On-page SEO is a prominent Google ranking factor in the SEO world. Having strong on-page SEO strategies can help you outrank the competition and steal all the clicks on search results.
But to do that, you need to master this game, and before mastering it, you need to learn about it.
This post is developed to make on-page SEO clear to you, along with some beginner-to-pro tactics you can use to enhance your rankings.
What Is On-page SEO?
On-page SEO (also called On-site SEO) refers to using best practices on your web page itself to optimize it for search engines. On-page SEO involves content optimization, using internal links, title tags, image optimization, and more. And since all of these activities happen on your page only, it is called on-page SEO.
It is one of the three SEO tactics that is used for search engine optimization. The other two are off-page SEO and technical SEO:
- Off-page SEO: Off-page SEO involves the practices you use externally to optimize your website or web pages.
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO deals with making your website or pages search engine-friendly using codes and other stuff like improving page loading speed, removing cluttered scripts, etc.
Though all three factors are critical to securing a good position on the search engines, on-page SEO becomes more critical. It is something that has the most potential to make or break your search rankings. Let’s see why on-page SEO important.
The Importance Of On-Page SEO
Google keeps upgrading itself with time to provide the most ideal results for queries on other search engines. This increased the competition for ranking on top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). How? Because the higher your particular page ranks in Google rankings, the more traffic (and possibly revenue) you’ll reap.
Google judges your pages only on-page SEO factors on the basis of the experience users are having on your pages. And on-page SEO is the art of optimizing your pages for the best user experience. So, the better your on-site SEO is, the higher your chances are to rank on top of SERPs.
This way, you will optimize your pages for both users and search engines and ensure they bring the best possible results.
On-Page SEO Basics
There are two basic on-page SEO factors at the core of this concept. Let’s head to them and learn what they are to understand on-site SEO better:
High-Quality Content And Google’s E-A-T
Gone are the days when creating high-quality content was a win-win. To make Google love your content, you need to follow these rules:
While writing your content, you need to ensure your content is well-prepared, free of errors and provides real value to your readers.
Google wants to know that you’re a credible source of information. This is where E-A-T comes in.
- Expertise: Just like you trust a doctor to give you health advice, Google wants to see that you know your stuff. So, if you’re writing about health, having a medical expert on your team or citing reliable health sources makes Google happy.
- Authoritativeness: Think of this as your go-to restaurant for a specific cuisine. If others (websites, experts, or users) trust your information and link to your content, Google sees you as authoritative. It’s like having food critics praise your restaurant in newspapers.
- Trustworthiness: Like the way you trust a website with a clean interface, Google wants to see that your site is trustworthy. Avoid spreading false information, use secure website practices, and protect user data.
You may think, “Why does Google care if I have an expert on my team or not?” or simply, “How would Google know if you’ve expertise on the topic?” There are various metrics Google analyzes to judge the quality of your content.
If you don’t have expertise, the user behavior on your pages will signal the search engine about the poor experience, and you’ll lose your rankings.
Satisfying Search Intent
People come to Google with their confusions and questions. Its job is to provide them with the perfect answer written on your web front page content. But to ensure the reader stays on your front page content, you need to satisfy the search intent in your web page content first.
A few tips to do this are:
- Understand Search Intent: When someone types a question into Google, they have a specific goal in mind. It could be to learn something, buy something, or get entertained. Your content should match that intent. If someone searches for “hiking boots,” they want recommendations and reviews, not “5 ways to take care of hiking boots,” so the page title also plays a role here.
- Provide Relevant Information: It’s like giving the people the exact chapter in the book that answers their questions. If you’re writing about travel destinations, make sure each page focuses on a specific place, like “Top things to do in Paris.” This way, when someone searches for Paris, they find precisely what they’re looking for.
- Clear And Easy To Use: Just like a well-organized clothing store, your website should be easy to navigate. Use clear headings, subheadings, and a logical and hierarchical structure. Make it a breeze for visitors to find the information they seek. Also, a lot depends upon your site speed. Most website visitors leave if the site speed is too slow. Optimizing your site speed is another way to make your website a user-friendly destination.
