucial for achieving optimal search engine rankings and overall online success.

We’ll find qualified SEO agencies for your project, for free.
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news