What Is The Difference? (Explained)

As you learned, the biggest difference between on-page and off-page SEO is that you can control the on-page optimization factors within your own website. The off-site factors are more uncertain as you need to build relationships with other webmasters in order to get them.

The meta description is what describes the content on a web page. It is what appears below the title tag on the search engine results pages (SERPs). See my post on what does SERP stand for in SEO for a deeper explanation of this term.

A good search engine optimization strategy will focus on both on-page SEO and off-page SEO tactics.

The other on-page and off-page optimization techniques listed here will only go so far toward improving your website’s rankings. The content on your pages must be useful for your visitors because user behavior is a ranking signal, according to Moz.

Below, you’ll find the most in-depth comparison of on-page vs off-page SEO as well as the top factors you can use with each one to rank better in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

You can also follow these top SEO bloggers for free content that can help your site rank better.

Summary for On-Page vs Off-Page SEO

If you want to ensure that you’re getting the most value out of your on-page and off-page SEO efforts, then check out my list of the best books to learn search engine optimization. That page includes the top publications on SEO ever written.

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. To optimize the anchor text, just make sure that the keyword you want the target page to rank for is in the hyperlink. Also, don’t over-optimize by making every internal link pointing to a page the same anchor text. Vary it up a bit by including additional words or variations of the terms.

Moz gives some best practices for a good title tag, including:

  • Limit your title tags to 55-60 characters (this includes spaces).
  • Put the keyword closer to the beginning of the title.
  • Don’t stuff your keywords.

Meta Description

Below are the different types of off-page SEO. You can find more information in my detailed guide on what is off-page SEO.

Types of Off-Page SEO


An internal link refers to any link on a site that links between two pages on the same site. And good internal linking is one of the easiest on-page SEO strategies to give your content a boost in rankings.

I also talk about this topic specifically in my post on why content is important for SEO.

Brand mentions can be a powerful backlink building technique. To use it, just look for websites that mention your brand, employees, or founders and and politely ask them to include a link along with the brand mention.

There are several on-page SEO factors that affect page speed performance, including:

  • Minimizing HTTP requests.
  • Making sure server response time is <200ms.
  • Setting browser caching to at least a week or longer.
  • Enabling Gzip compression.
  • Prioritizing above-the-fold content loading.
  • Placing all CSS in an external style sheet.
  • Having image sizes under 100kb (.jpg, .png, .gif).
  • Minifying all JS, CSS, and HTML.
  • Eliminating render-blocking resources.

The goal of good on-page SEO is to drive qualified organic traffic to your website. And the position that your web pages appear in the search engine results pages is determined by a number of on-page SEO factors as outlined below.

Below is a general overview of the types of on-page optimization. For a complete list of activities, visit our dedicated guide with the top on-page SEO factors you can focus on for improved keyword rankings.

Title Tag

Both on-page and off-page SEO are of equal importance. On-page SEO does not work as well without good off-page SEO signals. The opposite is also true. It’s harder to rank a web page by only focusing on off-page SEO without good on-page SEO efforts.

Page Authority (or PA) is a metric that’s used to score individual web pages on a domain. The higher the value, the more likely the search engine will return a web page in the organic search results.

Next, you’ll see a table that compares the top differences between on-page SEO and off-page SEO. After the table, I’ll explain each factor individually.

Note: There’s another meta tag field called “meta keywords” but you can ignore it. This tag is not crawled by major search engines anymore so optimizing it is not necessary. Check out my guide on what are meta keywords in SEO learn more about this topic.


That’s what this post will cover.

Using on-page SEO with ALT text is easy if you follow these guidelines:

  • Include the target keyword where it sounds most natural.
  • Use no more than 8-10 words to describe the image.
  • Have at least one image on the page for each main keyword you’re targeting.

Internal Linking

Google announced in 2009 that keywords in meta descriptions do not factor into Google’s ranking algorithms for web search. However, if a keyword does appear in this location, then Google will bold it in the SERPs.

The main difference between on-page and off-page SEO is that on-page SEO refers to optimizing the HTML parts of your website you control while off-page SEO focuses on the ranking factors that occur outside of your website like brand mentions and backlinks.

All of these factors are mentioned in my Google ranking secrets post. You can visit that page for a more in-depth look at each one as well as additional tips and tricks for on-page optimization.

The primary use of ALT text is to help blind people who use a screen reader understand the context of web page images. However, search engines also crawl images in a similar way, so inserting keywords into the ALT text field can help search engines understand your page’s content better.

The best way to increase the Page Authority for a web page is to improve its link profile. This can be done by getting backlinks from external high-authority pages which act as “votes of confidence” for the authority of your page.

What Is More Important On-Page or Off-Page SEO?

The goal of good off-page SEO is to get as many endorsements as possible from other sites that are related to your business. As the number of brand mentions and quality links pointing to your website increases, the more valuable your content will seem to the search engine algorithms.

You can check the current state of the Core Web Vitals on any web page and get recommendations for improvements through Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.

Mobile Experience

Therefore, you need to make sure that your website looks good and responds well in a mobile format to get maximum value out of your on-page SEO efforts.

What Is Off-Page SEO?

Having a search engine friendly URL is an on-page SEO ranking factor.

There are many WordPress plugins (free and paid) that can help you add Schema Markup to your web pages. But remember that Google prefers structured data to use schema.org vocabulary and recommends using JSON-LD format. There’s also a handy Google Rich Results testing tool you can use to check your code.

Page Speed

But to put it simply, what you rank for is mostly determined by on-page factors, while how high you rank in the search engines is largely determined by off-site activities.

On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO Comparison

On-Page SEO Off-Page SEO
Title Tag Backlinks
Meta Description Social Shares
URL Brand Mentions
Headings (H1-H6) Domain Authority
Page Content Page Authority
ALT Text
Internal Linking
Structured Data
Page Speed
Core Web Vitals
Mobile Experience

Therefore, on-page and off-page SEO work best together to improve your search engine rankings in a complementary fashion. And their combined efforts are what determine how long does it take for SEO to take effect.

But to get the best rankings in Google, Yahoo, and Bing, a good search engine optimization strategy will need to focus on both strategies. When it comes to on-page SEO vs off-page SEO, there is no single winner as they must work together to achieve the greatest results for your website.

On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO

What Is The Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO?

The best places to put your keywords are within the first 100 words on the page and the last 100 words on the page. It’s also a good idea to sprinkle these keywords once or twice throughout the middle of the page too.

There are several SEO case studies that verify the ranking improvements that can be had by focusing on good internal linking. You find them on my best SEO case studies page.

It’s the most important ranking factor for a web page, which is why it’s the first step you need to take for how to add keywords to website HTML for ranking increases.

This tip was featured in my other blog post on how to get SEO results fast.

Brand Mentions

Search engines like Google have moved to mobile-first indexing which means that the mobile version of the content will be the predominant factor for indexing and ranking a web page.

As you’ll discover in the next section, the main difference between on-page and off-page SEO in regards to linking is that you can control the links that appear on your site. Off-site links are built through relationships with other webmasters.

Therefore, it’s still a good on-page SEO practice to include your target keywords in the meta description field. Just keep the description under 160 characters to ensure that the entire description is shown on the search results page.

It’s so good that I also recommend it in my free guide on how to increase your SEO rankings in 30 days.

I hope you enjoyed this post about on-page vs off-page SEO.

Brand mentions are unlinked mentions of your business on other websites. You can also think of this as inferred links as Sparktoro puts it.