On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) refers to the practice of optimizing webpages to improve a website’s search engine rankings and earn organic traffic.
In addition to publishing relevant, high-quality content, on-page SEO includes optimizing your headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images. It also means making sure your website has a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Fortunately, on-page SEO strategy isn’t as hard as some folks make it out to be. The truth is, there are only a handful of ranking factors you need to be concerned with. Your biggest priority should be creating an exceptional user experience, and not just over optimizing content for bots.
URLs Help ON Page SEO
Google has explicitly stated that URLs help them better understand what a page is about. So, how do you optimize your URLs?
- Include a keyword: Include your primary keyword in your URL to help search engines and users understand page content.
- Consider intent: In addition to main keywords, use descriptive words to help convey the purpose or intent of a page.
- Use real words: Use real words in your URL instead of the numbers and characters that some content management systems pump out.
- Be succinct: Keep your URL structure short and easy for search engines to understand. Also, Google often shows URLs in search results. If a page URL is a long string of random letters and numbers, that doesn’t help users understand your page. The better they understand the purpose of your page, the more likely they are to click on the search result.
- Use hyphens between words: Hyphens make URLs more readable. For example, if a page is about coffee bean grinders, use the URL www.yourcompany.com/coffee-bean-grinders.
- Avoid session IDs: When possible, avoid the inclusion of session IDs in your URLs, as they produce an avalanche of URLs for the same page. Google advises that you use first-party cookies instead.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Meta tags are one of the most important on-page seo factors — specifically page titles. Every page has a title tag which appears in search results as a headline. The meta description is a short summary of the page that appears under the title on search results. Both are important to help search engines and users understand the purpose of a page.
Both the title and meta description play a significant role in whether a person actually clicks on a listing in the search results. When both the title and meta description are optimized, it increases the Click-Through Rate (CTR) which shows means you get more traffic.
Unfortunately, Google updated the way it handles title tags in August 2021. After the update, Google may rewrite page titles based on other on-page elements, including headings and even anchor text from inbound links. Although this change doesn’t impact rankings, it can have a massive impact on CTR if the new title isn’t good.
ON Page SEO for Meta Tags
The first step in your on-page SEO analysis should be to look at your title and meta description. follow these steps:
- Place your primary keyword near the beginning of the title.
- Keep the title around 55 or 60 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search results. WordPress plugins like Yoast can tell you if your meta tags are too long.
- Avoid all caps in your title tags.
- Give each page a unique title so that Google doesn’t think you have duplicate pages.
- Write clear, compelling titles that users will want to click on.
- Include your primary keyword in your meta description. When someone searches for that keyword, Google will bold it in the search results.
- Keep the meta description to 155 characters.
- Craft your meta description so that it accurately describes the page. Treat it like an advertisement, and wordsmith it so that people are compelled to click.
Heading Tags improve ON Page SEO
Using multiple headers (H1 tag, H2, H3, etc.) on your pages helps with SEO in several ways. First, it makes it much easier for users to read your content. If visitors encounter a wall of text on a page, they’re much less likely to want to read it and will often abandon the page. Multiple headers help users quickly grasp the content, which improves overall user experience (an important factor for Google).
Second, subheadings help Google understand the contents of a page. When crafting headers, be sure to use your primary keyword in at least one or two H2 headers. If it makes sense contextually, include the primary keyword again in the H3 or other headers.
Content That Satisfies Search intent
Google wants to show users high-quality content that satisfies their search intent. In other words, it solves a searcher’s problem completely and efficiently.
At a high level, there are four types of search intent:
- Informational: Searchers are looking for information.
- Navigational: Users want to visit a specific website or page.
- Commercial: Searchers want to compare products or services before they make a purchase.
- Transactional: Users actively want to buy something.
Internal linking is important to on-page SEO because it helps Google understand the relationship between pages on your site. An extensive internal linking framework reinforces context and relevance as well as your depth of coverage on a topic.
Internal links are also amazing for user experience. They help people discover more of your content like additional blog posts or a valuable case study.
A strong internal linking strategy is also a great way to reduce your bounce rate and improve other Google Analytics metrics such as conversion rate and average session duration.
When it comes to on-page SEO, you should include internal links to — and from — other relevant pages on your site. It’s especially important to link out from authoritative pages like your homepage.
Use short, descriptive, keyword-focused anchor text for your internal links. It’s also critical to link out from the most relevant sections of your content to other pages that cover the topic.
As a sidebar, don’t use keywords you want to rank for in external links to other websites.
External links are not a direct ranking factor, so linking out to trusted websites won’t boost your on-page SEO rankings. However, citing your sources with links builds trust which is important for users. So, it’s a best practice to add external links when necessary, especially when quoting someone or referencing a statistic.
When you add external links, though, don’t use anchor text that includes keywords you want to rank for.
Images also need to be optimized for SEO. Start by giving them descriptive file names with words separated by hyphens. Next, optimize the file size so that it loads quickly while still maintaining the quality of the image. If your site is filled with images that are consistently over 400kb, for example, your page load time will be negatively impacted, and this hurts your ability to rank high in Google.
Finally, add text to the image alt tags, with the appropriate keyword occasionally included in the text. The alt text helps search engines understand the image.
Conclusion of ON Page SEO
The Most Critical ON Page SEO Techniques you Need to Follow:
- Use short, descriptive page URLs
- Optimize title tags
- Write compelling meta descriptions
- Implement structured data
- Optimize headers
- Implement SEO copywriting best practices
- Use the target keyword within the first 100 words
- Maintain an appropriate keyword density
- Create content that satisfies user intent
- Write readable text
- Add both internal and outbound links
- Optimize for Google images
Remember, on-page SEO matters. Develop your web pages with these elements in mind, and you’re well on your way to better organic search engine rankings!
Anchor text refers to the clickable text within a hyperlink that takes users to a new destination URL on the internet.
Treat anchor text differently for internal links vs backlinks.
Anchor text intent is just as important as keywords.
Internal links can be more important than backlinks in some cases.
Backlinks are like the wires from a power plant to your house, and internal links like the wires from your circuit breaker to your outlets.
Some types of internal links are more valuable than others, but they all work together to convey meaning, hierarchy, and authority to help search engines understand your website.