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SEO – On-Page vs. Off-Page Optimization for Local Business

To increase your online visibility and search engine rankings, a local business must focus on search engine optimization. If your online presence isn’t fully optimized, then your local business isn’t likely to be found by consumers and others looking for your products or services online.

Whether you’re doing it yourself, or hiring a professional, it’s important to understand that optimization doesn’t stop with your local business website. Both on-page and off-page optimization are critical to gain the most exposure and generate the most leads via the Internet.

But what’s the difference?

Basically, on-page optimization deals with optimization of your local business website, whereas off-page optimization covers all other ways you can optimize your business’s presence throughout the World Wide Web outside of your website. Off-page optimization covers everything from online directory listings to article directory listings to social bookmarking to off-page keyword strategies and blogging.

When we work with consumers to boost their on-page optimization, we focus on landing pages, URL analysis, Meta-tag optimization, content optimization with consistent creation and posting, sitemap .xml and robots .txt creation and uploading, to name just a few of the options one should focus on when it comes to optimizing their local business website.

For off-page optimization, we find a lot of success with directory submissions (Google Places is a huge player), article submissions to high page ranking directories and pages, keyword and search engine optimized content for posting, social bookmarking on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, creating one-way links to drive traffic back to a business’s local business website, and more. This type of activity, content posting, etc. should occur on a consistent and regular basis (monthly at a minimum), for the best results.

Many debate on which is more important—on-page or off-page optimization. At the end of the day, both are critical to stay ahead of the competition in way of online visibility and lead generation. At the same time, it’s important to have a strong ‘home-base’ that’s fully optimized so your off-page optimization efforts will result in traffic being driven back to that ‘home-base’ local business webpage. In other words, start with a strong foundation and ensure that you’re local business webpage is optimized, and then start layering other off-page optimization tool and strategies on top of that.

So remember, it’s true that off-page optimization can make a major impact on your search engine rankings and online presence, and sometimes even more so than on-page optimization, but if you don’t have an optimized website to drive traffic to, then your off-page SEO efforts can be pointless and in vain; and who can afford to waste time and resources?

On a final note, SEO in general can be a complicated subject, and search engine algorithms are changing constantly, so it can be helpful to hire a professional to help you keep up with the changes in the game. Not to mention, by doing so, you can focus on what you do best as a business owner: your base business!

Written By

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.



  1. Rita Dawson

    May 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I am well aware of the SEO process. Great post about online and offline optimization! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Carol

    May 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks for letting me visit you site. Looking forward for more great and usable post from your site.

  3. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Google Places Optimization - Optimize Local Biz In San Diego

  4. phil

    May 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

    yes your spot on with this one, the two go together and without one then your site is not going to be at it’s best,

  5. Azam

    May 4, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Onsite and off site optimization are very necessary to enlist a site in organic searches under a particular keywords.If either of two is absent a site cannot be enlisted in organic searches

  6. Dagny

    May 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I like your blog because of its useful posts.Thanks for letting us know about the on page and off page differentiation. Post is very simple and clear . I like it because of its simplicity.

  7. kimberly

    May 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

    your post about on site and off site SEO optimization is very good. it makes even non technical people to understand the entire process very well. you explained it very well.

  8. Nathan Brown

    May 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    That was really a great post. Loved reading it from beginning to end. Hope you will come up with more posts like this. Keep it up. Will be come for more from you.

  9. Roy Fernandez

    May 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Great tips. Thanks for the article!

  10. Felicia Corrine

    May 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    You have very clearly explained about the SEO process. With online SEO, you will be able to drive instant traffic to your site.

  11. Amir_uk_

    May 16, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I think Google docs and Google places are the best options for local business as far as my point of view in concern.thanks for sharing your article for optimization for good ranking to site.

  12. Andrei

    May 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    At first, my eyes changed in to a question mark when I read the 3rd paragraph. But when I continued reading, I got a clearer picture of what you are trying to say. On-page SEO for me and I think for all of us, must come first ahead of off-page SEO. Thanks. Nice article.

  13. Alexia

    May 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I have had a lot of good success ranking sites using directory submissions and if you do not have software to do this, Fiverr has some great gigs to use for this.

  14. Bethany

    May 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    “To increase your online visibility and search engine rankings, a local business must focus on search engine optimization.”

    This is becoming a need for local business nowadays. The traditional marketing media are not that effective anymore.

  15. Cody

    May 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    SEO is a wonderful online marketing to add more traffic to your websites. The difference between online and offline is that when you do it online it gets more attention as the number of people online is much more.

  16. Zack

    May 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Good post. I follow this stuff pretty closely but still learned a couple things here. This is great, especially for newbies to the issue.

  17. Amir_uk_

    May 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    google docs & google places are the best options for local business as far as my point of view in concern.

  18. cutekavya

    June 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

    such a gr8 guidelines for On Page and off page Search Engine optimization. Thanks Divide it.

  19. rajesh

    June 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    nice explanation .thanks for sharing it.

  20. SteveC

    May 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks for your post! I like how you brought up the major point that you have to make sure your on-site efforts are working to improve your page before you can really spend time on off-site efforts. It’s still important to remember that you have to constantly be doing both.

  21. Craig Johnson

    May 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Experts have got different views on SEO. I have been reading a lot of resources about SEO over the last few months. Some people are more concerned about on page SEO than off page and some are more concerned about off page than on page. Some people totally hates doing any kind of SEO. They loves to concentrate on creating good quality content only. Sometimes it becomes very confusing for the newbies.

  22. Andy P

    July 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    The things with SEO is it changes so often it is sometimes difficult to keep up. Local SEO is also influenced by not just directories but business directories. As long as your business backlinks are created in a manner that looks natural then you are in business. It also helps to ensure your Google Places page (should that be google + page??) is fully completed.

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