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On-Page SEO: How To Optimize Your Webpage For Ranking

This lesson covers the best on-page SEO optimization techniques for ranking on Google search engines.

At the end of this On-page SEO tutorial, you will discover the broad categories of ranking signals such as title tags, header tags, URLs, alt text, and more.

You will also find out some of the on-page SEO practices you should avoid. And you will learn how search engine algorithm process and understand the text on your webpage.

What is On-page SEO

On-page SEO is also known as on-site SEO. Is simply the process of optimizing the various parts of your web page to enable your website to rank in search engines. And attract new visitors and also increase your site traffics.

It involves both content and HTML source code optimization. Search engine optimization is very complex especially when you are just getting started. Looking at all the signals that go into SEO it can be divided into either relevance or popularity.

on page signal

There are a few On-page SEO components that you need to properly apply to enable your site to achieve a good position in the search results. These factors include content elements, website structure, and HTML elements.

The important On-page SEO factors

on page seo factors

In this section am going to talk about the On-page SEO factors you can tweak on your website to get better results.

1. Create quality content

Make sure to have quality and original content on your blog or website. Don’t rewrite other people’s content or copy content from other blogs and paste it on your site.

Search engines are very smart to know if the content on your site is stolen from other websites. If you are caught in this act, your site might be banned.

Even if your content is original and you did proper keyword research. Also, be sure that the article will be valuable to the readers and try to carry out content optimization.

2. Title tag

The page title tag does not show on the page but displays on the browser tab.

title tag

It’s also the title tag or page tag that shows on the text in search results as the page link.

page tag

The click-through rate and impressions of our webpage are influenced by the page title.

When creating any content. Don’t forget to add the ‘Title’ of the content. When search engines are outputting search results.

The first part of your content they will show is the Title followed by the descriptions. The title will also help the reader to know if actually, that content is what they are looking for.

3. Meta description

The meta description can be found in the source code and it does not influence the page ranking. But it helps to increase the click-through rate.

meta description

The meta description appears under the title tag in search engines as a snippet. So write an engaging description of your content, to attract more web searchers to click on your link.


It is a summary that tells them what the content is all about. Your meta description should be between 70 to 160 characters, which is the standard for Google search engines.

4. Header


The header text can be referred to as a heading or subheading text. Basically, when the HTML was created, the heading tag is logically used to arrange the various part of a page header.

A webpage header text starts from the headline which is the page title and then the subheading. The headline uses the H1 tag and H1 can only be used in the main title of your content.

The subheading is the H2 tag mainly used to break the sub-contents into subcategories. By including the topic of the content in the page title, it’s important to add primary and secondary keywords in the heading and subheadings.

The H3 tag is primarily used as the paragraph header. Always have it in mind that adding the target keywords in the headings does not actually mean the content is well optimized.

The goal of optimizing your blog post is to provide a quick reference for web users to find the content they are looking for within seconds.

So easy to understand headings, subheading, and paragraph headings is what makes your content more engaging. And interesting to read.

Header tags formatting

Now that your article is ready. The title automatically uses the H1 tag. But they are other tags you can include in the subheading or in the body of the content for search engines to properly understand when you are starting a new paragraph heading.

Other title tags are H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. You can use these tags on your content whenever you want to add a new heading to your content.

H3 for paragraph heading under H2 subheadings

H4 for sub-paragraph headings under the main H3 paragraph headings

The list goes on. The header tags are to be used based on the hierarchy, meaning the lower tags should be under the higher tags.

5. URLs structure

On the search result page (SERP). The blue text is the page title, the gray text is the meta description and the green text is the URL of the page.

URLS structure

The URL is the web address of a page which is essential for SEO. And it’s also important to include the target keyphrase in the URL.

Make sure your website URL is short and it is something people can easily remember. People don’t like to visit websites their URL looks spammy. And secondly, spammy URLs don’t rank higher in search results.

6. Image alt text

img alt

Search engine spiders and users that are sight impaired cannot see images. So the alternative text tag is what describes the image on a web page.

Most time our bandwidths might not be strong to fully load the image on a site. The alt text description is needed to provide the context of the image.

Search engines use the alt text description to better understand the content of the content on the page.

