Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, makes all the difference to the success of your website. But you already know that. What you don’t know, is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

Check out our blog for the essential reasons to use SEO for small business. This article provides the information you need to understand the difference between on-site and off-site SEO.

On-Page and Off-Page SEO

On-page refers to post and site pages. Also called on-site SEO, on-page SEO constitutes everything on your website. In other words, everything accessible from your websites admin dashboard and web hosting cPanel.

On-Page SEO / On-Site SEO

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing everything on your website for search engine ranking. Naturally, it makes up the bulk of your SEO practice. However, it is not, necessarily, the most crucial.

Off-Page SEO / Off-Site SEO

Off-page refers to the optimization of how your website is regarded by the internet, at large. It constitutes everything that is outside of your website. Off-page SEO has fewer areas of implementation than on-page SEO, but, they are the most important.

Off-page SEO includes backlinking and domain-authority. Backlinks constitute the vast majority of off-page SEO. Domain-authority constitutes a small percentage of your off-site optimization. Backlinking occurs when another site on the web links to yours.

In order to generate organic search engine traffic, you must implement, both, one-page and off-page SEO.

Features of On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is essential for off-site SEO to be useful. If your site is not fully optimized, off-page SEO cannot be of optimal benefit. So, the first step is to implement on-page SEO.

The essential features of on-page SEO, are…

Keywords & Content

On-page SEO best practice begins and ends with keyword optimization. Keywords are the guidepost by which Google can recommend the content of your website.

Page and Post Keywords

The structure and placement of your keywords are essential to a successful on-page SEO strategy.

Check out this Keyword Extraction Tool, to find out what keywords are used by your websites competition. Just enter the URL of a competitors website for a one-word, two-word, and three-word keyword breakdown for every page and post.

Google Keyword Planner Tool is a free alternative for professional keyword research and strategizing.

Blog Post Content

Blog post content has unique requirements to properly optimize for search engines. The Yoast SEO website provides a free real-time content analysis tool, to test the SEO proficiency in a post. Just copy and paste your content into the proper fields, and follow the post-optimization instructions.

Your on-page keywords are the foundation of your websites overall SEO. So, choose wisely.


The Google algorithm takes into account the size of text on your page when calculating your SEO score. The larger the text, the smaller the heading number – and the more important it is to Google. Heading one (H1) is the most important, under your page title.

In your blog post content, headings serve as an outline to your text. Google wants your headings to be incorporative of keywords. It also looks to see that your paragraph content is descriptive of its heading and keywords.

Note: Headings must always progress consecutively (H1, H2, H3, etc.). Headings can also be repeated consecutively (H1, H2, H2, H3, etc.). But, headings can make skips in regress (H5, H4, H2, H2, H3, etc.). Headings are progressively detail oriented. H1 is broad, H2 breaks down H1, H3 offers details of H2 – and so on.

Google uses the structure of your site and posts headings to make sense of the content, within.

Title Tags

Each page of your website has a title. Use your chosen keywords, strategically, in creating page titles.

The title tag of your site pages should relate to the headings contained within. But, be careful of overpacking your site with keywords. If your content is too keyword-dense, Google lowers your SEO score.

Image Alt Text

On-page SEO practice includes adding image alt text. Page reader software uses alt text to describe images to blind users. It is also used by search engines when crawling images to display in search results.

Create image alt text which is accurately depictive and incorporates keywords.

URL Structure

On-page URL optimization is tricky. On one hand, Google likes it when your URLs contain keywords. On the other hand, changing your URLs can hurt off-page SEO, as discussed later.

Format your URL structure to progress by priority of content. Use the Bulk Moz Domain Authority DA Checker to be sure Google likes your URL structure.

Speed Metrics

On-page SEO is affected by your contents bounce rate. Bounce rate is a metric in regard to the rate of users that leave your website before interacting with on-page content. The largest contributor to your bounce rate is loading speed.

Optimize your sites loading speed in order to decrease the bounce rate and improve your on-page SEO.

Internal Links

An internal link is one that directs users to another page or post on your website. These links are internally directed, as to enable more site engagement by visitors.

From pages and posts on your site, an internal link will guide users to additional complimentary content.

Internal links are part of on-page SEO, whereas, external links regard off-page SEO. Google likes to see, both, internal and external links on every page and post.

For example, this article features two internal links in the first few paragraphs. Since there isn’t enough room in any post to fit all the contextual information on a subject, link to internal content that expands on the topic.

Features of Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is that which effects your website from external sources. Off-page or off-site SEO takes into account two main features: Backlinking and Domain Authority.

The following are the main features of off-page SEO:


A backlink is an external link, which connects other website users to content on your website. Backlinking constitutes the largest single contributor to your overall SEO score.

In other words: if your on-page SEO is dismally non-existent, but there are more external sources linking to your content than any other on the internet, it will still rank highly in Google search results.

Backlinks are separated into three categories:

Guest Posts & External Linking

An external link is any guest contributor or admin blog post that directly links to your site content. Affiliate partnerships are engaged in, for the purpose of providing external backlinks to both parties content.

Guest posting requires an author to become accepted as a contributing member by the destination website.

The quality of your backlinks contributes to your SEO score. Find out the quality of your site’s backlinks, with this Backlinks Checker Tool.

Social Media Linking

Social media is the main vehicle for backlinking. By getting your content shared on social media, your websites SEO score increases and ranks better on Google searches.

Create accounts for your website on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. The more on-page optimized content that you post, the more relevant Google thinks it is.

Add social icons and sign-in options to your website pages and posts.

Directory Links

Online directories are a great tool for off-page SEO. Directories make your website accessible to specific databases to be found by users. They also directly affect how relevant Google sees your Local and Global SEO.

Once your websites basic on-page and off-page SEO is taken care of, the next step is to learn about the difference of Local SEO vs. Global SEO. The Local SEO Checklist will take you to the next step.

The main internet directories, on which to list your website, are…

  • Google Maps
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Google My Business
  • Linkedin
  • Bing Local
  • Whitepages
  • Yahoo Local
  • Superpages
  • Angie’s List
  • Yellowbot
  • CitySearch
  • Better Business Bureau

Domain Authority

The authority of your domain is affected by factors which are out of your control – for the most part. Your websites domain authority relates to how reputable Google, and other search engines, deem it to be.

The longer you own your domain, the higher your domain authority. The fewer the number of previously registered domain owners, the higher your domain authority.

When your domain names are altered, your domain authority is negatively affected. That is why it is so important to develop a strong keyword strategy at the outset of your website design process.

Create an XML sitemap and URL structure that visually reflects your keyword prioritization. And, never use dynamically generated URLs!

Overall Page Optimization

On-page and off-page SEO optimization are the first steps to a professional and successful web presence. For a deeper understanding, as to the importance and foundation of Search Engine Optimization, read through our guide at Bourbon Interactive. To learn about the next step of SEO for your website, visit the Bourbon Interactive Blog page.