On-Page SEO: An In-Depth Guide To Boost Website Ranking [2021 Update]

On-Page SEO

Got the XML site map right, the schema perfect, and the page load speed at its optimum but still can’t rank higher? Apply on-page SEO strategies to make a visible difference!

Maintaining a website is no child’s play. It involves looking at each page with a microscopic view. 

Why? Because each page contributes to the overall health of the website. You need to get the design right, the technical bits perfect, and the content impeccably optimized. For EACH page. 

So, how do you manage a website that has multiple pages? The easiest solution is by applying on-page SEO. 

This post takes an in-depth look into what consists of on-page SEO techniques. 

If you’re not sure about the on-page SEO elements, read on so that you know how they are being addressed on your web pages for high-ranking and useful content. 

What is  On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO tactics help you rank for the right keywords to make your website rank higher organically on Google. 

With on-page optimization, you have the control in your hands to make changes on your website and pages so that they get a boost in ranking, organic traffic, and lead conversions.

On-Page SEO vs Technical SEO

On-page SEO often includes the technical side of it but for clearer understanding, it’s better to keep them apart. 

Technical SEO has more to do with site speed, site architecture, XML site map, coding, indexing, and duplicate content. In other words, it’s more macro as it takes the entire website into account. 

On-page SEO is different as it concentrates more on each page or the URL. It makes changes in the content itself, the way it’s structured with bullet points, H1, H2, headings, apt images and graphs, page design, and updating content. In short, its scope is more micro. 

Then there’s off-page SEO which has more to do with link building and social media interactions. Off-page SEO is not within your control whereas on-page SEO is completely within your control. 

On-Site SEO Checklist to Beef Up Your Website Ranking [6 Techniques]

Here’s an on-page SEO checklist to help you with your content and page optimization efforts. 

1. Keyword Research.

Every page on your website must rank for certain keywords. Conduct keyword research with search tools like Moz or Ahref’s. 

A look at the search volume will tell you if the keywords of your choice are worth ranking for.

Don’t pick the two- or three-word keyword phrases as these are extremely competitive and hard to rank on. 

So, what’s the way out?

Long-tailed keywords. Users have a specific question in mind with which they will search on Google. Find out those phrases from online forums and then target them on your content. 

There are other ways to find long-tail keywords too. Type in the keywords in Answerthepublic.com and you’ll be rewarded with multiple topic ideas surrounding your keyword. 

Want to find an easier way? There’s Google search auto-complete, people also ask, and related searches. On the same search page, scroll down these sections to discover long-tail keyword gems. 

The result: high rankings on long-tail keywords as these are less competitive. 

The end of the story, right? Wrong!

As Google keeps updating its algorithm, you need to keep pace with it by doing keyword research every week. If not every day. 

Don’t forget to browse through your competitors’ content to see which keywords they’re ranking on. 

YouTube is also a goldmine of long-tailed keywords. 

YouTube showing keyword suggestions

2. Quality Content With A Difference. 

What defines the quality of content? 

We hear a lot about quality content but it sounds a bit hazy. Here’s how you can make sure you’re writing content that’s of good quality.

  • Know what you’re writing about. Avoid second-hand, fuzzy accounts. 
  • The content should set the premises by talking about a problem and then flow logically and smoothly to discuss the solutions. 
  • The introduction should be compelling to lead the reader on. 

Hook the reader by agreeing on an issue, promising how your content can help, and sharing a preview of the results you had using the same technique. 

  • Use the keyword in the first 100 words to give enough hint to Google and the user what you’re going to discuss. 
  • Your content should talk about the topic related to the keyword without going off on a tangent. 
  • It should meet the search intent. 
  • It should give valuable insights and information backed by sources. 
  • The sources of facts and figures should be checked for authenticity by analyzing the backlinks, domain and page authority, and publishing date. It’s better not to quote from outdated resources. 
  • It should not repeat what everyone else is saying. You should add a new strategy, a bunch of tips, your point of view, or findings from research that you conducted. 
  • There should be no syntax, spelling, and grammatical errors. 
  • Real human emotions included in the content can get you many visitors. 

