Having a strategy for on-page SEO will make your website easier to find on search engines like Google. Keep reading to understand the elements of on-page SEO that you need to focus on in order to increase your online visibility.
On-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO are the three main categories in the field. In short, on-page SEO refers to all the optimization techniques you can apply directly to your own website, which search engines consider when crawling the web. This includes everything you have direct control over. Off-page SEO refers to external factors like backlinks, social media presence, references to your website or brand, and third-party tools like Google My Business. On-page SEO tells search engines what your page is about and how user-friendly it is, while off-page SEO indicates the reliability and popularity of your website.
There is another subcategory called technical SEO, which can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from on-page SEO.
- You can think of technical SEO as working on the engine of a car
- While on-page SEO is about driving the car.
Technical SEO involves optimizing factors such as page loading speed, compliance with WCAG rules, the usage of canonical tags, implementing HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP), and more. To make changes in technical SEO, you would need a mechanic (a programmer).
On the other hand, on-page SEO can be handled by anyone by utilizing the user interface of a content management system (CMS) or customer relationship management system (CRM). This includes tasks like writing high-quality content, adding properly formatted images, choosing appropriate headings, and more.
Various factors influence on-page SEO. There are many myths surrounding on-page SEO, such as the importance of your domain name or the direct impact of your Lighthouse score on SEO. However, here are the things that actually make a difference:
Core Web Vitals:
Core Web Vitals are measurable factors that Google uses to evaluate the user experience on websites. Some Core Web Vitals align with technical SEO, but the following can be addressed with on-page SEO:
Keep an eye on the length of title tags: Most CMS platforms (and some CRMs with blogging functionalities) provide a field for page titles. A good title should have 50-60 characters, ensuring that the entire title appears in search results without being cut off:
You can check if pages lack title tags or if multiple pages have the same tag using tools like Google Lighthouse.
Include meta descriptions: The role of meta descriptions is to entice users to click on your page in search results while also providing Google with information about the page's subject. You should aim for a meta description of 150-160 characters, which describes the page without being truncated in search results.
Ensure good content quality: Quality is subjective, but ask the following questions about all the texts on your website:
- Is it useful for users?
- Is it easy to read?
- Is it unique?
- Is it relevant to the targeted keywords or phrases?
If the answer is yes to all these questions, you are on the right track.
Organize your headings: Previously, it was important to include keywords in titles. While there's no harm in continuing that practice, the main purpose of titles is to create structure and provide users (and Google) with a clear overview of the page's subject. So, no, an H1 (header 1) tag is not more important for search results than an H2 (header 2), H3 (header 3), and so on. However, it's generally recommended to avoid using more than one H1 heading per page.
Always use alt text on images: All images should have descriptive alt text. The more detailed, the better. Alt text is primarily for people with visual impairments who use screen readers to understand the images.
Pay attention to the loading time: You may not have much control over a slow and poorly optimized website without the help of a developer, but if your page loads quickly initially, you can do a lot to avoid increasing the load time. Images are often the main culprit. A full-width banner image can be a little larger (around 2500 pixels wide), but images within the text should not exceed approximately 1900 pixels in width.
You can also play around with image quality and compression tools to achieve results that work well on most screen sizes without becoming too small or grainy.
Utilize internal linking: Internal links help users and search engines understand how your content is interconnected and the amount of content you have on a given topic.
Other factors that affect on-page search engine optimization:
Create pillar pages: A pillar page is a central page on a specific topic that links out to related pages on the same topic. All the "subpages" also link back to the pillar page. This system is also known as topic clusters or cluster content. It's important for demonstrating to both users and Google that you have in-depth knowledge about the topic or possess topic authority.
Remove duplicates: You don't need to write the same article multiple times. Having multiple pages targeting the same keyword can dilute the effectiveness of those pages. This is referred to as cannibalization.
Regularly update content: Both users and Google can quickly determine if what you're writing is accurate. So, if you have pages where you make claims that are no longer true, you should update the content.
Make the content readable: In addition to having a good hierarchy with understandable headings, there are some rules for structuring text on the web. One of the most important aspects is paragraph length. No one wants to read walls of text online, so break up the content into smaller pieces. This also applies to many video formats!
If you need help optimizing your content, we are happy to answer any questions or receive other inquiries through our contact form.
Sven is part of the Experience Team in the role as content producer and project manager. He writes about customer experience, content, trends and digital marketing from his experience and creative work.