What are they? Which is more important? What gets you rankings?
Onsite SEO or On-Page SEO are things you do to your own website to improve your search engine rankings. Including making your site more search engine friendly, adding keywords to pages and linking related pages together.
Offsite SEO is when you get other sites to link to your site from pages that are relevant to what you offer.
Sometimes you will see statistics like “60% is onsite SEO and 40% offsite”. In reality it is a little bit more complicated than that.
There is an important difference between the value you get from onsite SEO vs offsite SEO. The value of onsite SEO is limited. Your website can only be so relevant. For example if you are a local Wirral Plumber then your site is either about plumbing or it isn’t. It’s not a case of the page that mentions plumbing the most times coming up first. Mention it too many times and your site starts to look spammy. Other onsite factors like being search engine friendly are also capped at 100%, your site is search engine friendly or it isn’t.
Also onsite SEO is easy to copy. You can copy the structure and code of whichever site comes first. You could also keep the content similar and just reword it a bit.
What made Google superior to search engines that came before it is its use of offsite SEO. So offsite SEO will always be important if you are competing against other sites that have a lot of offsite SEO.
Offsite SEO is not limited the way onsite is. You may have 1 link from another site, 1,000 links or 1,000,000 links. If your top competitors each have 10,000 links from quality relevant sites and their sites are relevant then you can’t expect to rank just by being relevant.
So the more competitive your market the more important offsite SEO becomes. You still have to do the onsite SEO first.
If I search on Google for Sites that have the words “Plumber West Kirby” in the title only 7 sites come up. (type this in to Google allintitle:”plumber west kirby”). So for a term like “plumber west kirby” you may be able to get on the first page just using onsite SEO. So for that term 90% of your ranking may be determined by onsite SEO.
For the term “cheap car insurance” there are over 100,000 sites that show that term in the title. So being relevant may only get you within the first 10,000 pages on Google! For a competitive term like that your site will need to be relevant but 99% of your ranking will be determined by offsite factors
So a more accurate answer to our original question is: the more competitive the industry the more important offsite SEO becomes.
A Little Overlap – Just to Confuse You!
Offsite SEO comes from other pages that have unique content that then link to your pages. However you can also add lots of additional pages to your site and that also provides some of the same benefit as offsite SEO. There are some differences as other site have domain names registered to other people / businesses, so a link from another site is like a 3rd party recommendation. However the authority of the other site is determined by their own offsite SEO and amount of content. So having a lot of unique pages on your site which is “onsite” can provide a lot of the benefit of offsite.