SEO: On-page and Off-page SEO
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web page content and HTML source code to improve a website’s visibility in search engine results. This includes tasks such as ensuring that the page contains relevant and targeted keywords, optimizing page speed, optimizing page title and meta descriptions, using image alt tags, adding internal links and improving user experience.
On-page SEO includes the following elements:
- Title tags
- H1, H2 & H3 tags
- Image alt
- Anchor text
- Keyword density
- Meta descriptions
- Internal linking
Some best practices for on-page SEO include the following:
- Write well-developed and original content
- Use the keyword in the URL, titles, subtitles, and body copy
- Write descriptive and engaging meta descriptions and titles to clarify content and encourage clicks from the search engine results page
- Use a minimalistic layout that makes it easy for visitors to read your content
- Work on producing fast page speeds
- Optimize alt text and file names on images that includes the topic keyword
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to activities that are conducted away from your URL to improve its performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs). These activities include link building, influencer marketing and content promotion. These activities can also improve user experience and lead to more conversions and higher ranking.
Off-page SEO elements include the following:
- External backlinking
- Anchor text from external links
- Brand mentions
- Influencer programs
- Guest blogging or writing
- Social media
Use the following off-page SEO practices to gain a leg up on your competition:
- Cultivate high quality backlinks from other websites
- Build internal links using the anchor text from other pages within your domain or other sites you manage
- Develop content for publications like guest blogs that you can link back to your site
- List your business in any applicable directories
- Build your social media presence
There is no perfect way to perform SEO step by step as each page and business will require different SEO elements. For example, if you’re optimizing a page for local users in order to drive foot traffic to your store’s location, your SEO efforts will differ. You’ll want to focus more heavily on optimizing locations pages, voice search, increasing digital citations and creating an optimized Google My Business page.
Questions to ask yourself while performing SEO:
- Is my content out of date? If the date on your post is several years old, the content is likely also old. You will want to consider rewriting the content with new data and insights on the topic in order to see ranks improve. You also want to change the publishing date to indicate to search engines that your website has been updated with new content.
- What are my primary, secondary and tertiary keywords for this page? You’ll want to begin the process of choosing keywords with keyword research. If you are building a campaign around a season, look at seasonal search terms and trends.
- Are the page’s images compressed and optimized? Optimizing an image includes giving it a file name and image alt text based on your chosen keywords. Compressing an image will assist the page in loading more quickly which prompts better UX and ranking. Image formats like WebP and AVIF often provide better compression than PNG or JPEG, which means faster downloads and less data consumption.
- Does my keyword appear near the top of the page? Your keywords should be used in title tags, H1s and within the first paragraph of the page’s copy to easily indicate to searchers and bots what topic the page is about.
- Can I share internal links throughout the page? If you don’t have other information or resources to link to on your page, you need to ask yourself whether the topic is optimal to include in your content calendar. Internal linking is used to link parts of your site together, to improve navigation and to keep users on your site for longer.
- Does my content contain outbound links to reputable websites? Outbound links are hyperlinks that point to other websites. When you include outbound links to relevant, trustworthy sites in your web pages, you improve the quality of your content and gain the trust of readers. By including links to other sources, you’re showing your readers that you’ve done your research and have nothing to hide. Also, if other websites link to yours, especially those from a .gov, .edu or .org domain, you can increase your ranking in search engine results as well.
- Does my website have an active presence on social media? Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram can provide valuable opportunities to market your website, connect with potential customers, and establish your brand’s presence in the online space.
Both on-page and off-page SEO work together to ensure your website and content are found by users online — boosting traffic, sales, and brand visibility.
Related: Anchor text