What is off page and onpage SEO?

In SEO there are a lot of buzzwords and technical jargon that can confuse business owners. Any SEO company that’s worth their weight should be, at a minimum, doing on-page and off-page SEO during your campaign. What does that mean though? Let’s compare on-page and off-page SEO to get an understanding of what goes into each and how important they are to rankings.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO is any optimizations done on a website to increase its’ ranking and visibility. That’s a broad statement, but it is a broad job. Changing one word in the content of the homepage can be considered an on-page optimization, but so is adding schema mark up to a product page or adding alt attributes to images. It’s not always about what you see on a page, but more about the fact that the page itself is being optimized.

What about technical optimizations?

There’s an overlap between technical optimizations and on-page optimizations. Technical optimization includes anything that increases the site health and speed. These optimizations may be on the server side, off-page, or on-page. A content delivery network is an example of a server-side optimization that would decrease overall site load times, while image optimization is an on-page factor that would also increase site speed.

Site speed is a factor for Google’s algorithm, but it’s also an important factor for site users. Slower loading sites result in higher bounce rates and an poor user experience. Google looks favorably on sites who load in less than 4 seconds. With good hosting and CDN this is possible for almost any site.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO is any work done outside of a website that still has a positive impact on rankings and visibility. The most common type of off-page SEO work is link development and link building. Though similar, development and building are two separate strategies for acquiring backlinks. A backlink is any link from one website to another. Backlinks are considered a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. The quality of the site linking out has an impact on the site receiving the link.

Not all backlinks are equal. A backlink from a website that’s outside of the receiving sites niche doesn’t have as much positive impact as a link from a site in the same vertical. Furthermore, a backlink from a spammy site also doesn’t carry as much link value as a high-quality, reputable website. In addition, there are no-follow and do-follow links, which carry separate link values as well. A no-follow is link holds less “link juice” than a do-follow, in most cases. However, as mentioned before the quality and authority of the linking site also impacts that value.

Link Building vs Link Development

Link building is the process of creating links manually. This could be done through the use of a PBN, by purchasing guest posts, building directory links, adding to link farms, or creating forum/blog profiles; to name a few. In general, link building is not as beneficial as link development. Guest posting, if paid, is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Directory links, also known as citations or NAP, don’t carry much link juice but do help map positioning. Natural link acquisition is the best way to gain backlinks, but organic growth can be slow.

Link development is the process of acquiring links organically through partnerships and without paying for a backlink. A quality website should offer valuable content to the user. By implementing a content strategy along with an SEO campaign, link development becomes easier. An SEO campaign should consist of outreach to other websites to form a partnership. Offering to contribute to a new piece of content for a site, is a good way to get a link to related content or a quote from a piece of related content. It’s important to note that links should not be reciprocal, meaning there should not be a link-for-link trade between two sites.

What comes first, on-page or off-page optimizations?

Every SEO has a different strategy for SEO campaigns. The low hanging fruits are technical and on-page optimizations. Link development is time consuming and the efforts may not bear results one month but may be very successful in others. Looking at the backlink portfolio of the most successful websites online reveals that high-quality backlinks helps to increase referral traffic and has a direct impact on positive search positioning. At Cardinal SEO, we approach technical and on-page optimizations first, which makes outreach easier because it makes for a better user experience.

How to get started with on-page optimizations

On-page optimizations require tools and insight to get started. Even the most thought out, well planned website have SEO factors missing. This is especially true with sites built without SEO in mind. Web developers often build pretty sites, but don’t optimize them correctly for SEO. For a free SEO audit, contact Cardinal SEO. An SEO Site Audit gives valuable insight to the health of a website and the current search position for relevant keywords. Cardinal SEO audits reveals gaps in keyword targeting and identifies opportunity, as well as a 30-day site health and position tracking.

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