On-Page SEO Techniques to Improve Your Rankings
On-page SEO is one of the most important processes for improving your organic search engine rankings and running successful SEO campaigns.
The focal point of all SEO processes is a website, and if it is not properly optimized for both search engines and users, you reduce your chances of receiving traffic from search engines.
This post will teach you everything you need to know about on-page SEO. Follow these guidelines each time you publish a new post to boost your search engine rankings.
- What exactly is On-Page SEO?
- Techniques for On-Page SEO
- Checklist for On-Page SEO
- Is it true that on-page SEO is more important than off-page SEO?
What exactly is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO (also known as ‘on-site SEO’) is the process of optimizing a webpage’s content for search engines. The ultimate goal of on-page SEO is to help search engine crawlers understand the meaning and context of your pages by speaking the “search engines’ language.”
What is the significance of on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is important because it sends signals to search engines that help them understand what your content is about.
Search engines attempt to associate web pages with keywords and search terms entered into the search box during the indexing and ranking processes.
You can direct them to which keywords you want your pages to rank by using on-page SEO elements.
Furthermore, it is referred to as ‘on-page’ optimization because any changes made to a webpage contribute to a better user experience.
SEO on-site is a subset of SEO. Examine the diagram below to see how On-Page SEO intersects with Technical SEO and Off-Page SEO.
SEO and On-Page SEO
To achieve the best results, all three processes must collaborate, but the primary function of on-site SEO is to optimize the content and structure of a specific page.
What exactly is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is a broad term that refers to everything you must do to improve your website’s ranking positions in the major search engines.
This includes preparing your website for crawling and indexing (technical SEO). On-page SEO refers to optimization settings that can be applied to your pages and content, whereas off-page SEO refers to techniques that can be used outside of the website.
What exactly is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO is concerned with link building and other signals that you can send to search engines to persuade them of the quality and usefulness of your website.
It has to do with methods of promotion outside of your website.
It is strongly advised that you watch the on-page SEO video for a thorough understanding of what on-page SEO is and how it can help you improve your search engine rankings.
11 On-Page SEO Techniques to Improve Your Rankings
Now that we’ve established the theory behind SEO and the significance of on-page SEO, let’s get down to business.
Some may argue that there are more on-page SEO techniques than 11, but these are the most important that you can implement on your website today to quickly improve your SEO.
Techniques for On-Page SEO
The following is a list of all on-page SEO techniques:
- Produce high-quality content.
- Improve the page titles and meta descriptions.
- Page content should be optimized.
- Content formatting and headings
- SEO Images and other forms of multimedia
- URL enhancement
- Internal hyperlinks
- External hyperlinks
- Page loading time
- On-page SEO and comments
Produce High-Quality Content
When dealing with SEO, keep the following in mind at all times:
A website with excellent content can perform admirably with or without SEO. A website with poor content will not survive, SEO or not. SEO can help a website with good content to become even better!
So, what constitutes good content? The following characteristics are found in high-quality content:
Original content (articles, text, images, videos, presentations, infographics, comments, and so on) – No plagiarized or rewritten articles.
Content that is unique to your website – Even if it is your own content, if it has already been published on another website, it is not suitable for your site (unless you specify the canonical tag correctly).
Content containing text elements – Create text to go with your non-text content. If you post videos on your website, try to include a text description as well. If you include images, try to describe the image in words.
Useful information – Don’t just publish for the sake of publishing. Make sure that what goes live adds value to your website and readers before hitting the publish button.
Well-researched content – Neither users nor search engines want to read hastily prepared posts. Long articles have been shown to rank higher than short articles.
Unbiased content – When writing about a specific topic or responding to a question, make sure that what you write is justified and covers both sides of a story.
Content that meets search intent – Aside from the aforementioned characteristics, you must ensure that your content meets the search intent. Before you publish any type of content on your website, you must first understand what type of content users want to see for a specific search query.
In general, search intent can be divided into four categories:
- Educative – “How many calories are in an egg?”
- ‘Facebook’ is used for navigation.
- ‘Buy coffee maker’ is a transactional phrase.
- ‘Best SEO Courses’ commercial
The simplest way to determine what type of content to create is to use Google, which has already done an excellent job of understanding what users prefer for various searches.
