What is On-Page SEO? (A Simple Guide)

What Is On Page Seo 09112023
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A website page ranking at the top of Google is not pure luck. It’s down to search engine optimization (SEO). And while SEO is multifaceted, it’s the on-page SEO that has the biggest impact on your website’s visibility and relevance to search engines.

So, we made this simple guide for you to learn about on-page SEO. In it, you’ll find tips to make your content more visible on Google. Plus, you’ll learn how to do on-page SEO that really works.

On-Page SEO Definition

On-page SEO (sometimes called on-site SEO) is the practice of optimizing individual web pages to improve their visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). This involves optimizing various on-page elements such as content, meta tags, headings, and URLs to make the page more relevant and accessible to both search engines and users.

Why Getting On-Page SEO Right is Important

On-page SEO is crucial for businesses seeking organic traffic on Google. It directly impacts your website’s visibility in search engine results, influencing click-through rates.

Here are a few other reasons why:

  • Relevance: On-page SEO helps align your content with search intent, ensuring that users find precisely what they’re looking for on your site.
  • Credibility: Google rewards well-structured and authoritative content, enhancing your brand’s credibility in the eyes of users.
  • Competitive Edge: Outranking competitors in search results can lead to increased market share and better business performance.

Difference between On-Page vs. Technical vs. Off-Page SEO

Now that we’ve talked about what on-page SEO means, let’s take a different perspective and see how it fits into the larger picture of a complete SEO strategy.

For this purpose, we need to introduce two other SEO types: technical SEO and off-page SEO. Take a look at how they fare against each other.

AspectOn-Page SEOTechnical SEOOff-Page SEO
FocusContent and website optimizationWebsite structure and performanceExternal factors and backlinks
Main GoalsImprove content quality and relevance, optimize meta tags, headings, and keywordsEnhance website speed, crawlability, and indexability, fix technical issuesBuild high-quality backlinks, increase website authority, and online reputation
ExamplesKeyword optimization, content quality improvement, meta tag optimizationXML sitemap creation, robots.txt file management, HTTPS implementationLink building, social media sharing, online PR, influencer outreach
Key ElementsContent, meta tags, headings, images, URL structureSite speed, mobile-friendliness, XML sitemapGuest posting, social media shares, online reviews
Tools & MethodsKeyword research tools, content audits, SEO pluginsCrawling tools, performance analysis tools, code optimizationBacklink analysis tools, outreach tools, social media management platforms

In short, on-page SEO focuses on content and user experience, technical SEO addresses website infrastructure, and off-page SEO deals with external factors like backlinks and reputation.

10 Essential On-Page SEO Factors

On-page SEO focuses on optimizing a range of different elements. Here’s a list of the 10 most important on-page SEO factors for fast and targeted impact:

  1. Content Quality;
  2. Keywords;
  3. Title Tag;
  4. Meta Description;
  5. URL;
  6. Headings and Subheadings;
  7. Image Optimization;
  8. Internal Links;
  9. Schema Markup;
  10. Keyword Cannibalization.

Let’s now dive in to see how you should optimize each of these elements.

How Do You Do On-Page SEO Step by Step? (+ Examples)

1. Create Unique Content

Before you even think about any SEO technicalities, start by creating quality content. Quality, human-focused content is one of Google’s ranking factors. You need to ensure your content meets Google’s E-E-A-T framework, which we’ve already discussed in our guide on how to optimize blog posts for traffic.

But, in short, good content is:

  • Based on first-hand experience where possible;
  • Unique;
  • Relevant;
  • Valuable;
  • Linkable.

When creating content for your landing page or product pages, always think about the searcher’s intent. Knowing what users are searching for and adjusting your content to meet their needs is a key part of creating relevant content and improving your search engine rankings.

2. Find and Place Keywords Strategically

Quality content without keywords is not going to cut it.

Keywords are important as they signal to Google (and other search engines) the relevance and context of your content, helping your landing page rank higher in search results and ultimately driving organic traffic to your website.

To find relevant SEO keywords for your business, use one of the SEO tools. For instance, SEMRush offers the Keyword Magic Tool, which assists you in identifying the most effective keywords for your business.

Need a practical example? Here it is.

Let’s say you’re selling social media scheduling software. Enter “social media scheduling software” into the search bar to begin exploring relevant keywords.

Source: Ahrefs

Then, go over the list to identify keywords that you can target. Focus on keywords that have a high search volume but low competition (a low keyword difficulty score). Such keywords are easier to rank for.

Source: SEMRush

Now that you’ve identified your keywords, begin incorporating them into your copy. Most importantly, ensure that you place them strategically, such as in the H1, the first paragraph, headings, and subheadings.

3. Optimize Your Title Tags

A title tag is an HTML element used to define the title of a web page and is displayed in the browser’s title bar or SERPs, serving as a brief and descriptive identifier for the page’s content.

For instance, here is how a title tag appears on Google’s SERPs for accounting software designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Source: Google

The optimal title tag should be:

  • Below 60 characters;
  • Contain a focus keyword;
  • Unique.

Pro Tip: Use only one H1 title tag per page to avoid confusing search engines.

