On-page and Off-page Optimisation: A Complete Walkthrough

Search Engine Optimization entails techniques that attract search engine traffic to your site. Simply put, SEO is an integral part of website marketing because it enhances the visibility of your website.

Search engine optimization can be done on-page or off-page, with both types of SEO holding equal importance.

Many webmasters take for granted that both on page and off page SEO take a certain order. When you have a new website, you might want to focus first on off-page SEO to make your website visible to your target audience. On-page SEO allows you to enhance your website so that it has better rankings at different search engines.

On-page SEO
On-Page optimization techniques include tactics that help you to improve your site. These may include using targeted keywords that web users can use to search your website, developing content for your web pages, and internal link building so that you appropriately and seamlessly link one webpage to another, within the website. Other techniques include improving site navigation, creating suitable title tags, image tags and sitemaps for your website.

Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO strategies are those activities you do off your website to increase the site’s visibility. The main strategy for off-page SEO is link building, which entails finding authoritative sites that will link back to your site. When readers visit the authoritative site, they can click to a link that points them to your website where they can find relevant and related content.

At the heart of On-page SEO is the selection and proper usage of targeted keywords within the website. Keywords are those terms or phrases online consumers use to find information about products and service through the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.) Google Adwords Keyword Planner can help you build a list of keywords related to your content. Incorporate keywords into the content, the titles, the internal links, the page description (Meta tag) as well as in the URL of all site pages.

Consider doing a Google search for specific keywords to determine the websites that come up in the top 8 to 10 search engine results for the related keywords. Note down the sites that rank well for specific keywords and those that have poor ranking. You might also want to do a competitive analysis to see if your competitors rank highly or poorly for certain keywords. This will allow you to see how your competitors are attracting traffic to their websites.

The titles tags are essential to your SEO strategy. Title tag is the heading that shows up on the search engine results pages for related keywords. Optimize the titles tags for all your web pages to allow web users to find these pages easily at the search engine pages. Do this by naturally including natural keywords in the titles. Something else to consider for your on-page SEO is how well you use the keywords.

Some factors to consider when using keywords are:
Keyword variation – Instead of using just one keyword, use synonyms that users might use to find the same product or service. This will allow you to attract more traffic because the search criterion is expanded.
Keyword density – Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a site in relation to the number of words on the webpage. Using too many keywords (high keyword density) is known as keyword stuffing and can raise a red flag; your content will be perceived as spam content. If the keyword density is too low, the search engines will not be able to find, index and rank your site. Your website will not show up for the targeted keywords.

One of the main strategies for off-page search engine optimization is link building. The more quality links your website has, the better rankings it will enjoy at the search engines. As the name suggests, link building entails linking your website to other authoritative sites. When other websites link to your own website, it shows search engines such as Google that the content on your site is relevant and valuable to web users. Links to your site can also generate relevant traffic and help you to build an online following.

When looking for websites to link to, the quality of the site is more important than the quantity of links. You are better off with a few high quality links than too many poor links that will have no impact on your site’s page rankings. How can you spot the best websites to link to?
• Consider if the website you are looking to link to is related to your niche
• Determine if the site links to low quality sites and those that are unrelated to the niche
• Take into consideration the page ranking of the site at the search engines
• Find out if other sites have linked to the website before you link to it
• Some sites only have no-follow links – this means that the link will not direct readers to your site and as such, will not influence you site’s ranking.

Do not forget about your internal link building. It is best to link pages to a specific page to boost its rankings. This does not mean that one page should have a link to all other webpages. A better approach is to seamlessly link one related page to another. For example under the ‘Services’ section in the website you can include a link to another relevant page or pages that you want to make visible. You may also include links to the main sections in your site.

In conclusion, SEO is not a one-off activity in your website marketing and promotion efforts. You need to regularly optimize your site for better rankings and for greater visibility.