Onpage vs. offpage optimization: what’s the difference?

The optimization of one’s own page for the search engines is nowadays part of the mandatory program for the success of a website on the Internet. If you delve a little deeper into the subject, you will quickly come across the terms offpage and onpage optimization.

First of all: Both are important to get ahead in the ranking. We have summarized the similarities and differences between the two optimization measures in the following article about the differences between onpage and offpage optimization.

How do search engines work?

To understand the difference between onpage and offpage optimization, you should take a quick look at how a search engine works. A website does not fly through the World Wide Web alone, but is part of a large network. In this context, networks have the characteristic that relationships exist between the individual participants – in this case the web pages.

These are made clear on the Internet through links. By setting a link from one website to another, a recommendation is made at the same time.

The search engine itself first creates an index from this network of websites – an image of the WWW. E-mail and FTP programs, for example, are excluded. The result is a kind of card index that is already pre-sorted.

If a search query is made, for example in Google, then the Google crawlers do not search live for suitable content, but within the card index and output the corresponding search results, which in Google’s opinion best match the search query. In doing so, you shimmy along the links that exist between the web pages and so the circle closes again.

The order of the search results on the Google SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) is determined by various ranking factors that can be “influenced” by onpage offpage measures. This is then called search engine optimization or abbreviated SEO for Search Engine Optimization.

What is meant by SEO measures for onpage and offpage optimization?

In order to actually have noticeable success with SEO measures, you must understand search engine optimization as an overall concept.

Every single measure is like a cogwheel, which has to fit exactly into another one, so that the wheel can turn in the end. In order to better understand this construct, I have created a compact overview of the SEO measures for onpage and offpage optimization below and show how they can influence rankings.

Onpage optimization at a glance

The term alone already reveals what this SEO measure is all about. Onpage optimization refers to all aspects that are “on page”, i.e. directly on one’s own website.

Mainly, this includes the following elements:

  • Include texts & keywords in various places based on appropriate keyword research.
  • Page structure
  • Internal linking
  • Accessibility
  • Technical factors
  • Responsive design
  • Mobile Optimization
  • HTTPS encryption
  • Meta description
  • Usability
  • etc.

Within the scope of on-page optimization, you make your site fit for visitors first and foremost – with an intuitive navigation structure, a fast page layout and content rich in content.

This creates an important basis for all further marketing measures, because in the end a prospective customer always lands on the homepage.

In any case, it is important that the loading time of your website does not suffer as a result of all the optimizations you make to your pages.

A fast website with short loading times and high pagespeed can be an important ranking factor. If you want to check if your website could be faster and have a higher pagespeed, then test it with the tool Nitropack*.

By the way, you can read my Nitropack experience in detail here.

Offpage optimization at a glance

The offpage optimization is in a way the counterpart to the onpage optimization.

The term refers to all ranking improvement measures that do not take place directly on the page, but outside of one’s own website. Offsite optimization, as it is also called, is often equated with link building, i.e. the creation of backlinks. Because just a few years ago, this was the main measure to get ahead in Google. Today, however, many more aspects count in the SEO catalog of measures for offpage optimization.

  • Building backlinks
  • Optimization of anchor texts
  • Reputation management
  • Content seeding
  • Social media marketing to send social signals to Google, for example by setting links on Facebook, or the Facebook subsidiary Instagram or the Google company YouTube.
  • brand management
  • etc.

With the measures of off-page optimization, you expand the access possibilities to your own website by creating additional channels.

For example, if you set up a social media account with linking and links to your domain, you will reach a new target audience that can become aware of you not only through Google search, but now also through a social network.

How can offpage optimization affect website rankings?

Through the measures of offpage optimization, you lead new streams of visitors and new users to your website. The better work you have done in onpage optimization, the greater success you will have in offpage measures. Google registers very precisely which visitors reach your website via which path and how they behave there.

An example

You run an active Instagram account through which you want to attract visitors to your website.

