If you want to rank high in search results and drive relevant, high-quality traffic to your site, you need a solid SEO strategy. This strategy can be divided into two segments that are going to battle today: On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO.
There are two categories of SEO that influence your ranking:
On-page SEO – the factors on your website
Off-page SEO – Outside factors that show how authoritative your site is
In this post, we’re going to take a look at both categories of SEO and answer the question:
Which is more important, on-page or off-page SEO?
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO focuses on the content and technical elements of your page that influence your ranking.
You can control on-page SEO by optimizing your content and technical aspects of your site.
On-page SEO factors include:
Accessibility is about making your website accessible and usable by as many people as possible. Google wants to show results that provide the best content and user experience for a search query.
You can improve accessibility by:
- Integrating captions for videos and multimedia
- Offering audio descriptions of your posts
- Providing adjustable text size
- Avoiding low contrast between foreground and background colors
- Enabling keyboard navigation
You can use Google’s Lighthouse tool to perform an accessibility audit of your web pages.
Enter your page URL, and the tool will provide an accessibility score out of 100.
The report will also provide recommendations to help you improve the accessibility of your site.
Page Load Speed
When a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 53% of mobile users will abandon it.
If your page is slow to load, your visitors won’t wait. They’ll go back to the search engine results page (SERP) and click on a competing result.
When a user bounces back to the SERP, it sends a signal to Google that your page doesn’t offer a good experience or answer the search query.
You can reduce page load speed by:
- Limiting the use of plugins
- Compressing images
- Enabling caching
- Choosing a lightweight WordPress theme
- Reducing HTTP requests
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to perform a page speed audit:
Like the accessibility audit, PageSpeed Insights will give your page a score out of 100 and offer recommendations to help you improve page speed.
Optimized and Relevant Content
Technical aspects like page speed and accessibility are important, but your content is why people come to your website.
Relevance is one of the most critical factors for content optimization. Google is getting better and better at recognizing semantics and the user intent behind a search.
If your content isn’t super-relevant and delivers what searchers are looking for, you will struggle to achieve a high ranking.
That means providing a comprehensive answer to the search query in your copy and choosing the right content format.
For example, the top results for the query “outdoor heater” are all product categories from e-commerce websites:
User intent for the search query is to buy a product.
To rank high for the keyword, you’ll need an e-commerce category page – not a blog post.
Keywords are the backbone of your on-page SEO strategy. They are how people find your website in search results. You can incorporate your target keywords naturally into the following elements:
Your heading should be descriptive, contain your target keyword, and be in H1 format. You should also use descriptive H2 – H6 subheadings to break up your content and increase readability. Strategically use your target keywords, and don’t resort to keyword stuffing.
You should optimize your URLs for visitors and search engines. Include your target keyword, and keep your URL short and descriptive.
Alt text helps search engines understand what an image depicts, and it is used to describe images to users who can’t see them. Use alt text to include relevant keywords that describe the subject of the image.
Over 50% of all internet traffic now takes place on mobile devices. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re ignoring the needs of over half of your visitors.
You can improve mobile-friendliness by:
- Choosing a responsive WordPress theme
- Improving page speed
- Making sure your site is easy to navigate on mobile devices
- Breaking up blocks of text into smaller chunks
- Reducing the length of forms
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to analyze your web pages:
The report will show you if your page is mobile-friendly and offer recommendations on improving the experience for mobile users.
Internal linking makes it easier for your visitors to navigate your site and find what they are looking for. It also makes it easier for Google to crawl your website and index your pages.
Link to relevant pages on your site within your content, and include links back to your menu and category pages as a minimum.
What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is focused on the external factors that influence your ability to rank high in search results.
The most important metric here is Domain Authority (DA), also as Domain Rating, depending on which tool you use.
DA is an estimate of how authoritative your website is based on its backlink profile.
The higher your DA, the more likely you are to achieve a high ranking:
Google uses the number of backlinks pointing to your site, the quality of backlinks, and the number of linking domains to determine how authorative and trustworthy your site is.
The quality of your backlinks generally is more important than the number of backlinks.
A single backlink from a high-authority website in your niche is worth more than 100 backlinks from low-quality websites.
Link building is considered one of the hardest parts of SEO, but it’s also one of the most important.
Create Link-Worthy Content
High-quality content is key to link building. You need to develop super-informative and helpful content that third-party websites want to share with their audiences.
These editorial links are often the most valuable, and they’re also the hardest to get.
You can create content that people want to link to by publishing:
- In-depth guides
- Actionable how-to posts
- Comprehensive ebooks
- Online courses
- First-hand research
The key to creating a link-worthy content asset is to offer heaps of value and cover an evergreen topic – content that will be relevant and useful long after it is first published.
Share Your Content on Social Media
While social signals are a known ranking factor for the Bing search engine, Google officially states that social signals do not directly impact ranking.
However, genuine shares, likes, and comments increase the reach of your content and can make a positive impact on your ranking.
The more eyes on your content, the more likely it is that people will link to your site.
Include social share buttons on your site, promote your content on social media, and encourage your readers and followers to share your content to increase your reach.
Guest posting is one of the most established and most effective link building strategies.
You find relevant websites in your niche, ask if you can contribute an article to their blog, and they link to your site in the author bio or embedded in the content.
Here’s an example of a guest post author bio:
You can see the backlink to our website.
Google is a great free resource for finding relevant websites that accept guest posts. You can also use SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest to spy on your competitor’s backlink profile and find guest posting sites.
Once you’ve got a list of potential guest post opportunities, get in touch with the webmasters and ask if you can pitch some topic ideas.
For local SEO, you’ll also want to claim your Google My Business listing and submit your site to local directories.
It’s important to note that SEO takes time to generate results. The best online visibility strategy often includes a combination of PPC and SEO to get traffic flowing to your site. You can build up your organic presence while ensuring you’re there when your customers search for your products and services.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO in Tandem
So which is more important, on-page or off-page SEO?
The answer is that both strategies contribute to a solid SEO strategy.
You need on-page and off-page SEO to increase your visibility in search results.
Without on-page SEO optimization, Google won’t be able to find and index your website.
Without off-page SEO, Google won’t see your website as being authoritative and trustworthy.
They work together to help you rank for your target keywords and drive traffic to your website.
If you want to learn more about how SEO can help your business get more qualified leads and sales, schedule a demo call with the search engine fanatics here at Ogno.