Differences Between Onsite and Offsite SEO

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Alex Corral
Alex Corral
June 24, 2020
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Search Engine Marketing

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UPDATED:
June 24, 2020

If you are on this page, it is because you have started to dip your feet into the world of SEO. Keywords are now a thing of the past for you, and you are looking to see what else you can do. Every path is different, but this is usually where you start hearing about onsite and offsite SEO. If you were anything like me, you want to know if there is a difference between onsite and offsite SEO. What are those differences?


The simple truth of it is that onsite SEO is things that you can do on your actual website. These can help you rank better in the search engines. Offsite SEO is all the things that you would work on, SEO-wise, that are not on your actual website. I will go into detail about what these might be and how they work separately/together. We will start with the one that you have the most control over. This is also where the foundation for your SEO and promotional efforts start.

Onsite SEO

I will assume that you have access to your website editor so that you can make these onsite improvements. There are a lot of things that you can improve on your website. A few of these are listed below. I've also included a short description of what they are and how they help.


  • Content/Keywords
  • Authorship(E-A-T)
  • Titles/Meta Descriptions/Images
  • H1’s/Structure/URL formatting/Internal Links
  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Speed/Response Codes
  • Structured Data, Robots.txt, Rel=Canonical, etc.

Content/Keywords

I'm not going to tell you that your content needs to be XXX words or that you need to have your keyword in the content X times. I will tell you that your content needs to be the best out there in regards to your chosen keyword. Type in your keyword into a search engine and click every link on page one. If what you are producing isn't better than what is already out there, you will not succeed with this aspect of onsite SEO.

Authorship(E-A-T)

Who is producing this content for you? Are they known in their field? What qualifies them to write on this subject, and why should the reader care? What is their reputation? E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Titles/Meta Descriptions/Images

Great, now you have a great piece of content on your site that is written by someone who your potential readers can trust. Now what? Now you have to put on your salesman hat and get these people over to that page from the search engines. The title and meta description are what your reader will see when they type your keyword into the search engine and get the search results. How is your title going to entice them to click on your search result? How is the description going to confirm that they are going to find what they are looking for when they visit your site? Are they doing a traditional search, or are they looking for images? Including alt text on your pictures can bring people over from the search engines and shouldn't be ignored.

H1’s/Structure/URL Formatting/Internal Linking

Once they get to your site, how easy is it for them to find what they are looking for? Do you include contextual headings so the reader can skim for what they are looking for? Is it one big block of text? How is the grammar? Can they find other related links of the page to further their learning? What does the URL tell me about where I am? Show them your knowledge, not just what you sell.

Mobile Friendliness

As I mentioned earlier, not everyone searches for things in the same manner. Some prefer visual search over text-based. You can say the same about the search environment. Search used to be only a desktop thing. Now you can search from anywhere. Your computer, a tablet, a phone, or even your refrigerator are all fair game! You need to ensure that you are exceeding their expectations. The user experience needs to be exceptional on whatever device they are using. You have done all this work to get the people over to your incredible content. If I have to pinch and zoom on your website when I visit from my phone, I will likely leave, and so will most other people.

Speed/Response Codes

The on-demand culture is here to stay. If your website takes too long to load, there is a good chance it will never do well in the search engines. Searches need the information now, not a few minutes from now.

Response codes are another thing that you are in control of. If I click on a link, will it take me to its intended destination? If not, I might get frustrated with the user experience.

Structured Data, Robots.txt, Rel=Canonical, etc.

You can do things once you have all your I's dotted and T's crossed. Adding structured data helps to tell the search engines more details about what is on your page. It could allow you to get a special presentation on the SERP as well. Robots.txt can block specific pages from showing. Canonical can specify what version of a page is your preferred version!.

These are a few of the more essential things that you can do to improve your onsite SEO.

Offsite-SEO

Most of what this consists of is link building. The more organic links that you can get to your pages, the better off your offsite SEO will be. This is important. When someone links to your page, they are endorsing you to their readers. If they are reputable, this could help your SEO. If they are a link farm, it could hurt your SEO. Below are a few things that you can do to help your offsite SEO.


  • Content Marketing/Creating Shareable Content
  • Listing Distribution/Review Marketing
  • Guest Post/Influencers
  • Forums/Q&A

Content Marketing/Creating Shareable Content

This is going to sound cliche, but the best way to earn links is to create great content. Make it something that people are going to want to share, and then ask them to! If they found it helpful, then there is no reason that they wouldn't want to share it. On a side note, if you found this useful, feel free to link to our page!

Listing Distribution/Review Marketing

Getting listed on the right directories is crucial. These users already likely know (kind of) what they need. It might be an easier sell. Another thing that you have to be mindful of is how you manage your reputation. Many of these directories have review functions. If you are not monitoring your reviews, you could give your potential clients a reason to turn away.

Guest Post/Influencers

Guest posting involves you posting on someone else's blog. This can be beneficial if they serve your target audience somehow, and it can help you grow if done right. If you are creating the best content out there, you can show it to them when pitching your guest post. Partnering with an influencer could be beneficial to your offsite SEO strategy.

Forums/Q&A

Do you have content out there that helps to solve a pain point for your customer? Are you knowledgeable in your industry? If your answer is 'yes,' then it might be beneficial to be on Forums and Q and A sites. Helping someone with a question could lead to a future sale.


There you have it. Onsite and offsite SEO. Some tactics might prove to be more useful to you than others. I included them in this order because they are what has worked for us. I hope that you can grasp this process a little better now. Is there anything that you did not understand? Is there something that you need a bit more clarity? Please feel free to reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

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