What is On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO? How Do On-Page and Off-Page SEO Work?
What is On-Page SEO?
1. To-Do List for On-Page SEO
What is Off-Page SEO?
2. To-Do List for Off-Page SEO
What is On-Page SEO?
Although the main goal is simply to boost organic traffic, the intention of on-page SEO is; to analyze what the target audience is looking for by using the users’ searches (also known as "keyword") at the right place and at the right time. To ensure that the website is reachable by the search engines and hence users. On-page SEO is ultimately what you do to increase your website's organic traffic keeping a user-centered focus.
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is the marketing optimization that you do around your website in order for it to be found, recognized, visited, read or sold by the target audience. When you talk about off-page SEO, the first thing that comes to mind is link building; but the concept is so big that just saying 'link building' is a bit weak. As well as the lack of knowledge of clients when they request off-page support but do not fully understand what SEO actually is - and do not want or even try to understand it:
“So, let's buy backlinks then?” the client then says.
Well, if you find a website where the brand or product attracts the right audience and there could be an efficient interaction, you can contact the relevant site owner for sure. No rule says that you can't… But link building is not as simple as that. In the next sections, I hope that I can help you understand more about the topic.
Note: I just talked about the definition of on-page and off-page, and next up are the techniques that I will talk about. With all Google’s updates, the things I’m going to explain to you have the possibility to change in the future as well (just keep that in mind). However, if there is one thing that does not change, it is the reality that search engine optimization will always be based on users and their interaction with the website.
1. To-Do List for On-Page SEO
What you need: (1) Target audiences that will find your site, (2) The content that will be loved by its audience, (3) A quality site designed for user experience - UX, (4) Returning visitors that won't stop visiting and suggesting your website, (5) New visitors that will continue visiting and suggesting your site.
There has to be a relation between the site and its users, as I mentioned above. Users need to see your site in the search results first, so they can discover you. Thus, the site must be crawlable by Google bots. (Also; those who already know your site, will either visit the URL directly or enter the brand name in the search engine. - navigational search terms)
- Make sure that the meta robot tag allows bots to crawl. If you use tags like noindex and nofollow, Google bots will not crawl the pages and these pages will not be listed on the search results.
- Check the robot.txt file. Remember, on this file you show Google Bots the pages that you do not want to be listed on the search results. A different method, but same intent as with the meta robot tags.
- Add all URLs that you want to be listed on the search results and become accessible to users, in the sitemap XML file.
And do not forget to do technical audits of the site by using advanced SEO tools at regular intervals. We use Google Analytics, Google Search Console reports as well as DeepCrawl to perform technical audits of our client’s sites, and convert the reports to actionable to-do lists which we then send over to their software team.
SSL is a certificate that initiates secure communication between the site and the user. It ensures secure site navigation for the users by encrypting important personal information such as credit card information, passwords, or any confidential data.
Google list the pages related to the relevant search query. Many factors such as the title, description, and URL of the content are also visible to the user.
The initial trust communication starts with the letter “s" followed by the HTTP protocol in the URL, for the user who knows what SSL is. See: https://
For a user who doesn't know what the letter “s" stands for in HTTPS, this dialog starts with the padlock icon that is at the beginning of the browser bar.
If you're not spam, you'd like your site to be seen by your audience, right?
Here's what you need to do to communicate and create interaction:
- User Behavior Analysis: According to SearchEngineLand, there are over 63,000 searches per second, on any given day. Sometimes people search to get information or to take action, and sometimes just to reach the site or the store. That's why you need to analyze the search queries first. You can find detailed information on how to analyze these searches in my SEO for User Intent blog post.
- Make sure that the content is not duplicate and that you are not doing keyword stuffing.
- The title tag and meta description provides information about what the page’ content is about, before users even visit your site; so you must bring your message across clearly and correctly.
- Make your URL slug simple and descriptive. Usually the title tag as a URL is the most natural way to do it.
