On-Page SEO: The Definitive Guide to Boost Rankings

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best practices, strategies, and techniques for On-Page SEO to boost your website’s rankings and drive more traffic to your website.

What is on-page SEO?

In today’s digital age, having a website is no longer enough to attract visitors and potential customers. To get noticed and stand out from the crowd, you need to optimize your website for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page in search engine results pages (SERPs). On-page SEO is one of the most critical aspects of SEO, as it involves optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic.

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages for specific keywords in order to improve search visibility and traffic. It involves aligning page-specific elements like title tags, headings, content, and internal links with keywords. On-page SEO is anything you can do on the page itself to improve its rankings. This includes optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, structured data (schema), headers, SEO copywriting, internal and external links, image optimization, and more. On-page SEO is different from off-page SEO, which is optimizing for signals that happen off of your website (like backlinks). It is also different from technical SEO, which deals with sitewide issues such as crawlability, overall site speed, and information architecture. When done correctly, on-page SEO can help search engines better understand and digest your content, leading to higher rankings and more organic traffic.

What are the must-have on-page SEO elements?

1. Header with H1 and H2 tags

What are the Must-Have On-Page SEO Elements for a Header With H1 and H2 Tags? [Expanded List]

Having the right on-page SEO elements in your header, including H1 and H2 tags, can help boost the ranking ability of your blog posts. H1 tags (or headings) are used to identify the title of the page, while H2 tags denote the main sections of your content. To ensure your pages are optimized properly, here are the must-have on-page SEO elements for a header with H1 and H2 tags:

2. Snippet of the page

A snippet of the page is an important part of on-page SEO, as it helps search engines understand what the page is about. A snippet of the page contains elements such as the page title, meta description, and HTML elements, which help search engines determine if the page is relevant to a user’s search query. Optimizing these elements can help you rank higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs), as it demonstrates to search engine algorithms that your page is a suitable match for the user’s search query. Furthermore, ranking in a Featured Snippet can make a huge difference in your click-through rate (CTR). To take the top spot, one must understand the user’s search intent and format the answer accordingly which could be a quick one- or two-sentence answer, a table, a video, etc.

3. Keyword-optimized page title

How does a keyword-optimized page title help with SEO?

Having an optimized title tag is an important on-page ranking factor, as it helps search engines to identify and understand the content of a page. A well-crafted title tag should be between 50-60 characters, include your targeted keyword near the beginning, and avoid keyword stuffing. Furthermore, you should include your brand name separated by a pipe (|) at the end of the title tag. Using these best practices can help you rank higher in search engine results and increase your click-through rate.

4. Rich keywords in the article body

Using rich keywords in the article body is an important part of on-page SEO. By including these keywords in the page’s body text, Google can read the content and rank it accordingly. Front-loading the keyword in the headline also helps search engines understand what the blog post is about, while also driving more clicks as readers know that the post is relevant. Additionally, the keyword should be used once in the first 100-150 words of the article. This is important as Google puts more weight on terms that show up early on the page. All of these elements help to ensure that search engines understand the content and will rank it appropriately.

5. Use of images

Using images affects on-page SEO in a number of ways. Firstly, images can break up text-heavy content, making it more enjoyable and increasing user engagement by decreasing bounce rate and increasing time on the website. Secondly, including keywords in the image’s alt tag property can help to optimize the image for SEO, making it easier for search engines to understand. Additionally, using descriptive file names and providing alt text can also help with on-page SEO. Moreover, using original images on the website can have a positive impact on organic web rankings and image rankings. Finally, images can also rank in search engine visual searches, further increasing your chances of being found by potential customers.

6. Header with H1 and H2 tags

What are the Must-Have On-Page SEO Elements for a Header With H1 and H2 Tags?

Heading tags are one of the most important elements for on-page SEO. The H1 tag is like a mini title tag, and it helps Google understand the structure of the page. H2s are used to further label the different points made in each H2 section. Using keywords in headings gives Google more context about the structure of your page, and also helps it determine whether your page matches a user’s search intent.

