Search engines play a major role in the overall web experience. In fact, at least 68% of internet users begin their online experience with these internet search tools. That means 7 out of every 10 internet users search the web for information using search engines, such as Google. You can see why most online marketing teams prioritise search engine optimisation (SEO).
SEO refers to all the steps taken by a website owner to improve the quantity and quality of their site’s traffic. The ultimate goal of SEO is to have a website rank higher in the search engine results. That increases the chances of the 68% users mentioned above clicking a link to your site.
The tactics you implement to improve your website’s ranking can either be on-page or off-page. Of course, most marketers use a combination of both, but what’s the difference? Read on to learn more.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page or on-site SEO involves every technique you apply to your website to enhance its search engine ranking. Some of the factors to consider in on-site optimisation include content quality, HTML tags, and other technical aspects of your web pages. This type of SEO generally comprises all ‘basic’ parts of search engine optimisation that improve the users’ experience.
Remember, Google and other search engines recommend what they feel are the best websites for searchers. Making your site ‘delightful’ for internet users should be one of your main priorities. Fortunately, you have full control over on-page optimisation, unlike off-page SEO.
That said, here are some of the main components of on-site SEO:
Google’s updated ranking algorithm considers user experience (UX) as one of the primary ranking factors. The new ranking signal by the search engine giant measures the user’s perceptions as it interacts with a web page. As you’d expect, Google hasn’t disclosed the exact weight that this update will have on each UX factor.
So, it’d be wise for you to consider all the signals that include HTTPS security, safe-browsing, mobile-friendliness, and Core Web Vitals. Page experience basically entails these aspects and any other factors that influence the user’s perception of your website.
The structure of your URL is another factor that can greatly impact your site’s SEO. As trivial as it may sound, putting keywords in your URLs can enhance the SEO performance of your website. But be careful not to overdo it. It’s not a good idea to repeat keywords more than once in one URL.
You can see from this example our target keyword was ‘SEO audit’. We used it in the URL and in the title of the blog.
Additionally, don’t change all your current URLs without a plan. While adding keywords is a great move, you need to work out a strategy that’ll make this process seamless. For example, redirecting old links can work if you understand the basics and know how to go about it.
Another factor to keep in mind is the length of your links. Try to keep your URLs as short as possible. This doesn’t directly affect your SEO performance, but it can influence the user’s perception. Most internet users tend to trust shorter links more than the longer ones probably because they can easily read them.
Image optimisation should be part of your priority list as well. Any content management system (CMS) you choose should allow you to add alternative text (alt text) to your images. This text isn’t necessarily visible to the average human reader but can be read by special software. In fact, it’s used by screen reader software applications to help blind visitors understand the content of the images.
Here’s an example:
Alt text is also utilized by search engines when assessing your website. Google, for one, crawls images to better understand the site’s content. Describing your images accurately using relevant keywords can greatly impact your site’s SEO performance. Plus, it ensures that your website complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Similar to your main content, the alt text should meet certain thresholds too. Consider the following pointers:
Following these tips takes you a step closer to a better search engine ranking. But you’ll also need to invest in other on-page aspects as described below.
The loading speed of your web page is essential to your success as a webmaster. Statistics suggest that pages which load within 2 seconds, average a bounce rate of 9%. That rate increases to about 38% when the page load time goes beyond 3 seconds. It’s worth noting that nearly half of internet users are likely to abandon your site if the pages are taking longer than 3 seconds to load.
It’d be wise to target anything below 3 seconds for you to attract more traffic. Keep in mind that most pages that appear on the first page of search engine results average below 2 seconds in load time. So, working towards that target should be your priority if you’re looking to rank among the top Google search results.
But how will you increase your web page’s load speed?
So, what’s the best solution? Reduce the number of plugins on your site by disabling those that you don’t currently use. Evaluate all installed tools and eliminate those that aren’t necessary or have overlapping features and functionalities. It’s important to note that page speed isn’t the same as website speed.
The former refers to the time it takes a single web page to load all the content. On the other hand, site speed is the average speed of several sample pages on your website. To increase your site’s speed, you’ll need to optimise individual pages using the tips provided above. But make sure you gauge the overall performance of your web pages before making any changes.
According to Statista, mobile devices account for more than 58% of total web traffic. This is a significant share considering that smartphones only became a big part of the industry less than two decades ago.
So, how relevant is this statistic in your on-page SEO strategies? The numbers suggest that many people access the internet using their mobile devices. As a result, Google recently started prioritising mobile page loading speed as one of the main website ranking factors. It’s imperative to optimise your web pages for these gadgets.
Once you’ve implemented your optimisation techniques, you can test your site’s mobile-friendliness. This tool by Google will tell you if your site meets the minimum requirements of a mobile site. It’ll also alert you in case of any issues and identify where you can make changes.
The ‘content is king’ cliché is here again. Investing in the aesthetics and mobile friendliness of your website is important. But it’s also vital to ensure that the content you publish is useful to your target audience. Creating content just for the sake of it may hurt your on-site SEO.
That said, your content should adhere to the following guidelines:
You can always hire a freelance SEO content writer if you don’t have enough time and skills to do it yourself. The benefit of going with this option is the skillset and experience that specialised content writers bring to the table. A good freelance SEO writer knows what to add to or eliminate from your content to make it more relevant and useful to your audience.
Here’s an example from our article ‘why an SEO audit is important’
You’ve probably included title tags in your content creation before. But did you know that this simple feature plays a crucial role in on-page SEO? Like alt text, title tags help the search engine understand what your page is about. Google algorithms use this information when choosing the most appropriate content for every search session.
To ensure Google considers your web pages, you must create an effective title tag. Not sure how to go about it? Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind:
For example, take ‘SEO’ as the keyword and ‘Top Digital Marketers’ as the brand name. Your title tag can be ‘Sydney SEO Optimization | Top Digital Marketers.’ Of course, there are many other techniques you can employ to come up with a great title tag.
Here’s an example of our own website:
Last but not least is internal link building. This involves linking to other pages within your website to provide more information to the readers. It’s a great way of letting your audience engage with various sections of your website.
Adding one to three internal links to your content can have a huge impact on the overall SEO performance of your site. To get the best out of this technique, consider the following tips:
Here’s an example:
What is off-page SEO?
With off-page SEO, the focus is on external factors that influence the position of your site in search engine results pages (SERPs). Unlike on-page SEO, you have little to no control over factors in this department.
Link building is one of the most popular components of off-page SEO. In fact, the two phrases are sometimes used interchangeably. But it’s worth noting that there are more off-site SEO tactics than just link building. Here’s a brief description of some of the main components:
Here’s an example of other website’s content when searching for ‘why don’t I rank on google’.
Differences Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO
Here’s a summary of the main factors that distinguish these two SEO strategies from each other:
Both on-page and off-page SEO are critical to the success of any online business today. Understanding the difference and how to apply the two should be top of your digital marketing priority list. On-page SEO revolves around anything you do within your website to enhance its SEO ranking. On the other hand, off-page SEO is all about external activities that influence your website’s ranking. As you build your digital marketing strategy, consider both of these SEO techniques.
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