Search Engine Optimization – How Does It Work?

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is an important element for any online business that desires success. This is because SEO helps to increase the online visibility of a business by making sure that website ranks high on search engines, which in turns generates more traffic and leads, thus helping to increase the revenue. Two main strategies are used in optimizing a website for search engines: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. Below is a comprehensive look at both these strategies.

On-page search engine optimization

On-page SEO refers to all search engine optimization tactics used to optimize each page of a website to improve the overall SEO of the website, thus attracting more traffic. The aim of On-page SEO is to make your web pages SEO friendly and tell the search engines what your website is about. A number of SEO techniques are used in On-page optimization, which includes:

  1. Page title optimization – optimizing the page titles using unique and attractive titles that also include the main keywords for the content found on each page.
  2. Meta descriptions – using unique descriptions that contain the main keywords for the content found on the pages they are describing.
  3. Heading optimization – headings are considered by search engines when ranking websites since they describe they content found on the website. Using SEO friendly headings – containing the main keywords for the content they are used for – is a great way of optimizing the website for search engines.
  4. URL structure – URLs are other website elements that are considered by search engines when ranking websites. The use of unique and SEO friendly URLs helps to optimize the website for the SEO.
  5. Keywords – using unique keywords, long-tail and short-tail, to make your content more SEO friendly.
  6. Image optimization – optimizing images for search engines using keywords.
  7. Internal linking – using links on your website, which helps to improve user navigation, make sure that all your web pages are indexed by search engines and builds relevancy for your website content.

Advantages of on-page SEO

  1. It helps to improve your search engine rankings

On-page SEO consists of several search engine optimization tactics that help to make your web pages more SEO friendly. When combined together, these tactics improve the SEO strength of your web pages, which in turn leads to better search engine rankings for your website. Therefore, on-page SEO is an effective way of increasing the online visibility of your business, which helps to attract more inbound traffic.

  1. It is affordable

On-page SEO techniques are very affordable, not to mention the fact that they are very easy to execute. Most of these techniques can be easily implemented even if you have no SEO experience, for example, heading optimization, Meta description optimization, image optimization, etc. Therefore, using on-page SEO is one of the cheapest ways of increasing the online visibility of your online business.

  1. It provides long-term results

Another benefit of using On-page SEO to promote your online business is that the results it offers are long-lasting. Therefore, your business will continue reaping the benefits of using meta descriptions, optimized page titles, URLs, images, internal links, and other on-page SEO strategies for as long as those strategies are in place. On-page SEO is thus a great long-term SEO solution for marketing your online business.

  1. It helps to improve the user experience of your site

Most of the on-page SEO techniques have the added benefit of improving the user experience of your website. For example, internal linking helps to improve navigation, while using Meta descriptions, optimized page titles, and optimized URLs helps to tell your visitors what each page is about. This makes it easy for the user to navigate through your website and find information that they are looking for, something that can help to improve the conversion rates of your website.

On-page SEO limitations

  1. The results are not usually instant

One of the main challenges of on-page SEO techniques is that the results are not always instant – as their aim is to make your website more SEO friendly to the search engines. Therefore, it might take some time for the techniques used to pay off and for your website to start receiving high rankings.

  1. Good on-page optimization will cost you money

On-page SEO techniques are affordable and easy to implement – you can even implement some techniques yourself at no cost. However, if you want the best results, you will need to hire an SEO specialist so that they can implement the most effective on-page SEO techniques. This will mean having to invest a good amount of money.

  1. On-page SEO cannot guarantee high rankings

While it is true that on-page SEO can help to increase the search engine rankings of your website, it cannot guarantee high rankings, especially on the first page. This is mainly because search engine algorithms use several ranking factors, which might affect your rankings. Other factors such as poor optimization techniques, using of highly competitive keywords, and others might also affect your rankings.

Off-page search engine optimization

Off-page SEO optimization refers to all search engine optimization activities that are done outside of your website with an objective of helping to raise search engine rankings of your site. Basically, it involves SEO techniques that tell Google what internet users think about your content, i.e. whether it is relevant, thus leading to higher rankings or if it is poor quality, leading to low rankings. Examples of Off-page SEO strategies include

  1. Link building – involves placing of your website’s links on other sites, which can help to increase your search engine rankings through
  2. Popularity – having several links leading back to your website will show Google that your content is benefiting a lot of people.
  3. Relevancy – inbound links are one of the best way of Google finding out what the content on your website is about, and whether it is relevant to what the users are searching for or not.
  4. Authority – links from authority sites help to show search engines that your website has high-quality content that can be trusted.
  5. Social media marketing – advertising on social media can generate valuable links for your website. Social media mentions also carry a lot of weight when ranking websites.
  6. Business reviews – quality business reviews on various review sites can help to increase your search engine rankings by showing search engines that your business is trustworthy.
  7. Video marketing – submitting videos found on your website to video-sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and others can help generate valuable links for your online business.

Advantages of Off-page SEO

  1. They help to improve your search engine rankings

One of the best benefits of using off-page SEO techniques is that they are very effective in helping to improve the search engine rankings of your website. This is because most off-page SEO techniques will help to build authority and relevancy for your website, something that carries a lot of weight when ranking websites.

  1. They offer more exposure

In addition to helping you get better search engine rankings, off-page SEO techniques also expose your online business to potential customers on other platforms, who you might not have been able to target through search engines. For example, social media marketing will help to promote your business on social media.

  1. The results are much faster

The results of off-page optimization are much faster compared to those of on-page SEO. This is because they help to improve search engine rankings by improving the reputation of your online business. Off-page SEO strategies also help to increase the amount of inbound traffic from other sources apart from the search engines – social media, links from other websites, etc.

Off-page SEO limitations

  1. There is less control over the strategies

The main disadvantage of off-page SEO is that the strategies are implemented on other platforms apart from your website, where you have very little control. This is because off-page SEO is all about other people “voting” for your business by telling Google whether your website has relevant content or not, something that you cannot be able to influence.

  1. Black hat SEO techniques

Since off-page SEO is very hard to control, some online marketers tend to use black hat SEO techniques to deceive search engines. Unfortunately, these tactics are penalized heavily by search engines, and thus you must be careful when hiring SEO specialists to avoid falling into the hands of dubious marketers.

  1. Off-page optimization is more expensive

Off-page SEO strategies require a great understanding of SEO in order to implement them effectively. Therefore, to implement them, you will need to hire an SEO specialist, which can be quite expensive. In addition, off-page SEO is an on-going process, and the strategies used – social media advertising, blogging, link building, etc. –  need to be executed continuously to continue reaping the benefits offered. This makes it quite expensive, not to mention time-consuming.


Search engine optimization consists of both on-page SEO, which focuses on optimizing your site, and off-page SEO, which helps to improve your website’s search engine rankings from other platforms outside your site. Each of these strategies can be very helpful in increasing your website’s rankings on search engines. However, they also come with a number of limitations that can hinder their effectiveness. Therefore, when you are optimizing your website, you should consider using both strategies, which will help to combine each of their benefits, thus making sure better rankings.