To ensure your website is optimized for search engines, it’s best practice to use one H1 per page for the title, and then use H2s for subheadings. It’s also important to include your target keyword in at least one subheading, and you can also work in some latent semantic index (LSI) keywords into your subheadings as well. This will help improve your content’s visual hierarchy and make it easier for users to skim and find specific information.

On top of that, you should make sure that your title is wrapped in an H1 and that your keyword is inside of that H1 tag. This will help you rank higher for relevant keywords, and enable Google to surface your page in results for more specific queries related to the page.

The use of internal links (like this one) on a website has a significant impact on on-page SEO. Internal linking helps keep readers on a website by linking to related pieces of content on the same site, helping search engines understand the structure of the website, and building authority for newer pages and articles. Internal links also allow Google crawlers to discover and navigate to new pages and signal to Google that the linked-to page is valuable. Additionally, using strategic anchor text within internal links can help Google understand the content of the linked page, as well as help the user navigate through a website and keep them on the website longer. A well-structured internal link framework can also reinforce the context and relevance of a website, as well as the website’s depth of coverage on a given topic. All these benefits lead to improved SEO rankings of a website.

8. Mobile-friendly website

Mobile-friendliness is a must-have on-page SEO element in 2020 because more than 50% of the Internet’s traffic comes from mobile devices, and search engines like Google use mobile-friendliness or responsiveness as a ranking factor. Having a mobile-friendly website is essential because it can improve your website’s rankings in search results and can help you get more valuable leads and revenue. In addition, Google announced in 2015 that mobile-friendly compliance will soon become a ranking signal for searches conducted on mobile devices, and in 2018, Google began using mobile page speed results and shifting to Mobile-first indexing. This means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking instead of the desktop version used in the past.

To make sure your website is mobile-friendly, you can run your website or an individual URL through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to find errors and prioritize them for correction. In most cases, Google’s mobile-first index favors mobile-optimized sites, so using a responsive design is usually the best solution for SEO and analytics.

If you use WordPress, most WP themes are built responsively, but it’s still a good idea to check your mobile-friendliness in a tool from Google or Search Console. Additionally, you can simplify the menu, compress image sizes, eliminate aggressive pop-up windows, optimize the text, and consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to help improve your website’s mobile-friendliness.

9. Content optimization

Content optimization is the process of optimizing content for both search engine algorithms and people. It is a crucial part of on-page SEO and involves optimizing elements such as text, images, videos, meta-tags, and structural text elements for maximum visibility and user engagement. Optimizing content for search engine algorithms involves optimizing keyword density, using WDF*IDF tools, and topic cluster analysis for relevant terms. It also involves optimizing file sizes, calls-to-action, meta-tags, and alt-tags. Optimizing content for people involves emphasizing readability, creating attractive visuals and galleries, and creating content that is engaging and informative. Content optimization can lead to improved rankings, higher click-through rates, and increased user engagement, thus making it a key part of SEO strategy.

10. Presence on social media

Social media presence can have a major impact on SEO. Through social signals, search algorithms are able to better understand the relevance and helpfulness of a website’s content, thus increasing its visibility and ranking in search results. Additionally, increased brand awareness and engagement generated through social media can lead to more people viewing and sharing your content, increasing the chances of acquiring backlinks, which directly help boost a website’s ranking. By using Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards, as well as making it easy for people to share content with “tweet this quote” links or social share buttons, businesses can further capitalize on the power of social media to improve their SEO.

Finally, by taking advantage of digital marketing techniques such as Google My Business, businesses can increase their presence on Google Maps and increase their local visibility.

How to optimize on-page SEO elements?

1. Create a keyword-optimized headline

How to Create a Keyword-Optimized Headline [Step-by-Step Instructions]

Crafting a headline that’s optimized for keywords can help boost your blog post’s SEO ranking. The key is to front-load your target keyword phrase, make it visually appealing, and include it in your title tag.

Here are 10 actionable steps for creating an SEO-friendly headline:

2. Add an optimized meta description

Adding an optimized meta description can help optimize on-page SEO elements by increasing click-through rate (CTR) and encouraging more search traffic. A well-written meta description should be unique, contain the keyword or keyword phrase you wish to target and be between 150-155 characters in length.

