The Complete Guide to Off-Page and On-Page SEO
In today’s fast-paced world, people expect to find whatever information/product/service they need at the top of Google search results. So, if your website ranks at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), it is much easier to attract new customers to your website.
Devising a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is one of the most important investments you can make for your business. SEO is a set of practices designed for improving the positioning and appearance of web pages in organic search results.
Why is SEO important for all websites?
SEO is how Google determines which websites deserve to rank high for every query entered into the search engine. Years ago, site owners would use black-hat SEO techniques to easily manipulate the search results, such as stuffing their content with keywords and links. Today, such techniques get you penalized by Google.
A website’s search rankings have the power of driving traffic, generating leads, and boosting conversions, which is why it’s important to optimize your website for search engines. A few of the many impressive benefits of doing this include:
- Boosts your credibility
- Supports content marketing
- Improves user engagement rates
- Provides quantifiable results
Therefore, SEO is relevant to most aspects of your online marketing strategy.
Effective SEO strategies can be divided into two major groups: off-page SEO and on-page SEO.
Differences Between On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
It involves factors and techniques focused on optimizing various aspects of your website to rank higher on search engines that may involve tweaks to the HTML source code and visible content.
Where your website appears on the SERP rankings depend on multiple factors that you have control over, like page speed, site accessibility, keywords, title tags, etc. We have curated a checklist of such factors.
On-page SEO checklist
- Title tags
- URL structure
- Fast loading pages
- Page content
- Internal linking
- Core web vitals
- Social tags
- Page experience
How to Improve On-Page SEO
1. Use target keywords
Using target keywords (not stuffing) on your website is one of the easiest SEO tactics you can implement. But first, you need to consider your target audience while choosing the right keywords.
Begin by shortlisting the keywords that you anticipate your target group may use. Then, try finding similar phrases and words. Usually, choosing keywords with high search volume but low to medium competition is preferable.
Another useful tip is to choose diverse keyword lengths and types.
2. Optimize images
Search bots favor SEO-optimized, lightweight images, and users prefer high-quality images.
To start, it helps if your website images are clear and with high-resolution. Beyond that, you can compress the image files using compression tools like TinyPNG, so they are not heavy and large, which can slow down your website.
Another way to optimise your website images is by adding alt text, or alternative text, which is an image summary that users on the front end cannot see. It not only helps Google understand what the image is about but also what the whole web page is about.
3. Utilize title tags and meta descriptions
Meta tags are HTML code’s bits that signal search engines how they should read through your content.
Meta descriptions and title tags are great examples of these, and the key to helping search engines understand how to rank the content of your website. These meta tags generate the information that will appear in the search results, which play a crucial role in persuading users to click through your web page.
4. Priorities user experience
SEO’s goal is to make a website user-friendly.
Above quality, readability, performance and strong internal linking, there are more specific ways to create a positive user experience (UX) for your website’s visitors, such as:
- Facilitating smooth navigation (as a major part of UX is linked to improving usability)
- Including helpful links in your footer and creating a search bar feature
- Making different elements visually distinct
- Improving page load time
All such elements help improve the user experience significantly and are a great factor in a website’s search ranking.
5. Monitor website performance
Website performance plays a key role in search engine rankings, particularly its speed or page load time.
In fact, Google has created the Core Web Vitals update, which assesses the page loading speed, page stability, and interactivity to determine your score, and ultimately, your SERP ranking.
Check your website’s performance with tools like Google Page Speed Insights.
2. Off-page SEO
It involves factors and strategies focused on promoting your brand or website across the internet (outside your website) to improve its ranking. Think of off-page SEO as a tactic to build your website’s domain authority.
Websites with higher authority tend to rank better than the ones with low or no authority as search engines consider them more relevant, credible, and trustworthy. To succeed in SEO, you would want to signal that many people trust and refer to your website on search engines.
Links are one way of showing that, but you cannot focus on building links alone. There is much more to SEO than just the links, such as:
- Social media
- Google My Business
How to Improve Off-Page SEO
1. Support social proof
One way of building your website’s trustworthiness is to provide simple evidence in the form of things like testimonials and reviews. A few more ways to gain social proof include:
- Creating your company’s or website’s Google Business Profile (which has a built-in review feature)
- Devising and implementing diverse types of content marketing strategies (e.g. conducting a survey and then publishing your findings is a great way of showing professionalism and legitimacy)
- Testimonials and partnerships with credible individuals or brands (e.g. some companies collaborate with influencers in their niche to build social proof)
2. Grow your online presence on social media
Besides websites, social media is a great place to build your brand because it allows you to share videos, ideas, photos, and little snippets about your company. It helps you attract a larger audience and build good relations with them.
Moreover, building and implementing a social media strategy helps your off-page SEO as social media pages and posts can appear in the search results.
But it’s also important to analyze which platforms your target audience uses. For example, if your target group is millennials, you may want to focus on Instagram. For the aged audience, you may want to use Facebook.
3. Build backlinks
Backlinks to your website show Google you have credible website content, which in turn, enhances your site’s domain authority.
Gaining backlinks takes quality content and time. Use a few measures to participate in the process. For example, write posts for another credible and authoritative website in your niche and add a link to your content.
You can even monitor your website’s mentions online and request website owners to give you a link.
A few common formats to which you can get backlinks include how-to guides, infographics, and “best of” listicles.
Remember to be careful about not participating in anything suspicious while building inbound links because you may get penalized by Google. As backlinks require you to invest effort and time, it is highly recommended to use backlink checker tools or leave your SEO to specialists.
Improve your website’s visibility using on-page and off-page SEO Strategies
To sum it up, when it comes to on-page optimisation, you can start with implementing keywords, high-quality content, and internal links. Later, advance to elements like meta descriptions and title tags. For off-page optimisation, a strong social media presence, backlinks, and testimonials, are essential.
At first, it can be overwhelming to get started with both off-page and on-page strategies. Remember, it’s important to use a combination of both strategies to boost your website’s visibility.