On-Page SEO is one of the two major aspects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The other major aspect is Off-Page SEO, which is all about backlinking and we’ll talk about it in some other article. In this article, I’ve shared all a beginner needs to know about On-Page SEO and I’ve also included the step by step guide and techniques to help you rank higher in Google or other search engines with On-Page SEO Techniques.
Let’s begin with the first question.
What is On-Page SEO?
As the name specified, the optimizations that you can do on your website page itself is all that is known as On-page SEO. To be more specific, a website contains multiple web pages, it is the process of optimizing each of these pages to rank for a set of keywords in the search engine. There are numerous things further under it, which we have to look to optimize. Let’s say you are going to publish an article on your blog and you want that article to be appeared in Google Search Results, for some keyword. You have to optimize the article first, following the basic rules of On-Page SEO first.
The things that come under the optimization of a website page content are structure of the content, language, readability, grammar, content length, use of media, use of headings, etc. All of these factors re therefore the part of On-Page SEO as well, which we’re going to discuss in detail further in a later section of this article.
Hope, you got the basic idea of On-Page SEO. Continue, reading to understand it even better.
Before On-Page SEO
Before getting started with On-Page SEO, you should first do the Keyword Research. The very first step before publishing any new post or any piece of content, you should first know what to write. There is no use of publishing such content which people on the Internet are not at all looking for. That’s why just writing upon any other thing, you should first do proper keyword research.
Another important thing, once you come to know about popular search terms, do not just pick any random among them. Most of the high volume keyword searches are highly competitive and chances are you won’t be able to rank for those keywords. That also requires Off-Page SEO efforts.
Therefore, the goal of any beginner level website or blog is to find such keywords which have good or medium search volume but at the same time, they are also less competitive or competitive to the extent that your site is expected to beat the competition. All of this research and progress comes into a separate aspect of SEO known as Keyword Research.
There are a number of different Keyword Research Tools available using which you can find keywords, on which you should write the content. One of such tool is SEMRush, it is the recommended by SEO experts globally.
On-Page SEO Techniques
There are a lot of different On-Page SEO Techniques, which you need to focus on if you really want to rank higher in the Search Engine. We’ve listed down the major techniques which you should focus to optimize your website content for better search engine response.
1. Title Optimization
The title should be catchy, of good length & should contain the keyword.
The title is the first thing that Search Engine highlights in the search engine results. There are four important things about the title that you should focus on On-Page SEO. The first one is the length of the title. The title should not be too short or too long. The recommended title length is 50-60 characters. Long titles are not bad but the thing is Google only shows the titles which are below 60 characters. So, if your title will be completely displayed in the search results, better are the chances of high CTR (Click Through Rate) of the users.
The second thing the title should be strictly contained in an H1 tag and you should not have multiple H1 Tags on a single webpage. There should only be one H1 tag and that should contain the webpage Title.
The third important thing is that the title should contain the keyword or keyphrase that you want to target for the webpage. For example, if you are targeting an article page for the keyword, on-page SEO techniques, your title should contain it. You can break the keyphrase smartly! As you can judge in the title of this post that you are reading right now.
The last and most important thing, do follow the above three points but don’t over-optimize it and make it non-user friendly. The title should be highly readable and should be enough exclamational that it tells the user what he or she is looking for is definitely contained in this webpage. Try to make the title catchy!
2. Permalink or Slug
The Permalink should Contain the Keyword and should not be ugly.
Permalink is basically the URL of your webpage or blog post. By default, most of the CMS platforms like WordPress have the permalinks structure ugly. You should change it to some pretty and human-readable structure.
Keep the permalinks as short as possible and try to include the keyword in it. Also, avoid using stop words like of, to, for, etc in permalinks. Changing permalinks to Preety Structure in WordPress is very easy.
Just go to Settings and then Permalinks.
On the Permalink Settings page, just change the Permalinks Structure to Post name. You can also use some other friendly and pretty permalink structures like category one.
