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On Page & Off Page SEO, what’s the difference?

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Article Overview

There is a delicate balance between getting your on-page and off-page SEO right. They are both equally important and if you can manage to get this tightrope SEO technique implemented correctly you will start to see massive improvements in your online rankings. Remember, SEO is not just about backlinks. It's a complete holistic digital solution where you look at your websites visual appeal as well as all the on-page elements that combine to make it crawlable and easy to index by the search engines.

If you are about to start using an SEO agency it’s important to know the difference between On-Page and Off-Page SEO.

You are probably going to hear these terms quite often so it’s essential that you are armed with this knowledge’s the SEO landscape can often get very confusing for most business owners or people who are just starting out and want their site to rank on Google.

In determining the value of your website Google will look at two elements. One is called ‘on page’ and the other is ‘off page’.

On-Page SEO is everything that’s visible to the user while Off-Page SEO is everything that’s hidden; basically, the work carried out that no one can see by your SEO company. I want to stress that you should leave both of these disciplines in the hands of professionals and taking a DIY approach is not advisable.

You might also like this article from Forbes called; Why You Need To Know The Difference Between On-Page And Off-Page SEO

On-Page SEO elements that you need to be aware of to help your website rank better on Google

Website speed

This is probably one of the most important factors nowadays that Google is watching. Basically, your website needs to be lightning-fast when it comes to downloading times. It has to load in a split second as users are now becoming extremely impatient and expect information to be in front of them immediately. Slow download times are going to hinder any chance of rankings so make sure that when your web agency is building your site they are also checking it for download speeds. Check your website speed here at Pingdom. It’s a great tool to use to check how quickly your site loads.

Duplicate content

This is another very important ‘on page’ element as Google wants to see fresh, unique copy on your site and not scared content or plagiarised copy from another website on your site. A golden rule here to remember is to make sure all your pages are written either by you or an experienced copywriter. Anything less than this is totally unacceptable and will kill any chance you have of ranking. Google adores and will rank informative content so make sure this ‘On Page’ element is front and centre every time you publish a blog, new page, service or product offering or news article.

Site  structure

Your website has to be really easy to use and navigate. From your URL structure right through to your page layout is must give the visitor a seamless and enjoyable web journey. This is not as easy as it would seem as many websites do not follow a cohesive structure and customers end up getting lost on the site which leads rot higher bounce rates and lost revenue. This is particularly damaging when it comes to shopping carts and eCommerce websites where customers abandon sites simply because they get frustrated with the check to process or their ability to make a purchase. Google will (and this is really an important point) notice if your site is having a high bounce rate (people exiting the site from the page they arrived on)  and will rank it accordingly. Basically, the higher this bounce rate the worse the ranking. Keep this fact in mind. Your SEO agency should be addressing issues such as bounce rates and becoming with design solutions to improve the situation. If they are unable to do this, then they are definitely the wrong people to be working with.

Missing links

Make sure all of your pages are linking correctly and that all internal links actually work. Sending people to non-existent pages is a bad user experience and Google will penalise your rankings if there are too many broken internal links.

Google Maps

If your want to attract local customers then add a Google map and make sure you add your address and phone number. Have a separate contact us page on your website so people can easily identify your location and be ablate contact you either by phone or email.

Related article: Fast SEO Tips in under 5 MINUTES

Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

A title tag according to Search Engine Journal is an HTML tag that exists in the head section of each webpage, provides an initial cue or context as to what the topical subject matter is of the respective page it is on.

Each web page must have its own separate unique title and be reflective of the content and message of that page. Google will display this title in its search results as a clickable element to your website and is in my opinion one of the most important on-page SEO elements. It’s got to be eye-catching, informative yet not over spammy as Google will not display it if it violates their title guidelines. You can see what Google has to say about writing better titles here. The meta description is also super important as it’s a more detailed description of the content of the pages and will help with click-through rates on Google. when you combine titles and meta descriptions it should read better than your competition. But a word of warning; never stuff these with the keywords you’re trying to rank as Google will simply not display these and choose their own title and description.

You can see how effective our home page title and meta description is for the keywords SEO Sydney and how much Google likes it because as @ 26th November 2021 we are ranking # 1 for this set of keywords.


