Hey, guys in this article, I will teach you how to do on page SEO step by step for website.
Claim the top position in Google and at the same time serve your visitor in the right way. That is what you want to achieve with your website.
By optimizing your website on certain factors for search engines, you can rank higher in Google’s search results.
You can read exactly how on-page SEO works in this article. In this article about on-page SEO you will learn:
- what on page SEO is
- why on-page SEO is so important
- how on page SEO works
- which factors you can optimize on your website for better findability
- what on-page SEO will look like in the future
- which tools you can use to successfully deploy on-page SEO
This article is written especially for companies that want to get even more out of Google. You want to rank higher in the search results with your web pages and with the tips from this article that is possible. Our SEO experts explain on-page SEO from A to Z in this article.
1. Introducing On-Page SEO
As a visitor, you are most likely mainly concerned with the experience of the website. How long does it take for a page to load, for example? Or how easy it is to order a product in a webshop and how clear the contact page is.
Google also considers several factors to determine whether a website is ‘good’ for a particular query.
After all, Google is a lot more technical.
The search engine looks, among other things, at the front of the website and thus determines whether it is set up ‘correctly’ for a particular keyword.
You can help Google with this using on-page SEO.
Using various tools, you can check where there is still profit to be made on your site so that you can rank better in Google’s search results.
In this article, we tell you which tools and techniques these are.
2. What is On Page SEO?
The name says it all: on-page SEO is optimization options on your website that you see at the front.
You optimize various web pages for the search engine. But Google is not the only one that benefits, because it is also very pleasant for the user to visit a fully optimized website.
If you properly apply on-page SEO, the user experience will also improve.
Are you just starting out with SEO? Then on-page is perhaps the easiest part that you can apply yourself. It is not a complicated technical process and with basic knowledge of your own website, you can come a long way.
Good to know: on-page SEO is often also referred to as on-site SEO.
You may be wondering, what exactly is off-page SEO? Those are SEO techniques that don’t happen on your website. For example, think of link building.
3. Why is on-page SEO important?
Now that it’s clear what on-site SEO is and isn’t, it’s time to explain why we at Brandfirm are dedicating an entire article to it.
The answer? On-page SEO is still making the difference in 2022.
Google determines how ‘relevant’ a web page is for a specific query based on properties on this page. After all, Google wants to show the user the best result for his or her search.
The search engine’s algorithm then looks for the best content for this query.
Since there are billions of websites, Google sometimes has to dig deep for the best results. When you have fully optimized your site, you are more attractive to Google and you will be higher in the rankings.
The answer to the question: why is on-page SEO important is that without on-page SEO Google is in the dark.
On-site optimization also makes you stand out in the search engine earlier, which gives you a better position in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). And with Google’s changeable algorithm, that is no superfluous luxury.
4. How does on-page SEO work?
The basis of on-page SEO is: to what extent does your webpage match the search query entered by a user?
In 2022, this still works based on keywords and the way they are processed on a web page.
For example, you have a webshop with soccer balls. Then you expect (after doing extensive keyword research) that your future customers mainly search in Google for search terms such as ‘buy football’, ‘buy football online’, ‘order football,’ etc. The better you process these keywords on your webpage – and we mean in more places than just the body text – the sooner Google links your webpage to these searches from potential customers.
Although Google has become a lot smarter, the core of on-page SEO remains the above example. Google, as it were, goes all over your web page and actively searches for the right keywords.
You probably already feel the mood: without qualitative keyword research you cannot get started with on-page optimization.
Google works based on the keywords you select for a specific web page.
To help you on your way, we give you a short step-by-step plan on how you can do keyword research for a web page.
Step 1: Brainstorm the user’s search intent
Grab a pen and paper and write down what your potential customers are looking for when they come to your website.
Is it because they are looking for a new football (from the example mentioned above) or is it because they want advice or more information on a specific topic?
A user can, among other things, have a purchase intention, have a question that they want to be answered, or are looking for a service provider who can help them further.
When the search intent is clear, you can proceed to step 2.
Step 2: write down all possible searches in an online document
Write down all possible searches that your potential customers can type into Google in an online document. Make a list of ‘raw keywords’.
This can also be synonyms and longer words and short sentences. The latter keywords are also called ‘longtail keywords’. These are a lot more specific than the other keywords.
