Do-it-yourself SEO can be overwhelming. Many website owners are confused with the numerous to do’s optimizing their website includes, and are not sure whether they should start with enriching their content with keywords or submitting their website to online directories. If you have been wondering whether it’s on-site or off-site SEO you should start with, let’s first clarify what is meant by each.

On-Site SEO

This comprises all the details of your website that let it tell search engine robots what the website is about. The point of on-site SEO is to make your website ‘tell’ the right thing. This is achieved through:

  • text content on your website (keyword-rich, fresh, regularly updated);
  • your website’s load time;
  • keyword-rich alt text for all your images;
  • usability and structure of your website;
  • URL structure and optimized URLs containing your keywords;
  • comprehensive, dynamic site map;
  • cross-linking your pages;
  • some other elements.

Off-Site SEO

Off-Site SEO is basically promoting your website and directing visitors to it from a variety of external resources. This can include the following:

  • website directory listings;
  • article directory submissions;
  • press releases and news posts, linking to your website;
  • comments and guest posts on related blogs and forums;
  • social media posts;
  • optimized video content, posted on platforms like YouTube;
  • and much more.

So Is One More Effective Than the Other?

On-site and off-site SEO go hand-in-hand, and you can’t say which of them is more effective. SEO experts recommend a combined approach, because it’s the smart mix of on-site and off-site efforts that yield the best result.

What Should You Start with?

  1. As you may guess, there’s no point directing visitors to your website unless it can fully meet their expectations. That’s why your very first step is creating a top-notch website, keeping in mind not only keyword optimization, but its overall usability, clear and convenient structure, and persuasive copy. All these are elements that will help your website rank well and, most importantly, convert well.
  2. Content marketing is the next big step: use high quality, keyword-optimized content to reach several important goals: enrich your website with fresh content, get incoming links from relevant blogs and news websites, and ‘nurture’ your audience with valuable advice to convert them to customers. Content marketing can include running your own blog and sharing your content in social media, as well as creating guest posts for influential bloggers in your industry.
  3. Finally, you should develop and implement a long-term link building strategy, generating as many incoming links to your website as possible (don’t forget about their quality, though). Use website directories, article and press release directories, RSS feed submissions, as well as Google AdWords to generate incoming traffic and establish a good page rank for your website.

Both on-site and off-site SEO are essential components of achieving good search engine positions for your website, so make sure you pay adequate attention to each.

Now, how about your own SEO strategy: do you focus more on on-site/off-site optimization, or try to maintain a balance? Which techniques work best for you? Feel free to reply in the comments below.