By using on-page SEO, you are the first person that can help you rank your websites on Google, Yahoo! and bing. Properly optimizing your pages and your content will ensure you get the best results for the time that you spend and the energy that you spend. This article will show you the best practices for on-page SEO and how to properly optimize your websites.

search engines

Image source: Reliablesoft

What is On-page SEO? What does it really mean?

On-page seo, also called on-site seo, is mainly focused on improving the content in the main HTML tags of a page, in order that search engines can read it in order to interpret it.

What is the importance of on-page SEO?

You might have heard that traditional on-page seo will not affect the results of your seo efforts in 2021.

However, according to Google, in their “How Search Algorithms Work” report, factors such as keyword usage in headings are still used to determine the relevance of a website to a specific search query.

on page seo according to google

Even with Google’s recent algorithm changes, on-page SEO basics still play a large role in helping you get your website and content ranked in the search engines.

Plenty of data to prove that this is true.

Backlinko analyzed 11.8 million Google search results and found that there is a clear correlation between keyword-rich title tags and first-page rankings.

Is it true that I have not believed the research?

Search for a keyword that is competitive, and you will see that the top pages in your search have that keyword in their title tags.

It is important to note that the optimization process extends beyond just optimizing keywords and title tags. Other factors, like image optimization, seo-friendly urls, and fast page speed, also play a vital role in optimizing your on-page seo.

What is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?

Is that one of the most commonly asked questions by newcomers to SEO? It is important that you understand the difference between the two.

on page seo vs off page seo

Image source: SEO Chatter

On-page seo is all about optimizing the text, meta tags and links on your websites. It’s all about optimizing all the stuff that is on your website and that you control.

Off-page SEO focuses on optimizing external page ranking factors, which are not on your website.

A list of common off-page seo ranking factors.

  • The backlinks from other websites.
  • Social signals will help you become a better person.
  • Authority for domain names.
  • You will need to improve your local seo on sites such as Yelp, Google My Business, and other review sites.

citations off page seo

On-page optimization is a matter of focusing on factors that are “off” your website, but off-page optimization is a matter of focusing on factors that are “on” your website.

According to DigitalThirdCoast:

If you do on-page SEO, you will rank for the searches that you are ranking for, but you will rank more if you do off-page SEO.

What are the ranking factors for on-page seo and how you can improve them?

Optimize your content.

When it comes to on-page seo, we know that content is one of the most important, if not the most important, aspects of that. As you start to focus on on-page optimization, it is beneficial to start with content optimization first.

What is the meaning of content optimization?

According to Campaign Monitor, content optimization is:

“Content optimization is the process of ensuring that the content that we produce is written in a way that allows the largest possible audience to receive it.”

Use keywords when optimizing your content.

What are the best keywords to use in your content?

So, before you decide on where and how often you should use keywords, you should first do some keyword research in order to determine which keywords to use.

In terms of keyword research, the golden rule is that you should find keywords that have lots of people searching for them, but very little competition.

Then, you can also use a tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to do some keyword research before you start to optimize your on-page content.

As for SEO, according to Ahrefs, there is a huge amount of competition for the keyword ‘esports league’. So that’s the keyword that you should avoid targeting.

ahrefs esports league

You may want to target a keyword like “esports earnings”, because it’s a keyword that has low competition, and some really high search volume.

ahrefs esports earnings

So, let’s move on to the next topic – using keywords early.

Use your target keywords early.

There is a tactic that old-school SEO people used long ago. It states that you should use your target keyword once in the first 100 words of your article.

For example, we added the keyword “SEO books” in the first 100 words of our article about The 15 Best SEO Books to Master SEO in 2021:

seo books article

So one reason why Google gives more weight to the keywords that appear within the first 100 words of your content. Dropping your main keyword in the first 100 words of your content will enable Google to understand what you are writing about.

Frequency of keywords.

You probably know that you should always use the main keyword and variations of that keyword in your content.

How often should you use your target keywords in your content?

Things that you really want to avoid is “keyword stuffing” – the practice of stuffing a page with multiple keywords in an attempt to manipulate a website’s rankings.

That is, you should use your target keyword at different places in your article, and not trying to sound spammy.

There is no standardized number of times that you should use a keyword. The golden rule is that you should only use this rule in the text a few times.

Many seo professionals agree that you should only use the target keyword and its variations once per 200 words of blog copy.

You should not care about how many times you use a target keyword, but instead be concerned with how the user experience is. When it comes to SEO, it is important that you consider the user experience.