In the example of the football webshop it looks like this:
Step 3: Enter all possible keywords into an SEO tool
This can be done, for example, in the Keyword Planner of Google, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest.
You will see a search volume per month for each keyword and a competition indication. The latter shows how ‘difficult’ it is to get higher in the SERP.
The less competition, the faster you can claim a top position in Google through on-page SEO.
See below a screenshot of what this looks like in Google’s keyword planner:
Step 4: Select the focus keyword from the webpage
The focus keyword is the keyword with a high search volume and fairly low competition. With this keyword, you will now get started with on-page SEO.
Step 5: Make a list of relevant keywords
But it is not attractive for the user to end up on a web page where one keyword is sprinkled.
To improve the user experience, also use longtail keywords and synonyms on the web page.
In 2022, Google finds the user experience increasingly important, which makes it better for your search results if you have a natural alternation with relevant keywords that have to do with your focus keyword.
After doing some keyword research you can start with on-page SEO. There are several ranking factors that Google pays attention to when the search engine robots scan over your web page.
In the next chapter, we explain what these ranking factors are and how you can apply the keywords from the keyword research to these components for a better result in Google.
5. On-Page SEO Ranking Factors
In this chapter, you will discover what on-page SEO looks like in practice. For on-page optimization, Google focuses on:
- structured data
- Title tags
- Image alt tags
- header tags
- SEO friendly URLs
Google has established several criteria to ensure that the user is served the correct search results that match his search query.
Among other things, Google focuses on:
- the overall user experience when they first arrive at a web page.
- the content on the page (is it relevant to the search?).
- how users respond to the content (how long are they on the page? Do they click away immediately? This helps Google determine whether the page is relevant or not).
- how reliable and authentic the page is (read: no duplicate content and a high degree of authority).
With the following ranking factors, you ensure that your website meets the requirements of Google. We explain them here one by one in detail.
Google is placing more and more value on content. Texts should be written with the user in mind and not ‘just to score in Google’.
As a result, content has become an important part of on-site SEO.
We are happy to give you some tips on how you can optimize the content for a better user experience and ranking in the SERP.
Want to know more about writing SEO content? Then read our article about good SEO texts.
#1 Keyword is in the first 100 words
In this way, Google and the user both immediately know what a text is about. Since there is so much information on the web, we as humans quickly give up when they have to search too long for the subject of the text.
A tip for on-page optimization is, therefore: to make sure you naturally process the focus keyword in the first 100 words (the intro/lead).
#2 Keyword Density
Keyword density means: how often do you use your focus keyword about the rest of the text? We must, however, add a caveat to this.
It doesn’t work to just cram your text with the focus keyword. Google finds this spammy and the user also finds it anything but readable.
So it’s about balance. You can use a density of 3% as a gauge (in Chapter 7 you can read about the SEO tools you can use for this).
But in general, the rule applies: the readability of the text takes precedence over the keyword density.
#3 Content that matches the search intent
You have researched what the user is looking for. Make sure that the text you place on your web page is consistent with this.
When the user is looking for an explanation about a concept or product, make sure you have that information on your web page. Since Google only shows relevant results, this is really necessary for on-page SEO.
You have different search intentions:
- People are looking for information
- People are looking for a specific location
- People are doing research for a future purchase
- People are ‘actively’ looking for a product to buy
Do you want to find out what the search intent is for a focus keyword that you want to use? Then type the keyword in the search bar.
Words such as ‘how’, ‘methods’, and ‘ways’ indicate that there is a need for information. Words like ‘the best or ‘the top 10’ indicate a commercial need. You then adjust your content accordingly.
#4 Content that fits the current SERP
Before writing and designing a webpage for a specific focus keyword, see what the current SERP looks like. You can get a lot of valuable information from this.
This way you can see what content is being written about this topic. Are they mainly how-to-guides, lists, or perhaps very long informative texts? This gives a good idea of what works well in Google now.
Also, look at the word count. If the number #1 has a text about that same keyword of 1000 words, it makes little sense if you write ‘only’ 300 words about this topic.
#5 Avoid ‘thin content’
It might make sense to create a separate landing page for different keywords. For example, consider a page for wedding dresses, wedding dresses, wedding dresses, etc.
After all, you want your website to be found for all three keywords. What happens then is that you add the same content to these pages three times.