Plus, if your meta description contains the exact keyword the user is searching for, it will become bold in search results, making it stand out visually and potentially boosting clicks.

Additionally, when creating your meta descriptions, consider mobile devices, use active voice and a call-to-action (CTA) to entice users to click, and make sure to check for duplicate meta descriptions. All of these practices help ensure that your meta description accurately reflects the content on your page and matches the user’s search intent.

3. Optimize the content for search engines

Step 1: Cover Relevant Topics

Make sure the content you’re writing covers relevant topics that you have experience or expertise in. This will give your content credibility and will be more helpful to your readers.

Step 2: Include Keywords

Include keywords people would use to find the content. This will make it easier for search engines to pick up on your content and rank it higher. Use keyword research tools to find out which words and phrases are most likely to be used by potential readers of your content.

Step 3: Make it Unique

Make sure your content is unique or original. Search engines prefer to show content that is different from what other websites are displaying. By creating original content, you can avoid being penalized by search engines.

Step 4: Improve Quality

Improve the quality of your content by making sure it is well-written and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Also, make sure it is up-to date-and contains accurate information.

Step 5: Add Multimedia

Adding multimedia such as images and videos can help improve the quality of your content and make it more engaging.

Step 6: Beat Competitors

It’s important to make sure your content is better than your competitors in the SERP. This means researching your competitors’ content and finding ways to make yours stand out.

Step 7: Optimize for Search Engines

Optimizing for search engines means making sure your content includes title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, image alt text, Open Graph and Twitter Cards metadata, and other SEO elements. These will help your content show up higher in search engine rankings.

Step 8: Prioritize E-A-T

Google weighs your page based on expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Make sure your content is written by someone with experience, include references and sources, and focus on creating trust with your readers.

Step 9: Use Keywords

Using keywords in your content is important for optimizing it for search engines. Make sure to include keywords that people are likely to use when searching for content related to your topic.

Step 10: Master SEO Writing

Writing content that is optimized for search engines and engaging to human visitors requires a special skill. Master the art of SEO writing by emphasizing readability and including useful keywords.

Adding relevant internal links can help optimize on-page SEO elements by keeping readers on the website, helping search engines understand the site’s structure and building authority for newer pages and articles. Internal links can pass page authority to important pages, and they can also help search engines find, understand, and index all the pages on the site. Additionally, links with descriptive anchor text can entice readers to click, and search engine robots can easily decipher them. Therefore, it is a good practice to add two or three internal links to every new piece of content to ensure a better user experience and improved search engine rankings.

5. Use the right H1, H2 and H3 tags

How Do the Right H1, H2 and H3 Tags Affect On-Page SEO?

Heading tags, including H1, H2, and H3, play a crucial role in on-page SEO. These tags help search engines understand the structure and content of your web page, which can impact your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). In this article, we will discuss the importance of heading tags and how to use them effectively for on-page SEO.

What Are Heading Tags and How Do They Impact SEO?

Heading tags are HTML tags that are used to structure the content of a web page. H1 is the most important heading tag, which should be used for the main heading of a page. H2 and H3 are used for subheadings and sub-subheadings, respectively. Heading tags help search engines understand the hierarchy of content on a web page and the importance of each heading. This helps search engines to determine the relevance and quality of the content, which can impact your website’s ranking on SERPs.

What Is the Role of an H1 Tag in SEO?

The H1 tag is the most important heading tag on a web page. It should be used for the main heading of a page, which should include the primary keyword of the page. The H1 tag helps search engines understand the topic of the page and its relevance to the search query. This can impact your website’s ranking on SERPs, as search engines use the H1 tag as a key ranking factor.

H3: How Many H2 Tags Should You Have On a Page?

The number of H2 tags on a page depends on the length and structure of the content. Generally, it is recommended to have one H2 tag for every 300-500 words of content. However, there is no strict rule about the number of H2 tags you should use on a page. The most important thing is to use them logically and structurally, so that they help search engines and users understand the content on your web page.

How Can You Use Heading Tags To Improve Your On-Page SEO?

