What is On-Page Search Engine Optimization?

by | Nov 21, 2015

On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term used to describe a set of steps that should be take on each page or blog post on your website in order to optimize the content.

Before thinking about how to technically optimize your content, consider this – the primary goal of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, is to provide the best possible search results when someone is looking for information. It’s that simple. So how do we optimize our content so that search engines will display our page as a possible link for someone to click on?

It begins with having good content that is written for humans to read, digest and possibly share. Always think in terms of humans first, search engines second. If your content is human-friendly and optimized accordingly, it stands a better chance of appearing closer to the top of search results.

8 Basic On-page SEO Elements

  • Page Titles:
    • The title of the page should be approximately 55 – 70 characters long and should include a focus keyword or phrase for the topic of your page/post.
  • Meta Description:
    • Your page description may influence how google displays what your page is about in search results. Keep this to about
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  • Meta Tags (keywords):
    • You may have heard Google’s very own Matt Cutts say way back in 2009 that Google doesn’t use keywords for page ranking. So why do we still have the ability to input them? Here’s my 2 cents…anything a website owner can do within the meta data in order to help search engines best understand the content of the page, should be leveraged. While Google may not use keywords to rank a page, that does not mean the keywords aren’t considered when attempting to understand the content. That is, provided the keywords being used are a true match to the content and context of the topic of the page. Another use for keywords or a key word phrase is to keep us on track topically. It’s a good practice to determine a keyword or phrase for each page or post in order to best optimize the page for that particular topic. (Hint – this would go in your content or blog planning document)
  • URLs:
    • Use your keyword or phrase in the URL for your page/post. Try to keep URL’s in the 60 character range. If your URL is too long, you can remove “stop” words like “and”, “a”, “the”, etc. These words often do not add value to the URL for the page. If the URL reads better with them included however, you can leave them in.
  • Body Tags:
    • Generally your page title is your H1 tag. Other tags like H2, H3, H4, etc can be used to break up text to make your page easier to read by both humans and crawlers.
  • Keyword/Phrase Usage: 
    • Be sure to use the keywords or phrases you have identified in natural sounding sentenced throughout the post. Do not stuff keywords onto the page if they don’t make sense to the reader and don’t overuse them. You can also use variations of the keywords to capture audiences that may be searching with alternate terminology.
  • Images:
    • Using relevant images makes your content easier and more enjoyable to read and understand by humans. Placing ALT text and descriptions on your images will help to also have your images indexed and understood by search engines.
  • Internal Links:
    • If you have another page on your site that can provide more information on a subject, be sure to link that text to the other page or pages within your website.

Once you are done optimizing your page for content, make sure to update your Content Planning Document. Creating the perfect post is only perfect if the content aligns with your business goals and Content Marketing Strategy.

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