When you’re creating a digital marketing strategy one of the biggest assets is a strong search engine optimization plan. While many people believe this involves content and keywords, there is an entirely separate part of SEO as well.
When people talk about on-page versus off-page SEO, it’s the efforts a marketer makes on the front and backend of the website vs. efforts to improve rankings outside of the primary website. While this may sound confusing, you must include both in your overall digital marketing plan.
We’ll examine both and go into detail about each one and how you utilize it for your website.
On-Page Vs. Off-Page SEO At a Glance
The goal of search engine optimization is to improve the ranking for your website on search engines such as Google. Google has the lion’s share of search, so most marketers work to rank for it. In addition to being the go-to search engine, the algorithm it uses is highly complex.
It looks for varying factors for both national and local searches and prioritizes websites based on what it feels the searcher wants. The company is constantly updating and changing the algorithm, but it all comes down to what’s best for the searcher.
Google once only had websites on their search results, but they know have search results, expanded search results, knowledge graphs, local maps, etc. In addition to your website, they also include social media links, business directories, and more to rank for.
If you’re doing on-page SEO, then you’re working to improve the ranking for your primary website in Google search results and the other peripherals. If you’re doing off-page SEO, then you’re working to improve the ranking for your business on other websites such as social media and review sites.
An effective SEO plan that utilizes both can dominate the search results for various search terms.
Basics of On-Page SEO
Google’s algorithm has changed significantly over the years. It not only has become more complex to include conversational elements, slang, and more but also incorporated artificial intelligence to help predict your specific meaning for search queries.
SEO experts follow many rules to help improve ranking but follow the concept of EAT: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Google wants the sites it features on the main page to be the perfect match for the searcher, so how does it know what to do?
It follows EAT to understand how good a site is and then compares it to others in the index. It uses many different methods to do this.
The Importance of Keywords
There has been much debate in Scottsdale SEO about the importance of keywords in today’s complex search algorithms. The reality is keywords on the website, whether they are in the page copy or a blog, are important for the Google bots to crawl your page to understand the relevance of your site.
When a person puts in a search query such as “How do I change a tire,” the bots search the index looking for sites about this and if you have a blog titled “How To Change a Tire,” then bots will see this. It may not be exact to the search query, but it’s close enough that they understand it.
You need to develop comprehensive keyword lists for your web copy and blog posts. You can compare the search density of a keyword with its competition level to determine if it’s worth putting on your site.
Developing Authoritative Content and Backlinks
As we said before, Google wants sites that have expertise in their field, so the searches are getting accurate information. How does Google know how authoritative your website is? There are two primary methods: content and backlinks.
Every website has copy that details its services, products, and other information. These pages are good for letting Google know what you do and what you can offer their searchers, but it’s blog posts that really provide the context of authority.
Blog posts that answer questions and provide information to people help show Google expertise and authority, especially when keywords are included.
Backlinks are links from other sites that point to pages on your site and are technically off page SEO, but it fits well here. There are three primary types of backlinks: beneficial, neutral, and toxic. Beneficial backlinks are from high authority sources such as other websites in your business niche, business, and news organizations.
These backlinks help show your authority and improve your ranking.
Neutral backlinks don’t increase or decrease your ranking. They’re business listing and review sites that don’t carry a lot of authority. ‘
Toxic backlinks are those that have negative authority. Many of these links are purchased and have no authority and become link mills that Google hates. They’ll decrease raking based on your toxic links.
Don’t forget About Schema
Most of the SEO strategy is done on the page itself, but schema is done on the backend. Schema is a language that explicitly identifies what is on your page. It’s code that says this is your address and this is a blog post.
Why is this important for SEO? When Google bots crawl a website, they’re guessing at what the content is about. They’re not thinking machines, but just little bits of code trying to discern other bits of code. Schema gives them context, so they know exactly what is on the page.
We mentioned how in addition to search results there are knowledge graphs, expanded search results, and other snippets that can make your website stand out above the others. Schema helps the Google bots know what they’re seeing, so they can be used in these areas.
Basics of Off-Page SEO
The Internet is large and many websites carry your business name, whether it’s a business listing or social media page. These are searchable and rank on Google, so you can rank well not only for your main page but these other pages as well.
Off-page SEO utilizes methods to improve the ranking and information on these sites. The goal is to not only get these pages ranked well but to have correct information on the sites so when people visit them, they can make it back to your site.
Google My Business Is Essential
Google created its own expansive business listing site called Google My Business that helps rank your site not only in results but also in local snippets. You need to claim and fill out your Google My Business profile completely.
They have areas for address, pictures, video, social media links, and much more. The more information you provide the better picture of your business for visitors and Google. When people look up local businesses, Google often includes a map and list of businesses that match their search needs, and Google My Business is how it knows where you are.
Business Listings and Review Sites
Much like Google My Business, business listing, and review sites provide information about your business. They also tend to rank well. Review sites are a special breed because many times the reviews themselves are visible on Google search results.
It’s important to not only claim and fill out the information on these sites but also keep track of the reviews. When a person sees an online review, they trust it as much as if it came from a friend. These are real people that have used your business and gave their honest review.
Negative reviews can impact your business greatly, but also how you respond to them. If you ignore them, people think you don’t care what your customers think. You need to respond kindly and courteously to negative reviews, so people know you do care what they say.
Social Media Engages Customers
Social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram can develop a large following and they also rank on Google. It’s important to be active on social media, so you have plenty of indexable posts.
Many times, a customer will find your social media page first and either message you directly or comment on a post. If someone has an issue with a product or service, then treat it as you would a negative review.
Influencer Marketing Is Newest Off-Page SEO
With the advent of YouTube, Instagram, and other sites, regular people have millions of followers that view their pages every day. These are influencers and they are a powerful force of off-page SEO. A mention of your site or business from an influencer can lead to a massive increase in traffic to your site.
Working with an influencer is a lot like working with a celebrity, they’ll have handlers or agents, and you’ll need to create a business deal wither through financial or product sponsorship.
SEO Is Vital Your Marketing Plan
It’s not a matter of just on-page vs off-page SEO. Both are required to have an effective overall digital marketing plan. Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on one aspect when both can bring traffic and revenue to your website.
If you want more information about on-page and off-page SEO, then please feel free to check out our great deals.