On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO: Which comes First?

Things happen in an order for a reason. It wouldn’t make sense to brush your teeth and then eat garlic bread; buy a house and then worry about getting a job; put sunscreen on after lying in the sun, or buying a Christmas tree and then deciding to measure the height of the room. This mentality is just the same when it comes to performing SEO.

Whether you’re starting a small business or trying to improve your current business, the order of SEO is important. Many business owners don’t realize there is a difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO, and those who are aware of the difference often think that they can occur simultaneously. Both are equally important, but it’s vital that your company goes in the correct order. On-page SEO should be the first step; followed by off-page SEO. Consider the differences between the two:

–  On-Page SEO: This refers to anything you can do to improve your own website like: Meta-tags, content, navigation, cleaning up errors, internal linking, alt tags, heading tags, sitemaps, etc.

Off-Page SEO: This refers to what can be done outside of a website to maximize its performance for specific keywords/phrases by acquiring backlinks.

Most companies put a lot of emphasis and focus on off-page optimization and link building in particular because it is what moves the needle the most. However, these efforts will mean little if your website if your on-page optimization is not in place. Consider the ways you can optimize your website in the correct order:

Why 2 Comes After 1 and 3 Comes After 2: SEO in Order

Step #1: Make sure you have a quality website.

Every company wants their traffic to turn into a profit. Although it’s great to optimize your site for Google, it really means nothing if all the people visiting your site leave right away. You must first make sure that you are driving traffic to a quality website. You can improve the quality of your website by paying attention to content, navigation, and overall layout. You want your website to be engaging in every way possible. Consider creating infographics and interactive content (polls and surveys, a call to action, etc.).

Step #2: Begin on-page SEO optimization.

On-site SEO is really quite simple. You will first want to target specific keywords so that search engines can easily find your webpages (but remember: content should be for the readers; not for the search engines). You can find targeted keywords by using keyword tools such as Google AdWords. Once you know what keywords you want to target, you should incorporate them into the URL structure, content, links, and meta tags of your website.

Step #3: Create a Link Building Campaign

A link building campaign is everything from link sharing and guest blogging to video marketing to social networking to press releases. By creating visibility of your site through well-established websites, you will likely drive more traffic and hopefully yield profits. These efforts should also help your website to gain links across the web naturally because people want to reference your content. Finally, link building should also focus no specific keywords. If you can target the correct keywords, you’re likely to nab that number one spot on Google you’ve had your eye on faster than you expected.

Why SEO Order Matters

In the end, doing SEO out of order could still bring results; however it will take much longer. If you do a great job link building only to send people back to a poor website, you will have lost all of those potential customers and wasted your time. You will not start converting your traffic into revenue until you have a quality website that keeps people engaged. It all comes back to the notion that order is important. After all, a Christmas tree won’t do you any good if it can’t fit in your house (trust me: I speak from experience).

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