Search intent has become the talk of the town lately. If you want visitors to scroll your page to the bottom, engage with your content, and even convert, satisfying search engines is the key.
How To Do On-Page SEO?
Let’s get to the crux of this post and talk about the on-page SEO process to boost your search engine rankings.
Do Your Keyword Research
This is where the journey begins. Every top-ranking page contains well-researched keywords. A thorough keyword research lists out the important terms you need to include on your web page. Including these keywords will help you rank higher on them and improve search visibility.
So, while selecting your target keyword, look at a few factors like:
- Search Volume: Search volume is an average number that shows how many times this keyword was searched on Google or any other search engine in a month. This varies based on your region, so you need to pay attention to what region you want to rank on.For example, a keyword like “on-site SEO for beginners” can have a search volume of 2700 in the USA and 3000 in India.
- SEO Difficulty: Also known as keyword difficulty, it is a score from 1 to 100 that shows how difficult it is to rank higher on this keyword. The higher the SEO difficulty is, the harder it is to climb the first position on Google. It basically gives you an idea about the competition for a specific keyword.
- Top Ranking Pages: This is another way to check the competition around your specific keyword. Though SEO difficulty already gives you an idea about it, checking the websites yourself along with their content clarifies the competition even better. For example, if there are industry giants already ranking on a target keyword, outranking them as a low-authority website might not be the right decision.
- Search Intent: Google will not even care about ranking your page if it does not match the search intent for a query. If someone searches for “best SEO tools,” they want listicles and review articles, not landing pages of those tools. There are four main types of search intents: Informational, Navigational, Commercial, and Transactional. So before you start creating your content, check what types of results are showing there to match your content with the intent.
Create SEO-friendly URL Structures
Having an SEO-friendly URL structure fortifies your on-page SEO and makes your URLs easy to remember for the users. You can employ the following best practices to keep your internal and external links aligned with the SEO guidelines:
- Short And Sweet: Shorter URLs are memorable and look good. So, while building a URL, try to keep it short. Instead of “/complete-guide-to-inbound-marketing,” keep it “/inbound-marketing-guide” for a better structure.
- Keep It Descriptive: While keeping your page URLs short, you need to make them descriptive. A descriptive URL gives your users an idea of what your content is about. Hence, keeping it description is another point to care about.
- Avoid Special Characters: You must avoid using any special characters in your URL at all costs. Putting special characters in your URL can lead to encoding issues. Thus, you must stay away from any of those. The only special character you can use in your URLs is a hyphen (-) to replace the spaces.
- Stop The Stopping Words: Stopping words like the, and, of, etc., can stretch your URL length. And since shorter URLs are the best, try not to add them to your links to keep them concise. For example, go with “best-freelancing-platforms-2023” instead of “/best-freelancing-platforms-to-choose-in-2023.”
Optimize Your Meta Tags
Meta tags and meta descriptions are responsible for providing structured metadata about your page. Optimizing these tags determines what information on your page’s title and pages will be displayed on search engines when your page ranks there.
The best example is when you search for a recipe on Google, you see multiple pages with details like cooking time, ratings, votes, and more. This happens because of meta tags. There are multiple meta tags you can optimize to improve your on-site SEO:
- Title Tags: This is the title that is displayed on search engine results pages. Try to keep them under 60 characters so they don’t crop.
- Meta Description: The meta description below the blue title tag on search results. Keep their word count within 150-160 characters.
- Header Tags: The headings on your pages are called header tags. There are six header tags from H1 to H6. Always use H1 for the page title and keep your subheadings under H2 to H6. Make sure you’re following a heading hierarchy and nesting your headings and subheadings properly.
- Schema Markup: Schema markup provides structured data to search engines for a better understanding of your content. It also increases the chances of rich snippets, so optimize them wisely.
