On-page SEO – Step by Step Guide
On-page SEO is definitely what you want to fix first whenever you start looking into SEO. This is usually the easy part of SEO, as everything is in your control. The hard part is knowing what to do! In this guide we’ll walk you through every On-page technique there is, to help you set up your website for success. This guide will be sequential, so the most important stuff will be in the beginning!
The first step is always choosing the keywords that you want to rank for. The page you create will be designed to incorporate these, rather than the other way around. Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner can help you come up with keywords that actually have search volume.
Download an SEO Plugin!
If you’re using WordPress you will want an SEO plugin. This will help you input important parameters such as meta data into your posts and pages. Other Content Management Systems such as Shopify have options to enter this data without any additional Apps.
We have a blog post on the Best SEO plugins, all with the majority of features available for free!
Make sure that you have set an appropriate meta title, description and URL
The meta title and description are what appear in Google search results. The meta title is probably the most important aspect of a page that both Google and users use to understand a page. Make sure this has the keywords you want to rank for.
The meta description is not used by Google to rank a website, but users use it when choosing to click on a Google search result. It can influence clickthrough rate and indirectly influences rankings based on accuracy, as accurate description will reduce bounce rate.
The URL structure can also be modified to include keywords.
Make sure your heading tags are set correctly
Every page on a website should have only one H1 tag, that contains keywords and is some variation of the meta title. This is the most important header. H2 and H3 tags should also contain keywords and help Google understand the page. It’s important not to dilute the value of headings by including heading tags that are unrelated to the page.
Check out our Complete Guide To Heading Tags for more info!
Make sure you cover the topic completely
Google tends to see pages that completely cover a topic more favourably than those that don’t. Look at what other websites with similar content are doing and take some hints! Do what they do, and then add some of your own unique content that’s not covered anywhere else. Or better yet, if you have your own data, this can provide an interesting new perspective or conclusion that may attract links!
Make sure images are optimised
Images provide an awesome opportunity for SEO. Images contain several parameters that can be modified, including the file name, image title, alt text and geotag. All of these parametres can be optimised for either keywords, a specified location or both. Learn to optimise your images properly in our complete Image Optimisation Guide.
Make sure to do internal interlinking
Link juice should flow internally and be directed at appropriate pages with appropriate anchor text. Pages should be siloed, and every page should link to at least 1 other page. That way there are no orphan pages and no link juice is wasted!
Correct internal linking will ensure shallow link depth and make crawling easier for search engines such as Google.
If the page is for a local business, embed a map!
Embedding Google maps, especially GMB maps, can help Google understand the location of the business and will provide local relevance which can boost the website in a specific country / region. If the business has pages for multiple regions, make sure to embed the appropriate map for each region.
For articles especially, it can be good to use outbound links to authoritative sources such as Wikipedia. This can make your page look more legitimate, as you are citing websites that both users and Google trusts.
Word count and keyword density
Sometimes word count and keyword density can be the decisive factor when trying to rank for a specific keyword. You should check that your page fits into the average range for both word count and keyword density. Look at the top 5 results for the keyword you’re going after, and take an average. If your page is way off on both fronts, you may need to make changes – sometimes you may even need to remove content!
Page type – the black sheep effect
For a specific search, Google is looking for a specific type of content – the one Google thinks will answer the query based on search intent. If the keyword is ‘buy trampoline’, and all of the pages that Google returns are product pages, and you write an article, you may never rank. This is because your article does not match the search intent.
Always look at the search results before creating content to make sure you fit what Google wants to see. Otherwise you may end up with the ‘black sheep effect’, where no matter how much you optimise your page won’t rank!