If you use a specific keyword too often in your content, that will cause it to become difficult to read and negatively affect user experience.

To combat this you can make use of a concept called “keyword clustering”. That is, keyword clustering. That is, it entails creating a group of keywords that are related to the same search intent.

So instead of using one keyword in all your content, you should also use other keywords that are similar.

When you include the keywords “running shoes”, instead of only targeting “running shoes”, “nike running shoes” and “shoes for women”, etc.

running shoes keyword cluster

The benefits of keyword clustering are numerous:

  • It is possible to rank for long-tail variations of your target keywords.
  • It is necessary to avoid excessively using one specific keyword.
  • This creates internal linking opportunities.
  • You will get more organic traffic.

Use the heading tags that are appropriate: h1, h2, etc.

Some people use headings to make their websites and blogs easier to read. They also use header tags to organize their content. They are like road signs that guide people through the content of your website, from the beginning to the end of the site.

heading tags

Image source: SkillfulSEO

Is it true that there are six different header tags, ranging from h1 down to h6?

Not only do header tags give information about what the content and/or webpage is about, but HTML header tags also create a pleasant user experience. This is why header tags separate your content into logical paragraphs, making it easier for the eyes to read.

I mean, imagine reading an entire book with no chapters. That book would become very difficult to read. You would probably stop reading after a few pages because the text was very unorganized. As for headers in a blog article, the same thing could be said for them.

You should also create content that is user-friendly, because user-friendly articles perform well on search engines.

So, what header tags should you use in your content and where should you use each of them?

Is it possible to use the h1 tag?

When people refer to the h1 tag, they refer to it as the most important tag on a webpage.

The H1 tag is usually the most visible part of any page, so it should not be used more than once for each page or blog content. Modern content management systems such as WordPress and Wix allow you to put a title for your blog posts, using the H1 tag.

H1 tags are easily identifiable on a website.

h1 tag on seoptimer website

Or you can look at the page source.

h1 tag on page source

This is the H2 tag.

The h2 tag is very useful for dividing long texts into smaller sections. Therefore, the h2 tag is very useful because it helps to create a good on-page user experience.

Say for example that you’re creating a blog article about “Best Dinner Recipes To Try Out This Summer”, you can subdivide your content into different sections like “Vegetarian Recipes”, “Chicken Recipes”, etc., using the H2 tag.

H3 and H6 header tags.

The other part of the header tag should be used to further divide the sections that you created with the h2 tags.

We will continue with the previous example, assuming that you use the h3, h4, h5 and h6 header tags, you could create sections about different recipes, that are specifically for each category.

H1: The Best Dinner Recipes for This Summer.

H2: Some Chicken Recipes.

H3: Chicken Salad (OR, Chicken Curry)

H4: Chicken Salad Recipe.

H4: Keto Chicken Salad

H3: Lemon Pepper Chicken (OR, Lemon Pepa Chicken)

H3: Greek Chicken Pasta

How often do you use heading tags in your content?

According to Yoast, a very popular SEO plugin for WordPress, you should be using headings and/or subheadings for every 300 to 350 words of text.

Make sure that your content will satisfy the requirements of your search.

We all know that the saying, “content is king.” And yes, good content can get very good rankings in the search engines. But it is crucial that you ensure that the content that you are producing meets the search intent.

How can you check the intent of your searches?

It is easy to find out the intent of a search for a keyword. All you need to do is type in the keyword that you want to target and then analyze the content that is currently ranking.

Are all the Google blog articles that appear on the first page really about products? Is it possible for Google to prioritize local business listings in the google map pack or for the search to show only blog articles?

When you scan through the SERPs, you will know what kind of content Google prefers to show to users. Therefore, the content that ranks on the first page of Google satisfy the search intent. So if that content didn’t fulfill that intent, how could it rank so well?

meta description optimization

Image source: Econsultancy

You should optimize your title and meta description tags.

It is very important that you create SEO-friendly titles and descriptions for your blog posts.

The title tag.

The HTML title tag allows webmasters to give to any webpage a title, which is what the name implies. The title tag of a website or page is usually found in the search bar or in the title bar of the browser.

title html tag in serp

title html tag in browser tab

You can also find out what title tag is being used on a website by viewing its source in the browser.

html title tag in page source

It is still relevant to include title tags, in order to improve your search rankings. Moz also states that after content, title tags are the second most important on-page SEO ranking factor.

