A Guide to Understanding On-Page and Off-Page SEO

As a business owner or digital marketer, you need to keep an eye on the SEO landscape. Keeping up with the ever-changing Google algorithms and SEO updates is crucial to stay on the top of your SEO game. However, with the introduction of various search engine algorithms like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and Pigeon, it’s easy to get confused and lose track. Ever since the introduction of internet marketing, SEO has remained one of the most misunderstood concepts due to the frequent misconceptions and confusion about it. And one such often misunderstood aspect of SEO is On-Page and Off-Page SEO.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used by businesses and bloggers to reach new audiences, bring traffic to their websites, and drive growth. Anyone who has a basic knowledge of SEO is aware of two related terms- On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. Unless you’re an SEO expert, you might wonder what the difference between these two is and which one is more useful for SERP rankings. So, let’s find out more about these two main categories of SEO.

Differences between On-Page and Off-Page SEO

All SEO activities can be divided into two main categories — on-page and off-page. These two types of SEO are similar to the two branches of a Y. They both are unique and are on completely different sides of the fence. However, both play a vital role in running a successful SEO campaign. Both On-Page and Off-Page SEO together drives organic traffic and helps to improve your website’s search engine result page ranking. However, the basic difference between the two is that on-page SEO involves activities you perform directly to a web page to facilitate higher ranking. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, comprises SEO practices that take place outside of your website to increase the authority of your domain. A great SEO strategy puts equal emphasis on both of these. However, depending on your site’s specific needs, you might need to focus on one more than the other. Now let’s take a closer look at the two types of SEO for better understanding.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, refers to all the tactics and activities performed directly within your website to improve its position in the search rankings. All the measures that you have control over that can be changed on your website such as the meta description, HTML code, title tags, and alt tags fall under this category. All these on-page factors are used to improve several ranking factors such as site accessibility, page speed, content optimization, etc.  Here are some of the most important On-Page SEO factors.

  1. Meta Description

A meta description is a short description that a searcher sees when they encounter your website in the SERP. It appears below your URL on a search engine results page. Along with your site’s title and the URL, meta description explains what your page is all about and get people to click through. So, make sure to include relevant keywords in the meta description so that your page can be picked up by search engine crawlers.

  1. Alt Text

Alt text is the word or phrase that describes a picture file and helps to index it when searched. The image alt text describes the content of images when they don’t load and is also used for ranking that graphic for the specified phrase in the image results. So, include the keyword in your image alt text.

  1. Website URL Structure

Similar to the meta description, your site’s URL structure is also important because it allows search engines to crawl from page-to-page on your website. When you add keywords in the URL of each page of your website, it makes navigation easier for visitors. This has a direct impact on the ranking of the page.

  1. Title Tags

Title tags are your site’s HTML elements that tell visitors and search engines what the given page is about. Located in the <head> section of your website, title tags are one of the most important on-page factors that boost the searchability of your page.

  1. Content Structure

Content structure is another important factor that determines your content appears when a reader lands on your website. The way you structure your site’s content also helps search-engine crawlers get a sense of the page. SO, it’s crucial while creating a new landing page or blog post to use proper headings that differentiate distinct sections such as H1, H2, H3, etc. H1 tag, used for the title of your page, gets top priority, followed up H2, then H3, etc.

  1. Internal Linking

Internal linking means using anchor texts to internally link related pages on your website. When you create a lot of content, linking relevant pages on your site makes crawling easier for search engines and boosts your SEO.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO refers to the activities performed outside your website that impact search engine rankings. As compared to the on-page SEO, you have less control over off-page factors. These tactics involve link-building that is achieved through various means, such as guest blogging, participating in forums, commenting on blogs and more that helps in building domain authority. Check out some commonly used off-page (off-site) SEO methods.

  1. Backlinks

The most important factor of an off-page SEO strategy is acquiring backlinks. The quality and quantity of links from outside websites that link to your page can immensely impact your rankings. The goal here is to get as many relevant links from authoritative websites as possible. This is because when you get backlinks from numerous authoritative sources, Google considers it as a vote for your website and boosts domain strength of your site.

  1. Domain Authority

The search engines use some factors to measure how authoritative your site is. Your domain authority is usually measured on a scale from 1-100 that determines the strength of your website. Creating a technically sound and well-optimized website can help you achieve a higher domain authority and that ultimately helps in high ranking.

  1. Social Sharing

Sharing social media posts isn’t directly linked to SERP ranking. However, these posts get a lot of clicks that can ultimately help in boosting traffic to the site. Social media is not a direct ranking factor but it does provide indirect SEO benefits from increased inbound links.

“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

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