What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web page content to improve organic search traffic and boost search engine rankings. It includes strategies such as keyword research and implementation, writing title tags and meta descriptions, adding content headings, internal linking, and more.
On-page SEO is an effective strategy for improving the search rank of web pages, increasing organic search traffic, and ultimately earning more conversions. On-page SEO factors also improve user experience by ensuring content is relevant, well-organized, and easy to navigate.
Note that on-page SEO strategies inevitably change over time, so it is important for marketers to stay current and up to date on the latest on-page SEO factors.
On-page SEO factors
There are many factors to consider for on-page SEO, but here are a few of the most common high-value factors to consider:
- Keyword research and content optimization
- URL optimization
- Internal linking
- Image optimization and alt text
- Title tags & meta descriptions
How to improve your on-page SEO
On-page SEO factors are worth any time and effort required to implement them because they can directly influence your search rankings, organic website traffic, user experience, and ultimately website conversions.
Here are a few high-value on-page SEO factors you can implement on your website to attract more website visitors and help search engines understand and rank your content.
1. Create high-quality content
All content on your website should be clear, relevant, and valuable to the reader. Web copy should be well-written and structured in a way that is easy to understand and easy to digest.
While it can be tempting to stuff content with keywords in an attempt to boost search engine rankings – don’t. The most effective content (content that gets shared and re-shared and drives more traffic to your website) is created with real people in mind, not search engines.
2. Optimize URLs
Effective URLs are indicative of the content on a page. Instead of using a default URL filled with random letters and numbers, include the targeted keyword and focus of the page. For example, if you sell an HR software product, you might consider creating the URL to be www.domain.com/HR-software. Clear and relevant URLs help users easily reference the page they are on, and also help search engines understand what the page is about.
3. Add title tags
A title tag is an HTML element or code that exists in the head section of each web page. It is displayed in the list of results in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and is often the first impression a user may have of your web page. The title tag also provides search engines with a high-level overview of what your page is about, aiding in matching content with relevant search queries, especially when you include a target keyword at the beginning of your title tag. Title tags should be no more than 60 characters to avoid truncation and limited visibility.
4. Write a compelling meta description
Meta descriptions (sometimes called meta attributes or meta tags) provide users and search engines with context about the content they will find on a web page. When well-written and compelling, meta descriptions can attract more users to your website and improve your organic click-through rate. Keep your descriptions short, and between 150-160 characters. If your description is too long, Google will truncate it and users will be unable to read the full page description.
5. Include proper heading hierarchy
Headings serve as section titles and make your content more scannable and digestible. Today’s web users are scanners and will often only read the headlines of a page to identify the exact section of information they are after. Strong headlines can catch a reader’s eye and encourage them to read the content of that section, which results in more time spent on the page and with your content. And as with all on-page SEO factors, headings also help search engines crawl and categorize your content.
When adding headlines to your page, be sure to classify them as H1, H2, H3, etc. Each page should only have one H1 headline – the primary title of the page. Subsequent headings should follow the proper flow of content. For example, a blog post might have a title (H1), four key sections (H2s), and a list of supporting points within the key sections (H3s). Wherever possible, try to include target keywords in your headings, especially in your H1. But remember, don’t sacrifice the quality of writing for keyword inclusion. Nobody likes poorly written content, regardless of how well the page is ranked on Google.
6. Optimize imagery
Images play an important role in an effective web page. When possible, try to pair unique, original, and relevant images with your copy. People can often sniff out stock photos, and these reusable images can feel ingenuine and turn someone away from your website.
Regardless of what images you use, be sure to optimize the size and resolution for optimal page load speed. Slow pages are frustrating for users, and Google doesn’t rank them as highly.
Another way to optimize your images is to include alt-text. Alt-text is simply a short description of an image, video, or illustration. These descriptions help search engines better understand the content on a page, and also improve the accessibility of the page by enabling visually impaired users to hear the description of the content using text-to-voice. In addition, the more accessible your web page is, the more highly Google will rank it.
7. Include keywords
Keywords are a critical aspect of on-page SEO. Keywords help communicate the purpose and focus of your content and make it easy for Google to relate your content to specific search queries. Keywords are among the top ranking factors of SEO, so it’s worth investing the time and energy into researching and selecting the ideal keywords for each of your web pages. Proper keyword optimization improves your page’s chances of displaying higher on the SERP.
8. Create internal links
Internal links are any links that take users to another page within the same domain. This is a valuable piece of your on-page SEO strategy as internal linking encourages users to spend more time on your website and engage with more of your content. The benefits of this are two-fold: first, it signals to Google that your website offers valuable content that people want to engage with (which may improve your page ranking and domain authority); and second, as users consume more of your content, they are more likely to convert on your website.