The debate as to whether on-page or off-page in SEO is more important has varied from one extreme to the other. The purpose of today’s post isn’t to have you choose one or the other but rather to show you the variables of each facet. Optimization of a website deals with the improvement of modifying website factors to enhance performance, usability and output–there is no wizardry involved.
On-Page Vs. Off-Page
Some of the key players on the on-page SEO team are:
Off-Page SEO‘s top performers are:
- Inbound or back links from other websites
- Volume of those links
- Velocity or rate at which they
- Anchor text of keyword and frequency of the same
- Neighborhood or where those links reside
- C Class IP Range (do those links come from websites on the same hosting server, block?)
Now, for the comparison
What does On-Page SEO do?
- Helps each page rank for a keyword or group of keyphrases
- Prioritize which pages are more important than others based on where they sit in the site architecture, navigation structure, secondary navigation or internal links.
- Helps a page rank with less inbound links from off-page ranking factors.
And Off-Page SEO?
- Make up for faulty on page optimization for less competitive key phrases.
- Take a new page from not being in the top thousand results in Google to page one in weeks.
- Get deeper less essential pages in Google, Yahoo or Bing’s index to generate additional mid-tail or long-tail keyword traffic.
- Preserve competitive pages at the top of search engines (if links are built naturally over time, observing quality, velocity and relevance)
– and most substantial –
- Develop authority for the page and website (which is the basis of long-term visibility in search engines)
Depending on the keyword, website, age, trust and authority of the page or conglomerate of pages within the site, the amount of On-page vs. off-page differs. SEO requires a good balance of the two. They need to play together and not against each other.
How much on-page optimization a site needs depends on the competition it faces on the first page and the ranking factors that hold that competition there.
For local key phrases or key phrases that return a lower amount of competing pages (i.e. under 300,000 in “exact phrase match”), a website with enough supporting inner pages and a good amount of external backlinks is enough to crush the competition.
More competitive keyphrases call for (1) extremely fine-tuned on-page precision (2) a trusted domain or page (3) ample supporting pages or (4) a higher tier of links to drive competition down
For example, Some sites rank due to the mass amount of pages that have instances or reappearances of a keyword or phrase within it’s content, sidebars, footers, etc. But those sites are easier to surpass due to the weakness in inbound links to the specific page.
Some sites only need on-page to crush their competition. Some just need links alone to rise to the top without having to touch any on-page factors. The factors which determine what percentage of each you need to topple competitors depends on the age and authority, the quality of links, supporting content within your site and the quantity, quality, frequency and velocity of your backlinks for concentrated on each keyphrase.
As I mentioned at the beginning, you’ll have to decide how much of each you’ll need. If your links are strong but you’re not moving much, increase your on-page efforts. If your on-page is tuned and not seeing much movement, increase your off-page efforts. To be successful and mantain yor position, you need both.
One fact is true though, the stronger the on-page SEO, the less links you’ll need to build. Strong SEO equates to a website optimized to (a) gain authority and (b) serve as a hub for ranking other pages without delving into off-page.
Nevertheless, off-page SEO (just link building) can produce great results. But beware, if ranking metrics for SEO ever shift–as they often do–then those rankings can become stale or diminish rapidly (i.e. the effects of Google’s Farmer/Panda update) as a result of relying on a base of links alone.