7. Internal links

internal link

An internal link is a link from one page on your website to another page of your own website. Internal linking is relevant because directs your users from one page to another page.

When a search engine spider crawls your web page it also looks at other pages on your site that are relevant to each other.

So it’s important to use an internal link to tell the spider about the other pages that are relevant to the page it is crawling.

8. Site map

There are two types of site maps. One is for humans while the other is for search engine crawlers or spiders.

The sitemap for humans is called the HTML sitemap which can be found at the footer of most websites. It contains the major sections of the website and also provides some search functionality.

on page seo - html sitemap

The second sitemap is called the XML sitemap which is not linked from any page of your website. But exist as an independent file on your server.

on page seo - xml sitemap

The XML sitemap can be seen by humans but it is formatted for search engine spiders using a programming language called XML.

Its main work is to show the hierarchy and priority of each URL of a website page, image, document, and file. It also shows the last updated date of each page.

I believe you have learned all the things you should be doing when optimizing your on-page content. Now let’s talk about the thing you should not do.

Black hat on-page activities

They are some black-hat on-page SEO activities that will kill your site ranking. They are keyword stuffing, hidden text, repetitive anchor text, and cloaking.

1. Keyword stuffing

In the early days of search engine optimization, people overuse keywords on their pages before the introduction of language processing.

Those days what search engine is looking for are the occurrence of specific words. But currently, search engines are smarter. So what worked 20 years ago will not work now.

Keyword stuffing no longer works. Including your target keyword, dozens of times on your content will not help your page rank.

Over-optimizing your content makes get your website penalized by Google. So it’s important to write quality and engaging content for your users and not focus mainly on the search engine.

2. Hidden text

Hidden text is when you write content focusing mainly on search engines and not for web users. The way this method work is by writing repetitive keywords and hiding them on the white background.

This helps you add more keywords to your content without the readers seeing it. This method did not work well in the past and currently, it is seen as black hat SEO manipulation.

These On-page SEO tactics backfire in two ways.

  • Search engines can tell when white text is in the background of a webpage. It can read the HTML code of a website.
  • Search engines no longer rank pages because the target keywords are found dozens of times on the web page.

These unprofessional SEO techniques will get your website penalized. It’s important to avoid them.

3. Repetitive anchor text

Most times when you are on some website page you will see bunch of anchor text. And when you click on them you will land on a crappy page with dozens of repetitive text that are not written for humans.

These SEO tactics used to work before but currently no longer work. Search engines and their natural language processing algorithms has advanced significantly.

They can detect when something is not real. They know when a page basically create for machine and not for people. So always link to relevant pages on your website.

4. Cloaking

Cloaking is when a webmaster create a page in a way that what the search engine is seeing on the page is different from what human are seeing.

This tactic is related to other black hat SEO activities which used to work before but is currently against the search engines guideline.

Engaging in such activities now will get your website penalized by Google. Or get your contents removed entirely from search engines.

On-page SEO tools

1. Copyscape

On-page seo - copyscape

If you hire people to help you write content for your blog or website. Copyscape is a very important tool you can use to check if the content the writer is sending to you is original.

The tool will analyze the content to be sure it is unique because Google is against duplicated content, and any site that is caught in this act may face a penalty.

It is very important to ensure that the writers are creating original and quality content for your site. They are not just copying it from another website.

2. Google Search Console

google search console - On-page seo

The Google search console is a powerful On-page SEO tool that helps you find out how your page is performing in search engines. Also, update you with errors to fix if detected.

You can see some errors and issues on your site on the Google search console ‘Coverage’ section.

Some issues you may find there are blocked or pages that are not crawled by your robots.txt, redirecting issues, 404 error pages, and duplicate contents.

3. Google Developers PageSpeed Insight

google pagespeed insight - on-page seo

Most of the world’s internet users are using mobile phones to visit websites. Another factor Google uses to rank a web page is the site loading speed and also the screen size. So if your site is too slow and not mobile-friendly, you might be losing tons of visitors.

The work of Google PageSpeed insight is to analyze your webpage. Then list out those areas that need to be improved so it will be user-friendly and also load faster.

4. On-page SEO Checker

Semrush on-page seo checker

Semrush On-Page SEO Checker is a great tool that helps you find out all your website weaknesses. The tool collects data from various sources.

