On-Page SEO or Off-Page SEO: Which One is More Important for Google?

June 3, 2015

On-page SEO and off-page SEO are the two core components of search engine optimization.  Which between these two should you focus when optimizing your website?  Which is more important for Google, on-page SEO or off-page SEO?

Factors for Ranking

To arrive at the best answer, consider how Google ranks websites. If you take a quick look at the factors for ranking now, it is easy to say that on-page SEO is more important than off-page SEO. However, you must also understand that Google implements a dynamic process in ranking websites.  This means that these factors are subject to changes, as the need arises.  Do you know how many times Google changes its algorithm? The average is 500 times yearly. Although most are minor changes, Google releases major changes from time to time.  Examples are Panda, Penguin, and Phantom. These changes in Google’s algorithm are in line with the search engine’s goal of providing users with the best search results possible.  The updates promote quality websites while they also target to stop and prevent spams.

The purpose of performing SEO is to make your website user-friendly to your traffic and to Google.  The goal is to improve your website’s ranking in the search engine results page. Both on-page SEO and off-page SEO are important to fulfill your purpose and to achieve your goal. You should not look at these two as separate components.  Theirs is an interdependent relationship.

Importance of On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is optimizing factors within your website that influence how friendly your website is to Google.  In line with the algorithm updates, the most important factors to consider now are the following:

- User experience
- Unique content
- Content that solves problems and engages traffic
- Creative images, preferably high resolution
- High quality web design, preferably responsive
- Short title tags
- Explanatory meta descriptions

Google considers on-page optimization valuable.  The reason is Google wants you to be its partner in strengthening the relevance of search results.  The search engine wants your website to be a one-stop shop for your traffic.  It wants you to present your traffic with content that satisfies their needs.

Importance of Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing the factors outside of your website.  These factors determine your website’s popularity and authority as well as your ranking in the search engine results page.

The factors to consider in optimizing your website off-site are the following:

- Building high quality links
- Leveraging on social media marketing
- Using social bookmarking to your advantage

It is important that you perform off-page SEO because Google sees the factors above as an indication of your website’s popularity and authority.  To enjoy influence on the web, your website must contain content that is useful, valuable, and relevant to your traffic. If you have such content, you will earn high quality links and social media popularity (shares, mentions or tags, likes, followers). Users are more likely to bookmark your web pages.

Do you now see how on-page SEO and off-page SEO are interdependent?  You have to be able to balance the two to meet your purpose and reach your goal.  Google sees the two core components of SEO as equally important.

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