On-Page SEO helps Google understand content on your page so it can rank the page for relevant keywords. Use this reference guide for creating new pages or optimizing existing ones.
On-Page SEO – Technical Elements
On-page optimization affects both technical and content elements. This section describes typical actions needed to optimize technical elements on the page.
Use Keywords in page URL
Page URL is one of the strongest on-page SEO signals. You must include the main keyword you are targeting in the URL of the page. It is one of the most important factors affecting on-page SEO.
If you are using WordPress, use the Post Name type Permalink and give the Post / Page a title that includes the keyword. WordPress will automatically create a URL from the page title. If the page is already created, edit the permalink you see below the page title to include the keyword.
Note: If you change the permalink of an existing page, make sure you add a 301 Redirect from the old URL to the new URL (permalink).
Add SEO Title to Improve On-page SEO
Every page must have an SEO title tag. The title tag should include the main keyword. Ideally, you should start the title with the keyword to improve on-page SEO.
If you are using WordPress, the best option is to install SEO by Yoast plugin and use it to set the SEO Title for the Post / Page. Read this post about WordPress SEO for detailed instructions on how to use Yoast plugin.
The SEO title length should have at least 40 characters. The maximum recommended length is 66 characters. Over time, its significance has come down but it is still an important on-page SEO factor in optimizing your page.
Add Meta Description to Your Page
The Meta description helps users and search engines understand the content of your page. It is displayed on the search results page below your page URL. A well written meta description can increase the percentage of people who click through to your page from the search result.
Even though Meta description is considered an on-page SEO factor, it does not directly improve your search ranking. However, the increased click through rate on your page as a result of well written meta can help your page rank higher.
Include your keyword in meta description to improve on-page SEO. The maximum suggested length of meta description is between 150-160 characters.
If you are using WordPress, use the SEO by Yoast plugin to add the meta description.
Use Canonical Tag Where Needed
The Canonical tag is used to identify a page with original content. You use it to direct search engines to the page with the original content if your page is duplicating content from somewhere else.
If the current page is a duplicate of an existing page or post, add a canonical tag to the page to identify the original page. A canonical tag will avoid duplicate content penalty from Google and also pass on the SEO juice from the current page to the original page.
While Canonical tag does not improve on-page SEO, not using it for a duplicate page can result in duplicate content penalty by Google.
If you are using WordPress, use the SEO by Yoast plugin to set the Canonical tag.
Speed Up Your Page for On-page SEO
Page load speed, or page speed, is an important parameter in page ranking. A fast loading page is more likely to rank higher in search results compared to a slow loading page.
The first step in optimizing page load speed is to test how long the page takes to load. Use tools like Page Load Time Chrome extension to measure how long the page takes to load and why. For an existing page, you can look at page load time in the Behavior reports section of Google Analytics.
Reducing page load time can significantly improve on-page SEO of your page. An easy way to speed up your site is to use a good web hosting company like SiteGround.
On-Page SEO – Content Elements
This section describes typical actions needed to optimize content elements on the page.
Optimize Page Heading for On-page SEO
Headline has a huge impact on on-page SEO and click through rate on your search results. An ideal headline marries keyword with emotions to get both ranking and clicks.
Use keyword at the start of the heading and enclose it in H1 tag. Keep your headline length to 70 characters for best on-page SEO performance.
Use the headline analyzer to create a high impact headline. You should aim for a score or 70 or more on this tool.
Optimize Images for On-page SEO
From pure SEO perspective, you should include at least one image on the page. Add keywords to image name and Alt-tag to improve on-page SEO of your page.
You should add more images to increase engagement but adding more images may not improve your page’s search ranking.
Images increase engagement and reduce bounce rate – two important factors that lead to visitors reading more pages, spending more time on your site and possibly buying from you.
Optimize Videos for On-page SEO
Videos, like images, increase engagement and reduce bounce rate. People love to watch videos so it’s a good idea to include videos in your article / post.
You can help Google understand the content of your video by setting the correct meta tags. By include keywords in the video meta data, you can improve on-page SEO and help you page rank higher in search results.
Optimize Body Text to Improve SEO
You need to optimize the main body of your page for on-page SEO.
What this means is you:
- Include your keyword at the start of the first paragraph
- Use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords
- Use H2 tags for section titles and include LSI keyword / Long tail keyword in the title
- Include some outbound links, preferably to higher authority sites
About LSI Keywords:
LSI keywords are words or phrases that are similar in meaning to your main keyword. Using LSI keywords avoids keyword stuffing problem while helping Google understand the content of your page is about.
For example, Guides and Manuals are LSI words. If you are creating a guide post, you can use manual in place of guide in some places in the post and improve both your readability and on-page SEO.
Search Google with your target keyword and look at the words in Bold in the search results. If you see a word or phrase in bold that is similar in meaning to your keyword, it is a LSI keyword you should use.