When it comes to SEO there are generally two main elements that need to be considered. Both on page and off page SEO should be looked at if you want to develop a completely successful campaign that achieves the maximum natural search potential of the website you are trying to optimise.
But for many it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if there is only a limited budget to use. Should you spend your early days working on creating a great site, but then not have any rankings to back it up? Or should you focus on getting the traffic, but then end up directing them to a poorly designed website?
Benefits of on page SEO
Ever since Google launched its Panda algorithm, which places emphasis on ranking sites highly if they are of a good quality and penalises them if they are ‘thin’ on content, it is important to place your initial focus on building a fantastic website for your visitors, and create a great user experience. Even if your early traffic is quite small, it’s far better to give them a good experience which may persuade them to come back and perhaps even talk about you to their friends. It’s the same as you would get with a shop – word of mouth, or in the case of SEO – social chatter, can really help to boost your brand early on.
Then of course, there are the important technical elements of a site which need to be in place. Ensuring that the site has a proper navigational structure, no dead links or pages, titles and tags on each page and redirects where appropriate will further help to give a good user experience – something which Google looks positively upon.
Benefits of off page SEO
A well designed website alone won’t help it to rank however and Google’s primary ranking signal now, and for the foreseeable future, is from the links pointing to your website. For this reason you need to make sure you are getting high quality, industry-relevant links to your site. Though with the search engine now cracking down hard on those incorporating spammy link building and SEO tactics, it’s important that really think about what you are doing to make it look as natural as possible.
For this reason, consider brand-building tactics such as launching your company news via press release wires, reach out to well-respected bloggers in your industry to review your products and submit your site to local directories which will actually help people to find you in the future. Additionally, more SEO’s are trying to focus on ‘link-bait’ content on their own websites, which will attract links naturally, rather than having to search around for people to link to you, which often requires some sort of incentive.
Overall, it would be foolish to spend too much time focusing too hard one side or the other and considering each as completely separate entities. Instead, work them together to build a great site that is going to naturally attract the off-site links and shares, which will help you to gain improved natural search rankings on Google.