On-Page vs Off-Page SEO

On-Page vs Off-Page SEO
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SEO is the main way to drive organic traffic to a website. This digital marketing technique includes three sub-techniques: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. But, since the technical aspect requires a bit more knowledge on website optimization, here we’ll focus on the non-technical parts of SEO.

Whether you already know something about SEO or learn about it, you’ve most probably heard a lot about on-page and off-page SEO. But, do you know what they are, what’s the difference between them, and which ranking factors do they include?

Let’s find it out!

On-Page vs Off-Page SEO: Definition

On-page, also known as on-site SEO refers to all tactics marketers use on their website to optimize it for search engines. This includes things like greeting unique, high-quality content, using title tags, headings and subheadings, clear URL structures, internal linking, and more.

On the other hand, off-page, also known as off-site SEO refers to all tactics marketers use away from their website. This includes things like social media, content marketing, reviews, backlinks, and more.

On-Page SEO: Ranking Factors and Best Practices

Although on-page SEO is separate from technical SEO, it does include some technical elements to improve the web page’s quality and, with that, ranking.

The ranking factors (aspects) used in on-page SEO include:

Title Tags

It’s the name of the web page. Each title has to be unique and contain a keyword. They must be shorter than 60 characters and describe what the page is about.

Meta Description

This is a brief description of the page (content). It should be less than 160 characters long and tell users what the content is about and why they should read it.


These are the words that your content ranks for. Use relevant keywords and make sure they make up to 1%-2% of the entire content.

Headings and Subheadings

The titles and subtitles of the content (articles, infographics, videos). Headings take H1 format and include words relevant to the content and include a keyword. The subheadings take the H2-H6 format and are used after 300 or less to make the content easier to read.

URL Structure

This is the page address; what you see in the address bar after the basic URL of the site (after .com). It includes the name of the web page it opens, thus telling you what the page contains (what the article is about). It must be clear and contain the page title which also helps rank the page higher of SERP. Never leave the URL with numbers, such as https://mywebsite.com/123456. Instead, create a URL such as https://neilpatel.com/blog/best-wordpress-themes/.

Alt-Text for Images

This describes what the image is about and optimizes for visual search. It should be 125 characters or less and contain a keyword or a phrase.

Internal Links

These are the links that link one article to another used to increase visitor’s retention, one of the ranking factors. Every page on your website should be linked to its category and sub-category page and the homepage. Also, you can link it to other pages with similar or relevant content.

Page Loading Speed

It denotes the time needed for the page to load completely. Make sure your pages load in less than 3 seconds and if possible in 1-2 seconds. Otherwise, you will lose almost all visitors.


Refers to the site’s ability to display properly to any device (desktop, tablet, smartphone). Make sure your website has a responsive design, which allows it to display properly on any device.

Off-Page SEO: Ranking Factors and Best Practices


It’s the biggest ranking factor of off-page SEO. The better quality backlinks you have and in greater number, the higher your site will rank. To find backlinks, you need to incorporate (any of) these approaches:

  • Guest blogging
  • Press releases
  • Podcast guesting
  • Being featured in some recognized publications
  • Reaching out to people in your industry who would like to share your content
  • Participating in forums
  • Host events
  • Help a Reporter Out

According to the SEO experts, Neil Patel, the best way to get backlinks is by:

  • Writing guest blog posts in which you promote yourself (and your website) as an expert in your field
  • Use infographics due to their popularity
  • Include influencers in your field in your content because it’s popular
  • Point out the broken links in the blogs of influencers and then suggest replacing them with content you’ve written on the same topic.

Local SEO

This has become a very big ranking factor in the past year, especially for businesses that have physical locations or operate locally. To optimize your business/website for search engines locally, you should use Google My Business and other sites that feature local businesses. Make sure you include the name, phone, and address of your business in the listing.

Domain Authority

This ranking factor determines the strength of your website and is measured from 1 to 100. What makes this factor important is that websites with higher domain authority rank higher on SERP and those with lower domain authority rank lower. The domain authority is measured by several factors:

  • For how long you’ve had your domain name - the longer the better
  • The history of domain name
  • Number of 404 pages
  • Number of backlinks

Social Media Posts

Although these aren’t exactly a ranking factor, they do help drive traffic to your website which boosts your ranking. And, more traffic to the website can generate a lot of link shares.


This refers to paid ads on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media. Although PPC is contrary to SEO, they are intertwined. It’s because you can optimize your ads to create more appealing ones that will help you drive more traffic to your website. More traffic results in more backlinks, shares, and other ranking factors.

Needless to say that on-page and off-page SEO go hand in hand. So, if you want to optimize your website properly, you must check and optimize the ranking factors of both types of SEO.