SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the most important aspects of any digital marketing campaign. It can be difficult to rank for competitive keywords without proper optimization. There are two main types of SEO: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website and its content to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s online presence to earn links and mentions from other websites. Both are important for ranking in today’s competitive market.
Since I run a Digital Marketing Agency, I get asked a lot of questions about SEO and how to rank websites and Google Business listings. One of the biggest questions I hear is something like “what is more important, on-page SEO or off-page SEO” from people who know a bit about SEO in general. Another version is “what is SEO and how does it work?”
SEO is a complex and ever-changing field. It is true tactics and nuances change, what works today may not work tomorrow (or not work as well), however, there are several core concepts that have remained true since SEO became something business owners cared about.
Ranking a webpage is like a popularity contest mixed in with a heavy dose of statistics and programming.
What is true is that today, it is usually difficult to rank a website without proper on-page optimization and natural relevant backlinks that tell Google your site is trusted, and real humans actually go there.
For those of you not familiar with SEO, let me give you some working information about two main focuses of SEO, specifically on-page and off-page.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s content and structure to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). On-page SEO is important because it helps Google understand what your website is about. As part of an effective on-page SEO campaign, you should ensure new and existing content ensure that your website’s content is high quality and relevant to your target audience. On-page SEO includes optimizing your website’s title tags, creating schema code, ensuring things like alt tags and image titles are correct for ADA compliance, keyword ratios and H1 level tags are correct, and that the site structure is logical and easy to crawl or navigate (for humans and search bots).
Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s online presence to earn links and mentions (backlinks) from other websites. This also includes social media sites, web 2.0 sites, multi-media backlinks, and citations, and for local some high-quality directory listings.
So, the short answer in today’s modern SEO landscape is that both on-page and off-page SEO are important for ranking today. Google’s AI is very smart and becoming smarter. The days of buying crappy links from a third-world country and basically link spamming your webpage and having keyword stuffing (in white letters on a white background) are long gone.
More than ever, SEO is about quality, consistency, technical understanding, and most importantly, usefulness. Whatever page, content, video, website, etc. you are trying to get to rank – make it valuable and useful to users who are searching for that and related keywords.