On-page SEO is one of the most important techniques you can use for achieving top rankings in a search engine’s organic results and running successful SEO campaigns.
A website is the point of all SEO processes and if it’s not properly optimized for both search engines and users, you minimize your chances of getting traffic from search engines.
In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about on-page SEO and when you’re done reading, be sure to check out other articles on how to leverage SEO for your business and 15 resources you need to stay top of your SEO game to gain additional insight on this topic.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO (also known as “on-site” SEO) is the act of optimizing different parts of your website that affect your search engine rankings.
Where your website appears in Search Engine Results Pages(SERP) is determined by a number of ranking factors including site accessibility, page speed, optimized content, keywords, title tags, etc.
However, unless you optimize your posts on-page, Google won’t know what keywords you should be ranking for, and you won’t show up in the search results.
Why is On-page SEO Important?
On-page SEO is important because it provides search engines with a number of signals to help them understand what your content is about.
During the indexing and ranking processes, search engines try to associate web pages with keywords and search terms users type in the search box. The main value of on-page SEO is that it helps search engines understand your webpage better.
For search engines to rank your content in search results, they must analyze your content and determine whether it’s relevant to the query and on-page SEO is a huge factor in determining content relevancy aside from the content itself.
In addition to that, on-page SEO also helps in:
- Increasing Traffic
- Boosting SEO rankings
- Improving click-throughs
On-page SEO Elements
1. High-Quality Page Content
The high-quality page content is what attracts users to your website, it gets them talking about and engaging with your brand. High-quality on-page content is found to have 55% more organic web visitors.
The following are various types of website content that if done right can turn out to be high-quality content that is very effective:
- Press releases
Topics and keyword research are key in creating high-quality page content. Anyone can create basic content but for high-quality content, it needs to be well researched, planned out, and strategically created for it to be most effective.
High-quality page content that is relevant to the user motivates them to stay on a website longer.
Check out Hubspot’s Beginner’s Guide on How to Do Keyword Research for SEO.
2. Page Title
A page title refers to the HTML title tag that appears in multiple places and identifies what the website page is about for both website users and search engines.
In code, the title tag appears on the top of an HTML or XHTML document, inside the head tag. A snippet of this can be identified below:
<title>Your Website Title </title>
Writing a good page title is an essential skill set for anyone in SEO, as they help both users and search engines understand the purpose of a page.
Best practices for page title:
- Page title length should be between 30 to 60 characters.
- Your page title should be concise, descriptive & relevant.
- Ensure every page title is unique.
Headers, also known as body tags, refer to the HTML element <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, and so on. They are the key to good SEO. You can improve your ranking, attract your audience through the H1, H2…H6. Here, H1 stands for heading 1, and H6 stands for heading 6.
Keyword used for heading matters because no matter how good your content is if your heading tags are not justifying the content, the search engine will not read it. So, use the content-matching keyword in your heading.
H1 tags should have relevant keywords related to your content and should always be used as a title tag. Then H2 tag must be used in the place of a sub-heading having some relevance with the nH1 tag and should carry keywords related to the H1 tag and its own descriptive content. This goes like a hierarchy followed by H3, H4, H5, and H6 tags.
Make sure that all your tags are relevant to your content and are grammatically correct. Don’t overuse keywords to just improve your ranking because eventually if Google finds it, then even God can’t help you to get the first rank on SERP.
Also, use exact, accurate, long-tail, and short-tail descriptive keywords to tag H1.
4. Meta Descriptions
According to yoast.com, The meta description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – which summarizes a page’s content. After your title, this is the most important part of increasing your click-through rate(CTR).
Meta descriptions are there to generate click-throughs from search engines. Well-optimized meta descriptions give crawlers a “preview” of what your content is about. Below are a few best practices for writing meta descriptions:
- Use active voice
- Keep it up to 155 characters
- Include a Call-To-Action(CTA)
- Use your focus keyword
- Be specific and make it unique
- Make sure it’s in line with your page content
The right length of meta description doesn’t matter; what matters is the message you want to convey.
5. Image Alt-text
An image alt text, also known as “alt tag” and “alt description,” is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines.
Applying images to alt tags such as product photos can positively impact your rankings on search engines.
Search engines and other robots cannot interpret images, but images can play a crucial part in how people interpret a particular web page.
Alt text solves this by providing text which is read by the search engines. Alt-text is also useful for users viewing a webpage on screen readers or browsers that can’t process images.
You can add Alt text in WordPress whenever you add a new image to your post from the Media Library. Here are a few best practices for image alt-text:
- The text should be kept short to maximize its impact.
- Use your focus keyword.
- Be specific.
6. Structured Markup
Structured markup is a way of telling search engines more about the content on your website. Search engines then use this to make the website or article to be displayed as a rich result when searched.
It communicates what your data means and expresses that to search engines. Without it, search engines are only able to tell what your data says, not what it means.
It plays an instrumental role in helping brands increase their presence online and accumulate more customers over time.
7. Page URLs
Page URLs help describe a web page to search engines and potential visitors, meaning they should be accurate, enticing, and well-structured. Here are a few best practices for page URLs:
- Describe your content
- Use hyphens to separate words
- Include keywords in URLs
- Use lowercase letters in URLs
- Keep URLs Short
8. Internal Links
According to backlinko.com, Internal links (also known as inbounds links) are hyperlinks that point to pages on the same domain. These are different than external links, which link out to pages on other domains.
It helps users find your content easily and it aids in navigation as well. Be sure to include links to relevant content within your website not only for SEO purposes but also for your readers’ benefit.
However, you can benefit by linking to less-trafficked pages on your site with more authority, such as a home page. You can use Google’s Search Console to find out how your pages rank, and then add internal links accordingly.
9. Mobile Responsiveness
A website that isn’t mobile-friendly requires users to pinch, zoom in, or zoom out to read its content.
Responsive designs require no redirection for users to have an optimized view, which reduces load time and enhances user-friendliness, both of which are factors that help your site’s search engine rankings. Here are best practices for making your website mobile-friendly:
- Resize images to fit different devices.
- Choose the correct breakpoints.
- Keep resources crawlable.
- Test your site’s mobile-friendliness using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
10. Site Speed
Page speed is one of the key ranking factors for search engines. Search engines are all about providing the best user experience possible. So, as any good SEO agency will attest, you can actually damage your page rankings with a slow website.
Google has been putting a lot of emphasis on page loading speed, especially with the recent implementation of their core web vitals ranking signal. In fact, Google made an explicit confirmation (which they rarely do) that page speed is a landing page factor for Google Search.
How do you improve your page speed?
- Conduct an audit of your page speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights
- Reduce and compress image sizes.
- Use plugins sparingly to conserve website bandwidth. Only install the plugins you need.
- Eliminate unnecessary images.
Over To You
Ignoring on-page SEO is one of the biggest SEO mistakes you can make. If you’ve been in search of a solution for organizing and tracking the various on-page SEO elements, you’re in luck. With Hubspot’s On-Page SEO Template.
Once you finalize your SEO plans, implement these changes on your website, you’ll be ranking at the top on the Search Engine Results Page(SERP).
Remember, SEO isn’t a one-time thing. It isn’t overnight. It is in-it-for-the-long-haul. It’s something you should continually improve upon and you would see the results. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.