Onsite SEO vs Offsite SEO
At Lawgical, we do a lot of local optimization for legal professionals–mostly investigators, process servers and bail agents–and we have started to offer this service to law firms on a smaller scale.
Quite often there is some confusion in regards to the elements that go into SEO. I thought I’d outline a brief primer of high-level components.
Also referred to as on-page SEO or onsite optimization, this is all about how your site looks to search engines. Is your site organized in logical way? Is your site optimized for the keywords that are most important to your business? Proper onsite optimization will tell Google and the other search engines that your site or pages on your site are relevant to a specific keyword phrase.
Below are a handful of the factors that are a part of onsite SEO:
- Content – Does your site or the page your are optimizing have useful, well-written content that supports the goals of your site? It’s important to make sure that the content is relevant and keyword rich, but don’t overdo the keyword density.
- Meta Tags – The description of the page and its content should be provided in the page’s header.
- H1’s / Headers – An H1 is typically the first line you see on a page. Usually the font is larger and bolder and should quickly tell you what the page is all about.
- URL naming – While this isn’t one of the more critical factors, you have nothing to lose by including the keywords that are most relevant to the page in the URL. For example: yoursite.com/criminal-attorney-denver
- Site Architecture – While entire books have been written on this subject, the primary things you’ll want to consider when architecting your site is having your most important pages part of your main site navigation and always giving your users a way to get back to these important sections.
- Calls to Action – Every page on your site should have purpose. Do you want them to call you, or click a button, or fill out a form? While this might be less measurable by the search engines, it’s critical to something called conversion optimization. Calls to action lead the visitor to take action. Over time, expect Google to pay attention to these optimization factors by using measures and bounce rate and page views in their ranking factors.
These are just a few of the more critical components when it comes to onsite SEO, and each of these bullets is typically a chapter in a SEO book. When it comes down to it, make sure you are focusing on the user.
When we talk about offsite SEO, we’re essentially talking about marketing the site by creating an online presence or awareness of the site. No one, including a search engine, is going to know about your site unless you tell them about it.
We’ve had a number of people tell us, “I have a website, but it’s not doing anything for me. I think I’m going to get rid of it.”
Well, its probably not the site’s fault. When I first got into web marketing the popular analogy was “creating up a website without marketing it, is kind of like opening a store on the moon (or the desert).”
There are a number of things you can do offline to build an awareness, and probably most important–build links to your site.
Links, without a doubt, are a critical factor in offsite marketing. Links can come in many forms. They can be paid directory links or reference links to a great article you have written. There are more ways to get links than can be mentioned here but there are two good rules to follow with your link building strategy.
- Get relevant links from other industry-related resources
- Acquire links at a steady pace
For the most part, the goal of most off-page SEO tactics is to drive links and traffic so be aware of link opportunities in these areas:
- Social Networking Sites
- Q & A Sites
- Directory Submissions
- Business Reviews
Onsite and offsite SEO work hand-in-hand when optimizing your website. One without the other diminishes the chances to succeed. So going forward, you will want to keep both onsite and offsite strategies in mind as you develop, implement, and run your website optimization.
Trent Carlyle is the CTO and co-founder of LAWgical. Trent works alongside the technology and marketing teams, developing products that help our clients grow their businesses and operate more efficiently. You can follow Trent on Twitter at @trentcarlyle.