This ‘strategy’ is also often used when a company has multiple locations. For example, consider a landing page for ‘football shop Maastricht’ and ‘football shop Arnhem’.
The result? Multiple pages with so-called ‘thin content’. This content is of low quality and is all just to get the right word count for Google.
The content is not written to actually provide the website visitor with information.
Google judges ‘thin content’ less well and high-quality content is actually pushed in the rankings. The solution?
Make one smashing copy with all keywords incorporated so that you will rank on this good page with different keywords. This can be done by making separate paragraphs with an H2.
#1 Rich snippets with schema markup
Rich snippets are so-called ‘special’ search results in Google’s SERP. They stand out more and are therefore perhaps even more valuable than a top position.
Think, for example, of a featured video, a step-by-step plan, an answer to a frequently asked question about your focus keyword.
Google gets this information from special schema markups. For example, you have a:
- How to markup
- Product markup
- Review markup
- recipe markup
- FAQ markup
- Local business markup
- book markup
All schema markups can be found at Schema.org.
Do you use WordPress? Then you can add schema markup to your web page using plugins, such as Yoast and Rank Math.
You can also check your structured data via Google’s Structured data testing tool. Here you can easily see whether the structured data has been properly implemented.
You can read more about this in our article about Technical SEO.
Must Read: How Keyword Research is Done
#1 Keyword in front of page title
Preferably process your focus keyword at the front of your page title/title tag. This gives Google a very clear signal of what the page is about.
Doesn’t this work because otherwise, you get in trouble with the rest of the sentence? Try to put the focus keyword at the beginning of the page title as much as possible.
#2 Unique page titles
Be original and don’t copy your competitors. And make sure each page has a unique page title.
#3 Choose a maximum length of 60 characters
The ideal length of a page title is on average 55 characters. Are you making a page title that is too long? Then Google cuts him off.
#4 Question page titles for higher CTR
Backlinko.com has researched that pages with a question in the title tag/page title lead to a higher CTR (Click Through Rate). Our advice? Ask a question in your title. Provided it is relevant to the user, of course.
#5 Use power words
Convince the user to click on your link by using power words such as: free, gone = gone, new, tips, and step-by-step plan.
#1 Title tag modifiers
Also, add synonyms or terms that your text is about in the meta description. This way your web page will also be found on those terms.
#2 A full meta description
Include the focus keyword and synonyms or variants of your keyword in your meta description. Why? Because Google makes these words bold in the search results, making your search result stand out from the rest.
#3 Length between 120 and 157 characters
On desktop, the meta descriptions can even be 164 characters long, but on mobile, they are only shown up to 120 characters. Make sure that the most important information is between 110 and 120 characters!
#4 Use emojis
Do you want to stand out even more? Then use symbols or emojis. The eye of the user will rather rest on this.
#5 End with a clear CTA
What do you want the user to do with the information you provide? Click on your link of course! Encourage the user by ending with a very clear CTA such as ‘click here, ‘read more’ etc.
Must Read: How to SEO Optimize an Article
#1 External outbound links
External links tell Google what your webpage is about and confirm that your webpage is of high quality.
When you link to external websites, it shows that you are a kind of knowledge base for the information on a particular topic. Pages with external links are also generally shown higher in the search results.
#2 Internal links
It is extremely important for SEO to also connect pages internally. This can be done through internal links. For example, if you have a webshop, you link on the product page to the umbrella category and then also to the homepage.
This is why you need internal links:
- Internal links contribute to the structure and user-friendliness of your website.
- Google understands the hierarchy of a website partly because of the internal links.
- The internal links ensure that the link equity (the authority value of your website) is spread over the entire website.
- These internal links allow Google’s robots to crawl (discover) new pages. If the search engine can’t get to your new pages, they won’t appear in the search results.
This is how you create good internal links:
- Link to relevant pages . For example from the page about football to the page about football boots.
- For an internal link, use anchor text (also called anchor text) with the keyword of the page you are linking to. When you link to the football boots page, your anchor text will also be ‘football boots’. Note: don’t do this too often. This comes across as spammy to Google.
- Link back to the category the page falls under (possibly also the subcategory).
#3 The Right Amount of Links
Now that you know why it is so good to use links on your website, we understand that you are excited to get started. However, it is important to find a balance here.
Too many links appear a bit spammy to the user and Google also becomes suspicious. In addition, you divide the link value (authority) over all outgoing links.
