Search engine optimization or SEO is huge. There are so many things to learn, understand, and implement that it can be difficult to tackle all of them simultaneously. Categorization, therefore, helps a lot.

When it comes to categorizing or dividing search engine optimization (and the processes of SEO), we have two major categories:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO

Understanding these two major classifications (and what comes in them) is crucial for moving forward. It is so because only by combining both these aspects, a search engine optimizer can truly improve a website’s rankings in the SERPs.

In this blog post, we will briefly highlight the differences between on-page SEO and off-page. Let’s do that by defining what each division means.

What is On-Page SEO?

Simply put, on-page SEO deals with whatever is on your website or web page. It is generally about the optimization techniques that you use on your webpage or site.

For example, keywords is one of the most significant aspects of on-page search engine optimization.

Which keywords are you using? How are you using those keywords? These are all important questions that formulate the core of on-page SEO.

Keywords can be seen all over a web page. You can also easily identify the main or primary keywords as well. For example, this web page mainly uses the following keywords:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • On-page vs off-page SEO

Another important aspect of on-page SEO optimization is that you can directly control the on-page SEO factors. For instance, you can select which keywords to use in a web page and where to specifically put them.

As you will learn in the next heading (off-page SEO), you cannot always directly control off-page SEO factors — mainly because those factors aren’t always on your website like on-page SEO factors. They are, as its name suggests, off the page.

There are, of course, many more on-page SEO factors other than keywords. Some of the major ones:

  • Meta titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Content
  • Website loading speed
  • URL structures
  • Heading tags


If you want to learn more about on-page optimization and the factors involved in it, read the following blog post:

What is Off-Page SEO?

As the name suggests, off-page SEO usually deals with factors that are not on your website or web page.

Off-page search engine optimization usually deals with how authoritative and popular your website is. These factors (such as credibility and popularity) are usually those that you do not directly affect or control.

On the other hand, as we just learned, you can control and affect the on-page SEO factors because they are on your web page or site.

The most important aspect of off-page search engine optimization is backlinks.

To learn more about backlinks, its types, avoiding backlink penalties, and the correct ways to build backlinks, read Understanding Backlinks — The Basics of Off-Page SEO.

What’s Next?

Understanding the basics of on-page SEO and off-page SEO is the first step towards becoming a search engine optimizer and/or formulating your SEO strategy.

Once you understand the differences between the two (and their importance), you will be able to identify the areas that you need to work on. Ideally, you have to work on on-page SEO as well as off-page SEO simultaneously. Without either of these aspects, you won’t be able to tap into the full potential of your website.

As part of your next step, we’d recommend reading more about the on-page and off-page SEO ranking factors and getting familiar with how each of them operates. Here are the two articles that you should read next:

After that, you can jump into specific subcategories to learn more about certain areas of search engine optimization, for example, content marketing, keyword research & optimization, technical SEO, online marketing, etc.