On-Site SEO vs. Link Building. What to Spend Your Budget On?

When it comes to optimizing your website for search engines, two key strategies come to mind: on-site SEO and link building. However, which one is better and worth your investment?

Today we are going to tell you about both strategies and help you make an informed decision about where to spend your budget. So, let’s waste no more time and start the journey into the world of on-site SEO and link building!

What Is On-Site SEO?

On-site SEO, also known as on-page SEO, is the process of optimizing specific elements of a website to increase its visibility and improve rankings in search engine results. It involves the optimization of various components, such as: 

  • Site content;
  • Keywords; 
  • Title tags;
  • Meta descriptions;
  • Images;
  • Site speed;
  • URL structure, etc.

By optimizing these elements, the website becomes more relevant and attractive to search engines. This, in turn, results in improved website rankings and increased organic traffic.

What Is Link Building? 

Link building is an off-page SEO strategy that focuses on acquiring backlinks from other websites to increase a website’s authority and visibility in search engine rankings. It involves a number of tactics aimed at building a network of quality backlinks. Some common link-building tactics include: 

  • Outreach;
  • Guest posting;
  • Broken link building;
  • Content marketing;
  • Unclaimed mentions, etc.

By implementing these tactics, the website improves its backlink profile, demonstrating authority and relevance to search engines. As a result, search engine rankings skyrocket, organic traffic increases and visibility in the competitive online landscape improves significantly.

Budget Allocation: On-Site SEO or Link Building?

Now that we’ve covered the concepts of on-site SEO and link building, it’s time to answer the question you’re most concerned about: what should you spend your budget on? 

We know you would like to get a definitive answer to this question. However, the truth is that we can’t give you an exact answer because budget allocation is highly dependent on the specific circumstances of your online presence. 

However, we can provide examples of how we have advised our clients on budget allocation based on their unique features and requirements. So, let’s take a look at some of them.

Case Study 1: Emphasizing On-Site SEO – Budget Allocation of 70% for On-Site SEO and 30% for Link Building

A client came to us asking for an SEO audit and advice on how to take his website to the next level. 

By conducting an SEO audit, we found that the website had an impressive backlink profile that established it as an authoritative presence in Google’s eyes. 

However, despite the strong offsite optimization, our analysis revealed numerous on-site optimization issues that were hindering the website’s full potential. Here are some of the issues we found:

  • Overgrown internal links;
  • Misaligned site structure;
  • Duplicated page titles;
  • Slow site speed, etc.

Such issues were not noticed by the client due to the website’s high rankings resulting from a robust backlink profile. However, addressing these on-site issues had the potential to take the website to the next level of success.

Just look at the experiences of BMW and Exact! Both had issues with mobile site speed. However, by solving these issues, both of them got remarkable benefits. BMW increased sales from 8% to 30%, while Exact increased conversions by up to 186%. 

Site speed seems like such a small thing. However, do you now understand how on-site SEO can affect website performance? 

Based on our experience and other worldwide companies’ cases, we strongly advised our client to prioritize on-site SEO optimization. We recommended the client allocate 70% of his budget to address the identified on-site issues and 30% to continue investing in ongoing link-building efforts, as link building remained an important and continuous process.

Case Study 2: Emphasizing Link Building – Budget Allocation of 70% for Link Building and 30% for On-Site SEO

The next client came to us with a request for an SEO audit and guidance to uncover new growth opportunities. 

After conducting an SEO audit, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the website was already well-optimized for search engines. It had an impressive website structure, keyword-optimized content, great site speed, title tags, meta descriptions, etc.   

Given the favorable state of the on-site SEO aspects, we advised the client to shift his focus to link-building efforts. We recommended that he allocate 70% of his budget to link building while reserving the remaining 30% for any necessary on-site SEO refinements. Such an approach allowed him to increase his website’s authority and online visibility. 

Case Study 3: On-Site Dominance – Budget Allocation of 90% for On-Site SEO and 10% for Link Building

Occasionally, we come across clients who have tried to optimize their websites based on information gathered from various SEO blogs. To be clear, we have no problem with blogs, as we also blog ourselves. However, it is crucial not to blindly follow every piece of advice found in such blogs. Instead, a structured approach to SEO tactics should be adopted, avoiding the temptation to implement all recommendations at once. 

One of our clients from this category read about different SEO tactics and decided to implement all of them on his website at once. 

By auditing his website, we discovered the next: 

  • Keyword stuffing;
  • Duplicate content;
  • Improper redirects;
  • Blocked crawl paths;
  • Nonsensical site architecture and internal linking;
  • Excessive use of internal search, categories, and tags;
  • Aggressive ad-to-content ratio, etc.

If the client hadn’t come to us and continued with this approach, the website would likely be affected by the Google Panda penalty.

Fortunately, the client came to us, and we were able to show him the path to his online success. 

Based on the insights we gained from the SEO audit, we strongly recommended that the client prioritize on-site SEO and allocate 90% of his budget to solving the identified issues. The remaining 10% of the budget was recommended to be allocated to strategic link-building activities.  

Case Study 4: Link Building Dominance – Budget Allocation of 90% for Link Building and 10% for On-Site SEO

Finally, we came across a client with a contrasting scenario to the previous case. His website was well-optimized. However, his backlink profile was a significant problem. 

By performing an SEO audit, we found that the client relied on spammy and manipulative link-building practices that resulted in an unnatural and low-quality backlink profile. 

If the client hadn’t come to us and continued with such an approach, his website would have been affected by the Google Penguin penalty or, worse, faced de-indexing.

Fortunately, the client recognized the potential negative impact and came to us for guidance. Based on our findings, we provided strategic recommendations to address the situation and avoid any negative consequences. 

Based on our analysis, we advised the client to prioritize link building and allocate 90% of his budget to build a robust and high-quality backlink profile. Additionally, we recommended allocating 10% of the budget toward on-site SEO to ensure the continued smooth operation of his website.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for budget allocation when it comes to choosing between on-site SEO and link building. The optimal distribution of resources depends on the unique characteristics and needs of your website.

If your website is already well-optimized and has a strong on-site SEO strategy in place, it may be more beneficial to prioritize your efforts on link building. Building a robust and high-quality backlink profile can further increase your website’s authority and visibility in search engine rankings.

If your website is new or struggling with on-site optimization issues, it is advisable to prioritize on-site SEO. By addressing the issues and optimizing elements such as website content, keywords, title tags, and site speed, you can lay a solid foundation for improved rankings and increased organic traffic.

However, navigating the decision-making process for budget allocation can be challenging. That’s why we recommend you take the guesswork out and instead seek professional help. 

If you’re ready to take your website SEO to the next level and maximize its visibility, reach out to our team of experienced SEO specialists! We can perform a comprehensive analysis of your website, develop a customized strategy, and help you allocate your budget effectively. 

Don’t leave the success of your online visibility to chance – let us guide you toward sustainable growth and increased organic traffic!