Optimize Page Experience
This brings us back to square one. Optimizing your pages for optimal user experience will indicate to Google that users love your page. This also signals to Google that it should boost the page’s ranking so that users can get the best answer to their search queries there.
You can do this by implementing the right keywords, satisfying search intent, and creating useful content. However, the page experience also depends on technical SEO. So, you need to ensure you’re not leaving any SEO stones unturned.
Optimize Your Images And Alt Text
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Alt text is the text that comes in place of the title tags an image when the image doesn’t load. Seeming trivial, using image alt tags with text is also an important aspect of on-site SEO. Since people also make searches through images, optimizing your image alt and title tags with text could drive traffic to your site from your images.
To do that, use these few tips:
- Make Your Alt Text SEO-friendly: If possible, try to use your target keywords in the alt text to make your images rank on those keywords.
- Find The Right Length: Alt text should not be as long as meta descriptions or as short as a CTA. You need to find the optimal length for every alt text where you can describe the image’s content and add the keywords while keeping it reader-friendly.
- Avoid Keyword Stuffing: In order to rank your images on your target keyword, do not add your keywords unnecessarily. A bad alt text could be a bad signal for both search engines and users.
Add External And Internal Links
External and internal links are like doors to a new page for the users. Internal linking is responsible for engaging your readers on your site and making them take action on your pages.
But more than just engaging users, internal linking also shares the authority between your page titles, meta descriptions, and pages to increase the overall credibility of your site.
Hence, it becomes critical that you link only to credible and high-authority websites. Internal links to low-authority domains will signal to Google that you’re supporting spammy websites, leading to bad consequences.
And it is not something you’d like to witness on your domain. So, always pay attention to the internal link as well as external links to other websites you’re adding to your site.
Advanced On-Page SEO Strategies
Those were a few on-page SEO tactics commonly used. But those weren’t all. There are many other methods expert SEOs use to master their on-page SEO game.
Let me show you a quick on-page SEO checklist loaded with advanced strategies:
Optimize For Keyword Clusters
Let’s say you have a website about gardening. You want to generate quality content on every gardening-related topic so that your users get all the information about gardening at one central point. How’d you create the content? There are two options:
a. Just think about a random topic and start writing.
b. Creating a content hub where every topic is categorized so you can plan when to create content on what topic.
Plan B makes the most sense, right? That’s what keyword cluster helps you with. A keyword cluster is like a mind map for your target keywords. It could have a core keyword in the center from which multiple branches for different keywords grow. This map makes it easy to visualize and plan your content marketing for a long while.
Answer Frequently Asked Questions in PAA
Honestly speaking, Google has a lot of free resources that can help you create the right content without even using a paid SEO tool for keyword or topic research. One of these resources is the People Also Ask or PAA section in the search engine results pages.
Whenever you search a particular keyword here, you see multiple questions in the People’s Also Ask section. These are the related queries to your topic. Including these topics in the title tag of your content can increase the relevance of search queries to your content and help you fulfill the search intent thoroughly.
Add Structured Data Markup
Google doesn’t understand structured data and languages like we do. So, in order to tell it what data your page contains, you need to structure it in a way that makes it easy for search engines to interpret human-written content. Obviously, the better the search engine understands, the better it will present your information on SERPs.
Let’s break it down in simple language:
Structured data markup involves adding tags to the different elements featured snippets of your web page, like reviews, star ratings, meta descriptions, timestamps, etc. Adding these markups on your pages will better display the rich and featured snippets on-page SEO elements and help you garner more clicks.
Optimize For Mobile
Mobile traffic is rising every day. People want an on-the-go experience, and ever since search engines have found it, they’ve started prioritizing mobile-friendly pages for ranking. Thus, it becomes paramount for you to update your pages for mobile devices.
Since there is a large number of mobile users, providing optimal experience on smaller screens will help you impress a large chunk of the audience.
