The Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO   

| By Laura Garcia
The Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO   

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a dynamic strategy, consisting of distinct approaches — on-page and off-page SEO

These two categories play critical roles in enhancing your website’s visibility and search engine rankings. Therefore, it is important to understand the nuances between them. 

A complete grasp of on-page and off-page SEO ensures that your SEO optimization efforts cover both the content quality and the broader web presence. This full knowledge is needed to maximize your website’s potential to rank higher in search results.

As you delve into this blog, you’ll explore the fundamental concepts, differences, and key factors that influence on-page and off-page SEO. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to elevate your website’s performance in the digital landscape.

What Is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages to rank them higher for targeted keywords within search engine results and provide a great user experience. 

Using an analogy — On-page SEO is like a librarian organizing a library. Each web page represents a shelf in the library, which is carefully categorized to house books (content). On-page SEO ensures that these “shelves” are logically organized and neatly arranged, making it easy for users to find exactly what they’re looking for.

On-page SEO involves using the right keywords, creating engaging and informative content, using proper HTML tags (like titles and headers), ensuring swift loading times for a seamless experience, making the site mobile-friendly, and enhancing the overall structure for easy navigation. When done right, it helps your website to outperform competitors in specific niches or topics.

What Is Off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO concentrates on building the overall authority and credibility of the entire website, impacting its ranking across the entire domain. 

Off-page SEO acts as the Library Director for your website. Just as they oversee the library’s branding and marketing, Off-page SEO works on enhancing your website’s overall appeal and credibility. It establishes connections between your content and the online community.

It comprises external factors like backlinks, social signals, and brand mentions. For instance, backlinks are votes of confidence, social signals are like word-of-mouth recommendations, and brand mentions are instances of your brand being recognized and talked about. 

Off-page SEO builds your website’s authority and trustworthiness in the expansive online community. This wider recognition not only boosts your website’s visibility but also opens doors to increased engagement through social media and other external platforms.

On-Page and Off-Page SEO — Key Differences

The below tabulation explores the distinctions across crucial parameters:

ParametersOn-Page SEOOff-Page SEO
ObjectiveOptimizes individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant trafficBuilds the overall authority and credibility of the entire website through external factors
ElementsContent: High-quality, relevant content with targeted keywords 
HTML Tags: Proper use of title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags
URL Structure: SEO-friendly URLs
Internal Linking: Creating a well-connected web of internal links
User Experience: Ensuring a positive user experience with fast loading times and mobile optimization
Backlinks: Building quality inbound links from authoritative websites
Social Signals: Engaging in social media to enhance brand presence
Brand Mentions: Being mentioned or featured on reputable websites
Trust and Authority: Establishing trust and authority through external validation
ControlA higher degree of control as it involves optimizing elements within the websiteLesser control as it relies on external factors like other websites linking to yours
ExamplesKeyword-optimized blog posts
Well-structured product pages
SEO-friendly images and multimedia
Internal linking strategies
Guest blogging on industry-related websites
Earning high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources
Social media engagement and promotion
Online reviews and testimonials

What Factors Influence On-Page SEO?

Understanding the elements that impact on-page SEO is a practical approach to supercharging your website. It helps you tweak content, structure, and user experience strategically. As you read along this section, you’ll learn how this info becomes your guide to boost your website’s visibility.

Google Core Web Vitals

Google’s Core Web Vitals is a set of three user-centric performance metrics — Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Google uses these metrics to gauge the overall user experience and for ranking. 

LCP measures how quickly your page loads, FID assesses interactivity, and CLS gauges visual stability. Fast loading times, swift interactivity, and visual stability contribute to a pleasant and seamless user experience. 

Each Core Web Vitals metric has associated thresholds that categorize website performance as either “good”, “needs improvement”, or “poor”.

Core Web Vitals Metrics

Source: Web.dev

To classify a website’s overall performance, Google uses the 75th percentile value of all views to that page or site. So, if at least 75% of page views to a site meet the “good” benchmark, the site is considered as having “good” performance for that metric.

