Website Optimization Blog

Sir, ‘On-Page Optimization’ is Only Like 30% of the SEO Equation

Common folk (those who are not SEO-inclined) think of SEO as a scientific process of “optimizing a website.” The truth of the matter is, on-page optimization is only about 30% of the SEO equation. Most of what drives a page to the top of the search results occurs off the website.

It’s important to understand what these vague processes mean (e.g. “on-page optimization” and “website optimization”.) In this post, I will give you simple definitions of what these terms mean to help you focus your SEO efforts.

“On-Page Optimization”

The process of on-page optimization (or “on-page SEO”) centers on keyword inclusion and in the right places. This is the “traditional SEO” that common folk typically perceive. In a nutshell, the goal of on-page optimization is to make a page keyword relevant for the search engines.

The primary page elements that influence on-page optimization include the title, Meta description, URL, and page copy. These on-page elements account for less than 30% of the equation when determining keyword rankings.

“Website Optimization”

Website optimization brings on-page SEO together into a more unified effort. Although keywords are still respected, website optimization addresses elements like internal linking, sitemaps, coding, load speed, and the overall structure and organization of pages.

In addition to SEO, this process centers on usability (providing an exceptional experience for users,) and conversion rate optimization (“CRO”). Because on-page optimization is a part of this process, the total weight of optimizing a website (or domain-level SEO) accounts for approximately 40% of its search rankings.

“Off-Page Optimization”

Off-page optimization is the crux of SEO. In short, the activity that occurs off the website can offer the greatest impact on its search rankings. But what are these ranking factors?

There’s quite a few of them. But the biggies are:

  • Usage data, such as the click-through rate (CTR) from Google to the page
  • Social signals (Likes, Shares, +1’s, Tweets, etc) at the page level and the domain level
  • Inbound links and their anchor text

Think of like this: if SEO was solely what common folk believe it to be (on-page SEO,) couldn’t anyone get their site ranking with some old fashion keyword inclusion?

The fact of the matter is, there’s a great deal of off-page optimization that goes into the entire equation. This is the long-term, ongoing process of building your rankings. Website optimization is simply the groundwork that lays the foundation.

Want more? Scope out what some of the Mozzers have to say about it.

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