On-page vs. off page SEO: What's the difference?

April 19, 2019

There are two techniques when it comes to enhancing your search engine optimisation strategy, on-page and off-page. They are completely separate entities, but they both have the same goal, to improve your organic search engine ranking.

What is On-Page SEO?

The clue is in the name, on-page SEO is concerned with the pages on your website. The great advantage here is that you have total control of your website, so you have the ability to optimise various factors that will boost SEO. These practices help search engines to understand what your website is about and as a result relevant traffic is driven to it. Here are some of the factors that help develop on-page SEO:

Title tags

Title tags are one of the most important factors for on-page SEO as they inform visitors and search engines what a specific web page is about. Effective title tags will catch the eye of the visitor and attract them to your web page over other results on the SERP.

Meta description

A meta description describes the content of your webpage to visitors and search engines. Think of meta descriptions as an extension of your title tag, you grab the visitor’s attention with the title, now reel them in with the description. Plus, meta descriptions are a great place to add keywords as search engines will use these to determine the page ranking.

Keywords and phrases

Keywords and phrases are absolutely essential when enhancing your on-page SEO. In addition to other signals these help search engines identify what your web page is about. Take a look at our blog post on Keywords andKeyword Research to understand why keywords are an effective on-page SEO tool.

Heading Tags

A heading (H1) tag is often the first thing a visitor will see when they land on your web page. Make heading tags clear and concise to reassure visitors that they have found what they were looking for.

Page Content

Your content must be useful! If it is not interesting for the reader then they will bounce off your web page, and this will damage your SEO.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is an easy and fast way to boost SEO. Linking your pages internally also helps visitors to navigate your website so they are likely to stay on it for longer.

Website Performance

High ranking websites on SERPs all have one thing in common, they provide a great user experience. Ensuring that your website runs smoothly, loads pages efficiently and works on different devices and platforms, are all factors that enhance the user experience.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO refers to all the action that goes on outside of your website in an effort to improve SEO. The purpose of this is to improve the overall authority of your website and to build a reputation as being a valuable resource. Unlike on-page SEO, you have less control over off-page SEO, this is because you are largely relying on other people. Although it might be harder to establish off-page SEO it is worth it, as backlinks from domains with a high authority will in turn leverage your websites authority.


Backlinks are links from external websites that link back to your website. These can either be:

Take a look at Backlinks: An Essential SEO Tool for more information on developing high quality backlinks.

Social Sharing

Whilst search engines do not take into account the number of likes or shares on social media, these platforms can boost SEO indirectly. First of all, it can increase the number of inbound links when links to your website are shared amongst users. Secondly, it gives you access to a large audience which therefore improves brand awareness. Finally, it helps you to build an audience for your website.

Guest Blogging

This is where you feature as a guest on another reputable website or blog. This is a time-consuming strategy as you need to create high quality content which people enjoy reading. But, the potential returns are most definitely worth it. Guest blogging not only helps you to reach new audiences but it can help to establish your brand as an authoritative figure in your field. Another great benefit is that it will increase traffic to your website, so up goes your SEO. However, you need to have the contacts within your industry that are willing to feature you as a guest blogger. Networking is key, and creating these relationships with industry figures is a win-win scenario.

On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO: Which is more important?

On-page and off-page SEO are equally important, you cannot have one without the other. Although they are separate entities, their combined power has the ability to significantly boost your SEO and get your website to the top of search engine rankings.

But, it is advised that you get your on-page SEO sorted before implementing off-page techniques. This is because on-page SEO is more controllable and it sets a solid foundation for engaging and controlling traffic that comes from off-page SEO practices. Off-page SEO should be implemented when you are confident that your website will appeal to visitors and search engines.

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