On-Page SEO [The Ultimate Guide 2021]
On-page SEO refers to the optimization of web pages by various practices like content optimization, keyword research, meta tags to rank higher in the search engine result page (SERP).
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What is On-Page SEO?
I know you people have heard this term optimization an ample number of times. Now, what does this word really means? Because if you are not clear with the underlying meaning of “optimization”, it is difficult for you to understand SEO and its various types i.e. On-Site SEO and Off-Site SEO. Also, you must know the difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.
Optimization here refers to the process of making the web page or website best or most effective by working on its content and performing a series of practices.
Before you move on to other techniques of SEO, you must focus on your content because content optimization is the first way to step into the ugly world of websites.
Google displays the search results after considering millions of web pages available and keeping in mind which content or web page is most relevant to the query. That’s how the Google algorithm works, and to be honest, that’s how you have to work.
It’s all about the fact that the first impression is the last. You only have about 8-10 seconds to satisfy your visitor. On-site SEO is how you do this.
Why On-Page SEO is Important?
On-Page SEO helps search engines to understand the content of a webpage and whether it satisfies a user’s query. Search Engine keeps filtering the content based on the keywords on which a particular web page is optimized and rank them on the basis of how much relevancy they have with regards to the search query and user intent.
On-Page SEO is the major way of bringing organic traffic to your website. You can’t ignore it because Google’s algorithms look for the semantics, LSIs, and focused keywords in your content to match it with what a user is looking for. Optimizing the content is the basic of SEO. Unless your On-Page SEO is strong you can’t expect good results.
Google, Bing, and other search engines keep updating their algorithms timely. But no matter what’s the latest update in the algorithm, search engines always give priority to the keywords and their usage at the right places. Things like these can only be achieved when you do the On-Page optimization of your web page.
This on-page SEO guide will run you through the most important On-Page SEO technique which is a must thing for every web page. Follow these and expect quick organic results.
17 Useful On-Page SEO Checklist 2021:
1. Meta Title
Meta title plays a significant role in website ranking. If your title is satisfying, then only people bother to click on it. Most importantly, use keywords in your title. The title should be of around 50-55 characters as per Google’s modern algorithm. The contemporary settings of Google display title of length 50-55 characters (space included), and the rest hides. Avoid making the title too long. Keep the title short and simple.
Syntax: <title>Your Title Here</title>
2. Meta Description
The meta description tag is used to display the summary of your content for both the user and search engine. The meta description should be 150-160 characters because the search engine displays a description only up to 160 characters. It shouldn’t be too long. If your Meta description is good, there is a chance that your content can appear in the featured snippets of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Syntax: <Meta name=” description” content=” the description which you want to display”/>
3. User-Friendly URLs
Your priority should be the user because if you can satisfy the user, that means you have already met the requirements of the search engine. Make use of SEO-friendly URLs and pay attention to the first three to four words of it because shorter URLs rank much better.
Avoid using lengthy URLs such as https://lazyearning.com/what-is-blog-and-how-does-it-work-in-2020
Avoid using ugly URLs such as https://lazyearning.com/2019/03/11/what-is-blog-blogging-blogger/
Try using URLs as simple as https://lazyearning.com/blog/what-is-blog-blogging-blogger/
4. Keyword Research
Keywords are an essential part of SEO. Keep checking the most searched keywords using the best SEO tools and post content only on them. You can use Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Everywhere, Ubersuggests, AnswerThePublic.
Target the keywords that have a search volume of 1000+ searches per month. You can target the keywords like Informative keywords (For example, SEO and Blogging), Transactional keywords (For example, keywords including ‘best’ and ‘top’ word), Location-Based keywords.
Always add the keyword in your title and meta description. The focused keyword should be present 5-6 or more times in the article, depending on the content length. Also, use the target keyword in the first 100 words of your content.
5. Use of LSI Keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are a group of words that contain the focused keyword. LSI keywords can be synonyms or related keywords. For example, if the focused keyword is on-page SEO, its LSI keywords can be on page SEO techniques, on-page SEO checklist, on-page SEO tutorial, on-page SEO steps, on-page SEO guide, and more.
LSI keywords are as relevant as the focused keywords. LSI keywords help Google Hummingbird Algorithm to understand what your content is about and how relevant it is. You can take the help of SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner and LSIGraph for LSI keywords.
6. Heading Tags
Heading tags play a vital role in the content. Make use of the HTML heading tags H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. Out of these, the most important is the H1 tag. As a recommendation, you should use the H1 tag in the title. Because H1 tags help both the user as well as the search engine to understand your content. H2, H3, and H4 tags should be used in the subheading of the article. Headings make it easy for the reader to read the content. They provide a better structure to the page.
Most of the times user does not read the entire page; instead, they prefer to take a quick look on the headings. If at some point they find that the heading is informative, then they prefer to read what’s written inside it.
7. Inbound or Internal Links
Internal links are the hyperlinks from one web page to the other web pages of the same website. Including internal links can help you in bringing more traffic to your site.
The main advantage of internal linking is that the readers stay on your website for a longer time. You are hence giving Google the idea that your website contains valuable content. As a result, Google ranks your website higher.
There is no limit to put the internal links in your post (don’t put links in every sentence). Add as many links to other pages of your website as possible. But yeah, make sure that those links are somehow related to the content, they shouldn’t be out of the topic.
