On-Page SEO: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know [2020]

In the age of the Internet, every site owners want to be on Google’s search result on the first page.

It’s too competitive than ever to get top ranking and demands more effort. To get the dazzling spot of Google’s SERP first page you need optimization.

Here the importance of On-Page SEO comes into play.

Google has been releasing new updates at regular intervals to give searchers the best possible results. So you need to optimize your site based on that to get the love of Google.

At the surface level, you can differentiate the SEO optimization into 2 categories. One is On-page SEO (On-site SEO) and another one is Off-Page SEO. Here we will discuss the on-page SEO part.

Table Of Content

What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing your site so that it can appear in the search result. Sometimes the on-page SEO is also called on-site SEO.

In simple words;

On-Page SEO is the effort you perform on your site to make them eligible for the search result.

Sometimes people think that the on-site factors only refer to the content part. But it’s not like that. It also includes the coding part somehow, if not in-depth.

Google uses sophisticated algorithms to define which result should show in the SERP. So you can’t rely on only On-Page SEO. To get loved by Google and shown on the first page, you need to perform a combination of on-page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO as well.

These terms seem like two or three words combinations, but a lot of things to cover in this. This is also confusing to describe all the parts in a single article. So I have written dedicated articles in this blog.

Here let’s see the on-page SEO factors in detail.

On-Page SEO Factors Check List 2020

Your optimization process should start with the on-page SEO. Below, I have listed some of the important factors you need to consider when optimizing your content.

1.Title Tag

The title is one of the important things to consider when optimizing your content. Searchers always want to read the heading first so that they can get a brief idea about what they are searching for.

Google also gives importance to the heading. Because this title tells Google bots what the content is all about.

You might have searched thousands of queries in Google before. You may notice that the top results contain the searched query. To understand this process let’s take an example.

Let’s say you are writing on a keyword “SEO plugins” then you may build your headline like follows.Example 1 :SEO Plugins: The Complete List (Free and Paid)Example 2 :10 Best SEO Plugins To Get Higher Ranking In 2020

Both the titles in the above examples are good for SEO and users as well. In the SEO point of view, your main keyword is in the title. From a searcher’s point of view, their search query is in the title. Both the intent is satisfied and you are good to go.

I have written that both the titles are SEO ready? Will you rise some questions on it? If yes, then you are most welcome.

Have you noticed that why said like this?

SEO experts recommend that using the targeted keyword at the beginning of the title is a good practice.

SEO Title

Of-Course it is not possible in every keyword. I admit that also.

If it is not possible to use the main keyword at the beginning of the article, then try to place it closer to the beginning.

Don’t game the system and start stuffing your keyword in the title. Google hates this and it also creates a bad user experience.

Title drives traffic when it shows in the search result and searchers click on that. So make it SEO friendly as well as click-worthy as well.

2. URL Structure

URL is also a top On-Page SEO factor you need to optimize. URL usually contains some fixed structures and varies from site to site.

A typical example of a URL is like this.Examplehttp://example.com/seo/seo-plugins-2019?post-id-637485

Believe it or not, I have seen some ugly and creepy URL structure like this.Examplehttp://example.com/seo/seo-plugins

Sometimes worst that the above also.

Many sites also do a mistake in the URL structure and add date, month, year in the URL also. This is a bad practice as well. This feels like the content is helpful for a limited time.

On-Page SEO- Permalink Setting

Note: If you are using CMS platforms like WordPress, then it adds post publish date and category in your URL by default. Change that option in the permalink section and set to post name.

SEO experts recommend having this post name URL structure. Before you hit the publish button, make sure that you have optimized the URL.

Some SEO case studies suggest that short URLs perform better in the search result than longer. So make them short and sweet. You can see it’s a practical example if you type any competitive keyword.

short permalink

Adding the targeted keyword in the URL is always a good practice. It tells Google what the content is all about. URL also shows in the search result. So users can figure out what the content is all about.

3. Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short paragraph that appears under the title and the URL link in the search result. It helps searchers to get some brief information about the topic.

meta description

So it is good practice to add a meta description for your page and posts. The meta description is like the movie trailer of your post. Make sure people feel this interesting and intended to visit your page to see the full story.

Another thing to consider when writing meta descriptions is the length. If you type any random search query and analyze the search results on the first page, then you noticed that there are a lot of variations in the meta description section.

You noticed that the length varies in each individual results. Some results show longer descriptions and some show short. I don’t know why. Google decides this that it thinks helpful for the searchers.

varying length of meta description

Some SEO experts and SEO plugins suggest that the ideal length is 155 characters. If your description is longer than the viewable limit then it will not be visible.

