I’ve always been a big proponent of on-site SEO. Even when link building was at its zenith in popularity, I believed that on-site SEO was very important. I still do.
SEO principles have gone in waves. In some years, on-site SEO factors outweighed off-site factors. In other years, the reverse has been true. But I think that on-site factors have outweighed off-site factors for most of the history of search engine optimization, dating back to 1995.
Why do I say that?
There’s a little phrase that has become a bit of a cliche for online marketers: “Content is king.” Its origins go way back to the very beginning of the Web. On-site content has always been very important for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is for ranking in the search engines, or achieving respectable search engine ranking results. Without on-site content, nothing else really matters.
In a word, content is SEO. On-site content equates to SEO to some degree. Likewise with off-site content. It equals SEO.
To what extent your content is optimized for search engine rankings, to that extent you are building your brand and marketing your business.
Both off-site and on-site content/SEO are important. But if can only do one and not the other, you are better off building your on-site content and improving your on-site SEO. Otherwise, you could find yourself promoting website content that doesn’t exist or that shouldn’t be found.