Keyword optimization is traditionally considered the core of SEO. While it is true that keywords and keyword optimization are the core of SEO, Search Engine Optimization for Google and the other search engines won’t be successful if other factors are not taken into account. Basically, when search engine placement is considered, there are two groups of SEO factors to have in mind – onpage SEO and offpage SEO.
What Is Onpage SEO?
Onpage SEO, as the name implies, includes all the factors for search engine placement, which are related to the page itself. The majority of common SEO factors fall into this group.
The most important onpage SEO factors are keywords in text, URLs, headings, metatags. Internal links (i.e. links to other pages of the same site), as well as the number of outgoing links are also onpage SEO factors.
One very important onpage SEO factor is freshness of content. Here the rule is that frequently updated, unique, and keyword rich content is the recipe for success in SEO placement.
What Is Offpage SEO?
Having in mind that most of the common SEO factors are onpage factors, one might wonder what is left for the offpage category. It is true that offpage SEO factors are not as numerous as onpage SEO factors but one very important key to top search engine placement belongs to the group of offpage SEO – backlinks.
Backlinks are very, very important for search engine optimization for Google and the other search engines. Quality backlinks are hard to find, especially dofollow links but if a webmaster manages to get many backlinks from reputable sites within the same niche and these backlinks have the adequate keywords for anchor text, then this guarantees top SEO placement. Best way to get them is to buy links from other people.
Backlinks might be the most important offpage factor but they are not the only one. Some other factors in this group include site age and the availability (or lack) of a site map.
Is Onpage SEO More Important than Offpage SEO?
The algorithms of search engines change frequently and no one can say what they will be in the future but currently there is parity in the importance of onpage SEO and offpage SEO. Keywords will always matter but quality backlinks are even more important. Getting good search engine placement without quality backlinks is very hard.
On the other hand, backlinks only (even if they are quality backlinks) can’t guarantee top search engine placement, if there aren’t keywords in the important places of a page (i.e. in headings, titles, the first paragraph, etc.). Yet in other cases offpage factors, such as the domain age and/or the reputation of the site, weigh more than good keyword density and the other onpage factors.
The best approach to SEO is to combine onpage and offpage factors. The fact that it is possible to get decent rankings with keyword optimization only doesn’t mean that this is the way to go. Relying only on backlinks is also not a good idea. The winning strategy is to apply both onpage SEO and offpage SEO and hope that this will affect search engine placement in a positive way.