SEO which stands for “Search Engine Optimization” is done in two parts: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. Both of these are equally important and play a vital role in successfully optimizing a website.
So, if you are looking for a step-by-step On-Page SEO guide or strategies that you can implement on your site, this post is all about the same (on-page SEO tips and techniques), I am sure you will love this post.
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Here in this post, I will talk, everything about On-Page SEO. It’s a complete practical guide for beginners. You can easily implement these On-Page SEO techniques on your website or blog to improve your website ranking.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing a web page, it includes everything that can be done within a website or web page. That is the reason it is also known as On-Site SEO. It’s completely in your control.
For Example – Keyword Research, Content Optimization, Meta Tags, Heading Tags, Internal Linking and many other things.
Those days are gone when people used to manipulate search engine algorithms with some Black Hat SEO techniques and rank their websites at the top.
Search Engines these days are really intelligent in catching all those spammers. Since the Penguin & Panda updates, Google focuses more on quality & relevancy than ever before. Also, penalizes them who try to manipulate its algorithm.
Google considers more than 200 factors while ranking a website. Although all of those factors cannot be known to anyone, still we can utilize most of them and optimize our website so that it ranks higher in the search engine result pages.
On-Page SEO is one of the basic steps to search engine optimization. Without proper On-Page SEO, it will be really difficult for a web page to rank for its targetted keywords. So, let’s start with the On-Page optimization process.
On-Page SEO Process
On-Page SEO starts with keyword research. Whatever your business type or your niche is there are the people searching for your products and services.
It’s important that you know, who are your audience and what are they searching for.
Keyword Research & Analysis is the process of finding those keywords or phrases that people use to search for your products or services.
So how would you do that?
The first step here is to find the right keywords related to your products and services, based on audience, location, features, etc.
Let’s take an example:
Your Products or Services: SEO Course
Audience: Beginners, Advance
So if you spend some time brainstorming your target keywords, you can easily find out some really important keyword phrases. Here are some of the keywords that we can easily make from the example above.
Best SEO Course in India, Best SEO Course for Beginners, Best SEO Course For Beginners in India, SEO Courses for Beginners, etc.
#2 Keyword Planner
Keyword Planners is a completely FREE tool from Google. You can find this tool in Google Ads, you need a Google account (Gmail) to access this tool. This is one of the most popular and widely used tools for keyword and analysis.
All you need to do is input a single keyword (your product or services), and it will provide you with a list of similar & relevant keywords with their respective monthly searches, competition, CPC & more.
From the list of keywords above, you can easily filter out the keywords that are most relevant to your business based on your services, location & other parameters.
#2 Google Suggestion
This is the super easy technique, I always use to find out the related keywords.
You just need to type a single keyword and Google will provide you with multiple suggestions related to your search query at the bottom of the page.
Keyword.io is an amazing tool for keyword research, especially for uncovering long-tail keyword ideas for your business services. And, It’s completely FREE.
With this tool, you can easily find keywords for various search engines, like Google, Bing, etc. (including YouTube) and e-commerce sites.
On-Page SEO Techniques
OK, so by now, you have got a keyword in your mind. You may have written a great piece of content as well. Now, you want to optimize the page so that Google gives that page a place on the first page of the search results.
Well, you just need to follow the steps given below and you will be able to create a perfectly optimized page that can rank well in the search results.
Always use SEO-Friendly URLs, Google has stated that the first 3-5 words in a URL are given more weight. So I recommend making your URLs short and sweet. And always include your target keyword in your URL.
All characters in the URL must be in lowercase only. Also, hyphens must be used to separate words in the URL instead of spaces.
For a WordPress site, you can easily set your permalink (URL) structure. Go to “Settings – Permalinks” and choose “Post Name”.
The page title or post title is nothing but the title which appears as a first thing on a webpage. Make sure your page title or post title always comes with H1 tags. Include your target keyword in the beginning (as soon as possible) of the page title.
For a WordPress site, you can easily “Add Title” at the top of the page. But, do check if your theme adds that title in an H1 tag, if not (that is not an SEO friendly theme) consider changing your WordPress Theme.
I recommend using Yoast SEO Plugin for On-Page SEO in a WordPress site. Most of the On-Page SEO techniques given below can be easily achieved with the help of this amazing WordPress Plugin (FREE).
Google and other major search engines take the SEO title and display it in the search engine result pages. Google typically displays the first 55 to 65 characters (including space). So make sure your SEO title would be around 60 characters. The page title and the SEO title can either be the same or slightly different but should include the target keyword in the beginning (as soon as possible).
