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The perfect balance between on-site and off-site optimization

It is common that search engine rankings go up and down all the time. Many webmasters are unsure what they have to do to keep their web sites at the top of the search engine result pages. There are two main factors that influence the rankings of your web pages.

On-site optimization and off-site optimization

High search engine rankings can be achieved with on-site optimization and off-site optimization. On-site optimization refers to the factors that you can control on your web site: text, links, keyword density, etc.

Off-site optimization refers to the ranking factors that are usually out of your control. The most important off-site factor are the links to your web site.

Search engines use these two main factors to determine the rankings of your web pages.

What is the better way to optimize your web site for search engines?

Some webmasters focus only on on-site optimization. They optimize the text of their web pages, they try to get the right keyword density, optimize the web page title, etc. but they don't care about links.

Other webmasters think that links from other web sites are the only way to get high search engine rankings. They spend several thousand dollars to buy links from other sites without fully optimizing their web page content.

You can achieve good results with both methods. However, you'll get even better results if you combine both on-site and off-site optimization.

How do search engines rank web pages?

Optimized web page content helps search engines to find out what your web site is about. If the optimized content of your web pages shows search engines that your web site is relevant for a special search term, your web site will get high search engine rankings for that search term.

If more than one web site is optimized for the same search term, search engines have difficulty to determine the best web site. That's where links come in. In general, if more than one web site is optimized for the same search term, the web site with the best incoming links will get the best ranking.

The higher the competition for a search term, the more you need both optimized content and links from other web sites. Using only one factor works for unpopular search terms but as soon as there are other sites that compete for the same search term, you have to optimize both factors.

What does this mean to your web site?

Optimize your web page content and get links from other web sites to make sure that your web site is in a good position for high search engine rankings.

Getting more customers and more sales through on-site and off-site search engine optimization requires some time and work. The results are worth the effort.

Detailed information on how to optimize your web pages so that they receive top rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN and other important search engines can be found in our free search engine optimization ebook.

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June 2005 search engine articles