Thursday, June 8, 2017

SEO 101: On-Site and Off-Site Optimization

Search engine optimization can be divided in two categories: technical SEO and content marketing. Different people will use different terms to describe these two categories, but the essence is the same.

Technical SEO governs the "behind the scenes" aspects of a website, including (but not limited to) website structure, tags, and image optimization. Perfecting technical SEO assures that visitors can easily navigate your site, that each page loads quickly, and perhaps most importantly, that search engine spiders can "crawl" and index your site.

Read:  Do Not Fear the Code: Is a Tech-Centric View of SEO Holding You Back?

Technical SEO is not simply about logic and coding; many aspects of technical SEO, like composing language for tags, are essentially creative. For this reason, we prefer not to divide SEO into technical and creative categories.

Our second category, content marketing, is essentially governed by creative practices, like content creation and social media marketing. Like technical SEO, however, content marketing is not simply about this primary characteristic. To be effective, content marketing, must pay heed to technical aspects of SEO, like keyword research and analytics.

In essence, the best SEO minds combine technical knowledge and creative intuition to sculpt compelling websites that please the search engine algorithms.

A man like Einstein embodies the SEO ethic of combining technical and creative skills
to produce a unique result.
[Photo Source]

On-Site and Off-Site Optimization

Another view of SEO divides the practice into two more categories: on-site and off-site optimization.

These two terms are relatively straightforward, yet the SEO community sometimes confuses the definitions by creating needless distinctions.

A top result, for example, from Betaout, an agency that offers ecommerce marketing software, implies that the SEO community is somehow undecided about the nature or value of the two: "Though the on-page vs off-page debate is as old as Google, it is still an area of constant debate."

It is hard to say, exactly, what the point is here, yet we note this quote just to say: There is little debate about on-page and off-page optimization. The definitions of the two are generally accepted; and the practices are generally accepted as viable and important.

On-page optimization is the direct application of SEO techniques to your website, including both technical aspects, like title tags and structure, and creative aspects, like content creation.

Most websites, old and new, can be optimized for major search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing--most, but not all. So it is crucial for website owners to understand exactly how they can (or cannot) apply on-site optimization  strategies to their existing sites.
Of course, the optimal strategy is to design and develop a website with organic SEO in mind, and then create engaging, optimized content. In this best-case scenario, you can easily create on-site optimization.

Off-site optimization focuses on attracting attention from other sites, primarily through in-bound links, in hopes of increasing your website's authority. Off-site optimization, which is fundamentally creative, focuses on communication and marketing--with an emphasis, in today's world, on social media.

Off-site optimization may be the best option for an existing website that was not built with organic SEO in mind. Certain design and development mistakes, for example, may inadvertently limit a website's capability to be optimized with on-page techniques. In certain cases, a website will not be able to optimized because the designer included unworkable elements. Web crawlers, for example, may not be able to index Flash technology.  If you're website cannot be easily optimized, off-site optimization is the most viable means of attracting attention.

A tip: If you're guiding the design and development process, make sure your designer creates a site that can be easily optimized from the beginning. If your existing website cannot be easily optimized, however, do not lost hope: you can still perform off-site optimization.


Technical vs. creative. On-page vs. Off-page. The SEO world is fond of distinctions. Neil Patel, for example, on his popular Quick Sprout blog makes a three-way distinction between technical, off-page, and on-page optimization:

Yet another SEO distinction from Neil Patel. [Source]

No matter the distinctions, or the way any given SEO writer presents the distinctions, the fundamental definition of SEO, as part technical, part creative is stable. Do not let the jargon dissuade you from learning more about a straightforward practice, which engages your whole mind.

Honest SEO with Stepman's SEO

It is important to understand the work your SEO firm performs for you. You want to hire a real professional who will not waste your time and money. If you want to speak to a reliable SEO professional, please consider the Organic SEO Blog's sponsor, Stepman's SEO.

Just like this blog, the professional SEO specialists at Stepman's SEO strive to educate you about what we do and how we do it. After all, you should know exactly what to expect from your SEO professional's work.