What Is On-Page SEO?

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the process of optimizing pages on your site to improve rankings and user experience.

This is the opposite of off-page SEO, which refers to optimizing for elements outside of your site. This can include backlinks or social media mentions.

Elements of on-page SEO include:

  • Title tags
  • Internal links
  • HTML code
  • URL optimization
  • On-page content
  • Images
  • User experience (UX)
  • Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of on-page SEO.

  • Why Is On-Page SEO Important?
  • Google regularly updates its algorithm, improving its ability to understand both user intent and overall user experience once a user lands on a page. That’s why it’s important to learn SEO and keep up with best practices.

    Additionally, Google prioritizes user experience, so it’s key to consider on-page SEO practices in your overall strategy.

    A well-optimized page also helps Google understand what the content is about, which helps it organize and rank your page. Essentially, you’re helping Google do its job better.

    According to Google, “the most basic signal that information is relevant is when content contains the same keywords as your search query.”

    There’s a fine line, though. You don’t want to stuff keywords or ignore content quality. However, Google is still taking the basics into account when ranking pages.

    How to Optimize Your Content for On-Page SEO

    On-page optimization focuses on SEO tactics in your control (in other words: on your site). This is why you’ll sometimes see “on-page SEO” used interchangeably with “on-site” SEO.

    There are several vital pieces of a comprehensive on-page SEO strategy you’ll need to know to create the kind of content and site that ranks well in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and leads to higher conversion rates. We’ll get into those factors next.

    A good place to start is analyzing your site via the On Page SEO Checker. This tool provides you with optimization ideas across several on-page SEO categories.

    After you plug in your site, you can review ideas under specific categories or scroll down to find the top-recommended pages to optimize.

    To begin, choose location settings, crawl settings, and device settings. Next, include URLS and keywords you plan to optimize for.

    Once you successfully set up On Page SEO Checker for your project, you’ll see a page that looks like this:

    For even more specific recommendations, connect Google Analytics and run a Site Audit.

    We recommend using On Page SEO Checker to keep tabs on possible page optimization ideas for your site, but there is also plenty of on-page SEO best practices to keep in mind when creating any piece of content.

    Use Your Target Keywords in the First Paragraph

    Using your main target keyword in the first paragraph lets you make your purpose and topic clear from the beginning—for both your readers and search engines.

    Remember, the search engine algorithm looks for keywords and terms that provide clues about your content and the type of information it contains.

    As you build out content, make it a point to incorporate semantic and related keywords throughout to build on your main topic without keyword spamming.

    To find keywords you might’ve missed, navigate to the Optimization Ideas tab of the On Page SEO Checker.

    Scroll down to the section labeled “Semantic,” which compares your page to your top 10 rivals to reveal if you are missing any keywords you should target.

    Use H1 and H2 Tags for Titles and Subtitles

    These tags signal to Google that your content has a hierarchy—in other words, it makes the content outline clear for the algorithm so that it understands how you’ve organized your text.

    The header and subheadings also provide key hints about the material included in the paragraphs that follow the heading, making it easier for the search engine to register the important information about your material.

    Remember that Google also prioritizes content that focuses on the user experience. Content that appears as a giant wall of text can be hard to read, especially for mobile-platform users.

    Organized and easy-to-read pages make it easier for search engines to determine what a page is about. Additionally, users can easily skim to find the information they need.

    Creating a clear structure of H1 and H2 tags pleases search engines is a foundational, basic SEO practice you should implement when creating content. You should also revise old content if it doesn’t have keyword-targeted title tags.

    Here are some tips to help you create clear, organized content for your readers.

    Optimize URLs

    The URL structure of your webpage also provides valuable SEO benefits. Specifically, when you create a URL that includes important keywords, it becomes more obvious the topic that this particular page will cover.

    Both search engines and users should easily be able to determine the topic of a page based on the URL.

    Be sure your URLs are clear and to the point, though. Keep it brief and avoid stop words.

    Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
    A title tag appears within the search engine result below the URL but above the meta description.

    The title tag is a ranking factor and also provides users looking at the results page with information about the content of your page.

    These users look to the title tag to determine if your content will align with their search query. Therefore, a strong title tag that contains important keywords can encourage more clicks and traffic.

    Meta descriptions, on the other hand, don’t contribute to rankings. They can contribute to positive user experience and higher click-through-rate (CTR), though.

    Even though Google rewrites meta descriptions over 70% of the time, it’s still important to write them for each web page.

    Google rewrites meta descriptions for many reasons, including updating them to match search intent. So even though it can be frustrating to see your meta rewritten on the SERPs, it’s usually for the best!

    You can use the Site Audit tool to check for meta-related issues like duplicate or missing meta descriptions.

    Or, if you have trouble getting changes implemented on your site, a tool like PageImprove can enable you to make changes to title and description tags (among other things) instantly and with no coding required.

    Write Unique, Optimized Content

    Content reigns supreme in the world of SEO. Google’s sole job is to provide searchers exactly with what they’re looking for, so the search engine prioritizes relevant, valuable, and optimized content that fulfills searchers’ needs as completely as possible.

    So what is optimized content? It’s content that balances authoritative text backed up by keyword research.

    Your content should also be unique. This not only helps you stand out from the competition but also helps prevent any accidental plagiarism, which can negatively impact your site’s trustworthiness and possibly land you a manual penalty.

    You can put your content through our SEO Writing Assistant tool to learn whether your content is optimized for readability, keyword opportunities, and the overall uniqueness of your content/text.

    Add and Optimize Images

    The reality is that users are probably less likely to engage with a long wall of pure text. This is where images come in.

    The more helpful your images are, the more likely users will show higher signs of engagement.

    Focus on adding images that elevate your content. Bonus points if you create your own graphics that you can share on social media.

    You should also optimize your images. This means:

  • Making sure they load quickly by using strategies such as reducing the file size and implementing lazy loading.
  • Creating descriptive alt tags that tell the search engine what the image is so that Google can see the image as a valuable piece of content on your site. The alt text also assists visually impaired people using the site, ensuring they can fully appreciate your content.
  • Selecting titles and file names for your images
    that reflect the image and keywords you want to incorporate into the content.
  • Optimize for User Engagement
    Page Speed

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