March 8, 2021
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You can divide your search engine optimization strategy into the two main categories that search engines look at when rating your site compared to your competition, they are different but equally crucial categories: 

On-page SEO, and off-page SEO, they are completely different but equally crucial for the success of an SEO campaign. 

On-page SEO focuses on the optimization which is within your control on your website, while Off-page SEO focuses on increasing the authority of your domain through content creation and getting backlinks from other sites.

To go more into depth about the difference between the two, first, you’ll need to understand the basics of how search engine algorithms work.

  1. On-page SEO looks at what your site (or your page) is about
  2. Off-page SEO looks at how authoritative and popular your site is

Simply described, what you rank for is heavily determined by on-page factors, such as optimization, page speed (READ MORE HERE). While how high you rank, is heavily determined by your off-page factors.


What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO (also known as “on-site” SEO) is the act of optimizing different parts of your website that affect your search engine rankings. It’s stuff that you have control over and can change on your own website. Before you attempt website optimization, take a look at our onsite SEO checklist”

On-Page SEO Checklist:

Title Tags

  • Limit your title tags to 55-60 characters (including spaces)
  • Don’t stuff your keywords, it’s important it sounds natural and as close as the “normal” search as possible
  • The title tag should be structured *service**location**Brandname(optional)*
  • It’s important the title tag isn’t too long, then Google will cut your words to “...”

      Example:  “iPhone repair Santa Barbara”


Headings (H1)

Headings are usually the largest words on the page, and for that reason, search engines give them a little more weight than your other page copy.  It is a good idea to work your target keywords into the headings of each web page but make sure you accurately reflect your page content.

Make sure your H1s limited to one per page, all other headers are H2 or H3

URL structure

Put keywords into your URLs if possible. However, do not go changing all of your current URLs just so they have keywords in them. You shouldn’t change old URLs unless you plan on redirecting your old ones to your new ones. Consult a professional before doing this.

  • Label your directories and folders in a way that makes sense for users
  • Don’t repeat keywords in your URL more than once. Keywords are
    helpful, but overdoing it effects user experience.
          Example: /best-socks-comparison-best-socks-best-socks?
  • Keep URLs as short as possible

Alt text for images

Any content management system should allow you to add something called “alt text” to all images on your website.  This text isn’t visible to the average visitor – alt text is in fact used by screen reader software to help blind internet users understand the content of your images. Search engines crawl images in a similar way, so inserting some relevant keywords while accurately describing the image will help search engines understand your page’s content.

Writing an alt attribute for each image keeps your website in compliance with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Keep the following things in mind when writing alt text:

  • Thoroughly describe the image in 8-10 words
  • Include your targeted keyword where it sounds most natural
  • Include, if relevant, a geo-locator (e.g., Chicago)

Fast-loading pages, or page load speed

Google wants to help its users find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible to provide the best user experience. Therefore, optimizing your pages to load faster helps your site rank higher in the search results.

Google has a tool called PageSpeed Insights that will analyze your site on both mobile and desktop. and then suggest tips to optimize page speed. There are also several quick fixes to eliminate whatever is bogging your site down. Key site speed factors to consider:

  • Minimizing HTTP requests
  • Making sure server response time is
  • Setting browser caching to at least a week or longer
  • Enabling Gzip compression
  • Having image sizes under 100kb (.jpg, .png, .gif)
  • Placing all CSS in an external style sheet
  • Minifying all JS, CSS, and HTML
  • Prioritizing above the fold content loading

Page content

The content on your pages needs to be useful to people. If they search for something too specific to find your page, they need to be able to find what they’re looking for.  It needs to be easy to read and provide value to the end-user. Google has various ways to measure if your content is useful.

  • Aim for at least 500 words of copy. Although there is no exact formula for how many words a page should have, Google seems to prefer when a page has a lot of content surrounding your targeted keywords
  • Copy must be unique to each page, not duplicated from other pages on your site, and should directly address your visitors’ search queries
  • Push the keyword closer to the beginning of the title, but ONLY if it sounds natural

Internal Linking

Linking internally to other pages on your website is useful to visitors and it is also useful to search engines. 

On-page SEO ensures that your site can be read by both potential customers and search engine robots. With good on-page SEO, search engines can easily index your web pages, understand what your site is about, and easily navigate the structure and content of your website, thus ranking your site accordingly. As a best practice, make sure your page content includes 1-3 relevant internal links.

Social Tags

Having your content shared on social tells Google that people find your content relevant, helpful and reputable. Not every page on your site is share-worthy, but you can optimize the pages that are with these tips:

  • Make sure you have Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards installed
  • Make it easy with “tweet this quote” links, or social share buttons for each post

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO focuses on increasing the authority of your domain through the act of getting links from other websites.

There has been a debate following the latest FRED Update, which led people to believe backlinks was irrelevant, oh boy they couldn't be more wrong...

A good analogy for how authority works is this. If you have a bathtub with rubber duckies in it (the ducks are your pages), and you start filling the tub with water (links), your duckies are all going to rise to the top.

This is how a site like Wikipedia ranks for pretty much everything under the sun.  It has so much water in its bathtub that if you throw another rubber duck in it, it’s going to float to the top without any other effort.

There’s a score called “Domain Authority” that calculates how authoritative your website is compared to other sites.  You can type your domain name into here to see your score.

How off-page SEO helps your site rank

The biggest off-page SEO factor is the number and quality of backlinks to your website. Some examples of ways you can build links to your website are:

  • Creating awesome content that people want to link to because it is valuable.
  • Social media shares of your content that ultimately generate links.
  • Outreach e-mails to influencers in your industry that ultimately link to you.
  • Guest blogging on sites related to yours.  These guest posts will have links back to your site.

While link quantity is still important, content creators and SEO professionals are realizing that link quality is now more important than link quantity, and as such, creating shareable content is the first step to earning valuable links and improving your off-page SEO. How many links do you need for good off-page SEO?  That is a tough question and it’s going to be based on the domain authority of your competitors, as you want to make sure you’re playing in the same sandbox. SEOs also used to believe that buying links was a valid way of link building; however, Google will now penalize you for buying links in an attempt to manipulate page rank. You can also be penalized for submitting your links to link directories whose sole purpose is to increase your domain authority. Again, quality wins out over quantity when it comes to link building.

Which One is More Important?

It’s not about choosing between on and off-page SEO, that would be like having to choose between a foundation or a roof for your house. On-page and off-page SEO work together to improve your search engine rankings in complementary fashion; however, SEOs generally advise getting your on-page SEO ducks in a row before focusing too much on off-page SEO. Just like building a house, you want to set the foundation first before building the rest of the house.  Like a foundation, you may need to come back and do some maintenance to your on-page SEO from time to time. Balancing the two will help make your website “bilingual” so that your users can understand it as well as the search engine robots- and that’s how your rankings start to improve.


What is SELG?

SELG stands for search engine lead generation.

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