So, the first step is to search for your target keywords on Google. Navigate through the top ten results and carefully examine them. Take note of the following:
- The kind of content
- The level of specificity
- How they make use of images and video
- Page layout
Your goal is to use this data to create better content. Better in this context means a variety of things, including:
- more comprehensive and informative
- Less difficult to read
- Presenting a different perspective on the subject that is not already covered by existing content.
Failure to produce content that meets the search intent will eventually result in lower rankings. Even if you do manage to rank high on Google, it will only be temporary because Google uses various signals to determine whether or not users are satisfied with the websites displayed at the top of the results.
So, before you even consider on-page SEO, make sure the content you create is what a Google searcher is looking for.
Optimize Meta descriptions and page titles
This is SEO 101, but it is critical for on-page SEO. When search engines ‘read’ your pages, they look at the page title and description, among other things.
They do so because they need to understand what the page is about before ranking your page (for various keywords) in their index based on other factors (off-page SEO, domain authority, competition, and so on).
The page title appears in Google Search Results.
Each page must have a distinct title that both search engines and users can use to understand what the page is about.
A page titled “SEO Tips for Beginners” is preferable to one titled “index.html.”
One of the most important on-page SEO factors is the page title.
The following are the most important page title optimization tips:
Include keywords at the start of your page titles. – When possible, start your page title with your target keywords. This allows search engines to understand what keywords the page is targeting from the start.
That doesn’t mean you should go overboard and start keyword stuffing. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t have a keyword at the start. Simply ensure that your target keyword is included in the title.
Create titles that are brief and descriptive – A page title does not have to be lengthy. The general recommendation is to keep it under 60 characters because this is the average number of characters shown by Google in search results.
Include numbers and key phrases – Titles with numbers and power words like “ultimate, actionable, amazing, checklist, etc.” are more interesting and have a higher CTR (Click Through Rate).
There is no need to include your domain name in the title – There is no need to include your domain name in the title because Google will do so automatically. You can use the 60 characters available to provide an accurate description of the page.
When you have a strong brand that people can easily recognize, you can consider including your domain in the title.
Meta descriptions have been improved. Example of a Meta Description
The description of the page appears on the search engine results page (SERPS). It must be descriptive, no more than 200 characters long, and unique to each page.
It’s your chance to promote your page and persuade users to click your link and visit your website rather than one of the other options.
It should be noted that Google does not always display the custom meta description, but instead frequently uses an automated description if they believe it will be more useful to the searcher.
The following are the most important meta-description optimization tips:
Avoid using automated descriptions – Even if Google does not use your description, it is always a good idea to avoid using auto-generated descriptions, which can be confusing.
Include your target keyword(s) in the description – Because Google still highlights search terms in both the title and the description, including your target keywords in the description makes descriptions more relevant and appealing to the searcher.
Optimize Page Content
Content SEO is a subset of on-page SEO that focuses on optimizing the actual content for your target keywords.
The first step before publishing any type of content (text, images, audio, or video) is to conduct keyword research. This is required to determine what search terms users are entering into the search box and to create content that will satisfy their intent.
Once you’ve determined your target keywords, make a list of related keywords (also known as LSI keywords) and longtail keywords to use in your titles, descriptions, headings, and page content.
Why? Because, since the introduction of Rank Brain, Google search algorithms have become more intelligent, and they are now looking for topic relevancy in addition to keyword relevancy in content.
This means that you should include LSI keywords in your content to make it more relevant to broad topics. There are several methods for determining which keywords Google considers to be relevant to your target keywords.
The simplest and quickest method is to use three Google features: Google Suggestions, People Also Ask for, and Related Searches.
When you begin typing a query in Google search, you are given a list of possible phrases to use in your search. These are excellent keyword candidates to include in your content.
Keyword Suggestion Tool from Google
People also inquire
When you click search, Google displays the results, including a section called “People also ask.” These are excellent choices for subheadings.
Example of ‘People Also Ask’ Related Searches on Google
Google displays a list of related searches at the bottom of the search results.
All you have to do is include some of the words listed above in your content (without doing keyword stuffing).
Formatting Headings and Content
A page must be formatted correctly. Consider it like a report with a heading (h1) and subheadings (h2, h3).
The H1 Label
Each page should only have one H1 tag. When you use WordPress, the title of a page is automatically wrapped in H1 tags.
You can either use the same title> and h1> tags or provide a different title for the heading.