Remember that actual people are going to read your content. Tug at the heartstrings to make your story memorable and shareable. 

  • Use the second person as in “you” in your content. This makes direct contact with the readers and helps to bond with them. 
  • Most importantly, write from the heart and keep it genuine. Nothing strikes a chord with your readers better than this. 
  • Aim to publish eight good-quality blogs per month to keep the fire burning and generate higher traffic. 
  • Unwittingly, sometimes we “copy” from someone else’s post. Run your content through a plagiarism checker to ensure it gets a clean chit before you push the publish button. 
Grammarly plagiarism checker

3. Content Optimization.

Now that you have written a quality piece of content, it’s time to optimize it. 

Why? Because without optimizing your content, it won’t show up on the SERPs even if it sticks to the highest standards of content and quality.

Follow this list of content optimization strategies for top on-page SEO ROI.

  • Include the keywords throughout your content naturally. Instead of using the exact keywords, use variations to avoid overstuffing with the same ones. 
  • Your keywords should be included in the URL. However, keep it short and sweet so that your post content is easily understood by the search engine bots and the user. 

Use hyphens in between the words in the URL. For example, www.onelittleweb.com/on-page-seo-services.

  • Include the topic and the keyword in the title of the content. 
  • Frontload the keyword in the title and keep the title within 12 to 18 words. 
  • A question-type title with numbers and parentheses encourages higher click-through rates, raking up your page ranking. 
  • Apply H1, H2, H3, and subsequent headings to the content headings and subheadings to give it a proper structure that both the search engines and the readers find friendly to skim through. 
  • Use variations of the keyword in the headings and subheadings. 
  • Use short paragraphs and at least 1.5 spacing to give breathing space to the readers. 
  • Bullet points also help to keep lists and to-dos well-organized and easy to spot. 
  • Add bucket brigades to connect one point to another. Examples: “so, what gives?”, “here’s the deal”, “did you know”, “the bottom line is”. 
  • Add images, charts, infographics, and videos to add interest and relief from the monotony of text-only content. Take care to add images and videos that are closely related to the topic. 
  • Add image alt and image description with the keywords to make the most of page optimization.
  • Optimize your images so that they’re not too heavy and slow down the loading time of your landing page. 
  • Instead of using free stock images, try to do a photoshoot and use original pictures. This is another key on-page SEO tactic to get your content noticed. 
  • Each page of your website should have a title tag and meta description incorporating the keywords. These will show on the SERP and are a make or break point for clicks. 

Therefore, accurately convey the gist of your content through the title tag and meta description.

  • Keep the meta description within 130 characters so that it doesn’t get snipped by Google. 
  • The meta description must show the benefit to the reader to prompt clicks. 
  • Add both internal and external links to your content. 

The internal links will send link juice and help establish relevance to other pages on your website. 

External links to high domain authority sites also create relevance and increase the chances of getting backlinks. 

  • Promote your content on social media accounts to increase the chances of it being shared, commented on, and driving traffic to your website. 

4. Community Building and Management.

busts of many people connected by dotted lines
Image Credit: Pixabay

When more people talk about your content, share it in their ecosystem, and link to it, the higher the possibility that your website and pages will improve their ranking on Google. 

But how to do that?

There’s only one way – building a community or forum. Once you have that, here are four ways to get people to interact. 

#1. Finish each piece of content with a question so that readers are encouraged to comment. 

Alternatively, simply ask for comments. YouTubers ask for viewers to subscribe, like, and share on every video they publish. 

Just do the same for your written content. 

#2. Give a face to the name or a name to the content. 

Posts that don’t mention the name of the blogger or publisher lack the human touch. 

Instead of giving the impression that your readers are communicating with a robot, tag the content with the name of the person who wrote it. 

Give the details such as a photo of the publisher to humanize it. Add their email address so that they can be contacted directly, thereby encouraging more comments. 

#3. If you’re selling something – whether your product or service or someone else’s – always give and receive reviews. 

Use the product or service before you write a review blog. That’s the only way you can sincerely share your opinions without any bias. 

