Think about this for one second…
Everybody uses Google multiple times daily, and so do you. Now the question is: if people can’t find your website on Google, how are they supposed to buy your products or services?
The answer is pretty simple: they’re not. This means you’re losing out on valuable leads and your business isn’t making as much profit as it could be.
You may think that it’s an easy problem to solve—just pay for ads and you can get in front of your target market that way. That isn’t always the case, though. Paid ads are one part of the puzzle, but they’re not the only solution, and certainly not a long-term strategy.
This is where on-page SEO comes into play. Optimizing your website to provide the best UX for your audience and to rank high on Google is one of the most important methods to stay ahead of the curve in this digitalized world.
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What is On-Page SEO?
On-page optimization refers to the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic on Google and other search engines. It’s about continually improving a website’s architecture, design, content and code to make it easier for both users and search engine crawlers to find and understand your site.
Whether you do on-page SEO in-house or hire an SEO digital agency like us for on-page SEO services, you can drive better-quality organic traffic and conversion compared to PPC, improving the bottom line of your digital marketing campaigns.
Why is On-Page SEO Important?
With over 8.5 billion daily Google searches, you’re missing out on a ton of potential traffic and leads if you’re not optimizing your website for search engines.
Consider it this way: if your website is ranking high on Google for relevant keywords, you will get high-quality traffic that converts into customers. If your website is buried all the way on page 10 of Google, your site will never see the light of day and you’ll never reach your highest value audience.
In other words, on-page optimization is important because it can help you:
- Rank higher in Google and improve brand awareness
- Drive high-quality marketing qualified leads (MQL) to your website
- Improve Click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates and ROI
- Enhance the user experience (UX) on your website
- Guide your audience to navigate their customer journey independently
On-Page vs Off-Page SEO
Let’s clear something up before we move on. On-page SEO is not the same as off-page SEO.
On-page optimization has to do with optimizing your website for Google, making it easy to crawl and index, providing the best UX and serving relevant and high-quality content for your target audience. When you collaborate with our digital marketing agency for on-page SEO services, our SEO experts will concentrate on website optimization that is within our control.
Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to optimization efforts that are not within your control. This means building genuine relationships with high-authority websites in your industry to earn high-quality backlinks that will help improve your website’s ranking on Google.
A good analogy for how on-page and off-page work is to think of SEO as getting into shape. On-page SEO is like going to the gym, working out and consuming a healthy diet. You’re in control of these efforts, and they have a direct impact on your body. Meanwhile, off-page SEO is like taking pre-workout supplements to enhance your workout performance. They can help you reach your fitness goals faster, but they are not required and you don’t have much control over them.
Both maintaining a healthy habit and taking supplements are important for getting into shape, and the same goes for on-page and off-page SEO when it comes to ranking higher on Google. In fact, they work best when they are used together as part of a holistic SEO strategy.
Because on-page optimization is something that you can control, we recommend starting your long-term digital marketing strategy with on-page SEO.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your On-Page SEO Journey
Before you start optimizing your website, you need to take a step back and make sure that you have all the necessary tools to measure your website’s SEO performance monthly. This will help you track your progress and determine whether or not your on-page SEO efforts are working.
1. Set Up Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that gives you insights into how your website performs on Google, fixes issues and tracks your progress over time.
By setting up Google Search Console, you can submit your website and new content to Google for indexing, monitor your website’s organic search traffic and performance, receive notifications if Google encounters any issues when crawling your website and more.
To set up Google Search Console, simply follow the instructions from Search Console Help.
2. Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another free tool that gives you insights into the behavior of visitors to your website throughout their entire lifecycle, uncovering data to anticipate future customer actions.
To set up Google Analytics, simply follow the instructions from Google Analytics Help.
3. Install Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a free and incredibly popular WordPress plugin. It is an all-in-one SEO solution that automatically ensures Google can find, crawl and index your content, helps you fine-tune your meta tags, guides you on how to optimize your post or page to rank better and much more.
To install Yoast SEO, simply follow the instructions on the Yoast SEO Help page.
