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Search engine optimization (SEO) increases a website’s visibility by manipulating various factors to better its chances of ranking high in search engines. It works on two different levels that come together in the end to produce good results. These two levels are called “on site” SEO and “off site” SEO.

Simply put, “on site SEO” is any kind of optimization that deals directly with the website itself, while “off site SEO” deals with everything else that happens outside the website. Both kinds of optimization have numerous factors that contribute to the website’s overall ranking, and SEO specialists worth their salt understand exactly how each one works.

On Site SEO

Under this umbrella fall the three major factors that a website owner has complete control over.

1. Content

This should be the bread and butter of any website, because this is what search engines are made for – giving the best content to their users. Optimizing content means first and foremost making sure they are well-written and they deliver fresh ideas. It also means inserting the right amount of keywords that have been properly researched.

2. Code

Search engines take into account how well a website’s markup language is coded. This includes the title tags, descriptions, headers, and almost every little thing that human visitors won’t see but the search engines’ “spiders” will.

3. Structure

Search engines also look at the soundness of the overall structure of a website. A website that loads fast and has good internal linking will be able to rank higher. Having a reliable server that keeps the website up at all times is another plus.

Off Site SEO

Although the three following factors cannot be directly manipulated, website owners still have to seriously consider these as they play big roles in determining search engine rankings.

1. Links

Having plenty of quality links is on par with creating great content in terms of increasing rankings. Building links with authority websites weighs more than just building links with a lot of websites that have little to no authority.

2. Credibility

Establishing a website as a place where one is sure to get great content takes a considerable amount of time and effort. But it is all worth it as once it has gained a good reputation, it will rank higher and gain more traffic.

3. Social Media Influence

Search engines have begun integrating social network activity in ranking websites. And it’s easy to understand why, considering that social media is fast becoming the Internet’s hub for spreading content. Creating social media accounts for businesses have become a necessity nowadays with how much traffic such platforms can drive to websites.

With these two kinds of SEO clarified, beginners can hopefully start optimizing their websites more efficiently by knowing which one to use at the right time.

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Posted by Todd Mumford

Todd Mumford is the Co-Founder and CEO of SEO Visions - a Vancouver SEO company that provides online marketing solutions and SEO consulting for different types of business.

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