What is the difference between On-Site and Off-Site SEO?


If you are trying to DIY digital marketing for your business, you might be wondering the difference between on-site and off-site SEO. It is as simple as it sounds – 

  • On-Site SEO consists of optimizing your website in a way the Google algorithm can more easily understand the content. 
  • Off-Site SEO is the idea of increasing the validity and trustworthiness of your website through other websites and tools. 

On-Site vs Off-Site SEO

Types of On-Site SEO

While SEO in itself is a very broad topic and there are loads of articles in our library to give you a full rundown, here are the most common types of On-Site SEO.

Title Tag Optimization

Of all the things Google considers in page rankings, optimizing the title tags on your website is one of the most important. The title of a webpage should immediately tell Google’s algorithm exactly what your website is about. It can be tough, but try to find a balance between encompassing all aspects of your business and being very specific about your main services.

HTML Optimization

While some would say a title tag IS an HTML optimization, most CMS platforms make it easy to apply titles. When I say HTML tags, I am referring to the browser instructions that appear in the source code. You’ll notice each heading has an <h2> or <h3> and it is important to include keywords in these headings. Google is known to skim pages rather than read them, and headings should tell what that section is about without reading it. Another HTML tag SEO companies tend to focus on is alt attributes. Alt attributes tell Google what an image on your site is about. Since Google can only guess at image content assigning keywords to these images in an alt attribute will help it understand. 

Generating Content

For any website, but especially newer ones, creating content should be a top priority. Google analyzes not only how much content you have, but also how frequently you update it. Users want the most up-to-date information and Google will give it to them. Content that gets a lot of traffic initially will eventually start to fade if you don’t keep it updated. 

Content Clusters

Content clusters are used to add depth to your site for primary pages. New content should specifically support the keyword(s) you are targeting on the primary page and link back to it using anchor text. 

Types Off-Site SEO

When looking at Off-Site SEO, your mind should go to building links from other sites and building your brand.

Local Directories

Business listings or directories are a must-have for local rankings. Google uses these sites to verify your business details. The more trustworthy local directories with the correct information, the more likely Google is to list your business in the local pack, especially on mobile. Your local government websites, Yelp, and BBB are all good examples of business directories to get listed on.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is writing content and getting it posted on other websites, hopefully with a link back to your own site. Guest posting is a great way to build high-quality links and get some brand recognition on sites that have already built authority with Google. 

Google My Business & Bing For Business

If your business does not have a Google My Business profile built, stop what you are doing and go create one. It is free, doesn’t require a lot of time or technical expertise, and has many benefits for small businesses. Google will use this profile to gather verified information on things like address, store hours, and service areas. Bing for Business is slightly less valuable, but still an important place to have a listing.


When it comes to ranking on a local level, prominence is particularly important. Prominence is essentially how “popular” your business is. How often people are mentioning it on social media, how much offline traffic your business is receiving, and how much information Google can gather from your website from across the web (backlinks).


On-Site and Off-Site SEO are both important to ranking on Google. For newer sites, it is especially important to have enough content for the questions people are asking in your industry and to get listed in business directories as soon as possible.

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