The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO

Here’s a fact: 95% of search traffic goes to the first page of search results. Most people don’t go beyond it.

That said, if your website isn’t fully optimized for search, Google will give it a low ranking. Once it lands on pages three and below, your chances of getting your business discovered are extremely slim.

This is where on-page SEO comes in – and we’ll be tackling everything you need to know about it in this post, including what it is, why it plays a significant role, and of course, the different ways to implement it.

Ready to begin? Let’s go!


The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO


On-Page SEO: What Is It?

Also referred to as on-site SEO, on-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to rank higher in search engines. It aims to help search engine crawlers understand the meaning and context of your pages.

It’s called “on-page” for this reason: The tweaks and tune-ups you make on your page are visible to your visitors.


Why Does On-Page SEO Matter?

So, what’s the deal with on-page search engine optimization? Why is there such a need to prioritize it?

Well, for starters, it tells Google and other search engines what your website is all about, as well as how it provides value and a positive experience to your audience. If you’re doing on-page SEO right, they’ll reward you with a high ranking.

And, that’s not the only benefit you’ll get. Here’s some more:


  • Advanced crawl rate (search engines will notice new pages faster)
  • More organic traffic
  • Higher conversion rate
  • Enhanced click-through rate (CTR)
  • Better brand awareness
  • Faster site loading speed


On-Page SEO Strategies to Boost Your Ranking

Now that you’re aware of how on-page SEO can help your website and business grow, it’s time to learn seven proven ways to optimize your web pages. Let’s begin!


1. Do Keyword Research

Google is no stranger to algorithm updates, but there’s one thing that has remained consistent for digital marketers and SEO practitioners to optimize their websites for search: Keywords.

Keywords are the building blocks of search engine optimization. They’re what people use to look for solutions online. The more relevant your keywords are to your target audience, the more traffic you drive to your website.

Now, here’s the golden rule: You don’t create content around what you want to tell your audience; rather, you create content around what your audience is eager to learn about. After all, your mission is to get them coming to your website, right?

This is the part where we tell you to conduct keyword research every time you have new content to create.

In case you’re relatively new to the world of SEO, keyword research is the process of gathering keyword terms and phrases that are commonly used by online searchers. That way, you get to identify what topics your prospects and customers are interested in, which in turn, gives you a good idea of what words and phrases to incorporate into your website and pages.


What does this mean for you?

Well, implementing high-traffic keywords into your website can boost your SERP (search engine results page) rankings. You’ll appear more easily to users searching for your products or services, which translates to more visibility and ultimately, new customers.

So, how can you conduct successful keyword research? Find out below!


  • Make a list of localized keywords. Start by researching keywords that include your exact location (ex. Miami digital marketing). Then, branch out to areas you serve in the nearby region.
  • Look at your competition. Knowing the target keywords your competitors rank for not only gives your business an edge over them but can also help you reach new customers. Tools like SEMRush and Google Keyword Planner can give you all the insights you need.
  • Find common customer inquiries. Crafting content centred around the most common concerns of your prospective and existing customers is a surefire way to land higher rankings. Have them answer a survey, ask your sales team what questions they most often get from new prospects, or use tools like Answer the Public.
  • Take advantage of Google Suggest. Many small businesses rely on Google Suggest to find additional keywords, and you might as well follow suit. As soon as you type in a particular search term, Google will supply a list of similar and relevant search terms below it, providing you with a wealth of new keyword opportunities that may work for your business.


A screenshot of Google Suggest for the search terms "Google Suggest"

Google Suggest is all the other options that come up when you search for something in Google.


2. Post High-Quality Content Regularly

Creating good content should always be at the top of your list when it comes to on-page optimization. Why? Let’s just say, Google loves quality content.

Not sure what qualifies as good content? Ideally, it should possess these characteristics:


  • Original: There should be no duplicates or rewrites of your existing articles.
  • Exclusive for your site: It should only be found on your website.
  • Useful: Your content should bring value to your readers – it should be something they find insightful.
  • Easy to read: Almost nobody likes reading a long article with fancy words, which is why we suggest you write less and simplify your text to attract and hold the attention of your readers.
  • Includes text elements: Always include text whenever you’re creating non-text content. For instance, if you’re posting a video or some images, make sure to add a description.


Above all, your content should satisfy the search intent. Determine what type of content your audience wants to see for a given search query – whether it’s informational, transactional, or navigational.


Informational Intent

As the name suggests, informational search is employed whenever users are simply looking for information about a specific topic or product online.  They’re not looking to make a purchase or book a service, but rather, to get an answer or learn to do something.

Although keywords with informational intent may not result in a sale immediately, they still present an opportunity to attract searchers who could potentially turn into customers, especially if they find your content highly educational and engaging.

The goal here is to set yourself as a reliable, authoritative source of information. This is an opportune moment for you to promote your brand. If searchers are convinced with your answers, there’s a huge chance that they’ll think of your business the next time they need the type of offerings you provide.

So, how can you target informational queries to drive traffic and leads to your website? Here are four tried-and-true tips:


  • Write detailed, step-by-step guides to explain a process related to your products and/or services
  • Regularly create blog posts full of tips that would be useful for your target audience.
  • Design infographics to illustrate complicated concepts.
  • Make how-to videos to demonstrate various ways to use your products.


Transactional Intent

If someone includes keyword phrases like “buy online,” “best price for running shoes,” or “sandwich places near me,” then they’re pretty much displaying transactional intent. In other words, they’re already at the business end of the conversion funnel.