Also, add the targeted keywords in the meta description. Search engines like Google Bolds the texts that match the search query. So it grabs the attention searchers and leads to get traffic.

So it is a good SEO habit to add a meta description when you are optimizing every page or post of your website.

Forget to Add Meta Descriptions?

If you have not written the meta description for some reason then Google will show it automatically. Google will pick some texts from your post according to the search query and show it in the search result. You have no control over this and completely depend on Google.

4. Use H1 Tag In Heading

Whenever you find resources on on-page SEO you will found some common factors like title, meta description, URL and others. But H1 is one of the most neglected things in this.

H1 is an HTML tag used in headings. It is the highest tag as well. Usually, it is used in the highest emphasis text.

Usually, WordPress themes put an H1 tag in the title of a post by default. So you may check this in the source code.

H1 Heading Tag

Google has not set any limitation to the H1 tag uses on a single page. Uses of more than one H1 tag is allowed and no restriction on that as per Google.

But think about the user’s point of view. If a webpage full of H1 tags, will you interested to stay on that page for a long time? Perhaps not.

It is recommended that you should use only one H1 tag in a post. So, the heading would be the perfect place for this.

5. Image Optimization

A well-explained article is always interesting to read. But a plan page has thousands of words and no images are quite boring. You may feel like sinking in the sea of words on that page.

So it is important to add some images in a post whenever needed. Images give enhances the content quality and give more clarity about the topic.

Rather than downloading and placing random images in a blog post, optimize them. Usually, high-resolution images have greater in size. If you add it directly, then it will take a lot of space users have to wait until it loads.

Reduce the size of the image so that it can load faster. You can use image optimization websites or WordPress plugins for these purposes.

Another good SEO practice to add an alt attribute to each image. This text shows when your image does not load for some reason. It also tells the search engine that the image is all about.

A lot of people take it badly and want to game the search engine algorithms. They place keywords in the alt attribute place, rather than describing the image. This is one of the worst SEO practice you should never repeat. In the age of AI and sophisticated algorithms, you can’t fool the system by doing this.

So, add small images and don’t forget to add the alt attribute.

6. Use Targeted Keyword In The Beginning

I have been seeing many people is still using the keyword density concept. A lot of popular blogs also mentioned this in their blog also.

Keyword density is one of the most deprecated concepts now. I don’t know why people are after this in 2019 and beyond. Instead of that, you may take keyword prominence as the new approaches now.

Google is now looking at the keyword placement position and putting empathizes on it.

This means, if you are writing about “How to do guest blogging” then you should mention it at the beginning of the article.

Let’s take it from the searcher’s point of view. If you are the searcher and searching for guest blogging, then you would definitely want to see the phrase in the beginning. Google also wants that too.

Rather than describing a 300 words introduction and placing the keyword after that, but that in the beginning. It is not necessary to put it in the first sentence of the article every time. If it is suitable in the first sentence then you can happily place it.

If you closely observe some of the famous blogs in this space, then you can see that they are mostly doing the same thing.

It is recommended to place your main keyword in the first hundred words of your article. Don’t just place for the sake of place. Do it in a natural way and match the surrounding sentences.

7. Use Natural Keyword Variation

The keyword density concept is gone. So keyword stuffing is now not allowed as well. No need to maintain 2-5% keyword density in each article.

Some famous SEO blogs are also recommending to maintain the density in each article as well. But you should stay away from this.

No need to say Google that you are writing on the topic by repeating the same key phrase again and again. Google is very smart these days and you can’t game the algorithm by keyword stuffing.

So, use the keyword variations of the same keyword. You can also use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.

LSI Keywords? What The Heck Is This!

You might think that what are the LSI keywords and where we will find it.

LSI keywords are conceptually related terms used by the search engine to better understand the content on the webpage. LSI Keywords are not synonyms. The LSI terms are closely related to your target keyword.

So as of now, I assume that you understand the LSI keywords. Then you might ask me how we can find them? So let’s discuss that one also.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get LSI terms in Google Autocomplete. You have seen that if you started typing any term, Google suggests some other topics. Those are used as the LSI terms.

Google Auto complete

Another best place to find these terms is at the bottom of the search result.

LSI Keywords

You can also try Ubersuggest. This is a free tool that gives you some SEO stats and related keywords.

Sprinkle those terms in your article naturally. You can also use keyword variations and synonyms and increase the quality of the article.

8. Write Lengthy And Quality Content

There is a buzzword in the online world that content is king. Of course yes.

But the internet is full of content and there is a mountain of content even. How your content would be king?

The simple answer might be long and quality content. Content describing in-depth information, have a higher tendency to rank on the search result.

