On-page SEO is a branch of search engine optimization that seeks to optimize web pages for both search engines and users. On-page SEO is an important aspect of SEO because it has so much to do with what is going on on the site, reason it is also referred to as on-site SEO.
As search engine algorithms become more and more complex, there’s a refocused attention towards making relevant contents more visible and the rest less visible.
A search engine like Google has honed its algorithms to understand user queries better and also deliver most relevant results to satisfy user intents. Staying abreast with such current trends in search engine algorithms helps SEO experts optimize web pages in the best ways to rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs).
On-page SEO is in two facets. One seeks to optimize contents that are visible to users such as texts, audio, video and the other seeks to optimize what is obtainable by search engine bots such as HTML tags and structured data.
21 On-page SEO Steps for 2020
Paying attention to these 21 on-page SEO techniques we’re going to discuss in this post will help you improve not only your site’s user friendliness but will also help you rank high on search engine result pages.
1. Keyword Density Matters
Keyword density is just as important as the keywords themselves in on-page SEO. This SEO tip requires that you mention your keyword a number of times throughout your content body.
Your keyword density is how search engines like Google understands that your page is about what it says it is about. Imagine if this post which is about on-page SEO tips only mentions the keyword “on-page SEO” just once or maybe twice. That would be too light to make a difference!
Though there’s no hard rule for keyword frequency, but mentioning your keyword a number of times throughout your content will be just fine. For a 1000 words article, using your primary keyword like 4 times throughout the article will do. Once in every 250 words is just ideal.
2. Make Use of Outbound Links
Outbound links connect your web page to other reference sources. By careful observation, we discovered that pages with external links to high authority pages ranked better on Google than those without external links.
Outbound links are a great way Google understands that your claims are backed up by other reliable sources.
3. Be an Internal Linking Practitioner
Internal linking is a great deal for SEO. The best internal linking approach is to link from high performing pages of your site to less performing ones. Anchor texts are very helpful when doing your internal linking.
Here’s a good example below.
Learning about these essential organic traffic tips will help you understand SEO better.
4. URL Should Be Short and Keyword Rich
Your URL structure is just as important in your on-page SEO. The shorter your URL is, the better it is. Also, we found that pages with keyword-rich URLs outrank those of non-keyword-rich URLs.
Two great examples of very short URLs you should copy:
That is not to say that one or two words that are not your keyword cannot show up in your URL.
A good example where the keyword is “responsive web design” is:
5. Keyword-Start Your Title Tag
The idea of this on-page SEO tip is really very simple. The closer your keyword is to the beginning of your title tag, the better it is for your SEO. For example, for an article whose primary keyword is “link building”, the title tag is better off as:
Link Building For SEO
which is better than:
The Definitive Guide for Link Building
However, your keyword doesn’t necessarily have to be at the beginning of your title tag always but the closer it is to the beginning, the better.
Why is Link Building Important for SEO?
6. Optimize Meta Description with Keyword
The purpose of meta description in SEO practice is to get searchers to click through to your web page after reading its snippet on SERP.
Although Google might choose to show particular sections of your page that are relevant to a user’s query, Google is also of the opinion that you know your content better. A good reason you should write your own meta description is that when Google does decide to use it for its snippet, it will most likely contain keywords that match a user’s query.
7. Use Title Tag Modifiers
Title tag modifiers include terms such as best, top, fast, free, review, guide, 2020 (current year) etc. The advantage of such title modifiers is that they increase your chance of ranking for long tail searches.
An example of such title tag modifiers was used in this title: Best Keyword Research Tools for 2020
8. Add Current Year to Your Title Tags
Adding current year to some type of title tags gives the impression that your article is up-to-date. For example, someone searching for “SEO Tips” today won’t consider clicking the title “Best SEO Tips for 2017”. The logic is simple, SEO is constantly changing almost on a yearly basis.
9. Use Original Images
A study by the folks at Backlinko.com found that new domains with unique images outranked those in which stock photos were used. The bottom line? Using stock images that everyone is using could be hurting your SEO.
10. Avoid Keyword Cannibalization
Attempting to rank several pages of your site for a particular keyword could lead to keyword cannibalization. If you over optimize your contents for the same or similar keywords, you only end up competing with yourself. This is unhelpful for your SEO in the long run.
Yoast.com has this to say about having two separate posts optimized for same keyword:
In that case, Google can’t distinguish which articles should rank highest for a certain query. In addition, important factors like backlinks and CTR get diluted over several posts instead of one. As a result, they will probably both rank lower.
11. Image Optimization for SEO
Aside from using custom images as against stock images that everyone else is using, you should also optimize your images. This tip requires that you use carefully chosen keywords the image could rank for as your file name. A good example is Niagara falls–night.jpg.
Image alt and title attributes have also been found to be relevant for improving a page’s ranking. Also image size can also affect your page’s load time (a Google ranking factor). You should endeavor to get your sizes right. JPEGs are often more SEO-friendly than PNGs.
12. Understand Your Header Tags
WordPress orders headings in ranks (levels). The highest rank which is H1 is the title of your post. You should endeavor to rank your subheadings in H2 and H3, H4, etc. for other sub-levels. Doing this would enable Google to understand the structure of your page.
Yoast encourages using more of your keyword in your subheadings. We recommend mentioning your target keyword at least once or twice at the H2 level. This is the highest ranking level after the H1 title tag.
13. Boost Your Page Load Speed
Google has been using page load speed as a ranking factor as far back as 2010. Some practices that can improve your load speed are:
- Compress your images
- Clean and compress your codes
- Upgrade your hosting plan
- Activate browser caching
- Implement a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
14. Optimize for Voice Searches
In a speech by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, 1/5th of queries on Google are voice searches. What does that mean for you? Optimizing your pages to show up for voice queries will give you an edge. Voice searches contain more question phrases. Adopting a FAQs approach to your content is a good way to rank for voice searches.
15. Use Question Title Tags
It has been established that question-based title tags get clicked over others on search engine result pages (SERPs). The logic might be to searchers that asking the right questions must mean knowing the right answers or what do you think? Examples of some question-based title tags ranking in the industry are:
16. Have a Responsive Website
The place of responsive websites in SEO cannot be downplayed. Having separate URLs for desktop and mobile versions of your website could confuse Google spiders as duplicate contents. A responsive website design guarantees this misinterpretation (which could earn you a penalty) is avoided.
17. Perform Content Audit
SEO content audit is the art of analyzing all indexed contents on a domain using laid out performance metrics to determine which contents to be improved, updated, consolidated or removed entirely. This SEJ guide will help you do a badass content audit for your site.
18. Be Sentimental with Your Title Tags
Titles that tend to add a little bit of emotions seem to have more click through rates than those that are just plain and non-sentimental. See a good example below:
The key to this on-page SEO step is not to overdo it; else you will come off as promoting a click bait or a spammy link.
19. Maintain an Active Community
Having an active community on your blog is a great way to give visitors a different perspective on your content. Guest posting is a smart technique to engage your site visitors and reduce bounce rate.
20.Publish Unique Content
Unique contents are a great way to rank high on Google. Over the years, search engines and search engine users themselves have developed preference for unique contents.
Apart from being unique from what everyone else is putting up, the level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) your contents commands helps your page to outrank others on SERPs. There’s such a term as E-A-T profile which is paramount in Google’s guidelines for rating web pages.
21. Add a Video to your Content
Adding a video to your content improves your click through rate, impacting your ranking on SERPs in a positive way.
We hope you found this article on on-page SEO techniques very helpful for your on-page SEO.