Shift of On Page SEO to Off Page SEO

As we discussed in the refresher note on SEO, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques are generally classified in to on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Explosion of social media usage and improvements in search engine algorithms have literally shifted the focus areas of a SEO professional. Gone are the days when on-page optimization techniques covered most of the SEO portfolio. In my opinion, the importance of on-page optimization has been drastically reduced. Today off-page optimization requirements are getting more prominence. Also SEO activities are becoming more of a day-to-day routine. Gone are the days when we completed all on-page optimization requirements like setting the tags properly, using keywords and wait for search engines to pick-up out web-pages. Today, search engine algorithms are becoming sophisticated enough to customize the search results based on the user’s interest, browsing history, specific requirements and so on.
Consider for reference the updated report from search engine land (The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors); as we can see what matters more is how relevant is your website to the audience? Is it credible? Is the content share-able? and so on. These are the factors which affects the traffic to a website. Thus off-page SEO is getting more prominence these days.Thus, Off-page optimization techniques decide on improving the search rankings; on-page SEO techniques help in sustaining those rankings.


On-page optimization techniques are the foundation to building your SEO strategies. Not giving due importance to on-page SEO is like not worrying about your building’s foundation. Irrespective how many floors you build, how marvellous its architecture is or how well you do its interior decoration; the building won’t stand long unless the foundation is done properly; similar is the case when we consider on-page v/s off-page SEO.

Let’s take an example to understand this. Assume you wrote a stellar article, but didn’t give due importance to set its titles and meta descriptions properly. While the search engine may give it importance based on keyword density and also readers may share it across social media channels; but you stand to lose out on sustaining the ranking because of bad meta tag usage. Similarly you stand to lose out on sharing perspective too since the title, automatic description etc that get pulled by social media platforms won’t be proper. Thus on-page optimization requirements the hygiene factors and off-page optimization requirements are the motivational factors to keep visiting and sharing your website.

SEO should be considered as a strategic component of your marketing mix. Often the On-Page optimization v/s Off-Page optimization discussions pop up when a firm consider SEO to be an overhead effort. The shift of importance to off-page techniques from on-page optimization epitomizes the fact that SEO is becoming more strategic in nature. Consider your SEO efforts as an investment to build your brand. SEO is not about a web developer doing her part; it’s a marketer’s thought process in action.Hence it is important to keep a process in place to ensure on-page  requirements being met and continued investment in off-page  requirements to keep your website relevant and drive traffic!

If you are more interested in this topic, consider reading this Forbes interview with Sam McRoberts, a well know SEO Expert in the industry.

What do you think about on-page SEO v/s off-page SEO? Is the relevance of SEO tactics increasing or diminishing?

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