Before writing about any topic, spend some quality time to research on the topic. This gives you more information which you can add to your article.

After research, try to describe every topic that provides value to your users. Describe everything about that topic under the sun.

You might notice that this rule is followed by some of the blogs already.

Some SEO case studies suggest that lengthy content have higher chances to get rank on the 1st page.

Top 10 search results of Google search contains approximately 1800 words or more.

Average content length of top 10 results

This factor is more useful when you are trying to rank for a competitive term. Don’t just write a few thousand words for the sake of lengthy content. Make sure those words provides value to visitors.

So, create long in-depth content that provides value.

9. Internal Linking

Internal linking is also an important factor that you should optimize for. Many people ignore the importance of internal linking.

An internal link is a hyperlink that points to a page on the same domain. This is very useful to Google crawlers. Internal links are like road maps for Google crawlers. It helps to crawl the other pages of your website.

If you are doing it in the right way, then it would send page authority (PageRank) to important pages.

Best Practice For Internal Linking:

Exact match anchor text in your internal linking is one of the best practices of internal linking. Also, use various anchor text to point a page rather than repeating the same word again and again.

Google Search Console is now showing the internal and external linking data. You can head to GEC and analyze the data.

Internal linking data

When you are writing a new topic, then try to link to your previously written articles whenever needed.

10. Use Outbound Links

Outbound links also helpful like internal linking. Many people afraid to give a link to another blog naturally.

An outbound link is a hyperlink that points to a URL in a different domain.

Google wants you to connect the random dots scattered all over and make the web a better place.

In this way, you are guiding the Google bots to another domain and helps them to discover the page. You users also get some additional information about the topic there.

Link to the pages that actually authoritative and provide value to your users.

So, give links to some other websites in your post whenever possible.

11. Place Targeted Keyword In Sub-Headings ( H2 & H3 )

We have discussed the importance of the H1 tag earlier in this article. As we have seen there, most of the WordPress themes put an H1 tag in the title of the article.

There are some other tags available to decorate your page. Use your keyword in the subheadings wrapped in H2 & H3 tag.

There is no hard and first rule of SEO to do this. It is an additional recommendation. The search algorithm is not limited to the heading nowadays.

Again, don’t repeat the same keyword again and again in subheadings. Use the keyword variations and make sure it sounds natural.

12. Write For Humans, Not For Crawlers

The days are gone when you have to write for crawlers to make them happy and hope for ranking. Throughout the years, writers have been trying to game Google algorithms by keyword stuffing and placing attractive keywords.

Google has evolved a lot of scenes then.

Now Google wants you to write quality and valuable content that satisfies visitors. Keep in mind that you are writing for your audience (humans) not for bots, machines or algorithms.

The first thing you can do is, know your audience first and try to know what they want to read. Once you figure out this, then the rest of the things would be easy for you.

Write with the intent of triggering some emotion in mind. Easy-to-scan languages are always welcomed by readers.

This doesn’t totally mean that you should not care about the SEO factors. Try to mix things up.

13. Adorn Blog Post Using Multimedia

Usually, blog readers want to read text-based content. Would you prefer to read a blog post having hundreds of words from top to button without any visual attractions?

Your answer may be no. Who wants to stay a lot with boring things?

Rather than writing hundreds of words in a post-only, add some multimedia stuff. The multimedia includes Images, Videos, Screenshots, Graphs, Infographics, etc. These things will give visitors more visual pleasure and they more likely to stay on site.

To say frankly, there is no direct impact of multimedia stuff in On-Page SEO (as long as we have no evidence for this). But these stuff increase user experience. They are more likely to stay on the site for a long time.

Google now closely monitoring paying more emphasis to the user interaction. Users interact more with visual-based content so this leads to a higher ranking.

14. SERP Intent Should Be The Priority

Google has been crafting its algorithms and serving the best possible results.

Nowadays everyone is creating skyscraper content and making backlinks. But they are missing one of the biggest ranking factors.

The factor is search intent. It is one of the most overlooked and important factors.

Curious To Know What Is Search Intent?

Search intent states that why the person made this the search on Google. What is the intention behind this and what they want to see in the search result? This is why the terms named that.

On the surface level, there are four types of search intent:

  • Informational
  • Transactional
  • Navigational
  • Commercial Investigation

If you are confusing about the terminologies then don’t worry about that. Just head to Google and just search your query or main keyword you want to write an article for.

As usual, you will see a list of results. Analyze the results and you will get what is ranking on the first page of Google. When you will write your article on that topic, then write accordingly.

So, next time onwards, when you would write content don’t forget to analyze the search intent.

15. Increase Dwell Time

Dwell time seems very technical at first sight.

