On-Site v. Off-Site SEO: What’s the Difference?

One of the first questions any good SEO company will ask a client before getting to work is this:

‘On-site or off-site SEO?’

In terms of SEO services, this is a valid and very important question, but it’s also a question that can leave business owners feeling a little stumped. So what exactly is the difference between these two SEO options, and which one should you be focusing on in order to improve online visibility of your brand?

SEO Explained

SEO marketing — or ‘search engine optimisation’ marketing — is a way of creating website content that is not only relevant to the target audience, but also machine-readable. By including keywords and key phrases throughout content, Google SEO algorithms can successfully rank websites by their relevance to any given search term. But there are two ways we can do this: either through on-site or off-site content.

On-Site SEO:

This method looks exclusively at content marketing in terms of your own business website, and is considered to be the easier of the two options. However, despite the simplicity, many businesses still see better results from working with an SEO consultant for aspects such as industry-related keyword research, and suitable keyword density throughout the content. It’s important to remember that everything on your website can be considered ‘content’; blog posts, titles, page tags, product descriptions, navigational tools, and even your contact details. All these aspects can be optimised to help your website be seen by the right audiences, at the right time.

Off-Site SEO:

This method looks at any content that can be related specifically to your brand which is not featured on your own website. This could be social media posts that you have created, online directory advertisements, backlinking posts, or even unassociated blog posts that discuss your brand or your products; reviews, for example. Off-site SEO can be a little trickier, as Google SEO tends to differentiate between ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ links. Forced anchor text or dubiously-related links can trigger a Google penalty, with the search engine preferring natural links; but even this isn’t always straightforward, with links from ‘authority’ sites faring better.

On-Site SEO or Off-Site?

Most SEO companies will recognise the value of both on-site and off-site SEO in terms of internet marketing. However, for young businesses, it is always best to work initially on on-site SEO. That’s because if you’re considering off-site backlinks to your content, there needs to be content there for your audience to view! As your website grows to include a range of valuable content that will engage visitors and keep them on the site, it is time to consider off-site SEO. The advantage of off-site SEO is that it massively expands your reach – far beyond what is possible through just your website alone.