measuring content marketing

On Page vs Off Page SEO: What’s the Difference?

leonie waldron
Leonie Waldron
Head Strategist


  • On page SEO means optimising anything you have control over on your own site. It allows search engines to understand what your website is about. 
  • Off page SEO is about optimising external ranking factors like links from other websites, reviews and mentions on social media.
  • Both are important parts of improving your search rankings.

The two sides to a complete SEO strategy: on-page and off-page

When it comes to your website, it’s not just how it looks that’s important: your website has loads of code in the background that affects how search engines crawl and index your content. Things like meta tags, title tags, header tags, alt tags, keywords, canonicalised URLs, redirects and more all contribute to how a search engine ‘sees’ your site.

Having an effective SEO strategy in place involves understanding these components, what they do and how much they affect the discoverability of your site.

However, there is also another side to SEO that doesn’t involve your own site at all: off page SEO.

The difference between on-page and off-page is that the latter focuses on optimising other external signals, whilst on page means within the confines of your own website.

Let’s take a look at the difference between on page and off page SEO and how to leverage both to increase your chances of appearing high in the list of search results.

On Page SEO

This approach is also called on page optimisation or on site SEO (and is what Chameleon Marketing Collective specialises in).

According to MOZ, on-page SEO involves optimising your HTML source code and tags, headlines, images, and the content on a page. It also increases your website’s authoritativeness, level of trust, and expertise – all things that Google holds in high regard.

Good on-page SEO makes it easier for search engines to interpret your page content, making it easier to attract more organic traffic. It also helps visitors better understand your website, helping them answer whether or not your page addresses their search query.

Ultimately, on-site SEO allows both people and search engines to:

  • Understand the content on your website
  • Identify the specific web page that answers their query through keywords
  • Identify what page is valuable and worthy of a better search engine results page rank, or in the case of a person, worthy of a click on your link.

Important elements of on-page SEO

Title tags

Existing in the head section of each page, these give context to the page. They feature prominently on the results page of search engines. Poorly written, missing, and duplicate title tags impact your SEO negatively – however Google has recently begun to generate its own page titles that may override what you manually add.

EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)

This is a framework that Google uses to assess content creators, websites as a whole, and individual web pages. Websites with higher quality content have a better rank and more visibility. There are many signals it uses to signify whether a site has these qualities… this is a topic for a future blog post!

Meta Description

Placed underneath the page’s title, they describe what the page is about. According to Search Engine Journal, Optimising meta descriptions improves your website’s click-through rate and the visitor’s perception of the quality of the results.


For better rankings, they have to be compelling. Your headlines have to be enticing so that they can stand out on the search engine result page.

Header tags

Like in any written document, headings and subheadings separate the main sections from body text. Header tags impact your search engine rankings by

  • Making it easier for people to read or skim through your content
  • Supplying search engines with a keyword-rich perspective about your content

URL Optimisation

According to Google, URLs are used to help understand a page. To optimise your URLs you can:

  • Include keywords in the URL (place them to the far left of the URL and make sure you do it naturally!)
  • Instead of complicated words or vague product names, use simple and descriptive words in the URL
  • Keep the URLs short which makes it easier for both people and search engines to read and understand
  • Make use of hyphens in between words
Other elements that are part of on page SEO include:
Man writing website content

Off Page SEO

Off-site optimisation, also known as off-page SEO, focuses on largely uncontrollable external factors which boost your site’s ranking. Some of these factors include:

  • Links to your site from different authoritative sites (like major news outlets, government sites or educational institutions)
  • Social media management
  • Review management

Off-site optimisation improves a website’s popularity, relevance, authoritativeness, and authority in the eyes of search engines and humans. Effective off-page optimisation involves more labour-intensive manual tasks such as reaching out to other businesses and building backlinks for your website. If your website has high-value backlinks, it may rank better on Google. These can be broken down into:

  • Natural links: editors drive these without any input or action by a page owner (eg: a news site finds some empirical data you’ve published and adds a link to it in your article)
  • Manual link acquisition is deliberate through link building, eg: by using influencers that share content that link back to your website, or by targeting high value websites and reaching out to them
  • Self-created backlinking takes place through adding a backlink in online directories such as online directories, or through press releases on industry magazine websites

In general, off page SEO refers to any activity outside your website that helps to improve your search ranking position. In addition to backlinks, off page SEO can include

  • Guest blogging
  • Social media marketing
  • Podcasts
  • Reviews
  • Public relations
  • Content syndication
  • Marketing, and
  • Brand mentions for products you distribute

Off-site optimisation actions have the overall effect of creating a pointer to your website from somewhere else on the web.

Off-page SEO has begun influencing domain authority, social promotion, local SEO, and visibility in pay-per-click advertising, so it should be an important part of your overall content marketing strategy.


In summary, on page and off page SEO work hand in hand to improve your Google search rankings. And quality content is the best place to start to give you an edge over the competition.

If you’re looking to enhance your website’s quality and quantity of organic traffic, get in touch with us at Chameleon Marketing Collective.

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