- To make the content clear to the user, pay attention to semantic interpretation and generate the title of the content by following the HTML semantic rules.
- If you have a long piece of content, do not hesitate to summarize your content halfway in. This will help the user to understand the main points more clearly.
- At the end of the content, add the questions that users are most curious about plus the answers to these questions. (Even add FAQ snippet code to the HTML of the page, so that it has the chance to appear directly to users in the Google search results.)
Reminder: Don't think that text contents are the only thing you should consider; images, videos, infographics, etc. are also types of content. If you have enough and relevant resources which are useful for users, you should (no, must!) use them all.
Pay attention to the use of schema markup in the page. Structure data markup is done by integrating the relevant tags into HTML. Its purpose is to give search bots meta information of the sites’ content.
“When you use structured data to mark up content, you help Google better understand its context for display in Search, and you achieve a better distribution of your content to users from Search. You do this by marking up content properties and enabling actions where relevant. This makes it eligible for inclusion in rich results.” - Developers.Google
You can increase your chances of appearing as a rich snippet on the search results page when you add the snippet code provided by Google to the HTML source directly when creating rich content, such as articles, local businesses, music, recipes, reviews, TV and movies, videos on your page.
Internal linking allows bots to understand the meaning between pages. It indicates where a page is in the site hierarchy, and what its connection is with the other pages on your site.
On the other hand, users likely leave a page when they click the link and go to a meaningless and irrelevant page. Therefore, pay attention to which page you link to, to prevent misleading the user.
By using the “Related Content” feature on blog pages, you can create more options for users to interact within the site.
- Responsive web design is a must. Especially if you have a site with more mobile users than desktop users, you need a mobile responsive web design. Google announced that it has started to make mobile-first indexing since March 2018. Therefore, Google can show your page as a priority on the search results; if your site has a good mobile user experience in terms of design, technical- and contextual-points, etc. it will be indexed faster than other sites. (You can do a mobile-friendly test to see if your mobile site is sufficient and to see what you could do to improve.)
- Use related images, videos, and podcasts that could be interesting to the user. Sharing those relevant and useful product contents will bring doubtful people closer to the act of purchase.
- Improve page speed, do image optimization, and do not forget to add image alt text to your images.
To-Do List for Off-Page SEO
Google tries to figure out the quality and relevance of the content with each link you receive from a site, social media channel or important marketing channel like Google My Business. If someone links to your site with the right queries addressing the right content (and of course; if it's not a spam link), it will make Google understand your pages’ value better. This also increases the likelihood of your page to be listed for relevant search queries.
Of course, the ranking in the SERPs is also important. We can't deny that. But focusing on quality backlinks only for improving the ranking in SERPs is not enough. In SEO, the most important thing is to make the targeted audience visit the right content on the right site. Make them interact again!
You can utilize a backlinks-report from Ahrefs. Place the URL in the yellow box below to see from which sites your competitor received backlinks. With this report, you will also be able to see which topics and search queries obtained backlinks.
You will see which sites your competitor receives links from, in this report.
In this case:
- You can contact the editor or writer of the content, or even the owner of the site, and ask to link to your page by saying that you have relevant content on that topic.
- If you receive a negative response after contacting, think like this: "This site gave a link to someone; so it can certainly give a link to me as well." Then you can try your luck for a different piece of content.
Ahrefs is not only for competitor analysis. You can also use it to do a backlink analysis of your own website. Place the full URL of your site in the search box and start the report. Additionally, you can see broken or lost backlink; meaning that either the page that links to you is lost, or that they have removed your link.
If they have removed the link, contact the site owner again. Like this, you can ask them to give you a link again. If the page is completely removed, you can review the site where the page is located and try to find similar content.
Again, I'm just saying: "They've already given you a link before. So why not now?"
In addition, you may have received spammy backlinks due to poor SEO services you received earlier. So you should always look at the backlink profile of the current site. As a result of the analysis, you can create a disavow list and upload it to the Google Search Console if necessary.