Then compares your webpage with other top organic competitors that are also targeting the same keywords.

On-Page SEO Checker will combine all the pieces of information needed. Then gives you ideas for how you can improve your website to rank well in search engines.

How to Optimization Your Content

Understanding the type of content that will rank in Google and other search engines can be very hard because most of these search engines use different factors when crawling content they want to rank.

So the only option for you as a writer to rank in the search results is simply by implementing proper page optimization.

Such as meta tags and URLs. This technical stuff will help tell Google that your content is worth showing to web searchers.

1. Add your target keyword in the title

Adding your target keyword in the content title is one of the best search engine optimization practices.

It is just like reading a book. When you go to the library the first thing you check is the book title. Search engines use the same method to pick content for ranking. So adding the target keyword will help tell Google what the content is all about.

on page seo adding keyword

As you can see this content is talking about On-page SEO. So I have included it in the title because it is the target keyword for this post.

You should also know you cannot just add the focus keyword on the title but include some other words to it like this content keyword is ‘On-page SEO’ but I make the title to be what is On-page SEO. This way it will make you look more professional.

2. Use short URLs

Short URLs will tell the searchers what the content is all about and will also help to attract more clicks.

short content urls

This method is another way of using your target keyword in the URLs. Also, make it short. Most time Google truncates some of them in the search results.

3. Optimize the title tag

The title tag is the first thing that will appear in the search result. It is important to create a good and captivating title tag.

optimize the title tag shakeworldonline

You can do this by setting it up as your post title. Make sure that your title is not too lengthy. Try to create a short title so that it will appear nice in the search results.

4. write a relevant meta description

The meta description is the summary of the content that will show up in the search result. If you want more organic traffic, try to make it unique and interesting.

write relevant meta description shakeworldonline

Meta descriptions may not actually help your webpage to rank higher in search results but they will help you get more clicks from web searchers. Make it 120 characters or less, and avoid lengthy words.

5. Optimize the images on the content

Images that rank in Google image search can get a lot of clicks and send tons of traffics to your website.

The proper way to optimize your image is by making sure that the title matches the title of the content or the target keyword.

6. Include internal and external links in the content

Internal and external linking is a good On-page SEO factor. Though some believe it is bad for SEO, Google never states so in their search engine ranking factor.

Internal and external links are a way to allow your visitors to navigate to other parts of your websites that have valuable information and also a means of sending them to other related content on other websites.

On page SEO best practices

Here are some of the best On-page SEO practices that will help your website rank in search result.

1. Taking care of the basic search engine protocols

Webmasters that implement robot.txt file, XML sitemap and HTTPS protocol on their website shows that they are familiar with the advanced search engine guidelines.

2. Implementation of pagespeed

According to recent Google ranking factors. Website pagespeed helps website to rank higher in search result. Site with slow loading page will be penalized because they offer poor user experience.

So optimizing the page code and increasing the website speed can directly impact your website ranking. Google primary indexing factors is focused on site speed and mobile friendliness.

3. Behavioral users factors

With the help of artificial intelligent search engine can understand page relevancy based on interaction. Though this factor is yet to be fully confirmed.

But they include:

  • Brand search.
  • Direct website visits.
  • Time on page.
  • Pages per session.
  • Behavior of user.

So the amount of users that search for a brand name, business name and go to the result helps to improve the brand awareness.

The behavior of searchers in the result page. So when they visit your website from the search result and get satisfied by the information provide on your webpage. It send a good signal that your site is satisfactory. But if they visit your site and go back to the search result immediately it will send bad signal to search engine.

Final thought……

Popularity and relevance are the main broad category ranking signal factors. The most important On-page SEO ranking factors include: title tags, heading, subheadings, URLs, and alt text.

Avoid keyword stuffing, hidden text, repetitive anchor text, and cloaking while optimizing your webpage. Natural language processing is a technology that understand the intent and semantic structure behind human written article.

Expand your knowledge, Read these useful guides:

On-Page SEO Checklist
Link Building Tutorial
Best Off-Page SEO Checklist
13+ Powerful 2022 SEO Tips
4 Best Off-Page SEO Strategies

Popmati Emebu

Entrepreneur, Writer, Digital Marketer, Web Developer, Insightful Teacher and Blogger...

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