Due to the great success of your profile, you gain a large number of new Instagram followers and also website visitors who click on your site from Instagram, e.g. via the link in the bio. Since your page shows a very good onpage performance, a large part of the visitors and users stay there longer and click curiously through the content. This interest and the long dwell time are in turn a positive user signal for Google.

Your website rises in the ranking.

Often, the combination of onpage vs. offpage optimization also results in an automatic effect, because good content automatically generates links from other pages. Ideal link building content are for example tutorials, statistics, knowledge articles, entertaining texts, or even infographics like this one, which I included in an article about blocked Facebook advertising accounts:

Onpage vs. offpage optimization: Which is more important?

The question of whether offpage or onpage optimization is more important is like asking whether the chicken or the egg is more important. The answer is: one cannot exist without the other.

The above example alone shows how much both measures depend on each other. If you advertise your site via social networks, but have not optimized it “on page” yourself, the traffic and thus the positive effect on the ranking will be lost immediately.

It is important to use your own capacities in such a way that a good mixture of both measures is created.

If you are actively building backlinks, the target page should offer added value for visitors. If you have invested time, costs and energy in onpage optimization, then you should ensure new visitor channels through additional offpage measures.

When are the onpage and offpage optimization measures complete?

You have made your website fit for the search engines, produced qualitative content and were able to generate numerous backlinks for it?

Wonderful, then it’s best to start from the beginning.

Both onpage and offpage optimization should be understood as a continuous process that will never be completed. Also, it always takes time for onpage and offpage SEO measures to take effect.

On the one hand, existing texts must be regularly checked to ensure that they do not spread false information. In addition, search engines love it when content is refreshed every now and then. On the other hand, Google & Co. regularly screw with their algorithms, so that adjustments are also necessary here every now and then. Thirdly: The competition does not sleep and also continuously generates new content incl. backlinks, so that you also always have to stay on the ball.

The common ground: Onpage and Offpage SEO measures do not tolerate violations

For both onpage and offpage optimization, Google has set clear laws in its internal guidelines about what is allowed and what is not. For example, backlink building must be done naturally as part of offpage optimization and content creation must not be overridden by keyword spam.

If you stick to these rules and create a balanced relationship between onpage and offpage optimization, you are already taking a big step towards excellent rankings.

Tool Tip for Onpage Optimization: Surfer SEO

Finally I want to recommend you a top tool that helps you like no other to optimize your onpage pages. This tool is called Surfer SEO*.

Here you can read my SurferSEO experiences in detail.

Surfer is, in my personal opinion, an outstanding tool for Onpage Optimization, because it makes data-driven recommendations based on the actual ranking websites in the SERPS, what exactly you should adjust on your website and how. So for example how often you should use which keyword “X” in a headline or in the body text, how a text should be structured and how long it should be, which possibilities there are for internal linking and external backlinks, etc.

SEO Check True Density

But Surfer’s Content Editor also starts with the initial creation of content. The Surfer Content Editor is ideally suited for creating new content based on a keyword to be ranked.

Based on an analysis of one or more keywords in the actual SERPs your content is targeting, it generates an easy to follow guideline that you only need to implement.

For example, it shows the required content and page structure, which keywords and phrases should be used in which frequency, how much headlines and images to use, etc.

Also, the content editor goes into how long your post actually has to be in order to have a chance to rank at all.

This gives you a much better data-driven feel for how the article you’re creating should actually be structured and written, instead of just following blanket statements like “write long articles” etc.

As an orientation, you also get live feedback while you are creating the content based on a score as well as exact feedback on how often you have used a certain keyword, for example.

Conclusion – Onpage Offpage SEO Optimization

As we have seen in this article, both offpage and onpage optimization are equally important for effective search engine optimization and neither should be neglected if you want to achieve good Google rankings.

And that is the declared goal of every SEO, because without good Google rankings, no website visitors and therefore no achievement of the goals associated with the website, such as leads, customers and sales.

What is your opinion about Onpage Offpage Optimization? Write it now in the comments.


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