4. Not Using WordPress? Utilize CMS with Meta Tag Features
If you’re not using WordPress as your content management system (CMS), you can still work on on-page optimization efforts by utilizing a CMS with meta tag features.
SEO is always in high demand so these days any CMS should have SEO settings that allow you to add meta tags to your website.
5. Do Your Keyword Research
One of the most important elements of on-page SEO is incorporating relevant keywords into the content of your website.
But how do you know which keywords to use? The answer is by doing keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing the words and phrases people are using to search for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems on the internet.
The 12 Most Important On-Page SEO Factors You Should Know
Now that you have all the necessary tools to track your SEO progress, it’s time to start working on the most important on-page SEO factors. Here are the top on-page SEO factors that you should focus on:
Yum… who doesn’t love food? But in this article, we’re talking about a different kind of E-A-T. You need to eat to live, but for your website to rank higher on Google, you must comply with E-A-T guidelines.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Google looks at these three factors when determining the quality of your website and its content. But what do expertise, authority and trustworthiness mean when crafting content for your website?
Expert content is well-researched, thoroughly written by an expert in the field and provides accurate and up-to-date information.
Authoritative content is backed by credible sources and may include data from studies, statistics and quotes from experts.
Trustworthy content is free of errors, typos and grammatical mistakes. Your content should be objective and unbiased.
Google has always ranked websites that adhere to E.A.T guidelines higher on its result pages compared to sites that create short-form and low-quality content. To create content that is E-A-T compliant, make sure to:
- Do thorough research on the topic you’re writing about
- Write in-depth and thoroughly researched articles
- Cite data and statistics from credible sources
- Hire expert writers to create content for you
- Optimize any photos, videos or any other visual content
- Edit your content without mercy before posting online
Craft High-Quality Content with SEO Writing
Crafting masterpiece content that leads to conversions and engagement is not an easy feat. Not only does your marketing team need to master the art of SEO, they also need to master the art of creative writing.
Unless your team has done it before, it can be quite challenging for someone who doesn’t have any background in SEO writing and creative writing to craft high-quality and engaging content with the right keyword placements, create internal and outbound links with descriptive anchor text and establish an easy-to-read and scannable content structure that Google can use as a snippet.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for the perfect website, certain on-page SEO best practices can help you get started on the right foot.
When crafting web content, you need to keep in mind that people will be scanning your content rather than reading it word for word. That’s why it’s important to have a deeper understanding of your audience, including their needs, wants and behaviors. Only then will you be able to offer content that resonates with your audience and compels them to take action.
Your website content should also be well-written, error-free, authentic and compelling. It should be able to answer your audience’s questions as well as address their pain points. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. And most importantly, make sure to use subheadings and bullet points to break up your content and make it easy to scan.
When it comes to SEO writing, you need to focus on creating keyword-rich content without keyword stuffing. The goal is to use your target keywords in a way that sounds natural and flows well.
One of the best on-page SEO practices to ensure that your website is E-A-T compliant is to incorporate links. There are three types of links:
- Internal links: These are links that go from one page to another relevant page on your website. Incorporating internal links in descriptive anchor text means that you’re giving Google a helping hand in finding and understanding other pages on your website. Internal links in high-quality content can also improve UX and engagement.
- Outbound or external links: These are links that go from your website to another website. External links can be used to build relationships with other websites and show Google that you cited a source and provided verification from a reliable site with high-quality information.
- Inbound or backlinks: These are links from another website to yours and are the primary tools for strengthening off-page SEO. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for SEO. The more backlinks you have from high-quality websites, the more authority your website has. When a website links to your website, it’s seen as a vote of confidence. The more votes (links) you have, the more trustworthy your website is in Google’s eyes.
Of course, not all links are created equal. Internal and outbound links will boost your on-page SEO while inbound backlinks boost off-page SEO.
A link from a high-authority website will carry more weight than a link from a low-authority website or internally. To get high-quality links, you need to create high-quality content that other websites will want to link to. Creating great content isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
When you get a link from another website, make sure that the link is relevant to your content and that the anchor text is descriptive. If a website links to your website with the anchor text “click here,” it doesn’t tell Google anything about your website. But if the anchor text is descriptive and relevant, it can help Google understand what your website is about, further increasing your site authority.
