Why Onsite SEO is critical to online success

Normally, the focus tends to be around offsite SEO as the major ‘lever’ to spend money on to improve your search presence, for instance by spending money in link building and social media exposure.  Trouble is offsite SEO is a ‘force multiplier’ of onsite SEO, so if you spend nothing on onsite SEO, you will be wasting your money on offsite SEO…

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) traditionally consists of two ‘disciples’: online SEO and offsite SEO. Onsite SEO is everything you do on the site itself to improve SEO, whilst off site SEO is what you do everywhere else.

How can this be?

It’s pretty simple really, Google and other search engines want to show quality and highly relevant results in their searches. On the basis that the better the search experience (i.e. people actually found what they were looking for) the more likely they will be come back (and maybe click on an ad and make the search engine some money).

So, how exactly do search engines determine your website quality and relevance? Well it starts with them crawling your website and recording all sorts of metrics about how it is put together, what keywords are used in the text, even how quickly the website responds and works on mobile devices. This goes into a formula which then is used to ‘rank’ your site in the overall index. This is then used with the keywords recorded against your site to then determine the order of the results in a search (plus how often your site got clicked for similar searches).

Now, part of the equation is the off-site SEO, such as link building and social media exposure, but without good onsite SEO your offsite SEO work will have trouble getting ahead – both offsite SEO and onsite SEO need to be optimised to get full benefit and win out.

Do the onsite SEO first!

We always advise people concentrate on the onsite SEO first, as you have most direct control over these SEO qualities so can tune away with little cost overhead and get it just right. Also you will find (if you use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster) how well the website ranks off pure onsite SEO alone – you could be in for a pleasant surprise! Yes, you can rank well off just pure onsite SEO – Google and other search engines have been progressively de-emphasising the importance of off-site SEO in their algorithms, as people have found more and more effective ways of ‘gaming’ the off-site SEO to their advantage.

Also by doing the onsite SEO first and tuning that, you will then get to see more clearly the impact of off site SEO  when leveraging good onsite SEO – the force multiplier should be at full impact to your benefit. If you do offsite SEO first, then you are in effect trying to tune two sets of knobs at once – which is hard to do – better to do one set at a time and in the right order, so do onsite SEO first. Also by doing onsite SEO first, it could mean that you have to spend less on doing off site SEO to get the same end result…

The other benefit, AdWords quality score…

Thats right, the quality score on AdWords is in part related to the quality of your website, which shares a lot of characteristics with good onsite SEO – so if you do your onsite SEO well, it could save you money on your AdWords campaign bid costs – did you SEM agency ever tell you that little nugget of cost saving advice? We bet not, as it’s not in their interest to have their clients spend less with them…

Website Checker can help!

The Website Checker is mostly focussed around onsite SEO in the first instance – as you need to get this right for everything else to deliver for you. It will tell you, in plain English, where you are doing wrong and what needs fixing as a priority. Sign up today, and take control of your onsite SEO.

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Director at Aykira Pty Ltd
Keith is a founder of Aykira & has over 18 years experience with everything Internet. From eCommerce to security, mobile to maps; large or small. PhD in Info Systems, member Australian & British Computer Society's, ex Yahoo. Architect/Engineer/Innovator.