On Page SEO vs Link Building: Which One is More Effective in 2022

July 16, 2022

6 minutes Read

The question of where to spend your SEO budget is a common one, and it’s something I hear every week.

For those looking for a solution to this question, many SEO businesses, as well as consultants, will happily provide them with the answer – and that answer just so happens to be what the company/consultant specializes in! As a hammer specialist, you begin to believe you can nail anyone (which is not true).

Nobody wants to hear this, but it’s true: “It depends.” To listen to that is to be back where they started – without knowing how to proceed.

For your convenience, I’ll guide you through several situations and explain how I would allocate your funds for each, rather than leaving you in the lurch or trying to sell you something you don’t need.

On Page SEO vs Link Building: Does 50/50 work perfectly?

A few folks in the comments asked us about the 50/50 scenario, so that I will add this after the fact. I’m sure there are many additional legitimate permutations, but these are examples based on typical situations I’ve seen.

Specifically, we rejected the 50/50 blend since it implies that there is one “ideal” combination that can be maintained throughout the lifecycle of a website. The ideal mix should never be left on autopilot; it should always be tweaked to achieve the best results.

Investing time and money in the foundations of your site’s design, keyword research, and on-page optimization are all essential when launching a new website. For a few months, that combination maybe 100% or 90% on-page.

You’ll still need to create content, but you’ll also need to start acquiring links as soon as the structure is in place and your debut. In the case of a site that relies heavily on fresh material (such as a blog or news site), on-page SEO may account for as much as 70% to 80% of the total effort.

It is possible to do 30% on-page and 70% link-building for a directory or resource site with a critical amount of material.

Your site’s evolution and the shifting demands of your business will constantly alter the mix.

Which Factors Impact Link Building?

Regarding Google’s PageRank, a mathematical algorithm that measures a page’s “worth” by looking at other pages that link to it, link-building is the cornerstone. Backlinks are an essential ranking component, along with search intent.

Generally, the higher a page ranks in the SERPs, the more backlinks it has (especially those from other domains).

As a side benefit, the more backlinks a page has, the more organic traffic it receives.

Your rankings will not be affected equally by all backlinks, though. Six characteristics can be used to evaluate a backlink:

  • Authority – If we consider links as votes, pages with more votes will send a more decisive vote to other pages.
  • Relevance – According to Google, “If other major websites on the subject connect to the page, that’s a good clue that the information is of high quality.”
  • Anchor text — Like internal links, the anchor texts of backlinks assist Google in comprehending the context of the target page.
  • Following or not following a link is determined by the “follow” or “nofollow” property. ‘Follow’ is the polar opposite of ‘Follow”. Generally, the “followed” links will have more impact. All links are “follow” by default unless set differently.
  • Placement – Links that are more likely to be clicked (e.g., links in the content, links placed higher on a page) will likely pass more authority.
  • Destination – Links can boost the ranking of the specific page they link to. But you can convey part of that link equity to other pages through internal linking.

What to do for on-page SEO?

What to do for on-page SEO - on page SEO vs link building - FreelancersHub

You must have well-optimized content for search engines to rank your website correctly.

Before you start spending time on link building, make sure you go over the following short list of on-page SEO tasks.

Extensive keyword research and work on themes

Spend some time, if you haven’t already, figuring out what your target keywords will be.

As you develop your list, go from broad to narrow, but remember that relevancy is the most crucial criterion.

Even when you find broad terms, they should still be tailored and relevant to your categories and items.

When I do keyword research, I like to brainstorm and expand my seed list utilizing tools like Semrush, SE Ranking, or SpyFu.

Then, I’ll assign a priority number to each item on my list, working my way down to priority number three.

You will need to assign keywords to the pages on your website, which is referred to as keyword mapping and will assist you in avoiding keyword cannibalization.

The next step is to optimize your pages, which you may do once you’ve completed this step.

Remember that 2-3 primary and multiple secondary keywords are frequent on a page.

Content that makes sense and contextual

No matter the type of website, adding optimal content is essential, and ecommerce websites are no different.

Because you brought up category pages in your query, I’ll concentrate on suggestions for that particular type of material.

To begin, keep in mind that category pages offer a plethora of opportunities for text addition.

However, many organizations are apprehensive about adding too much content on category pages because they fear it will take away from the buying experience.

The good news is there are inventive ways to incorporate optimized text without being too invasive.

Optimize each page

When optimizing your pages, focus on your title tags, header tags (particularly H1s), body text, and image alt attributes.

You should still optimize your meta description, even if it doesn’t have much of an impact on your search engine rankings.

The Complete Guide to On-Page SEO outlines the best techniques to follow while optimizing your site.

Here’s a pro tip: When you use Google Search Console, you may see if the search engine has already recognized your sites for relevant queries.

The queries for each page can be found in the Performance Report in Google Search Console.

Focus on those keywords while optimizing the associated page if any of these inquiries look like good keywords or if they’re already on your list.

You might incorporate the term into the page title and/or H1 heading (s).

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to “pack” keywords into the body of your writing. The text must flow naturally.


I’ll try to make the message short and sweet – when it comes to the correct blend, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Both on-page SEO and link building are critical, but the relative importance of each is dependent on your existing capabilities and shortcomings and your competition. Long-term, everyone should pursue a blend of excellent on-page structure, specific content, and authoritative link profile, and a substantive social presence.

Diversity is the best method to future-proof your SEO – if the also changes or you get a snag on one pillar, at least there will still be enough standing to keep your roof up.

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