Optimize Visual Assets
Images, videos, infographics, GIFs and other visual assets can help break down your text and make your content more engaging. But that’s not all. They can also boost your on-page SEO score.
Rename your visual asset with descriptive file names and add relevant alt text to describe what’s in the image. This will help Google index your images and show them in image search results.
If you’re using videos on your website, don’t forget to optimize them for SEO by adding closed captions, as well as descriptive titles and tags.
Use social media to share your visual assets and drive traffic back to your website. And don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA) with every image or video you share.
One of the best on-page SEO practices is to optimize your visual asset to the smallest size without compromising on quality. Large images can slow down your website and hurt your UX and overall on-page SEO.
Analyze and Fill In Any Content Gaps
Content gap analysis is the process of evaluating your existing content to discover content or topic gaps that your audience is searching for but you’re not providing. It’s a crucial part of on-page SEO strategy as it allows you to create all-encompassing content marketing that’s truly relevant and informative.
It’s important to frequently conduct a content gap analysis as your audience’s needs and wants change over time. Once you’ve discovered your content gaps, fill them in by creating new pieces of content around those topics. Make sure to do your research and craft comprehensive, high-quality content to satisfy your audience’s needs.
The best way to analyze the content gap is to clean up your own home before going to someone else’s. This means that you should research and evaluate your own website before going out to do a competitive analysis.
To do this, read all of your content and find any missing opportunities. Look for any topics that you could be covering but aren’t, any content that is outdated or any questions that are left unanswered.
Once you’ve done your own content analysis, it’s time to take a look at what your competitors are doing. The best way to do this is to dissect all content on the first page of Google to check content freshness, content details, readability, E-A-T compliance and link profiles.
Keep note of what your competitors are doing well and use these findings to improve upon your own content.
Optimize Your Title Tag
Don’t forget to work on your technical on-page SEO as well. The first technical on-page SEO element you need to focus on is your title tag.
The title tag is what your audience will see on Google when they’re searching. Balance your creative writing and SEO writing skills to create a title that is both captivating and illustrative. A good title tag should be:
Concise: Keep your title tags under 580px.
Illustrative: Use relevant keywords to describe what your page is about.
Accurate: Don’t stuff keywords or use clickbait titles.
Captivating: Write titles that will make people want to click on them.
There are many free tools available to check if your title tag will fit within the available space on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP). One of our SEO digital agency’s favorite tools is HigherVisibility.
Google only shows up to 70 characters in its SERPs, but it’s important to keep your title tags under 580px as some browsers may cut off your title tag and replace the rest of your meta details with an ellipsis (…).
On its own, the title tag won’t help you rank high on Google, but combined with other smart technical on-page SEO elements and high-quality content, it can help you attract organic traffic to your website and improve your CTR.
Create Engaging Meta Descriptions
Even though optimizing your meta descriptions doesn’t directly impact your website ranking, it will attract your audience to click on your listing over others and improve your CTR, which is one of the factors that Google looks at when determining your website ranking.
Create an engaging meta description that is intriguing, descriptive and closely related to your audience’s search intent. Keep it within 385px to avoid getting truncated in the Google search results.
Use relevant keywords in your meta description to give users an idea of what your page is about. But don’t stuff your meta description with too many keywords as it will not only turn off potential website visitors, it will also get you penalized by Google.
Condense Your URL
Keep your URLs short, descriptive and to the point. A good URL has 3-8 words and should be relevant to your page’s topic.
For example, the URL of this page is:
It shouldn’t be something like this:
It’s great for on-page SEO to include your keyword in the URL, but some extra words may be helpful to provide a bit of context as well. Just keep it simple and don’t make it too descriptive.
Use Proper Heading Tags
When writing an article, use proper heading tags to structure your content. This will make it easy for your audience to scan, read and digest your writing.