Furthermore, Google recently announced a new system of generating titles for search engine results. These new techniques allow the results of search to be generated dynamically, based on a number of factors on-page.

We consider the main visual title or headline shown on a page, content that site owners often place within

tags, within other header tags, or which is made large and prominent through the use of style treatments.”

What is the impact of that on how you create titles for your content and web pages?

We have heard some great news from Google that you do not need to worry much about this update. Always concentrate on creating good page titles.

google on html tags

How can I create good page titles?

By using good title tags, you can improve your on-page SEO significantly. Here are a few tips to help you create the perfect page title.

Put the keywords in the title tag at the front of the page.

Using titles lets people and search engines know what your content is about. So that’s why it is very important that you invest some time in creating the perfect title for your content and web pages.

That is a common practice: You should put the target keyword as close to the beginning of your title tag as possible. You should put your targeted keyword or phrase closer to the beginning of the title, the better.

Simply look at the top search results and see that the keyword that you are targeting is often at the beginning or very near the beginning of the title.

title at the start

If even the most popular brands and sites have applied this trick, that shows that it works and that you should try to use it too.

It is important that title tags are short and easy to understand.

If your title tag is too long, the search engines will take away your page titles and insert them in the SERPs. When you are creating titles, make sure that all the people can see the title tag so that they can understand what the content is about.

It is necessary that short and simple titles are easier to read and understand. There is a good limit to the length of a title, which should be between 60 and 70 characters. Google may cut off any title longer than that.

Here are some more best practices from Google themselves on how to create good titles for on-page SEO:

  • Do not use keyword stuffing.
  • Be sure to create titles that are descriptive.
  • You are the ones who are branding your titles.
  • Do not use the same title tag more than once.

Add modifiers to title tags.

A simple way to help create good titles is to use title tag modifiers.

The types of title tag modifiers that are used are “best”, “review”, “free”, “ultimate” and “guide”. By adding title tag modifiers to your HTML, you increase the possibility that you will rank for long-tail keywords.

You can also add to your title tags a year to indicate that you are referring to them. The next example is “15 Must-Have Best Social Media Marketing Tools for 2021”.

title tag modifier

Use creative meta descriptions that are keyword-optimized.

Meta descriptions are small text that is added to the titles on the search engine results page.

The tags are placed in the source code of each page and tell search engines and readers what the page is about.

Here is a sample of the meta description for seoptimer, that can be found on the page where search engines rank results.

meta description in serp

There is a good reason that the meta description isn’t as important as the page title when it comes to improving your on-page seo rankings. Nevertheless, these short descriptions are still important for two main reasons:

  • The meta description gives the reader a short summary of what they can expect when they click on your result.
  • Meta descriptions can help you increase your organic click-through rate.

Make sure to think about your meta description like your Facebook advertisement copy. Your goal is to entice readers to click on your results.

By using descriptive meta descriptions, you can persuade people to click on your results. The meta descriptions should include your target keywords and/or variations thereof.

That does not mean that your meta description should always be loaded with your target keywords.

Instead, you should create very well-written meta descriptions for your keywords, but they should also read in a natural and non-spammy way. Remember, meta descriptions aren’t for the search engine crawlers, they are for the humans who will be reading your content.

Here are some tips on best practices for meta description.

  • Do not use duplicate meta descriptions on different pages. Your meta descriptions on each page should all be unique.
  • Write creative meta descriptions that are unique, and you will stand out from your competition.
  • Keep the meta descriptions of your blog posts to 160 characters. Google tends to automatically remove meta descriptions that are longer than 160 characters.

Image Optimization is the best way to get great results.

It is important to include images and other visual elements in your content in order that your readers remain engaged and captivated by your content.

Imagine reading a blog post that has no images.

It is important that you optimize the images that you use in your content so that they don’t slow down your website (more on that later). You should also make your site more accessible and give context and descriptions to search engines.

image alt tag

Image source: Volusion

What you can do is by using the alt tags of images. Image alt tags have three main purposes:

  • Screen readers read out loud some alt attributes in order to help visually impaired users understand what the images are that they are displayed on.
  • If an image file is unable to be displayed, the web browser will display the alt attribute in lieu of the image.
  • Alt tags describe the content of an image and enable search engines to understand it and index it.

Using alt tags can also be helpful for image SEO. It is possible to use alt attributes to include your target keywords in another part of your content.

It is forbidden to include the keywords that your target keyword is in every image alt tag in your content. When Google notices that you are stuffed with keywords, they will certainly punish you.