Remember that search engines display what they find in the title tag, not the h1 tag, in their results.
The following are the things to keep in mind when it comes to the other headings (h2, h3):
- Avoid using a single word as a heading, but make your headings interesting and useful for readers who like to skim an article.
- Use headings in a hierarchical fashion, with the first heading tag being h1>, followed by h2>, h3>, h4>, and so on.
- Subheadings are an excellent place to include related keywords in your content.
Don’t just slap text on a page; make sure it’s readable.
- To emphasize important parts of a page, use bold, underline, or italics.
- Use a large font size (at least 14px).
- Break up the text into small paragraphs (max 3-4 lines).
- Allow sufficient space between paragraphs to make the text easier to read.
- Use CSS to make sections stand out and to divide the text into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Other Multimedia Elements and Images
Images are essential for presentations. They make a page more interesting and understandable.
The main issues with images are that search engines don’t understand them and that they slow down page loading times.
Best practices for image SEO optimization
- Make use of original images. If you need to use an existing image from the internet, you must cite the source.
- Optimize the image size – the smaller the image size (in bytes), the better.
- Use an ALT tag to describe the image – This assists search engines in determining what the image is about.
- Use descriptive filenames – Instead of simply naming your image ‘image1.jpg,’ try using descriptive filenames such as’man-doing-push-ups.jpg.’
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) – If you have a lot of images on a single page, a CDN service can help your page load faster. Simply put, your images will be hosted and served by multiple servers, which will speed up the loading process.
It is critical to optimize your URLs for maximum SEO. It is divided into two parts. The first component is URL optimization, and the second component is URL structure.
URLs should be less than 255 characters long and use hyphens to separate the various parts.
An SEO-friendly URL, like the page title, is short, descriptive, and includes your target keyword.
Here are some good URL examples:
Here are some examples of poor URLs:
- https://www.reliablesoft.net/p?165 or
- https://www.reliablesoft.net/seotipsforbeginners/ or
Best practices for URL structure optimization
The URL structure should be similar to the structure of a website.
Utilize categories – Sort your pages into categories to help users and search engines find what they’re looking for more quickly.
It’s the difference between having a warehouse with a lot of uncategorized items and a warehouse with all of the items assigned to a specific category.
You can have sub-categories as well, but I recommend not going beyond two levels. A good category structure, for example, is:
Homepage > Facebook > Article
Home > Social Media > Facebook > Help > Article
Include a Breadcrumb menu- A breadcrumb allows users to navigate your website in a structured manner because they always know where they are and how far they are from the home page.
Linking to pages within your website is very important for SEO because:
It’s like building your own web
The first step a search engine spider will do once they discover a page, is to follow the links they find on that page (both internal and external links).
So, when they arrive at your page, if you don’t have any other links within the text they will read your page and go.
If you have links pointing to other pages within your website they will take those into account as well.
It’s a way to let search engines know about your other pages
As explained above when search engines find a page with links, they will go and read those pages too, so you can use this technique to tell search engines about pages of your website they have not yet discovered.
It’s a way to tell search engines which your most important pages are
Every website has some pages that are more important than others. Internal linking is one of the ways to pinpoint the most important pages by sending them more internal links.
It’s a way to increase the time users spend on your site
A user that is reading your post is more likely to click on a link to read more about a certain topic and thus increase both the time spend on your website, and the number of pages per visit, and decrease the bounce rate.
Best practices for internal linking:
- Don’t use keywords only for your internal links
- Add internal links when they are useful for your reader
- No more than 15 internal links per page (this is my opinion and not based on any research or studies)
- When possible, add the links in the main body of your webpage (not in the footer or sidebar)
An external link is a link pointing to a page outside your website i.e. on a different domain. For the website that links out, it’s an external link and for the website that receives the link, it’s a backlink.
We know that backlinks are important for SEO but what about external links?
External links to related pages help Google figure out your page’s topic. It also shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info.
Adding external links to your content will not directly help you with SEO, it’s not a ranking factor but it can help you indirectly.
You can use external links to link out to other websites and then email them and let them know about it. Webmasters will be pleased to know that you have linked to them and this is a great way to start a conversation. You can gradually build on this relationship and eventually get backlinks to your website as many webmasters will be more likely to return the favor.
Let’s quickly review the best practices to follow when adding external links to your content.