Title tags, importnat on-page elements
You can see the importance of a correctly worded Title Tag and meta description.

Header Tags

Header Tags are HTML elements and go from H1 through to H6 and should be used throughout your pages. H1 is the main title of the page and H2 is the subheading. H3 is the small subparagraph headings while others are smaller headings. Title Headers are huge on-page ranking elements and are often overlooked by so many SEO agencies. The aim of these header tags is to make the web page easier to read, more digestible and help reduce website bounce rates. Title headers will help search engine spiders determine the content of the page and in turn, rank it for specific keywords. Yoast has a great article where you can learn more about Header Tags in their post: How to use headings on your site.

User engagement

User engagement is critical to the success of your website marketing prowess. Yes, it’s fantastic to get top rankings on Google but if users do not engage with your site and interact via filling out a form, making an inquiry, calling you or making a purchase then all is waste of time. For best user engagements you need a digital agency that can constantly monitor the website bounce rates and look at ways of improving the user’s journey and overall experience. I have written a whole bunch of articles about user engagement on this site’s blog which you can read – category: conversion rate optimisation

What is ‘Off-Page SEO’?

This is what happens behind the scenes. It’s everything you can’t see that your SEO agency is doing in order to help your rankings. Because you have little control over what they are doing it’s important that you choose the right SEO company that is proficient at SEO and knows better than anyone else what they are doing when it comes to all the ‘Off Page’ elements. I have spoken about this ad nauseam throughout all my blogs and cannot emphasise the fact enough that if you choose the wrong SEO agency to implement your ‘Off Page’ SEO then you are going to wind up in serious trouble with Google; penalties, lost rankings are just the beginning. Make your you are wise in your decision and choose the right SEO agency from the beginning.

Make sure you look out for these ‘Off Page’ factors when working with your SEO company. If you see anything strange (and I will list these below) you should bring this up with them.

Excessive use of backlinking for a certain keyword

Backlinking is the foundation of any SEO campaign and if you find that your SEO agency is pushing a keyword too hard (in order to help rank it) you need to question this activity. This is one of the most common ‘off page’ issues that we see all the time as SEO agencies with little regard for Google will over optimise a keyword or phrase to the detriment of the client. Ask them for an anchor text backlink report every month to see what type of ‘off page’ backlink activity they are doing.

Web directories

Make sure they are not submitting your website to countless amounts of useless directories that you have never heard of. Yes, you want to rank for google maps but this will only happen if they register your site with credible local and well-known directories. These are known as citations are and the best way to help your site get on maps. Overuse of non-Australian, cheap directories is only going to hamper any chance you have of ranking. In fact, it may go against you. Please be very aware of all directory entries you are listed on.

High DA backlinks

If your Off-Page SEO is done properly then they should be outreaching to other websites in the hope of publishing content with a link back to your site. Ask to see some of this content and check the quality of it as well as the links pointing back to your site. This is a great way to tell if your SEO is being done by a professional outfit or a bunch of novices.

In conclusion, you can see the difference between the two SEO elements. They are as important as each other and must work together in a cohesive and harmonious way if you are to succeed online.

Your website and SEO is not a set and forget proposition. The truth is you have to be working on both Off-Page and On-Page SEO all the time. It is the way of the digital space nowadays where your attention to your website is more important than ever. If you ignore any element or are not continuously updating, refining and fine-tuning your website then I’m afraid that the businesses that are more aggressive and vigilant than you in monitoring their ‘ Off Page and On Page’ will perform better online. If you rely on Google for business and getting new clients (like we all do) you must become a little obsessed with this. Ultimately you are the only person that can decide the outcome of how well you perform online so make sure you make the right choices when deciding who will work on your website and your SEO.

If you’re wondering why your website isn’t performing as well as it should be I’m more than happy to give it a quick website audit and let you know what’s wrong with the site.

steven waldberg - ceo seo sydney experts

About the author

Steven Waldberg

Steven is the director of SEO Sydney Experts and is one of the founding members ( that’s over 18 years ago). He has one of the longest careers in the SEO and content marketing industry and has written for many prestigious websites, including B & T and AdNews. If you’re serious about working with someone who will dedicate 100% of himself to your business; Steven is your SEO Expert.

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