In order to include alt tags for an image, it is best to create alt text that describes the image and that includes the target keyword or phrase.

You should also optimize your urls for on-page SEO.

One other important part of increasing on-page seo is to create URLs that are SEO-friendly.

Everything that we already know is that having a great user experience is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Using a logical URL structure will make your website easier to navigate. As a result, your users will have a positive experience.

This is an example of a logical url structure.

www.domain.com/product/iphone

www.domain.com/blog/best-iphone-cases

Both of these examples are important for users to know where they are on the website.

You should also create urls that are easy to read, short, simple to understand, and that include the keyword that you’re targeting.

For example, the URL www.seoptimer.com/seo-crawler/ is SEO friendly because it is short, simple, and conveys what the information on that webpage is all about.

Compare that domain to www.mydomain.com/index.php?id_wcs=87570. What you see in that second domain is not a domain that is SEO-friendly at all, and it’s really hard to understand what that webpage is about.

You can also remove words containing the capital letters like for, as, in, the, and, etc., from your URLs. That way, you will make your URLs shorter and easier to remember.

Improve the page speed.

Page loading speed is a major on-page SEO ranking factor and Google has given much more weight to this metric recently.

What Google also measures is time to the first byte. That is the time it takes your browser to get that first byte of information from the server.

pagespeed insights

Image source: SpeedBoostr

According to Google, the ideal site speed is anything under 3 seconds.

Google not only likes websites that load quickly, but websites that load quickly also tend to do a much better job of creating a great user experience. Long loading times and higher bounce rates on pages that have a long loading time mean that more people will spend more time on those pages.

So then, how can you increase the speed of your webpages and make them load faster?

So, move to a host that is faster.

When starting out, most people opt for the cheap web hosting. When it comes to page seeding, choosing cheaper hosting providers and packages is not always the best choice.

According to 5.2 million websites that Backlinko has analysed, webmasters can help their sites load faster by moving to a faster hosting provider.

Compress and reduce the size of HTML, CSS, and Javascript files.

When you reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files, you can also reduce the size of your pages. As long as your files are smaller, the faster your pages will load.

You may think that compressing web files is a difficult task, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to reduce the time that webpage loads.

You can use a tool like GNU Gzip to compress the size of your website files.

If you need to minify your files, you need to remove unnecessary spaces, commas and characters from your website’s code. If you reduce the amount of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, it can significantly improve your page loading speed.

Compress the images files.

When large images are used, they can negatively impact page speed. So, if you want to get the best result, you should make sure that the images are not larger than they should be, and that the images are in the right format. It is considered that pngs are better for graphics, and jpgs are better for photos.

image optimization

Image source: Reviews On Top

I would also caution that you shouldn’t use gzip to zip images. Instead, you should compress image files using an image compression tool such as TinyPNG or CompressPNG.

Be sure to take advantage of browser caching.

By using browser caching, you are saving web pages in temporary storage.

When the first person visits your website, the web browser must load all the files, including the stylesheets, the HTML, the images and the Javascript, before accessing the page. It is possible to store all the files on your website in a cache.

When the same person comes back to your site and views it a second time, only a few of the website files must be loaded.

You must use the CDN.

CDNs are a good choice for websites that have many visitors per day. A DNS server enables you to store your web files on a global network of servers. When users try to access your website, the CDN routes the request to the server that is closest to that person.

That information that you receive from the server is exactly the same as what you received from the source server. It just loads much faster than if the browser requests to access a website on a server that is geographically far away.

cdn

If you want to use a CDN, a popular option is Cloudflare.

Internal linking to different systems.

What is meant by internal linking?

A technique called internal linking involves creating links from one page on your website to another page on your website.

internal linking

Image source: Kevin Indig

If you create internal links, you can help Google find, index and understand all the pages on your website. The more links that someone posts to a page or a blog post, the more Google will consider that page or blog post to be important.

Internal linking allows your visitors to find other content, other pages on your website, etc.

Best practices in internal linking.

Always use keyword-rich anchor text.

An anchor text is the text that is clickable in your content. Those text links help Google and other readers understand what the page that you’re linking to is about. Do not use the same anchor text throughout your content, this is called keyword stuffing, and it will mean that Google will penalize your site.

Add internal links to the top of your page, in order to improve on-page SEO.

By adding internal links to your pages, you will increase the time that your readers stay on your site. By doing this, you will give your readers something to click on as soon as they land on your page. It is very important for SEO, because Google keeps track of how much time readers spend on your site and how much content they read. When Google notices that people are “dwelling” on your content, it might cause your ranking to move up a few places.