Try avoiding the use of Month or date type combination unless or until you don’t have a strictly chronological information based blog. In most of the niches, blog posts are updated with time, but changing the permalink or slug is not recommended at all. That’s why to try avoiding using the permalink structure that contains any kind of time, date, year or month, etc.
3. Meta Description
Must set the meta description manually and it should also contain the keyword.
Most of the publishers, forget about writing a manual meta description for their blog posts and articles. Well, there’s nothing wrong in it and Google or other search engines automatically the relevant part of your post content and show it in the meta description area.
But doing On-Page SEO, it is highly recommended to set the meta description manually for each of your webpages. The same rule like title length also applies to meta description. Google & other search engines only show meta description of two or three lines below the title & permalink in the search engine results.
The recommended length is 128 to 158 characters. There is no exact length as search engines show different behavior and lengths for different websites and different search results for different keywords. You should try to include the keyword and another highlighting point about the webpage in the meta description. This description should immediately tell the user about the content of the webpage.
If you are able to provide a good meta description, your website result will get good CTR, otherwise, the user will look for the other results. And mind that CTR is a factor of maintaining the search engine rankings. Websites with good CTR retain search engine positions in a longer run.
4. Keyword Density
Make use of keyword a number of times naturally in the whole content (Maintaining the Density of around 1 or 2 %)
The keyword that you are targeting with the webpage content should be used throughout the content of the article or page in naturally. You should try to maintain the keyword density anywhere between 1% to 2%.
Now, let me talk about the top mistake which most of the users do. They simply over-optimize the article with regards to keyword density. They simply do keyword stuffing. Putting the keyword or its synonyms so many times in the article will result in negative search engine rankings and not in a positive way. That’s why its not recommended to go beyond the 2% keyword density limit.
Just try to keep the content as natural as possible and you’ll see your keyword density is perfect and will mostly be in between the suggested range. Not just use the exact same keyword, you can make use of synonyms and the terms which are related to the keyword.
5. Heading Tags
Include different level heading tags throughout the content.
As I already explained in the Title Optimization section, make use of only single H1 Tag and that for the title. There are other sub-level heading tags as well ranging from H2 to H6. You can make use of these tags any number of times as long as you maintain the hierarchy. Make sure each parent heading, if has any sub-heading tag, should be the exact consecutive heading tag.
Here what I want to say is do not use any heading tag, just randomly anywhere. Use them in proper order. For example, H2 tag can have sub-headings of H3 Tags and H3 Tags can have sub-heading tags of H4. Don’t do something like H2 has parent and directly placing H4 in its body.
Hope, you got the idea of content writing with heading tags. The important thing here is to try to use the keyword or its synonyms in the heading tags. It has been observed that the webpages that contain keywords in heading tags get good rankings.
Long content ranks higher.
You might have heard, Content is the King. Well, yes, it is the king. It is all that people come to find out on your website. And it is obviously all that Google or other search engines want you to be the best of its form so that they can rank your webpage higher. But what factors further under content that you should improve?
Well, there are a number of aspects further related to content that must know to optimize. The first fact is the content length. You might have seen most of the Wikipedia pages rank at the top for just every other keyword. One of the reason is that they contain lots of content. Many studies have proved that the top-ranking results are the ones with more content.
As the ranking positions decreases, the content length of the webpages also decreases. Therefore, you should always pre-decide the content length limit before actually start writing the content.
One quick tip here is to check the content length of the webpages which are already ranking for a particular keyword, which you also want to rank for with your website or blog. Now, accordingly, estimate the content length for your article as well. The content-length factor is applicable as long as the content is of good quality.
There is no use of having lengthy content of poor quality. Search Engines like Google are smart enough to judge the quality of content.
7. Use of Media
Include images, videos & other media in content.
Media is power. These days people prefer to watch videos rather than reading textual resources. Therefore search engines also prefer those websites which contain media like Images & videos. Moreover, think simply, doesn’t the use of media enhances the user experience?
