It was in a conversation with a client that I first realized how overwhelmed people are by SEO. When I asked if she was using on-page and off-page SEO, she groaned.
“I know SEO is important,” she said, “But I just don’t have time for that. I’m busy enough trying to focus on blogging and social media.”
What my client didn’t realize is that blogging and social media both impact search engine optimization. In fact, “SEO” is not an obscure task that requires the expertise of a third-party agency. It is a strategy and a set of guidelines that you should implement in almost every piece of content you create.
The easiest way to understand how and where SEO works is to look at two categories: on-page and off-page SEO. These two categories cover every area of SEO that you need to know for your business. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two and how to use them to your advantage.
On-Page SEO: Optimize Your Website
On-page SEO, most simply put, is the optimization of your website—or, everything you see on the page.
Search engines look for details on a website to determine if that site is relevant to a specific search query. Those details include keywords, easy to read content, relevant images, links to more helpful information, and so on.
By identifying the details that search engines prefer, we can make sure our websites include all the right information. Without those details, we make it more challenging for people to find us on the internet.
On-page SEO helps us apply the right details to our websites. Some of the most important SEO guidelines to use on the page include:
- A variety of Header Tags (different header sizes) that use keywords relevant to your business.
- Alt and title tags for images that use relevant keywords.
- Internal links from one web page to other pages on your site.
- Keywords on all web pages (without overstuffing).
- Blog content that is well written and uses keyword-rich headers.
How to Implement On-Page SEO
It is important to use on-page SEO every time you update your website, add an image, or write a blog. This isn’t just a task for your web designer, it is something that anyone can do when adding content to a website.
Implementing on-page SEO starts with research. I recommend doing some keyword research using Google and tools such as Ahrefs. Learn which keywords are often searched for in your industry. It also helps to know what search queries people use to find your website. This is where Ahrefs comes in handy.
Once you know what keywords or phrases you want to include on your website, add them to the categories in the list above.
You can also use your research to come up with great blog topics. When you know what your potential customers are looking for, you can answer their questions with keyword-rich blogs. The search engines will love all of your on-page SEO efforts.
Off-Page SEO: Drive More Traffic
In the conversation with my client, she was surprised to learn that social media is connected to SEO.
I explained it to her this way: any activity that helps drive traffic to your website also helps improve your search engine ranking. When more people click on your website, search engines know your site provides users with exactly what they are looking for.
Off-page SEO is everything we do off of our websites to drive traffic back to our page. This includes the following activities:
- Guest blogging (especially when this includes a link back to your site).
- YouTube and social videos.
- Forum posting or any online interaction that allows you to drop a link to your business.
- Social bookmarking (this includes sharing links on Twitter, activity on Pinterest, or using a tool like Pocket to keep track of popular content).
- Social media posting (the more active you are, the more you can drive interested clients to your website).
How to Implement Off-Page SEO
Many business owners and freelancers are already using off-page SEO tactics! If you post on social, write guest blogs, and interact with users on forums and other platforms, give yourself a high five. You’re an off-page SEO master!
If not, it’s time to start getting social. I recommend starting with Facebook and Instagram. The majority of your clients will already be on those two platforms. Try posting at least twice a week about things related to your business or industry. When you write a blog, share it on social. Start conversations, ask questions, and begin engaging.
Once you feel comfortable with those, try adding in other platforms like Pinterest. Don’t feel like you have to be on social every day to make your off-page SEO work. Most of these social sites allow you to schedule your posts in advance, which helps you save time.
Another great tactic is to write guest blogs for other companies in your industry (or related industries). Do you have a friend with a local business? Start there, and work your way up to offering to write guest blogs for influencers and even major publications.
Simplify Your SEO Strategy
SEO doesn’t have to be complicated! Simplify your SEO strategy by focusing on the basics of on-page and off-page SEO. Watch your search engine ranking and website traffic improve as you grow your SEO skills.
Want to learn more about SEO, business website growth, and freelancing? Check out my other articles for great tips on mastering your online presence.