What is On-page SEO? A Complete Guide For Beginners

What is On-page SEO? A Complete Guide For Beginners

The goal of on-page optimization (or on-site SEO) is to make a website rank higher in search engines for specific keywords, so that organic traffic increases.

Author: Aqsa Ikhlaq

Published On: 01-11-2022

Seo On-Page SEO   What is On-page SEO? A Complete Guide For Beginners


On-page SEO is often considered simple as sprinkling some keywords in content that is not valid. Although keyword placement is essential, there is much more to what we do in on-page optimization. For on-page SEO of your site, perhaps you have read dozens — or even hundreds of SEO articles on the Internet. Throughout your search for effective SEO strategies, you must have learned countless tricks. Maybe you have paid the SEO experts to help you develop an SEO strategy that aligns with your business goals.

Anyhow, despite doing all this, if you are still unable to boost your SEO efforts, you must be overwhelmed and crunched for time. Whatever the case, dragging your feet when it comes to on-page SEO is not an option. If you want to grow your business online, you should focus on it as it helps to drive thousands of visitors and customers to your website. Confused? Don't worry, as we are here to help you. 

Follow this ultimate on-page SEO guide to rank higher on search engine result pages sooner than you expected.

What is On-page SEO?

When it comes to digital marketing, on-page SEO matters the most because it helps the search engines understand what each piece of content on your website is about. The better the search engine understands your content, the higher you rank on result pages. 

For sure, higher rankings lead to an ultimate increase in organic traffic, conversions, and revenue. Most importantly, on-page SEO contributes a lot to improving the user experience. 

In simple words, on-page SEO refers to everything we do within a website to optimize the content for better rankings on search engines. Essentially, it involves optimizing page-specific elements such as title tags, headings, content, source code, and links.

Why is On-page SEO Important?

With on-page SEO, Google analyzes your website and its content to determine if a searcher's query is relevant to your site. A Google algorithm is constantly updated to understand a searcher's intent better and deliver search results relevant to that user. Therefore, your website should also develop along with Google's algorithm.

You need to ensure that your website and content, including what users can see (media, content, images) and what search engines can see (metadata, HTML), align with the latest search engine practices. In this way, search engines can understand your site's content and how to rank it.

Regardless of the size of your company, optimizing your website's on-page SEO is crucial. SEO remains one of the most popular digital marketing strategies, mainly because of its reliable return on investment.

Search engines like Google and Bing generate half of all website traffic, meaning that close to 40% of online revenues come from search traffic. Another interesting fact: Google's top 1st result gets more than 32% of keyword traffic, and the first page of search results gets more than 90% of traffic.

On-page SEO is therefore essential. Without it, you could be seriously losing out on opportunities to rank for specific search queries specific to your business. A site without an SEO strategy may be pushed down search engine results by its competitors.

It is one of the main reasons many businesses use an SEO firm to rank high on search engines to optimize their website. So, they can get more profit in business.

Important On-Page SEO Elements

Many elements determine a website's success beyond its on-page SEO strategies. Optimizing these elements is the key to maintaining an effective on-page strategy. Here is a list of those elements:

  • Page Content

  • Page Titles

  • Headers

  • Meta Descriptions

  • Image Alt-text

  • Structured Markup

  • Page URLs

  • Internal Linking

  • Mobile Responsiveness

  • Site Speed

There are three main ways to optimize these elements through:

  1. Content Factors

  2. HTML Factors

  3. Site Architecture 

1. Content Factors

There is a phrase that people usually use "content is king," which is very relevant in the case of on-page SEO. Your page content is the heart of it. Which tells the customers and readers what your website or page is about. So, when it comes to the content, you have to be very conscious about it as it represents your business or services. In this part, our primary focus will be crafting high-quality content to benefit the customers and visitors. 

Clear Content

No one will read your content if it is unclear or hard to read, regardless of its relevance, depth, or interest. There are many great sayings about the content of a site:

If you want your users to read your content, consider these points:

  • Put yourself in the reader's shoes. Be direct and concise

  • Use attractive images to make the text easier to read

  • Organize your text. Focus on the most critical points

  • Short and simple is best. Be specific and explicit

  • To make reading easier, use subheadings

  • Make use of the active form as much as possible

  • Simple and large fonts help users read

Relevant Content

The first step is to choose the relevant topics and keywords to generate high-quality content. Search for keywords on Google and see if there are any comparable results for your competitors and other websites. Additionally, you can use tools like Ahrefs, AnswerthePublic, and UberSuggest. 

A great tool to use here is Google Trends because you can find topics that are currently trending and increasing in Google searches. 

The next phase is to write your content or clean it up if you are auditing on-page SEO. Here, we are going to mention some of the best practices for writing high-quality content:

  • Add short and long-tail keywords generically

  • Write engaging and relevant content

  • Write for your particular buyer persona

  • Actively solve your Audience's problem

  • Try to write content that people love to read and share

Keep in mind that page content is the opportunity for you to communicate value to Google and your website visitors. 

All other on-page SEO stems from high-quality content, so invest your time and resources to optimize it first. 

2. HTML Factors

HTML factors are the factors in your source code.

To check the source code of any page in your browser, click View > Developer > View Source in the top menu. 

Some specific HTML codes are responsible for providing information to search engines for SERP display. As the search engines are getting smarter with time, there is less use for HTML tags than in the past. But few tags are still holding on and have SEO value. 

Titles Tags

A page title is one of the most critical elements of your on-page SEO. Title tags help web crawlers, and visitors find what your website is about.

Its title tag should incorporate the main keyword for a website to rank well. The keyword must be included as naturally as possible.