4. Write Click-Worthy Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are essential for attracting clicks to your website or content in search engine results pages. They should be concise, and engaging, and provide a clear preview of what users can expect.

Plus, they should include your focus keyword and be between 155 and 160 characters to avoid truncation. Just like this one below.

Source: Google

Recommendation: Use ChatGPT to brainstorm some meta descriptions and take it from there.

Source: ChatGPT

5. Use Simple URLs

A clean, descriptive, and user-friendly URL structure can enhance both user experience and SEO, as it helps search engines understand the content and purpose of your pages.

Using a focus keyword in your URL is also recommended as this way Google can better understand what your web page is about.

Here are examples of good URLs:

  • https://salteqmarketing.com/blog/
  • https://salteqmarketing.com/services/on-page-seo/

Here are examples of bad, the so-called “cryptic” URLs:

  • https://salteqmarketing.com/p?165
  • https://salteqmarketing.com/123131/publish/data2/onpageseo_tips

Pro Tip: Create URLs that mimic the actual structure of your website.

6. Structure Your Pages with Headings and Subheadings

Properly formatted headings and subheadings not only make your content more readable but also help search engines comprehend the hierarchy and structure of your page’s content.

Start with one H1 tag per page, followed by H2 and H3 headings that should be:

  • Engaging and helpful for readers who skim text (don’t just use one word);
  • Organized in a hierarchical order, starting with <h1>, followed by <h2>, <h3>, and so on.
  • Include relevant keywords where appropriate.

Source: Gain

7. Optimize Your Images

Another on-page SEO tactic is image optimization. Did you know that images can rank on Google by themselves? In fact, images account for 22.6% of all internet searches. Thus, it’s worthwhile to get them right.

A good place to start is by using descriptive file names. Instead of image123.jpg, use office-printer.jpg. The more specific the better.

Then, use descriptive alternative (alt) text. Google relies on alt text to grasp the content of images. But, most importantly, alt text helps visually impaired readers transform web content, including images, into auditory information.

The best practices for image alt tags are:

  • Under 125 characters;
  • Specific;
  • Descriptive;
  • Don’t start with the “image of.”

Take a look at this example of a good alt text.

Source: WordPress

8. Don’t Forget Internal Linking

Proper internal linking helps search engines discover and index your content more easily. Linking pages with one another internally is a high-impact SEO optimization. But don’t just link to any page within your website.

Think about the internal link’s:

  • Relevance to user experience and search engines;
  • Authoritativeness;
  • Semantic relation.

Pro Tip: Create a descriptive anchor text that includes a keyword or a closely related phrase. Avoid using abstract descriptions like “learn more” or “click here to discover more.”

Advanced On-Page SEO Tactics

To take your on-page SEO a step further, consider implementing some advanced tactics.

1. Add Schema Markup to Your Website

Schema markup sounds rather sophisticated, but in layman’s terms, it’s code that provides structured information to search engines.

This code enables search engines to display rich snippets in search results. The benefit for you? Potentially more clicks on your content and enhanced page visibility.

Ahrefs has a helpful guide on schema markups, explaining what they are and how to implement them.

2. Avoid Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization is a common on-page SEO issue.

It’s when multiple pages on a website target the same or similar keywords, causing them to compete against each other in search engine rankings, potentially reducing overall visibility and traffic for those keywords.

To avoid this issue, you need a targeted keyword strategy. This essentially means optimizing pages to target different keywords and search queries. Plus, you might need to use canonical tags to tell search engines which page is “the main” version.

On-Page SEO Checklist

We’ve also summed up the key steps in a handy checklist. Start auditing each page on your website and work on those on-page elements that need optimization.

How Long Does it Take for On-Page SEO to Work?

There isn’t a definite answer, but according to a study by Ahrefs45.6% of those surveyed argued that it typically took them 3-6 months to begin noticing results. Meanwhile, 21.1% of respondents stated that they saw their initial results between 6 and 9 months.

Source: Ahrefs

Do I need SEO on Every Page?

Yes and no. According to the Search Engine Journal, if the page on your website is relevant to the visitor, it’s relevant to SEO.

That said, you must strategically prioritize pages that are critical to your business. These are:

  • Landing page;
  • Product pages;
  • Blog posts.

In simple terms, focus on optimizing the pages that matter most to your business and the ones you want people to easily find online.

Is On-Page SEO Enough for Improving Rankings?

On-page SEO optimization is indeed key to boosting your website’s rankings. However, you need a comprehensive SEO strategy that encompasses technical SEO, off-page efforts like link building, and user experience enhancements to achieve substantial ranking improvements.

Conclusion: Get Your On-Page SEO On-Point

Google’s algorithms change several times throughout the year. What proves effective today may not yield the same results next month. To maintain a high-ranking position on Google, it’s crucial to nail your on-page SEO game.

With our guide, you can start implementing on-page SEO improvements right away. But if executing the strategy is the part you struggle with, you might want to call in the professionals. At Salteq, we can help you win top positions on Google with data-backed on-page SEO services.

Book Your Free SEO Consultation