As we mentioned in our previous article “What Factors Influence My Google Ranking?”, there are many factors that contribute to how well your site ranks in search engines like Google. The methods used to improve your ranking are called “search engine optimization” (SEO). There are both internal and external factors that affect your rank.
On-page SEO refers to internal changes you can make to your website pages to make them more “appealing” to search engines. For the most part, this means researching what keyword phrases people most often search for (when looking for a business like yours) and then placing those keyword phrases in the content of your website. Knowing where and how often to place your keywords in your pages is critical. Keyword placement areas can include:
One last critical on-page element is to make sure your website structure is “index-able”. Certain types of website programming can prevent the search engines from indexing the text or links on your pages. To check how the search engines see your website, try a search engine spider imitator like this one.
As you may have guessed, off-page SEO involves steps you can take externally – outside of your website – to improve your search engine ranking. The first off-page factor to consider is external links (or back links – this is where other websites link back to your website). Two factors Google looks at are:
How do you get external links? Usually by having content on your website that is useful to other people. You can gain back links by getting people to talk about your website and point other people to content on your website. Think of this part of SEO as public relations for the virtual world. The second off-page factor to consider is being listed in key directories that Google and the other search engines tend to favor. For local businesses that want to generate attract customers in their geographic location, this can be critical. In Australia, these directories include:
So there you have it: the difference between on-page and off-page SEO in a nutshell. Don’t miss our next instalment on “What Are Keywords and Why Are They Important”. Or, if you missed the beginning of our series, head over to “What Is Search Engine Optimisation?”