On-Page VS Off-Page SEO: Which is Best?

My last post on SEO proved popular so I thought I would go into some more detail for you all: On-Page vs Off-Page SEO.

If the title of this post gives you a headache, I’ll start with a quick explanation of what on-page and off-page SEO is.

On-page SEO includes all the factors you can use to optimise your blog posts and individual pages, so the changes you can physically make within your blogging platform admin or the backend of your website. This includes your content itself, titles, headings, internal links, keyword usage, image alt tags, meta tags etc.

Off-page SEO is basically everything else that influences your rankings, so things that you can do without having access to your site’s admin. Typically, this is backlinks (when other websites link back to you).

How does Google use on-page and off-page differently?

To have a site that ranks well, you generally need a combination of both. There are some circumstances where you can get away with one not being as good as the other but we’ll get into that later.

Google uses them to decide two things about you site: on-page tells them what your page is about and off-page tells them how popular and authoritative it is. Think of it this way: on-page = what terms you rank for and off-page = how high you rank.

How do I get more backlinks?

The process of acquiring more backlinks is not easy, and if you find a way that is easy then I would suggest you avoid it because Google has a way of working this into their algorithms to penalise sites who build artificial links.

The best way to get more links is to create more amazing, shareable content. If your content is awesome, people will naturally want to share it and you’ll get a nice SEO boost.

How do I create shareable content?

First of all I’m just going to say that if the content you currently post is performing well for you, don’t stop posting that in favour of trying to be more shareable. But it pays to have a think about what sort of content someone would share.

It’s painful to look at your hard work in this way and realise that the favourites post that took you three hours to do probably isn’t going to get much sharing attention.

What content gets the most social media engagement? What do other websites in your niche link back to? This will vary depending on your niche or industry but generally how-to guides, tutorials, infographics, videos, tips etc. all perform better than standard article content because they all have shareable value.

Take a look at this post on Buzzfeed and consider all the infographics it uses and links to. Doing so helps those sites out in their off-page SEO. Getting those type of links is what you’re aiming for!

Other link-building strategies include:

Guest posting on other blogs that include a link back to your site

This is common practice in bloggersville and I think many people do it without thinking about why they’re doing it or what they want to achieve.

When you agree to work with other bloggers to post guest content, it’s important to consider that they may too be a blog who’s just starting out with their search marketing efforts and that a link from their website probably isn’t going to be that quality link you need.

You can try asking with their domain authority score is as that will give you a rough idea of how much influence the link will be. I’m not going to suggest you turn down opportunities like this when they arise but remember that it’s all about quality over quantity when it comes to link building and you don’t want Google to penalise your site.


Reaching out to other bloggers and influencers in your niche. I wouldn’t recommend outright asking for a link- especially in a time when many people are SEO savvy enough to see through your strategy- but if you have content that could be useful to them like a resource list, infographic, video, product review etc. then just dropping them a friendly email and letting them know might be enough to get you a link.

I’ll give a more specific example for beauty bloggers as I know most of my audience will be interested in that.

So if you’ve created a guide or infographic or something on how to apply eyeliner, you could look for an influencer who has an article in that area. Then drop them a line and let them know how much you enjoyed their post and that you have an infographic or whatever your resource is that they might like to use. Not everyone you contact will be interested but you can ask for a link back to your website to anyone who does want to share your resource.

Submitting your site to directory sites and resource lists

This is probably the one that I would place the least weight on. Directory sites aren’t really a big thing anymore and any you do find are unlikely to work well for you.

Broken link building

This works by searching for resource lists or similar and identifying broken or outdated links. You can then contact the website owner and alert them to the broken link with an offer of a link to your content on the same subject.

Used correctly, this one is genius but it can be difficult to identify these opportunities.

If you’re a beauty blogger, you might start by seeking out lists of top beauty blogs like top UK beauty bloggers or whatever suits your content best and hunt down those broken links to offer your replacement.

How many links do I need?

That’s a difficult question and certainly not one that has a definitive answer, but we do know that the quality of the link matters more than the quantity, so a link from a high-authority website within your niche will be far more valuable to you than a handful of links from your friends’ WordPress blogs.

But do I have to do off-page SEO?

If you’re after those competitive, high volume search phrases then yes. No amount of on-page optimisation is going to boost you if your ranking competitors have better off-page SEO. If you want to target low volume, less competitive keywords which is something I’m fond of doing, then you can mostly get by with awesome on-page SEO.

Here’s a really handy table from Digital Third Coast which explains it better.


I hope you found this useful! As always, I’m open to discussion and suggestions and if there’s anything else SEO you want me to cover, let me know!

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