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Understanding Onsite vs. Offsite SEO

Understanding Onsite + Offsite SEO

Search engine algorithms are designed to determine which websites are most applicable for a given search result. The websites are then listed in results based on an abundance of factors. Interestingly, both onsite and offsite considerations influence rankings. 

So, what are onsite and offsite factors? I created this blog post to help you understand the difference between the two and why they both matter. I will also cover tips for making sure your online presence is putting its best foot forward.  

Onsite SEO 

Onsite SEO is optimization that is performed on your website. There are multiple ways to complete onsite projects. This section covers a few examples.  

Meta data – Meta data is code that is placed on the backend of your website that helps search engines, as well as users, understand what your site—and specifically certain pages—of your site are about.

Here’s an example of a result for Sesame: 

This is a meta description that tells a user exactly what information they are going to find when they click on the link. There are other variations of meta data that should be placed throughout your site as well. 

Content – Many websites are built with libraries of stock content. While this is not inherently bad, updating the actual content on your website is going to separate you from your competitors.

Backlinking – Backlinking helps prove your expertise in a given field to the search engines and entails having quality links to and from your website. Has your office received awards for exemplary service, for example? A link should be placed on both the awardee and awarder websites. This shows search engines that a reputable site has linked to yours, which builds trust in the eyes of the search engines. Backlinking can also apply to local businesses in the area you partner with, organizations you are part of or a variety of other partnerships. Be sure to add them to your website! 

Offsite SEO 

You have probably already gathered what offsite SEO is by this point. That’s right, it’s SEO that is performed away from your website. Search engines look at your entire online presence when determining your results position. Here are a few of the key offsite SEO projects that an SEO specialist should work on. 

Google My Business – Google My Business offers free business information listings that show up in results on Google. They are usually displayed on the right-hand side of search results pages. These listings allow a user to quickly see the information but also go to the website, call, or even get directions to the practice.  

These listings hold a lot of weight when it comes to ranking well. It’s important to ensure that your listing is verified and has accurate business information. If, for example, your website has a different phone number listed than what is on your Google My Business listing, search engines won’t know which one is correct and will likely penalize you for it. Their goal is to provide a seamless experience for users so make sure that your listing is up-to-date. 

Directory Listings – Piggybacking off of the previous point, your business information is listed all over the internet—whether you know it or not. Directories, many of which you have likely never heard of, will pick up your business information from various sources and attempt to make listings for your practice. When they all have different information, that is confusing to search engines. Be sure to focus on the main directories like Google, Yelp, and your social media networks. While it is a losing battle to try and manually update every single listing, there are many services that will automatically do it for you. 

Backlinking – Wait, didn’t we already discuss backlinking? Well, backlinking applies to both onsite and offsite SEO. By reaching out to local businesses, organizations, affiliations, etc, and asking them to place a link to your website on their site you can continue to provide quality channels back to your website. Don’t be afraid to proactively reach out and see if they are willing to put your website link on theirs! 


To summarize, onsite and offsite SEO both play different but very crucial roles in helping your website be visible online. A successful SEO strategy contains heavy doses of both elements as a result. 

Do you have questions about onsite or offsite SEO or does your practice need SEO help? Please feel free to reach out to Sesame’s SEO team!


—Phil Horton, Sr. Search Manager, Sesame Communications

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Sesame is an industry leader in integrated, cloud-based marketing and patient-engagement solution designed exclusively for your practice. We know that effective patient communication is vital to the success of your practice and the efficiency of your team. With Sesame, you can take your practice to the next level, allowing you to concentrate on what’s really important – your patients!