When you improve Google’s Core Web Vitals, you not only follow best practices as per Google’s guidelines but also gain a competitive edge over websites that neglect these metrics. A fast and smooth website will attract more visitors and keep them engaged. ‍Users expect fast and responsive websites. Meeting these expectations can boost your website traffic and engagement. 

Collaborative research by Deloitte and Google points out that a mere 0.1s improvement in page speed improved the buyer journey significantly.

Recommended Action to Improve Core Web Vitals 

Page Speed

Page speed is a measure of how quickly your web pages load for users. 

Google examines a website’s speed before assigning a rating. If a website takes more than 5 seconds to load, Google will not rank it. If your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, the probability of users bouncing almost triples. Faster loading times not only improve user satisfaction but also align with search engine preferences for responsive and efficient websites.

In a 2023 Statista Survey, users leave the site unchecked if the wait time is long. 

User Loss with Wait Times for Page Load

Source: Statista

Recommended Actions to Improve Page Speed

  • Choose a performance-optimized hosting solution
  • Compress and optimize your images.
  • Reduce redirects on your website.
  • Cache your web pages.
  • Implement browser caching.
  • Opt for asynchronous loading for your CSS and JavaScript files.
  • Eliminate unnecessary plugins.

Content Quality

Content quality involves creating relevant, informative, and engaging content on your web pages. Quality content attracts and retains users, signaling to search engines that your pages provide valuable information.

Recommended Action to Improve Content Quality

  • Target relevant keywords with traffic potential.
  • Research what your competitors are serving for the keywords.
  • Analyze what your audience is asking about this topic.
  • Include semantically related keywords that are conceptually connected with your target keywords.
  • Create a user-friendly and logical content structure.
  • Include supporting visuals.
  • Add relevant internal links.
  • Ensure the content is up-to-date and accurate.
  • Personalize your content.
  • Write as you speak.
  • Write in shorter paragraphs.
  • Vary the length of the sentences.
  • Keep the tone consistent.

Title Tags

Title tags are HTML elements that define the title of a web page. These titles serve as the first thing users see in search results. 

They also provide search engines with a clear understanding of the page’s content. More importantly, they help visitors decide if your page’s content is relevant to their query. This is why title tags impact SEO rankings. 

Example of a Title Tag

Recommended Action to Improve Title Tags

  • Aim for a 55-60-character limit for your title tags. There’s no strict title tag character limit. Your titles must be precise to the page. But if your title tag is longer, Google may truncate it.
  • Craft descriptive and compelling titles. 
  • Make your title tags unique for every web page.
  • Optimize title tags by incorporating primary and secondary keywords. 
  • Make your title tag similar to your H1 tag.
  • Keep the most important words at the start of the title.


Mobile-friendliness ensures that your website looks and functions well on different devices, especially mobile phones. 

In 2023, mobile drew the largest number of new users at 65%. Moreover, Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a site’s content for indexing and ranking. Google strongly recommends having a mobile version of your pages to have your content included in Google’s Search results.

Recommended Action to Improve Mobile Friendliness

  • Use responsive design to create a mobile-friendly site.
  • Make sure that content is the same on the desktop
  • Put the same metadata on both versions of your site
  • Optimize the placement of your ads. Make sure they are not intrusive.
  • Target voice search-friendly keywords.
  • Provide high-quality images and videos. Make sure that the images and videos on your mobile site follow the Google Image best practices and Google Video best practices.
  • Review your competitors’ mobile SEO performance.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions provide a concise summary of a web page’s content. Well-crafted meta descriptions can entice users to click on your page in search results, influencing click-through rates.

They let Google know what your webpage is about. This makes it easier for Google to decide if your page is relevant to the users’ search queries, and ranks your page accordingly.

Recommended Action to Optimize Meta Descriptions

  • Keep it up to 155 characters.
  • Use an active voice and make it actionable.
  • Include a call to action.
  • Use your focus keyphrase.
  • Make sure it matches the content of the page and the search intent.
  • Make it unique for the web page.

HTML Headers

Google reads the text used within the HTML headers as a higher priority than the rest of the text on a webpage. HTML headers act as the determining factor for Google to figure out if a page is relevant to a user’s query. 

Additionally, a well-crafted HTML header is better for users too. It helps them quickly find what they’re looking for.