Dwell time is the amount of time spent by a searcher after clicking on the search result and click the back button on the browser, return back to the SERPs.

Let’s take a real-world example this time

Assume that you have searched for a query on Google. Then you found a link that grabs your attention and you click on that. After clicking on that you will be landed on the page. You scan the page and don’t find more value on that. So you clicked the back button and back to the SERPs.

Then you scan the SERP again and found another link that you think may fit your intend. You click on that land on the page. This time you found the page interesting and the information you are searching is in it. Then you read the blog and spend some time here.

Short dwell time send Google a bad signal. It states that the site is not trustworthy and the content quality is not good. Long dwell time sends Google a good signal. It informs Google that the content quality is good and users are getting value from it.

Popular search engine, Bing admits that they consider dwelling time as a ranking signal. But what about search engine giant Google?

Google never officially stated or denied anything about Dwell Time. But many SEO case studies show that dwell time is an important ranking factor. Many SEO professional also recommends to increase it.

Whenever you are writing content try to write long, valuable and engaging content. Try to make the introduction paragraphs compelling so that users more likely to read further.

16. Reduce Page Load Time

In today’s fast forward world, no one likes to wait for page loading. Google also doesn’t like slow-loading pages.

In fact, Google has added page loading speed in the ranking factors list. Then you can imagine how important it is.

According to Google, if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load then 53% of users will leave your site.

If you are unknown about your page speed, then there are various tools available to test this. Some of the tools I recommend are Google PageSpeed InsightGTmatrix, etc. 

page sp on-page seo

Small image size, premium hosting, fast loading themes, caching plugins, etc can lead to a faster loading website.

If your website is loading in more than 3 seconds, then don’t neglect this one. Apply the methods that can boost your page loading speed.

17. Try To Decrease Bounce Rate

A lot of people have confusion between dwell time and bounce time. They assume that both terms are the same. But it is not.

A bounce is counted when a visitor visits a webpage and leave without visiting any other page. The bounce rate is termed in percentage. The bounce rate percentage shows how many visitors bounce back from your site.

If you are using Google analytics, then the tool will show you the bounce rate. If people are bouncing back in a large number, then it sends Google a bad signal. In this way, Google knows that the site is not providing enough value to the visitors. So it downs the ranking gradually.

The best way to decrease the bounce rate is through internal linking. We have discussed internal linking earlier in this article. Now add this one to the importance of internal linking.

Whenever you are writing new content, link some relevant old contents. This way visitors will more likely to visit other pages.

18. Use HTTPS

hgdkgkad on-page seo

In the online world, security is the number one priority. So the importance of a secure site is necessary like never before.

HTTPS is the advance and secure version of the HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure). The S in the term stands for secure.

All information shared between your site and the current web browser is encrypted using an SSL certificate.

Although the process of encryption is quite technical and no need to describe that process here. On the surface level, it provides a security layer to your website.

Google also officially announced a few months ago that they will use HTTPS as a ranking factor.

Famous web browser, Google Chrome is now showing a Not secure warning to the non-https sites. If the site not having HTTPS certificates shows a not secure warning that leads to bad user experience. Users think that the site may be spammy and not a good place to read further.

If your site is not secure yet, then switch to the HTTPS version immediately. If you are using WordPress then there are several plugins available to make your site secure. Some hosting providers also providing free SSL certificates with their hosting plans also.

If you are migrating to HTTPS from HTTP then don’t forget to add your secure version to the Google Search Console also. Most importantly, redirect your old URLs to the s version of the website as well.

19. Make Sure That Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

The smartphone market is skyrocket now and keeps growing. Millions of searches are performed each hour using mobile devices.

So, Google has decided to switch and giving prioritize to mobile search results. Mobile-first indexing has been rolled out in November 2016.

Now optimizing your website for mobile devices is not a choice. It is a vital necessity. Your site should responsive and mobile optimized. Luckily, Morden WordPress themes automatically adjust their size according to the screen size of the device.

Mobile friendly test on-page seo

You can test your website’s mobile-friendliness using Google’s Mobile-friendly test tool.

20. Use The Table Of Content

Have you seen a list of sublinks inside a site in a box? This is because of the table of content. The table of content gives an easy way to navigate inside a page.

It also has also an SEO role as well. Good SEO is now all about checking the boxes of a pre-defined checklist. So why not add a table of content to our checklist also?

The table of the content has two major benefits. First, it enhances the user experience (good for RankBrain). And secondly, it helps to get placed in featured snippets or search results.

You may know that the Google rank position starts from 1. But this featured snippet considered as the position 0 of SERP. It gets the most number of clicks.

Have a look at the Table of Content generated in a post of our blog.

Toc on-page seo

Again there is no guaranty that you will get placed in the position 0 (featured snippet) if you have a table of content. It completely depends on Google.

Have you ever noticed that there are some sublinks under the Mets description? This is because of TOC as well. If anyone clicks on that then he/she will be landed on the exact section of the page.

The list of links is listed inside your post. If anyone wants to jump to a particular section, then he just has to click on the defined link in the TOC list.

There are several WordPress plugins available in the WordPress repo to get this feature on your site. Otherwise, you can do this with HTML code.

21. Add Schema Markup

Have you ever noticed that some of the search results contain start ratings in the SERP? This is because of schema markup.

Google uses this type of markup to better understand the content and it is called rich snippets.

Star rating is not the only schema. You will found various types of rich snippets depending upon your search term.

Some recipe related searches show the calories in the recipe, time is taken to complete the dish, etc. directly in the SERP.

recipe snippet

According to your post, you can design the schema markup and place it in your post. If you are using WordPress then you can easily add it using WordPress plugin like Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets.

Before adding schema markup to any random posts, make sure that Google is showing the rich snippets in the SERP for the search term you are targeting. Analyze the SERP first and then add markups accordingly.  

22. Create An SEO Title To Maximize CTR

Average CTR of a website

We have discussed the importance of title in a post earlier. No matter how much effort you are putting on the on-page SEO if your title is not click-worthy then all sink in the tank.

Assume that you put effort and successes in rank on page one. If people are rarely clicking on your article although having the top 3 spots then guess what happens.

Your ranking will gradually decrease and may disappear from page one. Google thinks that the page is not appropriate to visitors and not eligible for a higher spot.

At the same time if people are clicking on the lower results most often, then the ranking will gradually increase. Google thinks that people are taking more interest in the lower results and getting more value than the higher results.

If you are using WordPress then you can set an SEO title for your post. This can be different than your actual post title. Some SEO plugins like Rank Math & Yoast SEO allows you to do so.

SEO Title Setting

You can always check the CTR in Google Search Console. If any page getting low CTR then try some different title format to maximize the click-through rate.

23. Optimize Clicks To Content

This might be quite new to most people. You may already know that every page of your website has some page rank (authority).

The homepage has the highest authority than any other page on a website. The page closer to the homepage will get a chance to accrue PageRank and higher chances of ranking in Google.

So try to cut down the number of clicks requires to reach a page from the home page. It is recommended that you should place your most important content pages within 3 clicks from the home page. Otherwise, you will miss a lot of critical and valuable page rank.

To make the important pages nearer to the homepage, you can add it to the sidebar, Navigational Header and Footer of the website. This way, one can reach that important content with one click.

Many famous SEO experts recommend this On-Page SEO technique.

Header and Footer menu

24. Uses Of Dofollow and Nofollow Links

There are a lot of debates going on regarding dofollow and nofollow links in the SEO community.

But in the surface level, links having dofollow tag pass link juice to the linking page and links having nofollow tag don’t pass any link juice.

All the external links are Dofollow by default. You don’t need to put the do-follow tag in the link.

If you want to make an external link as Nofollow then simply add the Nofollow link attribute.<a href=”http://www.google.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>

The highest requirement of nofollow link is in the affiliate marketing blogs. It is recommended that you should add nofollow links to all the affiliate links.

Recently Google announced a major update to the nofollow links. From March 1, 2020, Google will treat nofollow as a hint and for ranking purposes.

25. Audit Broken Links

Broken links are often treated as part of Technical SEO. But if you want you can drag it to the on-page SEO part because it is performed on the on-page level.

Broken link simply means the link that is not workings. This type of link sends a 404 error code that means the page is available. It is popularly known as page not found an error.

Broken link checker

It creates a bad user experience and Google also hates this. You can perform a link audit regularly on your site to avoid this type of errors.

Tools To Check Broken Links

The easiest and free way to do this is through a Chrome extension. Use Check My Links free Chrome extension for this purpose.

Once you found any broken link, replace it with the fresh and working link. If you are changing the URL of any page on your website, then make sure to redirect it to the new URL.

Conclusion

So, these are some of the on-page SEO factors you need to consider when optimizing your content. Whenever you are writing your next content, follow these optimization techniques for better ranking. Get your site ready to fight in the SERP.

You can relay long on the traditional way of SEO. Google’s algorithm keeps changing and you have to match your steps according to that.

Bibhu Prasad Bal is a passionate freelance content writer and tech-savvy guy. In spare time you will find him watching Ancient Aliens and exploring the web. Contact - bibhu@bloggingforge.com

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