Finding the Right Mix of On-Page SEO and Link-Building

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mixturePeople always want to know how to allocate their SEO budget. Web page optimization, or link building? What’s the perfect ratio? What’s the most effective? What’s the formula?

The unfortunate answer is that there isn’t a formula. The mix is going to be different for every situation. As a search engine marketing company, we’ve run into several common problems. Here are the details and the mix we’d suggest for each.

The Authority

They have a well-built site, an established link profile, and a solid foundation of content. Many times their site has evolved over time, and they do so well on content and links that no one notices the on-page problems:

  • Their keyword research is outdated
  • They have broken internal links and/or too many internal links
  • They have overlapping page TITLEs
  • Their navigation is ineffective

Our Recommendation: 70% On-page, 30% Link-building

The Authority has a lot of potential if they can get their on-page SEO in order, improving things like keyword research, good TITLE tags, good architecture, and improved internal linking.

The “Expert”

They read all the SEO blogs and know all the rules and are compelled to squeeze the last ounce of SEO value out of every keyword. They put so much energy into optimizing that they neglect link-building activities.

Our Recommendation: 30% On-page, 70% Link-building

Eventually, you have to accept that you on-page SEO is good enough. In order to get Google to your page, you have to do link-building. Continue to develop content but spend a few months doing some responsible link-building.

The Mess

Maybe they’ve over-optimized to try to manipulate Google, but often times they’ve simply gotten out of control with their web page optimization. They’ve reached the point that Google is penalizing them because of issues like:

  • Bad redirects
  • Very little content
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Excessive internal tags and linking
  • Aggressive ad-to-content ratio

Our Recommendation: 90% On-page, 10% Link-building

The Mess needs to fix the problems that are getting them penalized before addressing anything else. Pursuing new links in this position is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos.

The Rule-Breaker

Some search engine marketing firms have been breaking every link-building rule in the book and have gotten away with it for years. Now, Google is finally starting to crack down. They’re getting penalized and may even be in danger of being de-indexed because of issues like:

  • Aggressive anchor-text targeting
  • Lots of low-value links
  • Paid links
  • Link farming and exchanges

Our Recommendation: 10% On-page, 90% Link-building

There’s nothing they can do on-page to solve this problem. They’ve got to fix their problems links and stop doing what their doing before even thinking about anything else. Start building positive links, and file for reconsideration if necessary.

What about the 50/50?

We hate to tell you this, but… there just isn’t such thing as a perfect SEO mix. The ratio is going to be different for every business and for every season of their development. SEO has to be fluid. It could be nearly 100% on-page for a few months and then change drastically as you reach goals and set new ones.

The key is having a dynamic mix. By focusing on only one tactic, you’re setting yourself up for failure when the algorithm inevitably changes.

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