Recommended Action to Optimize HTML Headers

  • Use one H1 header tag per page.
  • Match search intent to headers.
  • Use headers to break up text.
  • Integrate keywords in your H1 header.
  • Use secondary keywords in your subheaders.

Image Alt Text

Alternative (Alt) Text conveys the purpose of the image as it relates to the web content. It is read aloud to users by screen reader software, and it is indexed by search engines. It also displays on the page if the image fails to load. Search engines crawl web pages and can understand image files only when an alt tag has been set. 

In this sense, Alt text is critical for search engines to enable them to better understand a page and provide visitors with the best possible results when they are searching online.

Recommended Action to Optimize Alt Text

  • Write short and descriptive alt text for images.
  • Including relevant keywords. Avoid unnecessary keyword stuffing.
  • Don’t include “image of” or “photo of” in your description.

Internal Linking

Google finds your webpages best when linked to from somewhere on the web. Even though websites have sitemaps that list the URLs of your web pages, search engines may take a long time to reach these pages. Adding internal links to your pages provides search engines with more ways to reach the content.

Also, Google crawls websites by following internal and external links using a bot called Googlebot. This bot arrives at the website’s homepage, renders the page, and follows the first link. Internal links connect your content and give Google an idea of your website’s structure. They establish a hierarchy on your site, such that the most important pages have a greater link value. Often, a website’s homepage has the most significant link value because it has the most backlinks. Google considers a page with lots of valuable links more important.

Recommended Action to Improve Internal Linking

  • Determine the ideal structure of your site.
  • Decide your most important content.
  • Add contextual links.
  • Link hierarchical pages.
  • Add navigational links.
  • Use keyword-rich anchor text.
  • Put links high up on your page.

Website Navigation

Website navigation is one of the primary ways that search engine crawlers find your content. When you structure your web navigation correctly, you help search engines understand which pages are most important. In other words, optimized website navigation can help you shape page authority. Additionally, it helps you to achieve higher ranking positions for selected key phrases much faster, influencing user experience.

Recommended Action to Improve Web Navigation

  • Design intuitive navigation menus.
  • Use descriptive labels to intrigue visitors.
  • Use mega menus if the content size is huge.
  • Avoid unnecessary drop-down menus.

What Factors Influence Off-Page SEO?


Backlinks improve your SEO rankings. Search engines view the quality and quantity of the links as authoritativeness and votes of confidence from other websites. More quality backlinks = higher search rankings.

SEO backlinks also generate traffic. A link on a high-traffic authoritative webpage may result in many visitors clicking through to your website.

Example of Backlink

Recommended Action to Optimize Backlinks

  • Guest posts on authoritative websites within your niche.
  • Use descriptive and varied anchor texts that match your target keywords. 
  • Build links from different relevant sites and domains. 
  • Update and refresh your content regularly

Social Media

Social media platforms act as extensions to your website, to showcase your brand to a wider audience. When users share, like, or engage with your social content on social media, your brand’s reach widens. This increased visibility means greater brand recognition digitally. Engaging with followers through comments, messages, and discussions builds community and creates a favorable brand perception, further triggering the sharing of content. 

When your content is widely shared on social media, search engines interpret it as valuable and relevant. This positive interpretation translates to better SEO rankings.

Recommended Action to Optimize Social Media Profiles

  • Ensure that your social media profile contains relevant information about your business: your website URL, contact information, and a brief description. 
  • Use your company’s logo as your profile picture.
  • Use a high-quality banner image that represents your brand.
  • Create high-quality and shareable content.
  • Use relevant hashtags to improve website content discoverability.
  • Encourage social sharing and user engagement.
  • Participate in relevant online communities.
  • Regularly review your social media performance and adjust your approaches to maximize your content’s visibility and reach. 
  • Experiment with different content formats, posting schedules, or engagement strategies to find the best approach for your brand.
  • Adapt to algorithm changes.

Brand Mentions

A brand mention is when one website mentions your website without a link; when people online talk about your product, service, or business on a social network or a blog. However, Google does not use the brand mentions for any link-related purpose. 

