Seth Godin has a post on his blog about active versus passive search engine optimization. In a nutshell, he says passive SEO is about tweaking your own web site for better rankings. Active SEO, he goes on, is about building other sites or build links, etc. to generate more traffic.
I divide it up differently. SEO is comprised of:
Creative: Editing or developing content and then leveraging that content for better rankings. You might do that by adding an article to your site, or by getting an article published on another site with a link back to you, or by adding that article to a secondary site you’ve built as an ‘authority’ site to drive traffic back to the primary one.
Technical: Modifying the HTML code, and often the underlying database-driven application that generates that code, to build the most SEO-friendly site possible.
I’m not sure it’s just about where you work (your site or another site). It’s more about the type of work required…