Here are our best practice tips underneath while creating page titles:

  • The character length shouldn't be more than 70 characters (per Google's update). Page titles longer than this can be cut off in the search results, affecting your CTR

  • Avoid 'keyword stuffing' your title - this isn't just malicious, but it additionally makes a negative understanding experience. Current search engines can get on this unnatural keyword stuffing, which could unfavorably affect your rankings

  • Make sure the title applies to the page

  • Incorporate your image/business name in the title

Heading Tags

Heading are also known as body tags, referring to HTML elements <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. These tags help get sorted out your content for readers and assist with looking through engines to distinguish which portion of your content is generally significant and relevant, contingent upon search intent.

Integrate significant keywords in your headers, but pick different ones compared to your page title. Put your most important keyword in your <h1> and <h2> headings.

Meta Description

Meta descriptions are the short page portrayals that appear under the search results title. Even though it's not an authority ranking element for search engines, it can impact if your page is clicked on — therefore, it's similarly significant while doing on-page SEO.

Meta descriptions can be duplicated to social media when your content is shared so that it can encourage click-throughs from there, too. 

Here is what makes a good meta description:

  • Keep your meta description under 160 characters

  • Incorporate your keyword or entire keyword phrase

  • Use complete one or two compelling sentences

  • Avoid alphanumeric characters

Image Alt Text

Many websites miss out on the opportunity to rank in Google image searches because they don't optimize their images. The alt text describes what your image displays to search engines. It is a significant advantage to rank for these searches since Google delivers many image-based results.

Alt-text is primarily intended to increase accessibility for screen reader users. It would help if you had descriptive alt text on your images because this converts content and images to audio.

Keep the following points in mind when implementing the image alt-text:

  • Try to be accurate and descriptive

  • Make sure it is relevant to the page content

  • Keep it concise - no more than 125 characters

  • Avoid keyword stuffing

  • Avoid the phrases like "an image of," as Google can recognize that it's an image

Structured Markup

A structured data approach involves marking up website source code so that Google can fully understand what your content is all about. Your structured markup allows Google to produce featured snippets, knowledge panels, and other search results. 

When your content is shared on social media, structured data also ensures that it appears correctly.

A structured data strategy can be considered more of a technical SEO strategy. It can improve users' on-page experience; it's also essential to implement it properly to benefit on-page SEO.

3. Site Architecture Factors

For site architecture, we can say that the elements that make up a website and its pages are structural elements. A well-structured website can make it easier for Google and other search engines to crawl your pages. And for a well-structured website, we need to consider several elements like; Page URLs, Internal linking, Mobile usability, and Site Speed. 

Page URLs

URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. Each piece of web content has its URL. The URL naming and format will be displayed on the SERPs along with title tags and meta descriptions so that these factors can influence click-through rates. Moreover, search engines evaluate and rank websites based on URLs, not just using them to decide which pages to click on.

But, keeping URLs short and descriptive is essential so they are easy to read for users and search engines. Your URL will be truncated if it's too long, so it's best to keep it short.

Additionally, URLs maintain your website hierarchy as you add more internal pages like blog posts and subcategories. Therefore, your URLs must show the specific path to your pages.

Updates to URLs, title tags, and meta descriptions are simplified with SEO plugins like Yoast SEO.

Here are some tips to generate user-friendly URLs:

  • Avoid unnecessary words

  • Include your primary keyword

  • Always separate the words using hyphens

  • Avoid using special characters and capital letters

Internal Linking

Internal linking is the creation of hyperlinks to other valuable pages on your website. In on-page SEO, internal links are important since they send readers to other pages on your site, keeping them on your site longer and thus telling Google that your site is valuable and useful.

In addition, the longer visitors stay on your site, the longer Google has to crawl and index your pages. By doing so, Google can get more information about your website and potentially rank it higher in search engine results.

Additionally, you can provide external links to other websites writing about related topics. You benefit both Google and your readers if you add depth and trust signals to your content - it shows you care about what they need and what else they might like.

Mobile Usability 

The importance of usability and responsiveness to mobile is now more critical than ever, as Google prefers optimized websites for mobile performance. 

If you want users to have a good experience across all devices, your content layouts must be readable and navigable. You can test if your page is mobile-friendly or not by using Google's testing tool.  

To enhance mobile usability, you need to make your content readable and easy to navigate on your mobile devices to provide an excellent experience for the users.

Site Speed

On-page SEO also focuses on site speed and load time. Your website needs to load quickly, whether users use a mobile device or a desktop computer.

Google places a high value on user experience. In addition to negatively affecting user experience, a slow-loading website could result in visitors leaving your site to find alternative content in the search results. And Google is well aware of this, which can have a negative effect on your rankings. It will also affect conversions.

Analysis of 5.3 million websites shows that you can enhance your site speed by moving to a faster host and eliminating third-party scripts. Another thing that you can do to optimize the site speed is to reduce your page size.

Final Verdict

One-page SEO involves several concepts, techniques, and strategies, But writing a compelling and SEO-friendly article is possible. As Google loves to rank SEO-friendly content. By following the above guide to on-page SEO, you will be able to outrank your competitors. 

Note that the common thread through all the on-page elements is to add value and meet the user's expectations.

To achieve good SEO results, you shouldn't just focus on one aspect. You should also make sure that your SEO agency or team is working on improving your website's off-site and technical aspects.

Aqsa Ikhlaq

Aqsa Ikhlaq

Aqsa Ikhlaq is a passionate content marketer and the brains behind ETTVI Blog’s content strategy. With years of experience in the field, she honed her skills in crafting compelling narratives and driving engagement. .

Blogs by Aqsa Ikhlaq

View More

Stay up to date in the email world.

Subscribe for weekly emails with curated articles, guides, and videos to enhance your tactics.