According to John Mueller at Google, brand mentions may be useful to make people aware of your business and website. It is more about building buzz. This could indirectly amplify web traffic, boost search engine rankings, and amplify visibility.

Recommended Action to Boost SEO Ranking With Brand Mentions

  • Guest posts on authoritative websites.
  • Monitor online mentions of your brand using tools like Google Alerts or social media listening tools. Reach out to the source and request a backlink to your website.
  • Partner with influencers in your niche. They can mention your brand in their social media content and blogs. Ensure a clear call-to-action or link is included to direct their audience back to your website.
  • Participate in forums related to your industry or niche. Engage in discussions, answer queries, and provide valuable insights.
  • Create high-quality, engaging, and value-based content that resonates with your audience. Encourage content sharing through social media. 
  • Cross-promote businesses in your niche to attract attention toward yours.

Google Business Profile

Google enables business owners to list their business contact information, manage their reviews, and publish their most relevant information in a listing. This free listing called Google Business Profile (GBP) appears in organic searches and Google Maps.

A verified GBP listing adds legitimacy to your business and builds trust among visitors. Customers can leave reviews, ask questions, and view business updates on your GBP profile. Search engines directly display reviews, photos, and business information from your GBP profile. This quick access to relevant information contributes to local SEO results for your website. 

Local directories and websites may also link to your GBP profile, contributing to your overall backlink profile. Google search gets you more customers if you optimize your business well enough for local SEO.

Recommended Action to Optimize Google Business Profile

  • Ensure GMB data aligns with your website.
  • Fill out every section of your profile.
  • Use the full, official name of your business.
  • Choose primary and secondary categories.
  • Check off any applicable attributes.
  • Answer questions in the Q&A section.
  • Earn reviews from your customers.
  • Use relevant keywords without overcrowding.
  • Publish Google posts weekly
  • Upload new photos weekly
  • Publish announcements, offers, events, and engaging content.
  • Monitor and respond to customer reviews for positive interactions.

Summing Up

Without SEO optimization, your website is like a needle in a haystack. It becomes critical for you to familiarize yourself with SEO techniques — both on-page and off-page — to drive traffic and amp up your website’s visibility. This is why, it’s important to be aware of the differences between the two.

If navigating the complexities of SEO feels overwhelming, Unframed Digital is here to help. Our expert team can tailor strategies for both on-page and off-page SEO, ensuring your website stands out in the digital landscape. With us, you not only get comprehensive SEO solutions but also a dedicated partner committed to your online success. Connect with us today.


How do I track on-page and off-page SEO for my website? 

Tracking on-page and off-page SEO involves using a combination of analytics tools and monitoring techniques. For on-page metrics, platforms like Google Analytics offer insights into user behavior, page views, and keyword performance. Off-page elements, such as backlinks and brand mentions, can be tracked through tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. Regularly checking keyword rankings and user engagement provides a comprehensive view of your website’s SEO performance.

Can I automate on-page and off-page SEO work? 

Complete automation is not always feasible. Tools can help automate certain aspects, such as content scheduling or backlink monitoring. However, strategic decision-making, content creation, and relationship-building often require manual intervention to ensure a nuanced and effective SEO strategy.

Where can I find the latest updates on SEO? 

Follow reputable SEO blogs, industry experts, and thought leaders. Subscribe to newsletters, attend webinars, and participate in forums dedicated to SEO discussions. This multi-channel approach ensures that you receive real-time insights and stay ahead of algorithm changes and industry developments.

I didn’t follow on-page and off-page SEO guidelines for my website. What do I do now? 

If you haven’t adhered to on-page and off-page SEO guidelines, start by conducting a thorough SEO audit. Identify areas that need improvement and prioritize them based on impact. Gradually implement on-page strategies, like optimizing content and improving user experience, and off-page strategies, including building quality backlinks and engaging on social media.

Is there an AI tool to help me with on-page and off-page SEO? 

Yes, AI tools can analyze search engine rankings, analyze trends, and provide data-driven recommendations to enhance both on-page and off-page SEO efforts. Carry out extensive research to know the capabilities of the AI tools before using them.

hello@unframeddigital.com | (315) 430-4609