8. Outbound or External Links
External links or outbound links are the hyperlinks from one web page to the other web page of a different website. The informative and quality external links from your web page to other sites help Google to understand what your web page has quality content.
If you think that some of your articles are incomplete and need specific changes, you can add the links to other web pages of the relevant topic that has covered the subject very well.
Links are a source of bringing a majority of traffic to your website. You must be clear with the concept of link building if you want to survive in the race of SEO.
9. Image Optimization
Optimizing the image refers to reducing the size of the image without compromising its quality. Adding images are better for user experience. Image optimization is essential from the point of page load time. If the image size is large, it takes more than a couple of seconds for the page to load. And the user directly moves to another page from yours.
For example, if the image size is 250 KB, reduce it to 25-50 KB. More importantly, the caption of the image should contain a focused keyword.
10. Image Alt Tags
Alt tags are used as a description of an image. If due to low network connectivity or any other reason the image fails to load, the alt tag appears on the screen and displays some description about the picture.
In simple words, the alt tag is the written copy of the image. It is always advised to use the relevant keyword in the image alt tag for the description. The search engines are not so advanced to read the image, but it detects the alt tag of the picture. Because of which crawling and ranking become much better.
11. Site Speed
The present algorithm of Google has made page speed the most critical point of consideration for website ranking. And to be honest, it’s right, because if your page load time is not up to the mark. Why do you think someone stays on your website for a single second? The site should load within 5 seconds. That’s the maximum time a user waits.
You can boost the speed of your website through various methods. Some include image optimization, eliminate too many ads, reduce the redirects, and switch to faster hosting. My favorite is to use of the WP Rocket plugin to boost the site speed.
Consider your hosting also for your site speed. Hosting can play a changing role when it comes to boosting the site speed. You can use Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix, and Pingdom to check your site’s page loading time. You only have to enter the URL of the website, and it displays the time taken by a webpage to load.
12. Mobile-Friendly Website
According to a survey, around 60% of searches come from mobile devices. Hence, driving a majority of traffic towards your website. Mobile usage is going up day by day. Therefore it is essential to make the website mobile-friendly.
If a website is not appropriate as per the mobile screen, the user can quickly close it. It increases the bounce rate of the website and worsens the website ranking. You have to design your site as per the mobile users. For example, it should have easy to navigate buttons and links, and it should have easy to read font, page load time should be less, and use compressed images.
If you don’t know how to check the responsiveness of your website on mobile phones, you can enter the URL of your site on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool and check how your site performs on mobile phones.
13. Canonical URL and Tags
Beginners often fail to understand the importance of a canonical tag and don’t use it. It is used to resolve the problem with the duplicate URLs for the search engine.
There are four versions of a domain:
I hope you people were able to identify the difference between the above four URLs. The domain name remains the same, but its versions differ. The domain name is always with HTTP or HTTPS, but it can be with or without the www.
For a human being, all these URLs appear the same, but for Google search crawler, these URLs are different. That’s when duplicity arises. If you own https://example.com and post some content and have not used the canonical tags, then it is accessible in four different URLs by a search engine. Google considers this duplicity and penalizes your website.
Duplicate content is the biggest mistake of SEO. You have to tell Google which URL is canonical specifically.
You can apply the canonical tag in the following way.
Syntax: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com”>
14. Schema Data (Structured Data)
Google understands the web page in a much-expanded way if it is represented in a schema data format. A specific structure is designed to make the Google search engine understand your web page. The schema data or structured data increases the chances of the web page coming in the featured snippets.
Creating structured data can be done in two ways either you do the coding manually or take the help of SEO tools. If you are not good at coding, you can use the JSON-LD Generator tool. With the help of the JSON-LD Generator tool, you can create the structured data by entering some information related to your webpages such as title, description, keywords, domain name, web page URL, author name, logo, and more.
You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool for testing the schema data of your web page.
The most crucial factor which can become a significant reason for post-failure is content length. It is always recommended that your content length should be an average of 2000 words. A content with 1000 to 1500 words stands nowhere near the competitors. I suggest you write an article with 2000+ words for better chances of appearing in the top ten results.
16. Readability Check
Users should be your priority. If your website can satisfy the user, that means it already has happy Google. Keep yourself in the place of the user and then create the content of your web page. Keep it short and straightforward. It should be easy enough for the user to understand.
If you think that according to you it is easy to read and understand but still have some doubts. You can take the help of the Grammarly tool. It is one of the best free SEO tools. It checks for the readability of the content, its grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, style, and other content-related issues. Readers are your leaders, make them happy.
17. Use Social Media Buttons
You must have visited thousands of websites, and I am sure you have noticed the social media buttons somewhere on every webpage. Social media brings a considerable amount of traffic to your site.
A viewer can share your content on various social media platforms via social media buttons, and others who click on that link directly gain access to the web page, which leads to an increase in traffic.
Though social media buttons are not compulsory as per the present Google algorithm, it can, of course, help in bringing a lot of traffic and can indirectly help in boosting the rank. Indirect ranking here refers to the fact that it makes your website famous as well.
On-page SEO is the basic of SEO. It will be a stupid move if you do not optimize the content of your webpage and switch to other means of SEO. As an SEO tip, always use the keyword in the first 50 words of your post, URL, and title. I hope you guys found this On-site SEO guide informative.
Do let me know in the comments if anything is not clear.
Originally published Dec 30, 2019, updated Jan 23, 2021