Yes, definitely it enhances the user experience and increases the overall readability of the whole content. You must include one or more images on every webpage of your website. Make sure to follow the good practices along with adding the media content. For example, for images, always put the Alt Attribute. This help search engines to understand the topic around which the image has been included.
Adding Alt Attribute to images in WordPress is pretty easy, whenever you upload a new image in the media library, you’ll see the Alt Attribute Text option in the right sidebar as shown in the following screenshot.
Just put the Alt Text there and you are good to go to add the image in an On-Page SEO optimized way!
8. Internal Linking
Link other webpages of your website related to the content.
When we link the current article of our blog or website with some other article or page, its called as an internal link. This is something really important and very helpful in search engine rankings. Again, take the example of Wikipedia. You might have seen Wikipedia pages are highly internal-linked.
In the above screenshot, you can see the first 4-5 paragraphs of a Wikipedia page. You can clearly see so many blue colored hyperlinks, which are nothing but an internal link to other Wikipedia pages. Internal links simply tell the search engine that this website already has very good content about the topic and therefore the user can get more informational benefits from the website. And hence, highly internal linked web pages rank higher.
Internal Linking is good as long as it is relevant. There is no use of linking to non-useful or non-related content. You can keep the internal links as do-follow as they are referring to the pages of your site only.
9. External Linking (Outbound Links)
Must link to other useful resources out of your website.
You can link to or refer some other websites for further help and usefulness of the reader. This is also seen as a positive point by the search engines. You can keep the outbound links as do-follow which websites you trust highly while for others you can keep as a no-follow attribute.
You can see the above link is basically linking to some other website and hence it is an outbound link to this blog.
10. No Plagiarism
Your content should be original.
Make sure you are publishing the original content and it is not copied from anywhere else. If you’ve hired somebody else for writing content for your blog(s) or website(s), make sure you check the content with any of the Plagiarism Checking Tools before making it live on the Internet.
I’ve recently shared a list of some of the best online plagiarism checking tools which you can check out at the following link.
Plagiarized content will give too much negative impact on your website.
On-Page SEO & Readability
As the search engines are getting advancer day by day, they have a better sense of understanding the reliability of the website(s) content as how a human user may find a piece of content useful. Therefore apart from the traditional On-Page SEO things, you should also focus on Readability parameters as well.
Some of the readability suggestions are given below.
- Try to make use of Active Voice than passive voice.
- Have a good variety in your sentences throughout the content.
- Do not write lengthy paragraphs. Write shorter ones.
- Limit the content under a particular heading or sub-heading upto 300 words.
- Make use of Transition Words.
- Sentence(s) length should not be too long.
By following the above points, you can improve the overall readability of the content. Write your content as per the audience level. Better understand your audience and write the content accordingly. Apart from the readability tips, also proofread your content before publishing it.
Grammarly is a great tool which can help you to enhance your writing skills and proof-read your content. You can get started with Grammarly for Free.
WordPress & On-Page SEO
If you are using self-hosted WordPress for your website or blog, then On-Page SEO is easy and on the go task. You can install the Yoast SEO plugin and it will automatically help you to optimize your article by giving you suggestions and recommendations.
Once you’ve installed, activated and configured this plugin, you’ll see the Yoast SEO box under the Post Editor section of every Edit Article page.
Here, you’ve to set the Focus Keyphrase which is the keyword that you are targeting. Once set, you can see the suggestions and can make the changes in content accordingly. Likewise, this plugin is also capable of showing you the readability suggestions.
The corresponding eye buttons to a few suggestions also help you to highlight the concerned words or content of the article. This page On-Page SEO optimization job really fast.
We’d love to hear from your side, your viewpoints about On-Page SEO in the comments section.
If you have any questions regarding this article, feel free to ask us via the comments section. And if you really liked this article and found it useful, do share it with others who might find it useful as well.