On-Page SEO With The Help Of AI
In this new age of artificial intelligence, you can use AI to get your on-page SEO right. Here’s a quick on-page SEO checklist for AI:
Automate Keyword Research
Finding the right set of keywords that goes with your brand and has apt volume, keyword density, and traffic potential does take time. In most cases, all this research is done manually by the SEO professionals to ensure they target the right terms. But the problem here is that manual keyword research is a time-eating chore.
Typing in keywords one by one and trying to guess what people are interested in is a sweaty, time-consuming, and not-so-efficient job. That’s where automation comes to the rescue!
Keyword research automation makes this easier by doing all the heavy lifting on autopilot. It uses specialized tools and software to analyze tons of data and find the most relevant keywords for a topic. These tools can tell you things like how often a word is searched, how competitive it is, and even suggest related keywords you might not have thought of.
But while, on the one hand, automated keyword research saves your precious time, you also need to ensure that you’re instructing it with the right commands. Because one wrong instruction will result in a list of useless keywords. So, make sure you’re using automated keyword research correctly.
Use AI-generated Outlines
Creating the best content piece that outranks every high-ranking page on search results is easier said than done. To make sure you’ll beat the page-toppers with your content, you need to create something that offers something better than the existing pages.
AI can help you there. Using AI tools, you can build outlines for your blog, website, landing pages, etc., for the topic you’re covering. With a comprehensive outline, you ensure that you’re targeting every relevant keyword related to your topic, solidifying your on-page SEO as well as the chances for higher rankings on search results.
Now, I’m not saying you should start writing right after getting the content outline. But you should analyze this outline to see what things can be added and what to chop off.
Once you get a perfect outline, you can begin creating content on it.
Remember, an outline is the foundation of your content. AI helps you create this foundation in a blink, but you must upgrade it based on your strategies to craft perfect content.
Leverage Analytics Tools
Leveraging analytics tools helps you gather and analyze data about your website’s performance. If you break it down, there are multiple phases in this method:
- Data Gathering: Analytics tools like Google Analytics or SEO-specific platforms collect data on how users interact with your web pages. They keep an eye on things like the number of visitors, where they come from, how long they stay, and which pages they visit most.
- Understanding Your Audience: These data analysis tools help you understand your website’s audience. You can discover who your visitors are, their preferences, and even the devices they’re accessing your site with.
- Spotting Opportunities: Analytics tools highlight opportunities for improvement on your website. You can see which pages are performing well and which on them need optimizations.
- Course Correction: AI-powered analytics tools alert you when something goes south. Unusually high traffic, for example, signals that some sort of bot traffic was sent to your site. This helps you stay on track with your on-site SEO.
- Measuring Success: You can also measure the success of your on-page SEO efforts with analytic software. You can keep an eye on keyword rankings, monitor organic traffic growth, and see if your on-site SEO strategies are paying off.
Leveraging analytics tools helps you navigate your on-page SEO strategy smoothly. It puts clear stats and figures on the table, giving you meaningful insights to let you steer your entire website back in the right direction.
Ready To Uplift Your On-page SEO
That was a deep dive into the on-page SEO to clarify what on-page SEO is, how to do it, and why it’s important.
Just like a healthy diet, a good on-page SEO strategy keeps your website fit and lets it catch more eyeballs. And unlike lifting heavy weights, it’s not even that tough.
Follow the tips shared in the blog, and you’ll be ready.
To give you a quick recap, here are the points discussed in this article:
- Thorough keyword research
- SEO-friendly URL structure
- Optimization of meta description, tags, and page experience
- Proper external and internal linking
- Image and alt text optimization
- Build a keyword cluster
- Answer questions from the PAA section
- Add schema markups on your pages
- Make mobile-friendly web pages
These tips will uplift your on-page SEO and boost your page titles’ chances of better rankings. You can also get help from AI tools to perform these tasks along with several others in the blink of an eye.
So, start employing on-page SEO tactics to their fullest to dethrone your competitors from the top ranks and reap the results you are trying for.