<title>SEO Title (55-65 Character)</title>
Using modifiers like “2018”, “best”, “guide”, “checklist” and “review” can help you rank for long-tail versions of your target keyword. Also, these modifiers help you increase in click-through rate.
All popular search engines including Google displays meta description below the SEO Title. It is one of the best places to place our keywords. Most of the search engines display the keywords in the description in bold format. Meta description helps increase the click-through rate (CTR) in the SERPs. CTR is again one of the ranking factors in SEO. Meta Description Should be of the 140-156 character and must include the target keyword in the beginning (as soon as possible).
<meta name="description" content="meta description 140-156 character">
With SEO Plugin you can easily add the “SEO Title” and “Meta Description”.
Once meta keywords used to be a very important factor in ranking a website. But, now Google does not consider meta keywords as a ranking factor. So if you want you can leave this tag completely. Although it does no harm to have a meta description in web pages. But, do not overuse keywords, 3 to 4 keywords are suggestible.
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3">
Meta robots are another special HTML tag where we tell the search engine robots or bots to either index or not index our website page.
<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">
The above example means that we tell the robots to scan all the webpage content and index the web page.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">
The second example means that we do not allow bots to either index the webpage or to scan and follow the content and links within this page. Although it’s up to search engines whether they respect your request or not.
In a WordPress site with the help of Yoast SEO Plugin, you can easily set these tags.
In SEO it is said that “content is the king”. Here two things matter when it comes to content – quality and uniqueness. If the content quality of your web page sucks, there will be a higher bounce rate which will eventually affect your ranking in a negative way. Second uniqueness, if you have just copied the content from other websites, why should search engines rank your web page instead of the original content source.
Here the mantra is to write unique and useful content on your website. You can take the ideas from other website and write down the better content, do not just copy-paste the contents of other’s websites. Further, I will suggest you remove all those pages from your website which has thin or duplicate content.
Content-Length (Word Count)
In SEO, it is a well-known fact that “length is strength”. It is found that longer content tends to rank significantly higher on Google’s first page. Although there are no fixed criteria for this; but always aim for at least 1000 words for every piece of content that you publish on your website.
This is the most controversial topic among SEO experts. There are no specific rules and policies for the usage of keyword in the content. But as per my experience and industry experiments, I encourage you to aim for a keyword density range of 0.5% to 2.5%. Anything more than 2.5% keyword density, it will start to look a lot like spam, or what we call keyword stuffing.
Keyword In First Paragraph
Your keyword should appear in the first paragraph of your web page or post article. Ideally, it should be within the first 100-150 words. This helps Google understand what your page is all about. And, In some cases, Google uses the first paragraph (up to 256 characters) as meta description for that web page.
You can easily analyse most of these things like internal links, image ALT Tag, Keyword Density etc. in Yoast SEO Preview.
When we come to the keyword part, long-tail keywords are always high yielding ones when compared to single or double word keywords. It is found that long-tail keywords have a higher conversion rate compared to the short one-two word keywords. Also, the competition is a bit low for long-tail keywords, so you can rank it very soon for the long-tail keywords.
LSI is nothing but Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. They are keywords that need not essentially be synonymous with your keywords but are semantically related to them. Google uses LSI Keywords to determine a page’s relevancy (and possibly quality).
Long content increases the odds that you’ll naturally use LSI keywords). But if you want to make sure that you’re using LSI keywords, search for your keyword in Google and scroll down to the “Searches Related to…” area at the bottom of the page, use one or two of these into your post.
Heading Tags (H1,H2,H3,H4,H5,H6)
Heading tags are very important not only to organize your content but also to SEO. Here, with increasing numbers the value and importance of the heading tags decrease. This means H1 is the most important heading tag whereas H6 carries the least importance. The first heading or title of the page is automatically assigned H1. You can use H2 for the other important headings and H3 is for sub-headings, if any, on the page or post. You can avoid H4, H5, and H6 as they are not that important for SEO.
Make sure at least one image file is included in every page or post. The image name should include your target keyword (for example, on-page-seo.jpg) and that your target keyword should be the part of your image Alt Text.
When you select a word or a certain set of words and interlink them to some other related blog on your own website, those are known as internal links. I recommend using 2-3 internal links on every page or post. It’s very simple, whenever you create a new page or publish a new post, add 2-3 internal links to related older posts or pages.
When the highlighted set of words in your page or post takes you to some other website, if you have interlinked them with a page or post outside of your website, they are called external links or outbound links. Outbound links to related pages help Google figure out your page’s topic. It also shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info. Keep in mind that the sites you link out to reflect on you. So make sure to link out to authority sites whenever possible.