Transactional queries tend to deliver ROI in search, both through paid and organic channels. That’s why optimizing for transactional pages should be another priority in your list.

Optimizing product pages, running pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and developing landing pages around keywords with transactional intent can lead to good returns. It’s also critical to optimize your content for local search, as some users may be on the hunt for a product to buy in a nearby brick-and-mortar shop.

However, the main thing to keep in mind as you write content for transactional queries is this: The searcher is ready to make a purchase. This means that your content should be able to provide clear and compelling calls to action. Make the user journey as seamless as you can to encourage more conversions.


Navigational Intent

Online searchers expressing navigational intent are those who are using a company’s brand name or a specific description of a company. Odds are, they’re already familiar with the company, and they just want to visit its website – either because they don’t know the URL or they’re just too lazy to type the complete URL.

Unless you happen to own the website that a user is looking for, you don’t stand a chance to rank for navigational terms. In terms of navigational queries, the user has an exact site in mind, and if you’re not that site, then you have zero relevance to their needs.

Then again, there are some queries that appear to be navigational in nature when in fact, they’re really not. For instance, someone who googles “youtube” might actually be looking for information about the company, and not the website itself.

Though navigational intent may not be as effective as the other two, it’s still a good idea to own your brand’s navigational query. Ideally, your website will show up both in the top organic spot and as the top sponsored result in a search for your company name or brand.

Remember, content that doesn’t satisfy the search intent will eventually lead to poor rankings. Even if your website has secured the top spot, it won’t stay in that position forever since Google knows when users aren’t happy with the sites shown on the top of the results.



3. Format Headings and Content Properly

No matter how well-written and engaging your content may be, you might still find yourself struggling to drive more traffic to your site. If that’s the case, you should definitely fix the format of your headings and content.

To format your headings correctly, follow these steps:


  • Use one H1 tag only (and it should be the title)
  • Make your headings intriguing and useful
  • Include related keywords in your subheadings
  • Use headings hierarchically


As for content, here’s how you can give it the perfect format:


  • Pick a good size font (at least 14px)
  • Limit paragraphs to three to four lines
  • Make the text readable by using enough spacing between paragraphs
  • Highlight the key points using bold, underline,or italics
  • Use CSS to make sections that stand out


4. Optimize Images

Images are essential in providing a positive user experience, which is a major ranking factor. They make your website look more appealing and engaging to your audience, and they’re there to help search engines understand your content better.

However, for them to bring wonderful SEO results, your images should be optimized. Here are some best practices to apply:


  • Use original images as much as possible (reference the source if you’re using an image from the web)
  • Use alt tags and descriptive file names
  • Size them right (the smaller an image’s byte size, the better)


5. Optimize Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

These two on-page SEO elements are extremely crucial, as they drive people to click on your listing.

The title tag is the blue line of text that appears in search results. It’s what users click on to get redirected to a specific page, and it’s what search engines use to assess a listing’s relevancy to the search query.

Here’s something to give you a better illustration:



On the other hand, the meta description is the small blurb found just beneath the title tag.  It gives searchers an overview of your page, guiding them to choose your listing over those of others.



While Google doesn’t necessarily pay attention to these two elements as much as it does to keywords and backlinks, you might still want to take time to optimize them.  Doing so can increase your chances of getting more clicks.

And so, here are quick tips to ensure you get it right:


Title tags

  • Stick to 50-60 characters
  • Put your most relevant keywords first
  • Write for your audience
  • Avoid including your keywords everywhere (keyword stuffing)
  • Keep it short but powerful
  • Include your brand when possible


Meta descriptions

  • Stick to 135-160 characters
  • Include your primary keywords
  • Write for humans, not bots
  • They should be compelling, relevant, and match the content
  • Consider using rich snippets (ex. customer reviews, product information, star ratings, etc.)


6. Use Internal Links

Internal links are what link your page to other pages on your site, and they’re another vital component of on-page SEO. These links help search engines discover and index new pages on your website, making them a ranking factor.

Upon discovering a page, the first thing a search engine spider will do is to follow all the links (internal and external) in it. So, if you have links pointing to other pages within your site, they’ll also be taking those into account.

Here are four best practices for internal linking:


  • Use relevant, keyword-rich anchor text
  • Link from high-authority pages on your site to pages that need a boost
  • Use follow links (which are basically backlinks that tell search engine crawlers to follow the hyperlink)
  • Use a reasonable amount of internal links (ideally, no more than 15 internal links per page)


7. Track Your Progress

Again, when done right, on-page SEO can do wonders to your business. But, don’t expect to see results overnight. It could take weeks, or even months, for those changes to take effect.

That’s exactly why it’s a big fat must to monitor your progress. Besides, how will you know if your efforts are successful or not if you’re not keeping track of them? How will you know which areas need improvement?

A favourite tool among SEO professionals, digital marketers, and webmasters is Google’s Search Console. It’s basically designed to help users with two things: Understand how they’re performing on Google Search and figure out ways to enhance their appearance on search to bring more quality traffic to their sites.

With Search Console, you’ll know how Google crawls, indexes, and serves your website – making it easier for you to monitor and optimize search performance.

It will tell you how much traffic you’re getting from Google Search, including breakdowns by queries, pages, and countries. And, each breakdown will show you trends for clicks, impressions, and other metrics.


Final Thoughts

On-page SEO should be a top priority of yours if you’re looking to boost your online visibility, drive more traffic to your site, and increase your quality leads and conversions.

Without a doubt, the aforementioned strategies will help turn your goals into reality. However, there are some other on-page SEO tactics that are just as effective. You can start with these!