If you’re ready to learn the difference between on-page and off-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and best practices, read on. Below are techniques to buff up your SEO game and help your website rank for high-traffic keywords.
SEO is the practice of increasing the visibility of a website to search engine users via unpaid (also known as “organic”) methods.
In other words, SEO doesn’t involve the purchasing of ads or paid placements at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
In today’s market, we find the success of a business is usually proportionate to the visibility of its website. Online search engines provide us with an on-demand directory of businesses that point us in the direction of whatever product or service we need.
However, with so many web properties indexed by search engines, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for newer websites to stand out in the crowd.
However, there are two critical components of every SEO strategy, on-page and off-page. If you only focus on developing one of the two, you can kiss your chances of ranking on the first or second SERP goodbye.
What Is on-page optimisation?
On-page or on-site SEO comprises of the visibility optimisation techniques that are implemented on the website you’re trying to rank. In other words, on-page SEO manipulates or tailors the content of a website to appeal to users and search engine crawlers alike.
What website owners have to understand about SEO is that they’re writing for a dual audiences. Regular readers looking for valuable content and robotic web crawlers that scour the content of the World Wide Web for relevant pages to categorise and link to.
Good on-page SEO strikes the perfect balance between appealing to the human touch. While also sprinkling in the necessary keywords, technical metadata and formatting that web crawlers are searching for.
Here are some of the main on-page SEO factors that search engines prioritise in their ranking algorithm:
Title Keyword: The title meta-tag is one of the main relevancy signals for search engines. Be sure to include your main keyword or phrase that you want to rank for (e.g., “best hockey sticks for kids”) at the beginning of the title tag.
This way, Google and Bing can recognise your website as a relevant source of information for your keyword.
Meta Descriptions: Don’t neglect your website’s meta description. Be sure to include your main and, if possible, secondary keywords naturally in your website’s meta description tag.
Heading And Body Keywords: Both the body text and heading (H1) tag on your webpage must include the keywords that you want to rank for. These days, you don’t have to stuff your web content with keywords — in fact, this can even work against you.
Instead, we recommend aiming using your main keyword in the content only around three to five times.
Length And Formatting: When composing the text of your website, don’t skimp on your word count. Google and other search engines prioritise informative and relevant articles with added sources and links where they provide value to readers.
Outbound Linking And Duplication: Every webpage should feature original, fresh content that isn’t found anywhere else online. If search engines detect duplicate content across your website’s various pages, you might get penalised.
Also, be sure to include outbound links to other relevant and highly authoritative sources so Google recognises your website as a purveyor of trustworthy information.
Other Relevant On-Page Factors: There are a handful of other important on-page SEO components that need to be considered if you want your organic visibility to reach its maximum potential:
- Include keywords in your URL
- Link internally to your other webpages
- Caption images with keywords
- Regularly update your content
- Optimise for mobile devices
- Establish efficient site mapping
Why you need off-page optimisation
Previously, when someone spoke about “SEO,” they almost exclusively referred to on-page techniques. As Google’s search algorithm has refined itself and the ranking environment has become more competitive, off-page SEO best practices have become equally important.
This occurs not on your website, but elsewhere online.
Link Building: Most of off-page SEO is simply a matter of building links to your website. The more trustworthy, high-authority domains refer to your website, the more likely search engines will recognise your website as an authority too.
Link building is tough because, for the most part, matters are out of your hands.
The trick is to have your website’s content linked to by other reputable sources. However, it’s difficult to persuade authoritative websites to reference your content. A relatively simple workaround is to offer to guest post on high-authority domains.
Be sure to include an author bio in your article that refers back to your website’s landing page.
Social Media: Links from social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook count toward your website’s position on SERPs. One of the simplest off-page SEO techniques is to create well-curated social media profiles and use each of them to link to your web content.
Domain Authority: Off-page SEO is all about establishing your domain’s authority in the eyes of search engines.
While search engines measure a variety of signals when determining authority, in our experience, the more links back to your website from reputable sites, the higher your authoritative factor.
Mastering SEO On And Off The Page
If on-page SEO is a science, then off-page SEO is an art. Whereas on-page SEO leaves you in full control and able to experiment, off-page techniques are finicky, indefinite and somewhat left to chance.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t optimise your website using these techniques. It just means you might need to spend a bit more time networking and taking a trial-and-error approach to building out a set of links that refer back to your website.