Links from high authority articles to articles that need to get more traffic.

You can do that by finding the best content on your blog that ranks well. Then you should also link to the article(s) that you would like to boost within the high-authority content.

Three Myths About On-Page SEO.

Google’s ranking algorithm has changed so dramatically over the years that SEO is a game that never ends.

Some common myths that are commonly used for on-page SEO are true, but in today’s search environment, they no longer work.

seo myths

Image source: BeaconCom

Using excessive keywords is one of the keys to achieving good seo.

The days of bombarding a page with the keywords that you want to target are over. Sometime in the past you might have been able to stuff a page with your target keyword and get away with it by appearing on the first page of the search results.

But Google has become a lot smarter over the years, and they now penalize websites that use keyword stuffing to fill in their fields.

So instead, Google rewards sites that answer the questions that searchers ask in a way that is more natural.

Your keywords must match exactly.

A very long time ago, webmasters were required to use exact match keywords in their content, headings, and titles on their websites, in order to rank for certain keywords. That was before Google had a good understanding of semantic search.

After the Hummingbird update in 2013, Google was able to do a much better job at matching search queries to more relevant results. The new Hummingbird version enabled Google to understand the search context and intent.

google hummingbird update

Image source: Search GNext

In 2015, Google introduced Rankbrain, an element of Google’s core algorithm that uses machine learning to match search queries to relevant results. By using machine learning, Google can determine whether someone truly wants something. This is because rankbrain enables Google to deliver even more accurate results than with the Hummingbird update.

It is now possible for content creators and webmasters to make use of keyword variations, synonyms, stop words, and long-tail keywords, and they will not have to worry about missing out on traffic.

H1 is one of the most important elements on a page for SEO.

H1 tags are important, but they are not the most important element on your website or in the content that you create.

h1 tag

The h1 tag is more important for enabling good overall user experience than it is for improving seo rankings.

So what is the most important part of a page? According to the Moz search ranking factors survey, title tags, also known as heading tags, are listed as the second most important ranking factor.

You must consider that the on-page content is the most important ranking factor.

Content that fulfills the searcher’s needs is very important to the search engine, because that is what solves the problem of the searcher.

Good quality content is far more beneficial for search engine rankings than h1 tags. Therefore, you must focus on creating content that is easily accessible and that meets the search demand.

Backlinks are not a factor in on-page SEO, but content is. This is the question that you may ask.

If I had to choose between working on backlinks or content, which one do I pick? Which one of them will be most beneficial for me in my search rankings?

The answer is simple: Contentment.

content is king

It is so that your content can cause other websites to have a reason to link back to you. If you do not have good content, why would other websites want to link back to your site?

So, if you focus on building tons of links, but you have no good quality content, nobody will expect other people to link back to you.

Remember that good content is the king of things.

Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, writes the following:

The content and the value have to be there first.”

Another reason why content is more important than backlinks is that content lets the user understand exactly what the page is about. Even the backlinks give only a small hint of what the content of the page is.

Https is not very important.

Google most definitely uses HTTPS as a ranking signal.

https

Image source: GlobalSign

It is Google’s goal to make the user experience pleasant. When you see a site that seems unsafe, that can affect your overall user experience. When I look at all this, it is understandable that Google prefers websites that are secure, trustworthy and certified.

So just by looking at the first page of Google, you will see that all of the links on the first page of Google have https enabled.

It should also serve as a clear indication that https cannot be ignored anymore as a ranking factor.

Now that you understand some of the common on-page SEO myths, let’s look at some ways to improve your on-page SEO.

Seoptimer offers seo on-page checklist.

You can download our free on-page SEO checklist that will help you increase the organic ranking in the search results.

On Page SEO Checklist Download Image

If you’d like to automatically analyze all of the above-mentioned on-page SEO factors, try our SEO audit and reporting tool.

seoptimer above the fold

You can use our tool to check that all your keywords are consistent, you have title tags, image alt tags, and all the other on-page seo factors mentioned in this article.

seoptimer on page title check

seoptimer keyword consistency checker

seoptimer meta tag checker

Conclusion

It is very important that you optimize your on-page SEO if you want to rank high in the search engines.

By implementing these On-Page SEO tactics in conjunction with off-Site SEO techniques such as link-building and guest blogging, you can greatly improve your rankings in search engines.

We hope that you found this on-page seo guide helpful and informative. What one of these strategies are you using to implement on your site?