Optimizing your website for search engines is the best way to drive more organic traffic to the site and increase its ranking on search engine results pages. You can do this by employing various SEO methods: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Of these, on-page SEO is the practice that directly affects the website’s content and optimizes the same.
But how do you exactly do on-page SEO?
We’ll find the answer to this question and other things related to on-page SEO in this article.
On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, refers to optimizing the website content (the webpages) for search engines. This helps your site rank higher on the results pages, which makes it easily discoverable by users who search for that content.
This type of SEO takes place directly on the website (that’s why it’s called on-site SEO) and includes optimization of the content and the HTML code. Some of the things optimized are the titles, meta description, URL, headings, and more. There are several ways included in optimizing your website content for search engines as well as many tools that help you do that.
When ranking web pages, Google looks at the relevance of their content to decide if it’s a matching result for a search query or not. If it is, it will show it on its search results pages.
As Google state on their How Search Works page,
“The most basic signal that information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as your search query. If those keywords appear on the page, or if they appear in the headings or body of the text, the information is more likely to be relevant.”
Although Google has gone a long way from what it used to be in the past, it still bases its searches on content’s relevance and keywords. So, if you are looking for “how to monetize your blog”, Google will show you web pages that have this phrase in their title or somewhere in their content.
Yes, Google still crawls websites for keywords to determine whether or not a page is worth showing on the results pages. And, if a page uses the exact words searched for, it will rank high, even on the first page. Of course, this also involves other factors like user experience, page loading speed, bounce rate, search intent, and click-through rate.
So, to answer the question, on-page SEO is important because it ensures the content of your web pages (and the entire website) is relevant to specific search queries.
On-page SEO involves several factors that help make a web page more relevant, including:
The best SEO practice aside from the actual on-site optimization is to create SEO content. Indeed, writing content that is relevant, unique, of high quality, informative, and well-structured does half of the job you need to do to optimize your web page for search engines.
Now, let’s briefly explain all aspects of SEO content!
As already mentioned, content’s relevance is one of the essential factors for a page’s ranking on search engines. To create relevant content means to write about what people want to read. Otherwise, no one will click on your pages and visit your site, which will result in low to no ranking.
In order to create relevant content, you need to understand the users’ search intent. The search intent includes several aspects:
If you want to make your content valuable for the users, it has to be unique. Give them something new and they will enjoy reading and sharing your content. Otherwise, if you copy-paste or spin what others have written, your content will be of no value to them. Hence, it won’t rank. Even if there’s nothing else to “discover”, you should include others’ findings in your own words. Plus, you can add your own perspective or something you’ve found out from your own experience or after conducting your own analysis.
Merely writing content isn’t of much value unless is well researched and includes everything the searcher(s) would like to read. For example, if you write about “the best SEO tools in 2021”, you shouldn’t write only about the tools but also include things like “SEO importance” or “benefits of using SEO tools”. This will make your content more complete and valuable to the searchers.
To make sure your content is thorough enough and find out what you should include in your piece, you should analyze similar content on that topic. Look for pages with similar headings and subheadings, keywords, and SERP features.
And, last but not least, your content should be clear and easy to read. To ensure your content is readable and well-structured, you should use:
Now that you know what it takes to create SEO content and you write one, it’s time to learn how to optimize it. So, let’s see which are the best practices!
The page’s title should reflect the content. Also, it’s one of the essential on-page ranking factors. That’s why adding the main keyword in it makes perfect sense. However, you should never sacrifice logic for the sake of using the exact keyword in the title.
Here’s one old-but-gold rule for on-page SEO! According to it, you need to use your main keyword in the first 100 words, i.e. the first paragraph, because search engines prefer pages in which the main keywords show up early. Plus, it helps them understand what your page is about.
When writing the title of your content, you need to use H1 since it helps search engines understand the page’s structure. The same goes for subtitles (subheadings). They are usually formatted following the H2-H6 tags to make the content more reader-friendly, clear, and skimmable.
By using tags you also help search engines understand the content’s hierarchy and organization. Moreover, search engines can find important information more easily. And, let’s not forget that they rank higher pages with content that is structured, organized, clear, and easy to read because that content delivers a good user experience.
Keywords are one of the crucial SEO ranking factors. That’s why you have to ensure you use them in the right amount. Using your keyword(s) once is not nearly enough to tell the search engine the content is about that keyword(s). However, overusing them will lead to keyword stuffing which will negatively affect your page’s ranking.
As a rule of thumb, the number of your keywords should make for 1%-2% of your content. Namely, if your blog post has 1000 words, you should use your keyword 10 to 20 times. Likewise, if your blog post is 600 words, you should use your keyword 6 to 12 times.
Of course, if you think it’s too much or makes your text look unnatural, feel free to use it less than that.
Apart from containing the main keyword, the title tags must be catchy, relevant to the content, and long enough for Google to accept them and display them entirely on SERP. If you’re not sure if your title tag is of the right length, you can use title tag optimization tools.
The meta description is displayed on SERP right under the title. It tells what the content is about, something like an excerpt or a summary. And, while they aren’t a ranking factor, they are important for convincing the users to click on your page.
To write an optimized meta description, it’s best to write around 120 characters or less, include your main keyword in bold, and use active voice. You can write it as an expansion of your title tag, especially if you had to shorten or cut it. And, try to write it according to users’ search intent.
Links are one of the essential factors in on-page SEO since they show search engines what your page’s topic is about. When linking your pages internally or externally, you have to ensure the pages they are linked to are relevant to the topic. For the external links, you also have to make sure they lead to high authority and credible sources.
By using internal and external links, you not only help search engines understand your content and its relevance but also increase its value to the users. And, by providing more value, pages rank higher on SERP.
To create optimized URLs, you have to ensure they follow your site’s structure and make sure they are readable. By readable, we refer to URL slugs that contain the page’s title.
Here’s a good example of a readable URL:
These URLs help search engines determine the pages’ relevancy. They also show people that the title tag matches the URL, so they know what they will find on the page. Moreover, they contain an anchor text, which makes them another ranking factor.
Images a great way to divide large blocks of text and offer a visual explanation of the content. However, they can negatively affect your page’s ranking because they can make the page load slowly if not optimized.
To optimize images, you need to: