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Understanding On-Page SEO: Optimizing Content for Rankings

A page ranking at the top of Google is not a "lucky" achievement, but rather a result of extensive work under the surface.

Said legwork is called SEO, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. To make this possible for you, we will simplify the intricate process of on-page SEO into a clear, step-by-step visual guide in this guide.

Are you prepared to start improving your website's ranking and increasing traffic?

On-Page SEO Definition

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of individual web pages to enhance visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). It entails improving a web page's various components to make it more search engine-friendly, relevant, and accessible. On-page SEO is a crucial aspect of a broader SEO strategy and focuses on factors that can be directly controlled and modified within the website's structure and content. 

On-Page SEO Important

On-page SEO enhances SERP rankings by providing Google and search engines with valuable information about your website's content and value to visitors and customers. To improve SERP rankings and boost organic traffic, it's crucial to add value beyond content creation and publishing on your website. This means optimizing your content not only for search engines but also for the human experience if you want to increase your visibility.

Google's algorithms search the page for additional pertinent content in addition to the most relevant search result for a given query. The goal of this content is to best address the searcher's query and provide value. For instance, if your page is about cars and you don't discuss various brands, models, etc., Google is probably going to recommend to the reader other websites that are more pertinent.

On-Page SEO Checklist

Optimize Your Page Title

Create a clear title that sums up the content of the page and contains your target keyword. Here are some best practices for developing a page title: Keep it under 60 characters (per Google's update) to ensure that your titles display correctly. Google's display titles have a maximum resolution of 600 pixels, but it does not specify a character limit. You can prevent your titles from being truncated in search results by keeping them at 60 characters or fewer. Don't stuff the title with keywords. Don't use all caps. Include your brand in the title, i.e., "The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2022—HubSpot Blog"."

Use Headers

Use header tags to arrange your content so that it is easier for search engines to read and comprehend. Make sure your headers organically include relevant keywords; however, select keywords that are distinct from those in your page title. Put your most important keywords in your <h1> and <h2> headers."

Add Internal Links

By including internal links within your content, you can aid search engines in identifying and comprehending the connections between the various pages on your website. To incorporate internal links into your content, you must: Determine the appropriate anchor text. Choose the clickable text that will serve as your internal link's anchor. The anchor text should be descriptive and related to the content of the page you're linking to. Identify the target page. Determine the specific page on your website that you want to link to. Choose a page that is contextually relevant and provides additional value or information related to the current content. Place links strategically throughout the page. Make sure all of the links on your page are relevant to the context and enhance the user experience. Aim for a manageable amount of links per page. Refrain from linking too much as this could come across as spam."

Add External Links

It may seem counterintuitive to include external links throughout your page, considering we just covered multiple reasons why internal linking is so important for on-page SEO. However, external links are also important. By including external links to reliable and reputable websites, Google will be informed that your page is likewise reliable and reputable. Visitors to your website also want to know that it is properly referenced, in addition to Google."

Meta Description

The description of your page that shows up in the SERP beneath the title is called the meta description. Consider it the ad for your page, as a well-written meta description tells searchers your post will answer their query and get them to click. 

It's not guaranteed that Google will use the meta description you submit. It dynamically creates them from your content based on the query, which is why it’s important to have those heading tags in there. Keep in mind that the meta description also appears in preview snippets, like the ones you see on social media.

On-Page SEO Factors

Title Tags

For search engine optimisation, meta descriptions and title tags are crucial. They must be visually appealing, consistent with the brand, and keyword-optimized. The strategy is intricate, but the rules are straightforward. A good title tag should use the language of the target audience, speak to the search intent, be eye-catching and on-brand, and be truly descriptive of the content. For clients, well-written metadata can earn confidence in understanding their audience, product, and industry. SEO A/B tests can help perfect metadata and expedite approval and implementation. PageImprove can be used to implement optimizations for title tags and meta description optimizations.


Optimizing headings and subheadings is crucial for SEO, especially for long-form content like blog posts. H1s should be crafty, compelling, and front-loaded with keywords, drawing the target audience into the main content. H2s and H3s are often overlooked, making them perfect targets for SEO. Content Management Systems (CMS) often make it impossible to optimize headings on pages without long-form content. PageImprove allows users to adjust headings and subheadings independently of CMS templates, bypassing the bottleneck of making reversible SEO changes. This eliminates the need for rewriting headings and subheadings on templatized pages.

Internal Links

Internal links are a crucial SEO tool for optimizing anchor text and facilitating the path to purchase. They should be optimized with target keywords or semantic terms and chosen wisely. These links are popular among client teams, especially when brand guidelines are restrictive. They are particularly effective when the site consists of both "I want to know" and "I want to buy" content.

E-A-T Signals

To improve your site's E-A-T signals, consider adding high-quality external citations, reputable author bios, awards, testimonials, and studies. E-A-T signals are valuable for users as much as Quality Raters and can be quantified by revenue. Establishing a beneficial purpose and demonstrating trustworthiness is important for rankings, conversion, and lead generation. E-A-T optimizations can be challenging for brands with limited resources, but using PageImprove can help save time and effort.

Image Alt Text

Image optimizations are essential for SEO, especially for infographics and visual content. Descriptive alt text is crucial for visually impaired users. A "truly essential" example is a local landing page with detailed services in images. Adding image alt text was crucial for client buy-in, and using on-page SEO tools like PageImprove as an interim solution would have been beneficial.

10 Steps to On-Page SEO 

To properly modify and optimise the content of your page for search engines follow these ten steps.   

1. Page content 

Google ranks pages highly as they provide the best answers to searcher queries. To achieve this, consider keyword density, with an ideal 1-2% density. Use your main keyword once in the first 100-150 words of your article, as Google places more weight on early terms. Content on pages also matters, increasing dwell time. KPIs like time on page and bounce rate can help understand page performance. Embedding videos can reduce bounce rates and dwell time.

2. Title tags and Metatext

Title tags on Google are crucial for attracting visitors and optimizing organic click-through rate (CTR). Keep them under 70 characters, add value, and avoid duplicates. Meta descriptions, displayed beneath the title tag, encourage users to click on your listing and affect CTR. Write a unique description to avoid duplicates.

3. Headings

Don’t forget - structure matters. Your article's header tags give it organisation and context. Use the proper header tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.) to display a consistent information hierarchy and make sure the content in your post is well-structured. The primary descriptive title of the page, or H1, should always be the title. This is followed by your H2, etc., with keyword variations. It's best practice to limit your H1s to one per page so that they are focused on a single subject. 

4. URL Structure

Because they're easier to read, share, and use, shorter URLs are recommended and increase the popularity of your pages. When links are shared, proper usage of URLs can also increase click-through rates.  

Shorten and standardise your URLs; make sure they relate to the content of the page and use hyphens rather than underscores.   

5. Alt Text 

Image optimization involves optimizing size, quality, and file naming conventions. Alt image text aids screen-reading and SEO. Use alt tags on main images for content description. Avoid keyword stuffing, as it can negatively impact SEO and lead to content blacklisting by Google.

6. Page Load Speed  

Load time is crucial for reducing bounce rates. Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while those that load in five seconds have a 38% increase. Optimizing content is essential, and Google's page speed insights tool can help. Focusing on compressing images and optimizing code can improve page speed.

7. Mobile First 

Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as 60% of search results come from smartphones. A good mobile speed score is crucial, as 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if the page takes more than three seconds to load. Google also considers mobile page performance as an on-page SEO ranking factor.

8. Internal Linking  

Linking to other pages on your website ensures search engine crawlers can find all pages and pass link equity, aiding navigation. Internal links are a neglected SEO tactic, but improving them can quickly yield noticeable gains. Some marketers see quick wins from adding internal links from authoritative pages.

9. Schema Markup

Schema markup enhances SERP visibility by enhancing rich snippets beneath page titles. It's a collaboration between Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo!, enabling search engines to understand content for better search results. Schema can include star review ratings, meta descriptions, and other Google-chosen information.

10. User Experience 

The holistic user experience on a page includes signals like visualizations, page speed, mobile-friendliness, visibility, and usability. Improving dwell time on a page can be achieved by making content easier to read, such as alternating graphics and text, breaking long paragraphs into digestible ones, adding subheadings, bullets, video content, referencing relevant content, and providing summaries.

In conclusion, mastering the art of on-page SEO is essential for any website aiming to rank higher on search engine results pages. This comprehensive guide has covered the fundamentals of SEO, on-page optimization techniques, and the broader importance of SEO for online visibility. By implementing these strategies and best practices, businesses and individuals can enhance their online presence, attract the right audience, and ultimately achieve success in the digital landscape. Microloop IT Solutions, a leading organic SEO services provider in the USA, has demonstrated success with clients globally. We provide complete SEO services that address all aspects of SEO, including link-building strategies, SEO content creation, and any other factor that Google takes into account when deciding where to display your website in its search results.