On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or link building? This is one question that clients often ask me. Many webmasters are so confused about this topic that it has become more of a predicament for them and I don’t blame because they are in this situation. SEO companies worldwide line up to provide the answer, but the answer, coincidentally, happens to be what these companies are good at.
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. Let me also tell you that “it depends” is not exactly what I’m saying. There are answers available and you need to take your pick.
Let us first understand what on-page SEO is. This is a set of techniques that you can apply to your website and optimize it for Google and the other search engines. There are several techniques that are involved here and you need to consider all of them. The techniques range from the structure of your website to the content to even the speed of loading of your website.
Link building is nothing but linking to other websites. This sounds easy, but believe me, it is not. Google has changed the whole concept of link building and says that it should happen automatically. This means, you are not allowed to buy, beg for or borrow links from other websites. Your website has to be so good that other websites would automatically link to you. This is what Google wants you to do.
On-page SEO techniques
Given below are the most important on-page SEO techniques that you should use.
– Use user-friendly permalink URLs.
– Start the page title with keyword.
– Create the best content for your website.
– Apart from creating text content, use multimedia to make your website snazzy.
– Use outbound links to relevant authority websites.
– Keywords should appear in the first 100 words of your webpage.
– Use the H1 tag for your page headline.
– Design your website in such a way that it loads fast.
– Use modifiers in the page title to make long-tailed keywords.
– Add social sharing buttons.
– Clean up content and site design to lower bounce rate.
Now back to the earlier question – which is more important, on-page SEO or link building?
Let us use the life cycle of a website to make this clear for you.
When you first build your website, your focus has to be on on-page SEO. This is the time you would want to get the site architecture in place, do a lot of keyword research and add content to your website. During this period, which can be a couple of months, on-page SEO may even be 100% with 0% effort on link building.
After you have put the site architecture in place, you will still need to keep adding or improving your content. However, this is the time when you would also need to start considering link building. Now, if your website is such that it is always about new content (a news site for instance), you may still put 70% to 80% effort on on-page SEO and assign the rest to link building. However, if your content is not that dynamic, you may reverse the effort and put a major chunk of your effort on link building.
As your website matures, you will need to constantly juggle between on-page SEO and link building. There can never be a 50-50 effort mix because it is not possible to get that perfect mix. However, if you juggle your efforts depending on the stage of evolution of your website and your business demands, you should be fine.
At the end of the day, a well designed website with top of the line content is the least that you require for link building. Both on-page SEO and link building are intricately related and as the business owner, you need to know how to manage both effectively.