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Onsite vs. Offsite SEO: The Two Faces of Search Engine Optimization

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While making sure your website is perfectly optimized for your “online ranking success” is common knowledge, many forget that offsite SEO is also a valuable tool in boosting your overall visibility.

The truth?

Both need to be engaged for your site to do well.

But what’s the difference?

Here’s a breakdown to help you grasp these two faces of SEO.

Two Faces Of Onsite and Offsite SEO Image
Image courtesy of Tom Spina Designs

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Onsite vs. Offsite SEO: What’s the Difference?

What Is Onsite SEO?

Onsite SEO focuses on the aspects of your website that make it easier for search engines (like Google) to prioritize showing your site according to the search behaviors of online users.

What’s pertinent to your website’s SEO ranking includes the following:

Page structure

HTML coding isn’t always visible to your viewers but they help Google crawl your site to learn about what topics it covers.

Search engines then rank it accordingly when a search query of that topic comes up.

Some commonly used HTML tags include alt text for images, title tags and header tags, which all should be staples used on any site.

Page performance

Page performance is measured by the amount of time users stay on your site.

Make sure that your site is responsive and renders quickly.

This will stop impatient viewers from leaving your site if it doesn’t load quickly enough.

Slow sites have higher bounce rates, which causes search engines to rank them lower than sites with quicker load times.

Page quality

In the past, sites stuffed highly searched keywords onto their sites to trick search engines into ranking them higher.

However, Google has grown more sophisticated in the last few years and now penalizes this tactic.


So, page quality is the new way of ranking higher since the better your page, the longer people will stay on your site.

Increasing your page quality means diving deep into the topic at hand.

You can increase your page’s relevance in a number of ways, such as including engaging images, embedded videos or interactive content to encourage longer visits.

You can also write longform blogs that go into the nitty gritty of a topic to become the definitive source on the subject.

But always be sure to keep your site relevant to your audience.

Having old banners dated with last year’s specials will result in people quickly leaving due to lack of applicability.

Also, audit your site regularly to update your content and implore visitors to see what you have to offer.

What is offsite SEO?

As the name suggests, offsite SEO is composed of external factors that assist in SEO but don’t live on your actual website.

These include the following:


Backlinks are any links from other sites that direct to yours.

These need to come from trusted sites to be effective—they almost work like endorsements.

The more quality backlinks you have, the more search engines will trust showing your page as a result than others with a lower backlink count.

Directory listings

Depending on your industry, most of your customers may find you in a directory rather than through a search engine.

Think sites like Bing Places, Yelp, Foursquarel or even Google My Business.

Having your business listed on these sites—along with a bevy of reviews proving your expertise—can attract more traffic to your website.

Or, better yet, get more foot traffic through the door!

Online community involvement

The point of SEO is to answer the questions your audience has with content you created for your website.

But with offsite SEO, you don’t have to hope people ask a question then find your content.

Instead, you can take your content and find the people asking the questions.

Sites such as Quora and Reddit are huge communities where people ask questions in hopes of getting answers to their questions.

This is an awesome opportunity you can take to be helpful, build brand authority and draw people to your website.

For example, if you own a swimming pool company, you can scan pool forums to see what issues users are having a hard time finding answers for online. You can then introduce yourself and your brand and give a detailed solution to the problem.

This creates trust between you and the user. You can now direct them to your site or other content for more help, or you can regularly check in and provide more answers.

SEO has a multitude of moving parts that, when synchronized, is a powerful force in improving your rankings. Just remember that SEO doesn’t stop just because the page is done!

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