So when you only have one link in your webpage, it gets 100% of the authority: the link equity. Do you have 100 links on a page?
Then each link gets a piece of this link equity. As a result, the links are seen as less valuable by the search engine.
Image ALT Text
#1 Give your images a meaningful name
Instead of uploading images with the file name IMG_1234.jpg, give the image a good name. Some tips:
- Describe what you see in the photo
- Use your focus keyword if you can
- Use – or _ between the words
#2 Give your images an ALT text
ALT text stands for Alternative Text. These words are shown when the image cannot load properly but are also used to improve the user experience.
When visually impaired people come to your website, the alternative text is read to them. So it is important that the ALT text describes what you see in the image and NOT what you can read on the page.
In an ideal world, you can process your focus keyword in it, but this is not possible in all cases.
These days, the ALT text is more commonly used to make your images visible in Google Images; to support your content. It is important here that you mention the focus keyword in the ALT text.
#3 Compress your images
This has everything to do with the loading time of your website. As humans, we are very impatient. When a website loads too slowly, we click away. Use tools like TinyPNG, ImageOptim, or WP Smush to compress your images.
On a website, you can choose from an H1 to H6. The higher the number, the less important the headings are seen by the user and by Google. In general, one page contains an H1, a few H2s, and possibly an H3.
Header tags (1) give structure to your text, (2) make a text accessible and easier to scan, and (3) promote SEO.
#1 Use a clear H1
Especially now that Google is messing around with meta titles and descriptions, it is wise to have an H1 that covers the load of the web page.
Provide an attractive copy in which the keyword is incorporated. With this, you help Google (but also the user) to understand better and faster what the text is about.
Important things to know about the H1:
- The H1 equals the title of the page
- H1 contains the focus keyword
- H1 must always be unique
- Each webpage contains only one H1
- In HTML, the H1 looks like this: <h1>Page title</h1>
#2 Process the extra keywords in H2
You have found several relevant search terms in your keyword research. You can process these in your subheadings (H2). Do this in as natural a way as possible, so that the text remains legible.
Important things to know about the H2:
- A page can have multiple H2s
- Each H2 must be unique
- An H2 always comes after the H1
- Think of them as chapters of a book and share your content with them in logical and manageable chunks of text
- Contains (sub) keywords or long tail keywords
SEO friendly URLs
#1 SEO Friendly URLs:
- areas as short as possible (the fewer words, the more value Google attaches to each individual word. So avoid redundant words and only use the focus keyword)
- contain the focus keyword
- have a clear structure
- show how the hierarchy of the website is built
- Put the focus keyword as many links as possible in the URL
- Don’t use special characters (#, ?, capital letters, etc.) Google can’t read this well and the URL becomes less readable for the user
Here it is clear that it is about the service offered: search engine optimization.
This is not only useful for the user, Google also benefits from an organized URL. The search engine uses this information to determine the relevance of a web page.
This information allows Google to show the page for the right keyword – and that without having to look at the content.
Good to know: if the anchor text matches the URL associated with it, more users are likely to click on the link.
#2 301 redirects
Do you adjust the URL of a page? Then make sure to create a redirect. This 301 guides you to the new and correct URL from the old URL. This way you pass the accumulated value of the old URL to the new URL.
6. Advanced On-Page Optimization
#1 Optimize for a featured snippet
You can optimize your webpage for a featured snippet. This can be done by increasing readability.
A few tips to make your webpage more attractive for a featured snippet:
- break up your content with H2s and H3s
- work with bullet points
- write in short paragraphs
- use images, video and illustrations that support your content
- use bold and italicized words to make the text scannable
- work with a step-by-step plan
Read more about this in our SEO article.
#2 Expand your content on one topic
Are you writing a big article (for example this skyscraper about on-page SEO)? Then make sure you also write about subtopics that are relevant to this.
When you write an article about brewing beer, you will also be talking about hops, yeasts, and specialty beer.
Do you want to find out which relevant terms fit your focus keyword? Most SEO tools have an option for that. At Ahrefs, for example, you can easily filter in the sidebar.
7. On-Page SEO Tools
Fortunately, several tools make on-page SEO easier for you. We list three of them: Ahrefs Content Gap, Yoast SEO, and Screaming Frog.