- Link out only when it provides value to the reader.
- Link only to websites you trust.
- Link only to related websites that have unique and original content
- Use the ‘no follow‘ tag for external links going out to websites you don’t fully trust.
Page Loading Speed
Google is investing a huge amount of money to make the web faster. In every Google, I/O someone will talk about the importance of speed and their desire to include the fastest websites in their index.
In order to ‘force’ website owners to take speed into account, they have officially added speed as one of the known ranking factors.
So, we know for sure that website speed does matter when it comes to SEO and ranking.
As a webmaster, your job is to make sure that your website loads as fast as possible by taking into account Google’s recommendations. Having fast-loading websites is not only good for SEO but for customer retention and conversions.
Optimize your website for mobile
Almost 60% of the searches in Google are now coming from mobile devices. This means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, you are already losing half of the potential traffic.
What should you do?
As a first step, make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Check your website with the Google mobile-friendly tool and fix any potential problems.
Then go one step further and test your website on mobile, like a real user would do, and make sure that everything is displayed correctly including your CTA buttons.
In general websites with a responsive design, have nothing to worry about mobile-friendliness.
Comments and On-Page SEO
Many people believe that with the rise of social media blog comments are no longer important, but they are wrong.
Blog comments are still important. As stated by Google’s Gary Illyes, it’s an indication that people like your content and interact with the page and this can really boost your SEO.
Comments and SEO
Users before posting a new comment will most probably read the existing comments and this is an additional way to increase the time they spend on the page and your website.
To make the best use of comments, follow these simple rules:
- Always moderate comments before publishing
- Avoid publishing comments that are too general
- Only approve comments that are relevant to the page content and add value
- Don’t approve comments when users don’t use a real name
- Always reply to comments, this will encourage more people to comment.
On-Page SEO Checklist
- If you have read the article up to this point, the main tips are summarized in the checklist below.
- Make sure that you understand the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
- Make sure that your content is original, useful, and well-researched.
- Review and optimize your page titles by adding keywords, power words, and numbers.
- Provide a unique meta description for all your pages (include your target keywords).
- Perform keyword research and make sure that your target keywords are part of the title and content.
- Find LSI and related keywords and use them in your headings and content.
- Make sure that your page has only one H1 tag.
- Use headings hierarchically on the page (H1 -> H2 -> H3).
- Beautify your content (use bold, italics, and CSS).
- Optimize your images and other multimedia elements (ALT Text is the most important factor for images).
- Make sure your URLs are SEO Friendly and that your URL Structure mimics your site structure.
- Add internal links to your content.
- Add outbound links to your content (link out to high-quality related websites).
- Make sure that your website loads in less than 3 seconds (both desktop and mobile).
- Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Encourage comments but only publish comments that make sense.
Is On-page SEO More Important than Off-Page SEO?
To achieve maximum exposure in the search engines and keep your users happy you need both off-page SEO and on-page SEO.
On-page SEO is more important (at least for new websites), and I will explain below why.
‘Speak’ is the search engines language
It makes more sense to start with on-page SEO and get it right rather than trying to convince search engines to give you better rankings with off-page SEO.
Search engines are computer programs (software) and they don’t ‘see’ a website like a normal user, but they can only understand code and in particular the HTML language.
With SEO and especially on-page SEO, you ‘speak’ their language. Your goal is to help them understand, by giving them various signals through the structure of a page and content optimization, what a page is all about.
The more signals you can give them, the greater your chances of achieving better rankings.
On-Page SEO is about the user as well
Never forget that your primary goal is to keep your users happy.
Off-Page SEO may bring traffic to the website but if it is not set up correctly or if it is not user-friendly, the results will be disappointing.
Many websites get it wrong
It’s amazing but it is true that the majority of websites today are not optimized for search engines.
Despite the plethora of information about SEO, many website owners believe that it does not worth trying SEO and they quit before starting.
For those cases, on-page SEO has a lot to offer both in terms of usability and also in terms of traffic.
On-Page SEO is sometimes all you need
If you are running a website for a small business and you need to get local customers searching for various terms on Google then on-page SEO is all you might need to do.
Off-page SEO comes after On-Page SEO
Before even starting to think about how you can promote your website, you need to ensure that it is optimized and in good condition.
So, the first step is to work with on-site SEO and then go off-site.