There are six heading tags available to use, from h1 to h6. The h1 tag is the most important heading tag and should only be used for the title of your content. The h2 tag is used for subheadings and the h3 tag for sub-subheadings. You can use the h4 to h6 tags to further divide your content into smaller sections.
Optimize heading tags for your audience and Google by keeping them short yet descriptive to allow your audience to scan your content. Use target keywords to further optimize your heading tags and improve your on-page SEO.
Improve Site Speed
Everyone values fast-loading websites and so does Google. Imagine if you needed to wait just a second longer for a website to load—would you stay on that site? Most likely not. And neither will your visitors.
Maile Ohye, Google’s Senior Principal Product Manager, said in a 2010 Google Webmaster video, “2 seconds is the threshold for eCommerce site acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.” And that was 12 years ago.
When it comes to waiting for websites to load, most users believe they are more patient than they truly are. That is why it’s important to make sure your website loads as fast as possible. In fact, GQ, the famous men’s magazine, saw its traffic jump from 6 million to 11 million visitors per month after optimizing their site speed from 7 to 1.5 seconds.
Imagine if your website loaded at the speed of light. How much traffic would you get?
There are many factors that can affect your load time, but here’s several ways to improve your website speed:
- Optimize images, videos and other files
- Compress your code without interfering with its operation
- Clear your database of unnecessary data
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
- Choose a good hosting provider that can offer you fast servers
- Reduce the number of plugins you use on your website
- Use lazy load for images and videos
Switch to a Mobile-First Approach
In 2015, Google rolled out a new algorithm that boosted mobile-friendly sites’ rankings on the search results. This update, nicknamed “Mobilegeddon,” caused many non-mobile-friendly websites to lose traffic and rankings. In 2018, Google updated its algorithm again to give even more preference to mobile-friendly websites.
Developing your site with a mobile-approach first is now an on-page SEO strategy that you can no longer ignore. If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly yet, now is the time to do it.
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check if your website is ready for the mobile-first index.
Remove Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is any content that appears on the web in more than one place. It’s an issue that can have a negative impact on your on-page optimization as it confuses Google and makes it difficult to determine which version of the content Google should show to users.
Canonical URLs are used to tell Google that a certain page on your website is the original version of the content and avoids duplicate content issues.
If you have two versions of the same content, Google will see them as two separate pages. By adding a rel=canonical tag, you’re telling Google that the www version is the original content. The rel=canonical tag with a link to the original content page should be added to the duplicated content pages.
Another way to avoid duplicate content issues is to create a sitemap. A sitemap is an XML file that contains all the URLs of your website. Submit your sitemap to Google through Search Console to help Google find and index all the pages on your website.
If you have different versions of your content in different languages, make sure to use hreflang tags to tell Google which language you’re using on each page. This will help Google serve the right content to the right audience.
Obtain an SSL Certificate
Google and users prefer secure websites. Buy an SSL certificate to encrypt the data on your website and make it more secure. Some web hosting providers offer free SSL certificates. You can buy an SSL certificate from a reputable provider if your hosting provider doesn’t supply you with a free one.
Once you obtain an SSL certificate, install it on your server and switch your website from HTTP to HTTPS. You can then submit your new sitemap to Google Search Console and verify your website.
Don’t forget to update your internal links and redirect your old HTTP pages to your new HTTPS pages.
Power Your Success with On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is an ongoing process. Don’t do it only when you see a drop in your website ranking or traffic.
Keep an eye on your website’s performance and do a monthly on-page SEO audit of your website to ensure that everything is in order. This will help you nip any potential problems in the bud and keep your website ranking high in Google search results.
It’s true, to see a significant SEO improvement, you need to pair on-page SEO with off-page SEO efforts. However, it’s always best to start improving your website ranking with something that you can control and gradually work your way up.
Off-page SEO is equally important, but if your on-page SEO is not up to par, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Improve your website ranking by focusing on your on-page SEO first and foremost.
Remember, on-page SEO is like the foundation of a building. It needs to be strong and stable before you can start working on the rest of the structure.
If you’re not sure where to start, our dedicated team of on-page SEO consultants is standing by ready to guide you on the path to growing your business through Google.