Ahref’s Content Gap
Ahrefs has a very handy tool to discover what information you are still missing about your focus keyword: The Content Gap. How it works: You enter relevant URLs from competitors on the same topic.
Then you will see a row of interesting keywords. Next to these keywords is stated which competitor is already using them and which is not. For example, sort by search volume or competition so that you can see where there is still profit to be made on your own website.
Yoast SEO is built into most WordPress websites. It is a user-friendly tool with which you can see based on several green or red dots whether your web page meets the SEO requirements of Google.
You can also easily enter your meta title and meta description. You can immediately see from the smiley whether you are on the right track. So easy!
This free extension of Google Chrome provides insight into the current state of your webpage.
When you click on ‘diagnosis’ you will see what your current meta title and meta description are and whether you have ALT texts on your website.
You can also see how much text you have on your page and whether you already use headings (H1, H2, etc.).
Do you want to see how the keyword density is on a page? Then click on the ‘density’ option and enter your focus keyword at the bottom.
You can immediately see how often you use this term and where you use this term. For example, in your headings.
You can connect this tool with SEMrush for optimal use.
Must Read: How do I do SEO For My Website
8. Google Update!
Since August 2021, Google has been adjusting meta titles. They already did this with the meta descriptions, but now they are also experimenting with adjusting the meta title.
The reason? Google wants to serve the user as best as possible. This can be done by choosing the meta title that best fits the user’s query.
The meta title that Google uses is in most cases the H1 or the first H2. They already did this with the meta description. They plucked these from the web page to give the user the best possible answer to his question.
But what happens to the keywords that you have so carefully incorporated in your meta title and meta description? Since Google is still testing, the value of these keywords will not be lost.
It is therefore simply useful to work out your meta title and meta description according to the tips & tricks above. Even though Google mixes up the title tags, you still rank for your focus keywords.
Chances are, Google will continue to do this. In 2022, the user will increasingly be ranked #1. Do you want to stay ahead of Google?
So always make sure that your H1 is optimized for your focus keyword. When Google then takes over, you have had some control over it.
9. Extra tip: invest in a mobile-friendly website
Don’t focus on the desktop! Most people scroll on a website with their mobile phone. So be prepared for this.
Google nowadays uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking of your website. This is also known as a mobile-first index. This is what you should consider for mobile on-site optimization, among other things :
- short paragraphs
- compressed images
- fast loading time
- legible font in the correct size
- break up the content with images and videos
Time to summarize everything you’ve learned about on-page SEO.
In this article you learned:
- what on page SEO is.
- that on-page SEO is intended to increase user-friendliness and at the same time to keep Google a friend.
- that on-page SEO is necessary for Google to better understand your website (and thus rank better in the SERP).
- how to do keyword research before getting started with on-page SEO.
- what the ranking factors of on-page SEO are: content, structured data, title tags, links, image ALT text, headings and SEO friendly URLs.
- about SEO friendly content:
- keyword in first 100 words
- keyword density of 3%
- content that matches the search intent
- content that matches the current SERP
- avoiding thin content
- about on-page SEO & structured data:
- optimize for rich snippets with a scheme markup
- about a good meta title:
- keyword in front
- length up to 60 characters
- use (unique) questions for a higher CTR
- incorporate power words in the title
- about a good meta description:
- contains focus keyword + synonyms and sub-keywords
- length 120-157 characters
- main information is between 110 and 120 characters
- ends with a CTA
- contains emojis
- that internal links are indispensable for Google. After all, it makes your website easier to navigate and easier to crawl by Google. It also distributes link equity across your website.
- that you should give images a filename and ALT text containing the focus keyword.
- that you need to compress images (also for the mobile-friendliness of your website).
- that your page may contain an H1, H2, and possibly also an H3, H4, etc.
- that SEO friendly URLs are short, contain the keyword and have a clear structure that shows the hierarchy of a website.
- that you can also optimize your content for featured snippets. Among other things, by working with bullet points and bold words.
- that you can make on-page SEO easier with the Ahrefs Content Gap, Yoast SEO tool and Screaming Frog extension.
- that Google now also adjusts meta titles manually (and that you can solve that by also writing a good H1).
I hope you understand how to do on page SEO step by step for website.
With this knowledge in your pocket, you can optimize your website at the front for better rankings in Google.
Which on-page optimization are you going to implement first? Let us know in the comments!