Hi, my name is
Lee Harris and
I'm a Freelance Web Designer

On-site SEO Vs off-site SEO

17.Jun.2012 | , ,

On-site SEO Vs off-site SEO

So, you have just got your new website and you want to get it to the top of search engines. As you can imagine, it’s a bit of a mine field. I am no expert, but hopefully I will shed some light on what steps you need to take and some of the things to avoid.

Firstly, I will talk a bit about on-site SEO. This will be the foundation of getting a solid organic listing. If you have had your website built by a good freelance web designer, as standard your site should be built with search engines in mind. Firstly the site should, where possible, be W3C compliant. This is the techy bit that gives you a green light and shows you have no fundamental errors on your website.  Secondly, all the normal protocol is followed with text and image layout. For example, as a bare minimum, all page titles are in H1 tags and sub headings in H2 tags (<h1>About Me</h1>) and all your images have descriptive alt tags  (<img src=”images/boat.jpg” alt=”Boat picture” />). Again, this should all be done by your freelance web designer as they build the website.

The next thing you should look at is your key word density, but before you do this you need to decide what word or phrase you would like to rank for. For example, if you are a plumber, you might want to rank for the phrase “Plumbers in Southampton”. This will be your focus when you are putting your text together for the website. The idea is to repeat this phrase and the individual words in the phrase throughout your site as much as possible, without it sounding ridiculous. Also, make sure that some of your page titles include “Plumber” and “Southampton”. You might want to change your home page title from “Welcome to my website” to “We are plumbers in Southampton”. This is the essence of on-site SEO, making sure that your site is tuned to your desired search engine phrase.

The good thing about on-site SEO is that if you have a good freelance web designer it should all be included in the cost of building the website. However, when it comes to what phrase you want to rank for and the text for your website, this will obviously require some involvement from you as you will know your industry and business best. There are other things that can be done including friendly/pretty url’s, adding a blog, and ensuring you don’t have duplicate content etc… all these things will strengthen you organic search engine listing.

Now, if your business is very niche and there is very little competition, on-site SEO might be enough to get you a reasonable ranking. However, if there is a lot of competition it may pale into insignificance. This is something I don’t actually like about SEO general… it all comes down to how big your budget is and how much you are willing to spend on SEO. This inevitably leads to big companies with an unlimited budget dominating the search listings and smaller companies with limited funds struggling to get noticed. I would prefer it if everything was truly organic, allowing the user to find websites based on their online popularity and relevance, rather than who has paid the most to get listed.

This is where the other side of SEO comes in… off-site SEO. The SEO experts step in and the web developers take a step back. The main bulk of the work is predominantly link building. The key to this is to build links back to your website without them looking artificial. It must be said that there are many clever and relevant ways of doing this, and if you find a good SEO specialist, they can be extremely valuable and worth their weight in gold!

Interestingly, Google has recently got wise to fake blog websites and irrelevant link building and has changed the rules to stop “Link Farms” from benefitting from this scattergun approach to non-relevant link building. In some cases, Google has started to remove all the links these companies have created.

In conclusion, on-site SEO and off-site SEO do complement each other, but the main bulk of the work to increase your search engine ranking in a competitive situation is off-site SEO. It can be expensive, but can be very valuable to businesses that depend on a high search engine ranking. If you’re unsure where to start, speak to your freelance web designer and they will point you in the right direction.

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