There are several ways to use heading tags effectively for on-page SEO:

What Are Some Tips For Writing Effective H1, H2 and H3 Tags?

Here are some tips for writing effective heading tags:

6. Use the right image alt-text and titles

Using the right image alt-text and titles can help optimize on-page SEO elements by providing context to search engine crawlers and allowing people who use screen readers to hear descriptions of images. Alt text should be brief, include a target keyword, and not include phrases like “image of” or “picture of.” Including keyword-rich images in content increases the chances of ranking in Google Images, which accounts for 22.6% of all searches. Doing this can help a page rank higher, as it gives search engines another clue of what the page is about.

7. Add the necessary HTML elements

Step 1: Ensure your page titles are optimized for SEO by including your focus keyword, keeping it under 60 characters and making it relevant to the page. Additionally, avoid using all caps and incorporate your brand name into the title.

Step 2: Use header tags for organizing content on a page, as well as providing search engines with a synopsis of the page.

Step 3: Incorporate visuals into your page, such as images and videos, and optimize them using descriptive file names and image alt-text.

Step 4: Use title tags to specify the title of your page to both visitors and search engines. Keep it under 60 characters, avoid keyword stuffing, and make sure it is relevant to the page.

Step 5: Add a meta description to provide an accurate summary of your page content. This won’t boost your rankings, but can help increase click-through-rates.

Step 6: Optimize images for faster loading, by choosing the right format and file size. Additionally, include SEO-friendly alt tags and customize file names.

Step 7: Geotag your site if it is focused on local search. This will allow search engines to associate your content with a particular geographic area.

8. Make your website responsive

Making a website responsive can help with on-page SEO by improving the user experience on mobile devices, which will lead to higher rankings in search engine results. Having a responsive website eliminates the need to create a separate mobile site, which simplifies website maintenance. Responsive design also ensures that images and graphics are not too large and that the page loading speed is optimized. In addition, a responsive website encourages user interaction with call-to-action elements and can help to improve the overall usability of the website.

9. Use social media

Social media is an important tool for optimizing on-page SEO elements. Through social media, content can receive more clicks, likes, and shares, which helps to increase brand awareness and create more opportunities to acquire backlinks. Additionally, the Open Graph protocol can be used to control how information is displayed on social feeds, which can help to make content more appealing and help increase clicks, likes, and shares. Finally, content can be kept up-to-date and accurate by completing regular reviews every six months, or by expanding and improving upon existing assets. All of these strategies can help to boost search rankings and visibility.

10. Monitor your on-page SEO with a tool

How can you monitor your on-page SEO with a tool? [Step-by-step instructions]

Step 1: Use a rank-tracking tool.

One of the best ways to measure the impact of your on-page SEO activities is to track the rankings of your most important keywords. You can check your average positions in Google Search Console, but a rank tracking tool provides greater advantages. It allows you to track only the keywords you are interested in, see the actual rankings for a specific location, and get other valuable insights such as overall progress, top rankers/outrankers, etc. You can also set up alerts to be notified of any sudden drops in rankings.

Step 2: Make an annotation.

If you make any specific on-page SEO changes, make an annotation in the tracking to see whether it has any impact on the rankings. For example, if you change the title of a post, make an annotation to see if this affects the rankings.

Step 3: Use SEO-specialist tools.

Use SEO-specialist tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush to run comprehensive audits on your website to check for on-page, off-page, and technical SEO factors.

Step 4: Use WordPress plugins.

WordPress plugins like Yoast can provide a score and suggestions on the readability and keyword targeting of your content. Take these suggestions with a grain of salt though.

Step 5: Use website graders.

Website graders such as LOCALiQ’s Free Website Grader provide a report on your website’s on-page SEO factors and offer suggestions on how to improve them.

Step 6: Use a site speed tool.

Monitor your site speed using a tool such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Slow websites can frustrate users, increase bounce rates, and signal to search engines that your site is not a quality resource.

Step 7: Use an on-page SEO template.

Use a template such as On-Page SEO Template to organize and track the various on-page SEO elements. This Google Sheet document allows you to coordinate pages and keywords, and track changes all in one place.