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!