On page vs Off page characteristics
Where does SEO begin?
The first thing that one must realize about search engine optimization is that to be implemented correctly it must be broken down into 2 distinct factors "on-page" and "off-page" criteria.
Always remember that search engines do not consider "websites" they consider the "pages" of those websites. There should never be a debate as to which is more important between "on page" and "off page" characteristics as the truth is both are equally as important. However once one defines the two there is a logical order in which they should be considered.
On page/Off page characteristics defined
Simply stated, On Page Characteristics are anything you can effect within the construction of a single page. This includes everything that is placed in the headers, body, and on-page links (both internal and external). Special attention should be given to: Title, meta description, H1, H2...H6, <b>, <i>. Keyword proximity, keyword density and relevance...more on this later.
Off Page Characteristics refer to all links (both from pages contained within your own website and from pages of other websites) that point to your specific page(s). The term "pagerank" is specifically designated to evaluate and weight "off page" criteria. Special attention should be given to: anchor text, Reference_tags, "title" attribute and "target_"... more on this later.