SEO gears

On-Site Versus Off-site SEO: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between on-site and off-site SEO?

The answer is probably obvious but there are some topics in each that are important for giving you the best chance of ranking highly in search engines.

Let’s take a look at some of these techniques in more detail.

On-Site SEO

On-Site SEO is the process of improving the way a site is displayed in search engines.

It refers to optimizing both the content and HTML source code of a page to rank higher.

It is an important way to help search engines understand what the page’s content is about and whether it addresses a user’s query.

In this sense, on-site SEO helps both humans (by making the page easy to navigate) and search engine crawlers (help clean up their less relevant index).

One example of on-site SEO is keyword placement, which means that you want to make sure that your keywords are used naturally throughout the text on your website instead of appearing too often or not at all.

This will help people find you and bring more traffic to your site as well.

But keyword selection is not the only thing to focus on for On-Site SEO.

Today, search engines have become so advanced that they can extract the meaning of a webpage based on synonyms, context, and word frequencies.

Keywords still matter, but prescriptive methods are not needed with on-page SEO anymore.

The most important thing is relevance and page experience.

For each of your pages, ask yourself how relevant the content is to the user behind search queries.

Off-Site SEO

Off-Site search engine optimization is a term for techniques that are done outside of your own website – such as other websites linking to you or articles about you, blogs with positive sentiment, mentions on social media sites, and more.

You are using techniques not related to website coding to get others to link to your site and posts.

You can make posts on social media and share them with your followers.

You can ask others to link to you by including a link back at the bottom of each post.

This is an easy way for websites or blogs that mention something about you or refer back to one of your articles, for example, to keep readers on their site.

You can be a guest blogger on another page, or write an article for a reputable website that includes your name and a link to your site.

You can be a guest on a podcast, reach out to influencers, forum discussions, commenting, and any other creative forms of promotion you can think of.

Have you ever heard of a third-party validator?

It is the unrelated, unbiased, third-party that helps provide the social proof for your content.

Search engines love third-party validation and the more you can earn, the better for Off-Site SEO will be.

OnSite + OffSite

By combining these two areas, it will give you the best chance of ranking highly in search engines.

Focusing on only one of the two is a missed opportunity and will not optimize your chances of getting the best ranking and results.


This post may contain affiliate links. Click here for my disclaimer.

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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