The XML sitemap is meant for search engines to understand a website structure. XML sitemap also tells search engines that when the content of the web page was updated so that the search engines crawls and indexes the web page again. It is very essential to submit your website XML sitemap to search engines. You can use an XML sitemap generator tool or if you use WordPress, you can use Yoast SEO Plugin to generate an XML sitemap.
Social Sharing Buttons
Social signals play a very important role in SEO. Having a social sharing button on your website will help you in two ways – one, your website visitors can easily share the content of your website on their favorite social networks which will increase your website visibility and eventually get you more website traffic. Second, it will help you in SEO as well. You can use Sumo for social sharing buttons on your website.
Increase Site Speed
Website Speed has been used as a ranking signal for desktop search since 2010. In 2018 Google has announced that the page speed will become a ranking factor in mobile search as well. You can use GTMetrix to check your webpage speed.
Tips To Improve Website Speed: Use Good Web Hosting, Use Optimized Images, Use Cache Mechanism to cache the static content of your web pages.
Go Secure (https)
Google considers https as one of the most important ranking factors. So in case if your website is not secure (https), it will be really hard to get your website ranked at the top in search engine result pages. Also, Chrome, the most popular internet browser from Google has started showing “not secure” for the websites not having https.
In 2015 Google made a major announcement stating that the search giant will be extending the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal throughout mobile search results. This simply means a responsive (mobile-friendly) website will have an edge in SEO. In today’s time, there can not be an excuse for not having a responsive website, especially if you are going for SEO for your website.
Decrease Bounce Rate
The high bounce rate of a webpage affects webpage ranking in a negative way. Bounce rate is calculated when a user clicks a link in search engine result pages and goes to that website, within a few seconds he decides to close that website or hits the back button. Google simply assumes that; that page was not the right match for the search query and thus drops the ranking of that web page.
The tip here is to engage your website visitors for as long as possible. You can achieve this by creating engaging content, writing in short paragraphs, using related internal links, using lots of images and video contents.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) About On-Page SEO
Here are some of the most common and frequently asked questions about on-page SEO, we thought to cover these questions here to help you further. If you have more questions, you can ask that in the comment section below.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing individual pages of your site, it involves everything that you do on your site to create perfectly optimized pages or posts. On-Page things are completely controlled by you.
Can I do the On-Page SEO myself?
Yes, On-Page SEO is not that difficult, if you are using CMS likes WordPress, you can use plugins like Yoast SEO or Rank Math for on-page SEO. Though you can hire a professional if you are not comfortable doing yourself.
Can I rank my website with just on-page SEO?
On-Page SEO is just one part of the whole search engine optimization process, which is important but not enough to rank your website unless there is no competition at all or if you have written outstanding content.
What should be the ideal content length?
There is no ideal content length, you need to be as informative and descriptive as possible. Here quality matters the most, also you can check competitor’s pages to get the ideas. You should aim for a minimum of 1000 words on the pages.
What should be the ideal keyword density?
The keyword density should be between 0.5% to 2.5%. Anything more than that will be considered as over-optimized. I personally use and recommend approx 1% keyword density (exact match) with some LSI keywords.
What are the top 5 on-page SEO factors?
All the factors are equally important, so I suggest you, to optimize your pages properly considering all the factors given above. Still, if I have to pick the top 5 on-page SEO factors, it will be keyword density, content length and quality, speed of the site, meta tag optimization and using SSL on responsive site.
What is considered as over-optimization?
Overuse of keywords in the pages or posts are considered as over-optimization. It includes the keywords in the content body and also in meta tags. Over-optimization won’t do any good to your site so avoid over-optimizing.
Is it possible to rank a website without on-page SEO?
On-Page SEO is the first and most important part of the whole SEO process. Also, this is the easiest thing you can do, as you only control most of the things in on-page SEO. It will be very difficult to rank your site without proper On-Page SEO and I don’t see any reason not doing the proper on-page SEO.
So, this was all about On-Page SEO.
If you have this question: “Do I need to implement all these techniques or few of them will work equally?“
Well, there’s no hard rule, most of these On-Page SEO techniques are really important to create a perfectly optimized page. And the best thing is that all of these things are in your control. So, why not use all these techniques.
Remember, you are writing an article for real people and not just for Google. So, do not forget your real website visitors in order to make Google happy. You have to keep both of them happy but first, give preference to your audience.
In case if I have missed any important On-Page SEO tips in this guide, do let me know in the comment section below. All the very best.