On-Page SEO: What It Is and How to Do It

You’ve heard the term “SEO” thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? In short, search engine optimization helps get your website to rank higher in search engines like Google. A big part of SEO success comes down to on-page optimization – making sure your actual webpages are set up to rank well. If you want to improve your search traffic and rankings, you need to learn the basics of on-page SEO.

This guide will walk you through the essentials of optimizing your content for search engines. We’ll cover things like using keywords, writing compelling page titles and meta descriptions, using headings and bold text, linking to other pages, and more. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of on-page SEO best practices and how to implement them on your own site. Time to dive in and start optimizing! Your higher search rankings and traffic will thank you.

What Is on-Page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to optimizing elements on your own website to improve search engine rankings. This includes your page titles, content, internal linking, URL structure, and more. The goal is to make your site as easy to crawl and index as possible while also providing the best user experience.

When done right, on-page SEO helps search engines understand what your pages are about and determines how highly they should rank for certain keywords. It’s one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy.

Page Titles

Your page titles, or HTML title tags, tell search engines and users what the topic of each page is. They should be compelling and contain your target keywords, ideally within the first 65 characters. For example, “The Beginner’s Guide to On-Page SEO – Improve Your Rankings” would be an effective page title for this content.

URL Structure

Your page URLs should contain keywords as well and follow a logical structure. For example, “example.com/on-page-seo/beginners-guide/” is a well-optimized URL. Avoid numbers, underscores, and excessive keywords which can seem spammy. A clean, hierarchical URL structure with 3 to 5 words in each part is ideal.


Use headings (tags) to establish a clear content hierarchy and include keywords where relevant. Your

should contain your main keyword for that page. Subheadings should get progressively smaller,

for sections,

for subsections, and so on. Headings make your content easy to scan and help search engines determine what each section is about.


Your page content, including images and media, is the meat of your on-page SEO. Focus on providing high-quality written content, at least 300 words for small pages and 500-1000 words for more important topics. Use your target keywords, synonyms, and related phrases throughout the content at a rate of 1-3% density. The content should be useful, insightful, and optimized to rank for your most important keywords.

Internal Linking

Internal links point to other content on your own website. Use them liberally to create a good user experience, but be strategic in linking to pages with relevant, high-value content. Anchor text for internal links should contain keywords where possible. A good internal linking structure helps search engines crawl your site and understand the relationship between pages.

Image Optimization

For images, use relevant file names, image alt text, and captions that contain your target keywords. Image filenames should be short but descriptive, like “on-page-seo-checklist.jpg”. Alt text should be 3 to 5 words. Image captions, if used, should be

The Importance of on-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to optimizing your actual web page content to rank higher in search engines like Google. It’s one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy because it directly affects how search engines view and rank your page.

Why On-Page SEO Matters

On-page SEO helps search engines understand what your page is about so they can determine if it’s relevant for a searcher’s query. The better optimized your page is, the higher it will rank in search results. Some of the major benefits of on-page SEO include:

•Increased organic traffic. By optimizing your page for important keywords, you make it easier for people to find your content in search engines. This results in more visitors from search.

•Better user experience. An optimized page has a clear content structure, informative headings, and easy-to-read text. This makes for a good user experience and encourages people to spend more time on your site.

•Higher conversion rates. Well-optimized content that ranks higher in search tends to convert better. Your visitors will find the information they need faster, so they’re more likely to take the desired action like making a purchase or subscribing to your email list.

Key Elements of On-Page SEO

There are several factors that determine how well optimized your page is. Focus on these elements to improve your on-page SEO:

•Page title. Choose a title that includes your target keyword and is compelling to users. The title should be unique to the page and accurately represent the content.

•URL. Use your keyword in the page URL. Keep URLs short, simple, and include only hyphens, underscores or slashes.

•Headings. Include important keywords in strategic headings. Headings help search engines understand your content structure and what each section is about. Use a logical heading hierarchy with H1s for page titles, H2s for sections, H3s for subsections and so on.

•Content. Focus your content around a specific topic or keyword. Use your keyword a few times naturally throughout the content. Provide value to your readers with well-researched, high-quality information.

•Image alt text. Include your keyword in the alt text of images on the page. Alt text helps search engines understand what your images are about.

•Internal linking. Link to other relevant content on your website. Use keyword-rich anchor text and don’t over-optimize by repeating the same anchor text too many times.

•Page load speed. A fast loading page improves both user experience and search ranking. Compress images, minify code, and optimize your page to load as quickly as possible.

On-Page SEO Techniques for Your Website

Once you have optimized your site structure and content, it’s time to focus on on-page SEO techniques. These are ways you can optimize individual pages on your site to rank higher in search engines. By implementing these on-page SEO best practices, you make it easy for search engines to crawl, index, and rank your content.

Optimize Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

The page title and meta description are two of the most important on-page SEO elements. The page title appears at the top of the browser window and search engine results pages (SERPs). It should be an accurate and concise description of the page content, containing your primary keyword. The meta description is the short summary under the page title in search results. It should be optimally between 150 to 160 characters.

Use Your Keyword in the First 100 Words

Place your primary keyword within the first 100 words of page content. This signals to search engines what the page is about and the topic it covers. Repeat your keyword 3-5 times per 500 words of content, striking a balance to avoid over-optimization. Use related terms and synonyms as well for the best results.