If you don't have a large network, or if you don't know how to contact them, sure; you can work with PR agencies that do this job for you. However, there is one issue that you should be careful about. It is best for you and your SEO agency to "focus on the sites that attract your target audience." If you have a cosmetic product, focus on sites where women talk about cosmetic products, not car sites.
The backlinks preferred by Google are natural backlinks. Imagine, someone is reading your content, writes a blog post on the same topic, and links to your page as the source. What could be more natural than that?
You see that a lot on Instagram, don't you? Influencers constantly linking to products.
If you have a budget for this, of course; give it a try. When you are looking for a good influencer, look at their interaction rate and not the number of their followers. Because all you need is the interaction from the influencers you choose.
Note: Of course, the influencer that recommends the food processor and the influencer that recommends the computer card has a completely different audience. Be careful when choosing ‘the one’.
Check out industry-related forum pages or content pages. If they have a guest writing section, super. But that's not all. If you think you can write a quick and short content and link to your site, it maybe wouldn't be as effective as you thought it would be. Here you also need to write original and remarkable content on the subject so that the value of the link you give is high quality.
You can create weekly or monthly newsletters according to the frequency of your shares. In these newsletters, you can write short contents and add links to them.
Look! You've already given yourself a link to an interested audience who willingly subscribed to your newsletter.
You should have a Google My Business account if you have a local store with a real address and a zip code. Think of GMB as a social media channel on Google. You can share content on many different topics through GMB posts like campaigns, blog posts, discounts, products, etc.
Same logic as with the newsletter: "Another channel from where you can link to yourself and reach your local audience."
You can visit this page if you want to learn about GMB and local SEO.
When it comes to organic traffic analysis with Google Search Console, you can access the most accurate reports with a very simple interface (when there are no Google updates and algorithm errors.) Just like the backlink analysis report on Ahrefs, the GSC has a backlinks report, too. With this report, you can see the external links and the anchor texts as well as internal links.
Note: GSC gives a general report instead of showing all backlinks.
Yeah, that's right. Sponsored content also is a worthy backlink for you; but only if the site where the sponsored content has been published is a platform that your targeted audience surfs on.
Deciding on the targeted site is a really important point and must depend on you or your SEO agency's audience analysis. But for the sake of clarity, I can share the very creative example of Onedio.
Onedio has two kinds of advertorial content, written like "via..." and "sponsored by". They don't link to your site with their "via..." content as far as I can see (correct me if I'm wrong). However, you can still show your brand to the users naturally. When the user clicks on the brand name, it still stays on onedio.com. Although it's not a "real" backlink; it is a sharing method that will increase brand awareness and provide organic traffic / direct traffic to the site.
On the other hand, Onedio can direct users directly to your website with their "sponsored by" contents which are completely advertising.
Channels like Quora, Twitter and Facebook are good marketing channels where people often share links with each other. If your interaction on these channels is high, share the page you want to highlight under the relevant posts.
Connect with highly interactive users and ask them to share your page. Or spend some time on the screen and find out who talked about your topic before.
Use the search boxes of these channels. When you find relevant posts, comment and leave the link quietly, saying that they can read more information about this topic on your page. But here you have to adjust your dosage well. You can create a counter rejection when it becomes too you obvious (or even pushy) that you are doing this just to get link backlinks or referral traffic.
On-page and off-page SEO continues to evolve day by day. Completely different technical issues were in the foreground two years ago but today; the technical issues that were important at the time could lose their validity. However, the user experience and the importance of user searches are never diminished. On the contrary, today you can see that the work and process are all about the users when you, for example, take a look at some results of successful SEO work. Therefore, in both on-page and off-page SEO, always answer the following questions and take action accordingly: "Who is my target audience?", "What is my purpose on my website", "What benefit will the users get when they visit my site?"
And as a final, "How can I benefit myself by improving the user experience with the answer to all these questions?"
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