On-page &
Off-page SEO

Both are crucial to the success of an SEO
campaign, but they’re on completely
different sides of the fence

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    On-page SEO focuses on optimizing parts of your website that are within your control, while off-page SEO focuses on increasing the authority of your domain through content creation and earning backlinks from other websites. To further understand the difference between the two, you have to understand, at a basic level, how search engine algorithms work. Let’s break it down.

    There are two main buckets that search engines look at when evaluating your site compared to other sites on the web.

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

    Put simply, what you rank for is largely determined by on-page factors, while how high you rank in the search results is largely determined by 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. Where your website appears in search engine results pages is determined by a number of ranking factors including site accessibility, page speed, optimized content, keywords, title tags, etc. It’s stuff that you have control over and can change on your own website.

    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.

    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.

    On-Page SEO Checklist:

    Title Tags

    Put your targeted keywords in the title tag of each page on your site. There are many best practices that go into writing an effective title tag.

    Limit your title tags to 55-60 characters (including spaces) Push the keyword closer to the beginning of the title (ONLY if it sounds natural) Don’t stuff your keywords Include brand at the end of the title tag, separated by a pipe bar (|)

    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’s great 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.

    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 and slowing your page load time.

    Mobile Friendliness

    In recent years, Google has prioritized mobile page loading speed as a key ranking metric.

    How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly? You can plug in the site’s URL into this test, and Google will tell you how friendly the website is based on its current algorithm.

    Beyond mobile page load, website design needs to factor in the mobile user experience. One way to check and optimize website layout for mobile is to generate a Mobile Usability Report which identifies any issues your website may have.

    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.

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