Format Content in a Reader-Friendly Way

Break up content into digestible sections using headings (H2, H3 tags). ### H3 Subheading should have two blank lines before and a trailing space after. Use bulleted (-) or numbered (1.) lists for steps, instructions or minor points. Add images with alt text containing keywords. The content should flow in a logical progression. All of this makes your page easy to read and index.

Include Internal Links

Internal links pass page rank and authority to other pages on your site. Link to related content and contextually relevant pages. Make sure each page has 3-5 internal links for the best SEO results. Use keywords in your anchor text and alt attributes.

Add External Links

High-quality external links establish your site as an authority. Link to authoritative, trusted resources and sites. No more than 1 external link for every 3-4 paragraphs is a good rule of thumb. Nofollow links to avoid passing link authority.

Advanced On-Page SEO Tactics

Once you’ve got the basics of on-page SEO down, it’s time to employ some advanced tactics to gain an edge. These expert strategies can help boost your rankings and drive more organic traffic.

Optimize page load speed

A fast loading website leads to higher rankings and lower bounce rates. aim for a page load time under 2 seconds. Reduce image sizes, minify code, enable caching and consider using a CDN to distribute content.

Optimize page load speed

Internal linking

Link to other relevant content on your site. Use anchor text with your target keywords. Internal links pass authority from page to page, helping search engines discover your content. Link to pages both higher and lower in the site hierarchy.

Broken link building

Find broken links on authoritative sites in your niche and reach out to the webmaster with your content as a replacement. If they replace the broken link with your content, it can result in a high-authority backlink. Be sure to check that the content and anchor text are relevant.

Guest blogging

Publish blog posts on other industry websites to build high-quality backlinks and referral traffic. Reach out to sites that would be interested in the topics you want to write about. Provide well-written, useful content that aligns with their audience. Link back to your site within the content where appropriate.

Optimize for long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords, like “tips for training a German Shepherd puppy,” are more specific search terms that target niche audiences. They tend to have less competition so rankings are easier to achieve. Conduct keyword research to find long-tail keywords that match your content. Optimize your page for a primary long-tail keyword, including it in your page title, URL, headings and content.

Leverage schema markup

Add schema markup to your pages to help search engines better understand your content. Use the correct JSON-LD schema for your page type, e.g. Blog Posting for blog posts. Schema markup results in rich snippets displayed in the search results, which can increase click-through rates. Google also considers schema as a ranking signal.

Create cornerstone content

Develop in-depth resources on topics that are important to your audience. For example, tutorials, guides, glossaries or FAQ pages. Cornerstone content earns more links and shares over time, builds authority and ranks well in search results. Promote your cornerstone content through social media and internal linking. Continuously update the content to keep it relevant.

Using these advanced techniques in addition to on-page SEO fundamentals will give your site an advantage in search rankings. Be sure to re-evaluate your optimization strategy from time to time to incorporate any algorithm updates. Consistently creating high quality content that provides value to your audience is key.

Implement Proven On-Page SEO Techniques

To improve your on-page SEO and rankings, implement these proven techniques:

Choose a keyword-rich page title

Your page title is the first thing search engines and users see. It should be an accurate and concise description of the page content, using your target keyword once or twice. For example, “The Beginner’s Guide to On-Page SEO” or “On-Page SEO Techniques to Boost Your Rankings”.

Use your keyword in the page URL

If possible, include your keyword in the page URL, like example.com/on-page-seo-guide. This helps search engines determine what the page is about.

Write an engaging meta description

The meta description is the snippet of text below your page title in search results. It should entice users to click through, using your keyword once and being between 150 to 160 characters. For example, “Learn essential on-page SEO techniques like optimizing content, internal linking, and page speed to improve your search rankings and traffic.”

Optimize your page content

The content on your page is the most important element for on-page SEO. Here are some tips:

  • Focus on your target keyword and related terms, using each a few times in the first 100 words. Then space them out, using synonyms and semantically-related phrases in a natural way. Aim for a keyword density of 1 to 2.5% for the best results.
  • Include keyword-rich headings: Use your keyword in H1, H2 and H3 headings. The H1 heading should contain your keyword.
  • Emphasize your keyword: Put your keyword in bold or italics a few times. But don’t overdo it, as that can seem spammy.
  • Include images and alt text: Use images to break up your content and make it more engaging. The alt text, or description, of each image should contain your keyword.
  • Link to other internal pages: Link to related content on your site. Use your keyword for the anchor text, or link text. Internal links pass “link juice” to help with search rankings.
  • Make your content scannable: Use bulleted lists, numbered lists, tables, and short paragraphs to make the content easy to quickly scan. Search engines prefer easily scannable content.
  • Make content mobile-friendly: Ensure your content displays well on mobile devices. Google favors mobile-optimized pages in search results.
  • Consider content length: Longer, in-depth content is good for search rankings and engaging users. Aim for at least 500 words, up to 2,000 words or more for comprehensive guides and resources.
  • Update and refresh content: Keep your content up to date with the latest techniques and information. Update it at least once


So there you have it, the basics of on-page SEO in a nutshell. By optimizing your page content, URL, images, and internal linking, you’ve given your page the best chance of ranking well in search engines. Keep your content fresh, fix any issues, and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices. Your on-page SEO efforts combined with a solid overall SEO strategy can help boost traffic and increase visibility over time. What are you waiting for? Get started optimizing your pages today and watch as your rankings and traffic start to climb. The results will be well worth the effort.


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