A woman wearing glasses and a tan turtleneck sweater sits in a plush beige armchair and looks at an open laptop. The laptop sits on a small plastic table in front of the chair. In the background are several shelves filled with books, framed pictures, and a few potted plants.
Local SEO is vital if your business has a physical location. When your SEO is done correctly, people in your area with relevant searches will find your online presence. — Getty Images/enigma_images

By optimizing your website, you’re helping customers find your products and services. Search engine optimization, aka SEO, refers to any activities to increase your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). Correct SEO implementation helps search engines understand your content and, in turn, gives people a list of links relevant to their search query.

SEO is divided into four categories, each of which plays a vital role in your SEO marketing strategy. Explore the four types of SEO and learn how to optimize your site.

On-page SEO

Our Beginners Guide to SEO outlines the basics of search engine optimization, and on-page SEO is one of the easiest and most common ways to boost site visibility. On-page SEO involves optimizing website elements, from adding keywords to your meta descriptions to using an optimal URL (universal resource locator) format. According to Neil Patel, “the true purpose of on-page SEO [is] to educate, inspire and guide your users properly, as they navigate your site.”

The main on-page factors include:

  • Title tag: A shortened version of your page title (less than 60 characters) that has your main keyword, secondary keyword, and brand name. Use Moz’s preview tool to see how your title appears in SERPs.
  • Meta description: A short (160 or fewer characters) summary of your webpage that tells people what to expect and encourages them to click. It should have your keyword, synonym, or related latent semantic indexing (LSI) terms and phrases.
  • Images: Optimize your photo titles, file names, captions, and alt text for humans first, then SEO. Include keywords where applicable and follow Google’s image best practices.
  • URL structure: Typically, it’s best to avoid strings of numbers or dates. Instead, separate your page title (including any keywords) by dashes—review Search Engine Journal’s in-depth URL guide for more information.
  • Internal linking: These help search engines find and understand your pages. Internal links also keep visitors on your website, which tells Google that your information is relevant. Use a keyword as anchor text, not “click here.”
  • Content: Write high-quality, original, search-optimized content based on search intent. Include your keyword in the first few sentences and at least one header. Use variations of your keyword throughout your content.

However, before improving your performance, you must perform keyword research and develop an SEO strategy. Use SEO resources like HubSpot’s free courses to learn about every aspect of search engine optimization and content marketing.

[Read more: How to Ensure Your Business Website Is SEO Optimized]

Off-page SEO

Think of off-page SEO as an online version of word-of-mouth referrals. These SEO activities occur externally (not on your website) and tell search engines (and humans) that your website is trustworthy and relevant. Use off-page SEO to drive website traffic, improve your brand reputation, and boost your SERP ranking.

Off-page SEO tactics include:

  • Backlinks: When high-quality websites link to your site, it increases your authority. However, inbound links can take time to acquire. Develop the right approach using this backlink guide from HubSpot.
  • Online reviews: Devise a strategy for collecting customer testimonials on your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), Yelp, and other pertinent review sites.
  • Brand signals: Actions like people entering your company’s name into a search box or interacting with your social profiles show Google that your business is real. Brand awareness and social media marketing help your off-page SEO efforts.

The true purpose of on-page SEO [is] to educate, inspire and guide your users properly, as they navigate your site.

Neil Patel, NP Digital

Local SEO

If you have a physical storefront, local SEO is critical. While standard SEO helps on a global or national scale, local SEO focuses on regional search results. Localization techniques help your business appear in searches for local companies, such as “hot wings near me.”

Local SEO tactics include:

  • Putting your name, address, and phone number (NAP) on every website page.
  • Ensuring NAP accuracy in local directories, business listings, and social profiles.
  • Creating and maintaining your Google Business Profile.

[Read more: Free SEO Tools for Your Business]

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the foundation for your optimization efforts. According to Backlinko, the “important elements of technical SEO include crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture.” Many aspects of technical SEO are covered when building a business website. But you need to monitor your site’s performance and address errors continually.

A web developer, SEO firm, or technically savvy staffer can help:

  • Increase your page speed.
  • Fix site errors.
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
  • Create a site map.
  • Avoid duplicate content.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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