Give out your products or get influencers to use a service that they can later review on your website. This will have a snowball effect as more people will agree, disagree, or add to their reviews. 

The outcome: your content gets discussed and starts to rank higher on search engines. 

#4. Manage the community well. This means you have to reply to all the comments on your website and social media pages. I mean ALL of them. 

That’s the key way to keep the comments rolling in. Especially if you’re a small business owner trying to make it big in the SEO world.

Side by side, manage the spam comments to prevent your content from getting downgraded. 

Moreover, look for links in the comments and allow them only if they’re relevant to your post. 

Check if the comments are adding value or lending a different perspective to your content. This encourages others to join in the conversation and helps your website ranking. 

5. Landing Page Design and Copy.

Web, Page, Website, Internet, Business, Sign, Site
Image Credit: Pixabay

One of the key on-page SEO elements is how well the landing page is designed and how captivating the copy is. 

Why? Because an attractive design with well-written copy will lure the visitor to read your content and take positive action. 

So, what are positive actions? Signing up for a newsletter, filling in a form, or making a purchase. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of your website?

Here are the top design and copywriting tips to move the SEO needle through page optimization.

#1. Wear the hat of a copywriter and a blogger. 

Not sure of the difference? Well, a blogger writes long-form content for educational and informational purposes. Whereas a copywriter crafts short and compelling text that should convert leads into purchases. 

A good writer should be able to produce both long content and short copy as the situation demands. 

#2. Design A Clean and User-Friendly Landing Page.

For a neat landing page design, refer to the following design and copy tips.

  • Use a uniform color scheme with contemporary design elements that match your brand persona. 

For example, if you’re writing technology blogs, use shades of blue and design elements that have sharp and clean edges. 

  • Create separate copies for the content title and meta description. Using the same copy for both – a mistake we often make – results in decreased CTR. 
  • Relevant images that tie back to your content topic add to your web page design.
  • Create a template for call-to-action buttons. Make these stand out from the rest of the content by using contrasting colors. 

Be sure to add these CTA buttons two to five times in appropriate places throughout your post to encourage maximum clicks. 

Readers will willingly click on the CTA prompt if you offer a free download of useful content or if it’s a promo offer for a limited time. 

  • Analyze in which stage of the sales funnel your leads are. This will help you create content and designs that guide their informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional intent. 

6. Old Content Update. 

woman’s hand holding a pen over a paper with a coffee mug on the table. 
Image Credit: Unsplash

In a rush to continuously produce new content to increase the content quantity in the website, we let old content slip off our minds. 

Here are some of the ways you can polish your old content to improve organic traffic, rankings, and conversions. 

#1. Update old content with the latest data, new research findings, more strategies, or anything else you didn’t address last time. 

These shouldn’t be fillers to fluff up the word count, but actually good additions that make your content more valuable. 

While you’re at it, remove obsolete concepts, data, and information. 

#2. Check your landing page rankings to see if there’s any improvement. 

If not, try rewriting the meta description to bring about higher CTRs. Think about what else you can add. Like, an infographic or a chart. Or even a video that can appeal to your audience. 

#3. If nothing, you can change the format of your old content and republish it in the form of an infographic. 

For example, turn a how-to guide into a video and publish it on YouTube. It’s much easier to watch how to do planks rather than read about it. 

Don’t forget to optimize your video tags and descriptions so that they can be found easily on SERP. 

Try to turn old content into infographics, maps, graphs, or any other visual elements that can make it on the Featured Snippets section on Google. 

This coveted position at the top of the search results page has a higher CTR that drives more traffic to websites. 

Share these on social media to get more views, clicks, and conversions. 

Final Words

The whole point of having a website is to make it monetizable and profitable. Otherwise, why would anybody maintain one!

For websites to be found, indexed, and ranked, the content must not only be of superior quality but also should be optimized for maximum benefits. 

To make every single page count, on-page SEO  is the only formula that works. 

It’s simply a process that you can employ and measure against the checklist shared here. 

Have anything more to add? Use the comment box below!

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