On-page and off-page SEO are two different means for the same goal: to help improve Google search ranking. Both use different methods and cover various activities.
In short, on-page SEO refers to the collection of items embedded within your web page. These are website elements that you can directly alter to fit your needs. Off-page SEO involves all the SEO elements outside of your owned domains that influence search ranking.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the wonderful world of search optimization.
What is On-page SEO?
Here are the elements that make up good on-page SEO:
- Title and Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Heading and Heading Tags
- HTTP Status Codes
- User Engagement
- User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
These are the elements that you can alter depending on the ranking factors for on-page SEO. They also have the biggest impact on search rankings for Google and other search engines.
You should familiarize yourself with these elements in our “What is on-page SEO?” guide to optimize your web pages with a sound on-page SEO strategy.
What is Off-page SEO?
Just like you wouldn’t wrap a present you haven’t purchased yet, you should not spend much time mulling over off-page SEO until you have a properly optimized website.
Make sure you don’t forget about off-page efforts. It may not be the first step to proper SEO, but it is vital for a long-term strategy.
Here are the main off-page SEO elements:
- Link building
- Guest blogs
- Social media marketing
- PR and brand building
- Listings and reviews
Just as Google prioritizes trustworthiness and relevancy, your website’s authority score will also determine your placement on search results pages. The only surefire way to increase this score is to look externally with an off-page SEO strategy.
Link building for off-page SEO consists of external links and backlinks. These are different than the on-page internal links between pages on your domain. A proper link-building strategy should involve finding high-authority links.
Whether you are looking for meaningful websites to link to or asking notable bloggers to link to your page, make sure these are valuable links to authority sites.
Remember when your English teacher hounded you over not having enough sources in high school? Well, here is where that can finally pay off.
External links help give credit where credit is due. That’s all fine and dandy, but how does that help your website?
Well, Google looks at the authority score of each website that your links point towards. If your blog links out to fake-news websites, expect Google to treat your content similarly.
Instead, link out to reputable sources that help improve the quality of your content. This will lead to better writing and a better authority score for your page.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before using links pointing to other websites:
- What keywords should I use in the anchor text?
- Is this website relevant to my topic?
- How trustworthy is the website?
- How authoritative is the website?
- Is this website a direct competitor?
- How popular is the website?
Once you determine if the external link benefits your website, you should find some related keywords to use as anchor text in your content. For example, if you want to link to a website that offers exceptional search marketing services, you would link the words “search marketing” to connect with the external content.
Remember to link to other pages that are trustworthy, relevant, and authoritative. Be careful not to link to direct competitors, as doing so could potentially boost their SEO score as well!
Citing your sources when creating content helps build your search ranking score. Additionally, your ranking score on Google search results will increase if other websites use your own website content as a source.
Backlinks are simply the inverse of external links. Other sites will link to your website from time to time. These are arguably more impactful to your website’s relevancy and authority than external links.
Note that the same items we use to judge the quality of external links are the same for backlinks. You want your backlinks to come from domains that produce authoritative, relevant content related to yours. Additionally, you want them to use anchor text highlighting your content’s primary keywords.
Unlike external links, it is a little more challenging to alter your strategy since it is contingent upon other websites to increase, decrease, or change your level of reputable backlinks.
One recommendation to help visualize your current backlink position is to use a backlink analytics tool like the one Semrush offers.
Here you can see the backlink profile for Facebook. Their profile shows an impressive backlink score with millions of domains and billions of individual backlinks, given how enormous and relevant Facebook is.
Don’t get discouraged as you conduct your backlink analysis if your backlink score is far smaller than this example. Plenty of web pages begin with a minuscule number of backlinks.
You should spend your time making sure the websites that link to your page have higher authority scores than your website. Doing so will boost your domain authority.
Also, you want to check that your backlinks come from different domains. You may have a significant number of backlinks, but these are negligible if they all come from the same domain.
By now, you should be questioning how you are supposed to increase the number of quality links to your website. The best way to increase backlinks involves outreach to bloggers and web content creators.
Think of guest blogging like your favorite song that features other artists. The featured contribution adds an outside perspective that improves quality and gives the contributor some extra publicity for their career.
Similarly, guest blogs enhance the quality of the host page and the SEO ranking for both the host page and the contributor’s website.
As you may have assumed at this point, you want to make sure that the people you reach out to have authoritative and relevant web pages. You don’t want to waste your time creating content for websites that will ultimately bring down your search ranking.
You also don’t want to waste the time of those who host your guest post content. Write about topics you are familiar with to add value to their website through high-quality content.
If you think guest blogging would work for your needs, you should start with some strategic blogger outreach!
The goal of blogger outreach is to establish key connections with relevant content creators that relate to your content somehow.
Consider checking out how to do smart outreach in 2022 for a complete guide on contacting these content creators.
You want to email content creators messages that prove you can and will add value to them or their content. Make each email personalized, as copy/paste email templates fail.
Social Media Marketing Factors That Help SEO
Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all staples for marketing on social media. Make sure to include widgets for each somewhere on your website to promote interactions.
Want to boost your content’s rank indirectly? Out of ideas?
Posting on social media may give your content that little extra push it needs to hit the front pages of Google.
Here’s how branded social media posts can help assist your content:
Increased Traffic: Likes, reposts, shares, comments, and other social engagement methods increase the likelihood that other people will see your content. This will organically drive traffic.
Additional SERP Listing: Sometimes, your posts or profile on social media websites will rank on Google as a separate search result. As long as this search engine results page listing doesn’t overshadow your content, it can help with exposure.
Furthermore, you can use social media to promote your brand or PR activities.
PR and Brand Building
PR, or personal relations, helps establish a connection between you and your customers.
Some practical PR activities include posting stories on social media platforms that utilize the feature, reputation management for social posts and blog interactions, and responding to questions on these platforms.
Good PR shows customers that your company does care about them. Therefore, people associate your brand with a good customer experience.
If you get to a point where users recognize your brand before recognizing your content, you should leverage your branding. For example, if you search for “sneakers” on Google, Nike should have one of the top spots. They include the world Nike within their title because customers already know and respend the Nike brand over other companies that sell similar shoes.
It typically takes years to establish your brand over others. For those just starting, focus on other on-page and off-page SEO elements first.
Listings and Review Pages
Depending on your industry, you may notice some review pages that list your website. Listings on review websites are more than just critiques of your content. You can leverage positive reviews by promoting them on your website!
Positive reviews will naturally increase your website’s authority score, increase traffic, and help build PR with your customers. Keep your eyes peeled for these reviews, as review pages may not notify you.
On-page SEO vs. Off-page SEO
Neither type of SEO outclasses the other in terms of importance. You should optimize your on-page elements first, and then enhance your content by optimizing it with off-page SEO factors.
You wouldn’t want to advertise a faulty product. Instead, you should want to advertise your top-performing products.
Using the same logic, you want to find your best content first. Make sure to optimize for on-page factors. If your content checks all the boxes, move on to implementing the off-page SEO items covered in this post.
Expect about 6-12 months to pass until you see your page’s ranking increase on the search engine results pages.
Optimizing your website can be far too time-consuming, especially if you want to implement proper off-page optimization. Consider looking into Trusted Search link building services to see if we can help you achieve your SEO goals!