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On-page vs. Off-page SEO: What’s the Difference?

Do you know your CTRs from your SERPS? Your Hummingbird from your Panda? 

Undoubtedly, SEO might still be the best way to get customers (46% of all product purchases begin life as a Google search). But let’s face it, the terminology can sometimes be a little confusing. 

One phrase you might have encountered is on-page vs. off-page SEO. If you’re wondering what this is and whether you need one, the other, or both, continue reading for all the answers. 

What Is On-Page Vs. Off-Page SEO? 

People often think of SEO as quite a technical practice, but in truth, SEO encompasses a lot of technical and not-so-technical stuff. Pretty much anything you do to improve your chances of getting a high rank on Google could be classed as SEO. 

But there is one easy way to group these methods: whether you make these SEO tweaks on or off your website. And that’s all on-site and off-site SEO means.

Why You Need Both On-Site and Off-Site SEO

In 1998, Google got an edge over other search engines. They realized that you couldn’t simply give a high ranking to a website because it published well-optimized content.

You also have to consider what other people think of that website, a bit like a vote. That’s why off-site SEO became important. Ultimately, you need to do both if you want a good ranking. 

On-page SEO: best practices 

You can make plenty of tweaks to your website to improve your chances of a page one Google ranking. All these tweaks fall under the category of on-page SEO. 

Keyword Research 

SEO starts with research. Specifically keyword research. That will give you an insight into what your customers type into the Google search bar.

From this, you’ll have a content strategy and a priority list of keyword-rich content that will help you rank well on the search engine results page (also known as SERP) for your best terms.

One of the services our SEO Vegas team offers is to help you find the best keywords for your business. 

Keyword and Page Optimization 

After researching your keywords and planning your content, you’ll need to ensure your webpage for that keyword is fully optimized. That means using the keyword in your title, description, and image alt tags. 

Another thing you’ll need to have on your priority list is high-quality, relevant content. Ultimately, Google’s reputation rests on bringing people the best information on the internet, so that’s what you need to focus on when you want to rank a new page. 

Getting your keyword optimization right takes some practice. You must balance the content a search engine will like and what humans want to read.

Always ask yourself whether that page is exciting and relevant to readers. That will give you a higher click-through rate (CTR).

Internal Linking

Another way you can improve your site is through internal linking, which means having links that point to other pages on your website. That tells Google a bit more about your topics to ensure you’re a relevant website when ranking your pages. 

Structured Data 

Structured data is also called structured markup, and it’s the algorithm-friendly language for Google. Essentially, you add extra information to your page to help Google understand what each aspect of the page means. 

Search Engine Friendly URLs

Have you ever shared a URL but found it contains a long, complex list of letters and numbers? That’s the opposite of what you need for a search-friendly URL. Ideally, it should have one or two meaningful, keyword-rich words.

Usability 

Search engines want to send people to the best sites with the best content.

That means your site needs to be user-friendly. People like well-structured content that’s easy to read, has variety (in the form of images, videos, and infographics), and uses straightforward navigation. 

Technical Optimisation

You’ll need to master some technical aspects, like having a mobile-friendly site and improving site speed. Google favors fast, accessible websites.

The Google search console will be your most important resource for technical tasks. It acts as an auditor for your pages to ensure you avoid page errors or usability problems that could affect your ranking.

If you need help from a Las Vegas SEO expert with these technical aspects, get in touch with our team for advice. 

Off-Page SEO: Best Practices 

If you follow each of the on-page best practices we’ve discussed, will that guarantee you a top-ten ranking for your preferred keyword? The answer is probably not.

That’s because Google also wants to know whether your site is reputable and relevant. To figure that out, they seek out information from other sites. That’s off-site SEO, so let’s examine some of the main techniques: 

Backlinks

When another website links to you, that’s called a backlink. Lots of backlinks from similar sites tell Google you’re trusted and relevant, which will help your ranking.

But they also look at the reputation of the websites supplying that backlink. A link from a well-known brand like Forbes is more valuable than a link from a small, new blog with minimal traffic. 

Natural (or organic) backlinks are ones you get from websites without doing anything on your part. You can get natural backlinks by creating original, high-quality content and getting social media shares. Website owners will want to link to great content. 

Link-Building

You don’t have to wait for a website to discover and link to you. You can take a proactive approach instead. That’s called link building, and it’s the strategy that will most effectively help you rank well on Google. 

Guest posts are an example of link building. If you approach another website and ask to write a guest post, you can add a link to your website. 

You can also generate links on places like forums, but be careful not to spam comment pages, as that will hurt your long-term efforts.

Likewise, link directories used to be fashionable, but nowadays, google might penalize you for listing your website on hundreds of directories to get backlinks.

That’s why it’s essential to keep an eye on changes Google makes to its algorithm, as they often impact your off-site SEO strategy.

Those two words we mentioned in the introduction – Panda and Hummingbird, are two of Google’s most famous algorithm updates. At the time, many businesses had to tweak their SEO strategy after these updates. 

Your Next Steps

Now that you know the difference between on-page vs. off-page SEO, you might wonder where to start. If you want to work with the top Las Vegas SEO experts, you’re in the right place. 

We can provide a complete end-to-end strategy to help you get ranked, whatever your niche. You can do that now by heading here to our contact form.