On Page SEO imageOn Page SEO is a major factor for getting good organic search engine results. In my blog post the ABC of Search Engine Optimisation, I talked about the three most important elements of SEO. They are: Links, Keywords and Tags (code).

On Page SEO is about Keywords & Tags

On Page SEO means optimising your web page for a certain keyword or keyword combination.

You do this by making sure these keywords are used in the URL and in the most important SEO tags.

Google uses more than 200 factors to determine the value of your web page. This specific algorithm is a secret, but we do know which factors are of major influence:

Important On-Page SEO factors

  1. Domain: having your top keyword in the root domain is a great way to optimise your website for that keyword. For many marketers however, this is not possible, because the root domain is already yourcompanyname.com. Also, you are likely working a Keyword Strategy that contains more than one word
  2. URL: of major importance! You need to use your keywords in the URL of the post
  3. Title tag: also of major importance. Google uses the keywords in the title tag to know what a page is about. And the title tag also shows in search engine result pages (SERPs). The title tag is a meta tag. And is not actually visible on the webpage
  4. H1, h2, h3 headers: the importance of the H1 seemed to have decreased a little recently. However, headers are a great tool to help Google tell what the content on your web page is about! The headers are in the code of your web page, but are also visible as actual headers in the copy of your page
  5. Meta description: this is not important for search engine rankings. But! The meta description does show in your search engine results pages (SERPs). That means if you write a great one, you can help people click through
  6. Keyword density: using your keyword once on the whole page is not enough. The use of your keyword needs to ideally be somewhere between 2 and 4% of the total of copy. But above all, keep your text writing natural
  7. Alt-image tag: this tag is designed to let users know what the image is about. It’s recommended to also put your keywords in the file title of the image as well as in the Alt-tag of the image. Helps with SEO.
  8. Bold, italic and underlined for keywords. I’m not such a fan of this, because it makes your blog posts quite messy. Also, underlining keywords makes them look like they are hyperlinked. Still, a header in bold won’t harm your SEO chances!
  9. Length of the text: Search engines like a lot of relevant text. For maximum SEO impact it is recommended that a post has at least 500 words of text
  10. Keyword in first and last phrase: Google loves this. When the keyword is in the head as well as the tail of the post it tells Google the entire article is about this keyword
  11. Keywords meta tag: this used to be important, but not anymore. Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag anymore to rank pages. But other search engines still do to a degree. In other words: it doesn’t hurt. So go ahead. Fill in your most important keywords and some contextual keywords. Max 10. Make sure all these keywords are actually in the body text.

On Page SEO and Linking

What you do with your links inside your blog posts can also impact the ranking of your page. It’s recommended that you offer at least one internal link to another article in your website.

Also offering an external link to a credible, trusted, high authority website (for instance Wikipedia) can be a good idea. This makes Google trust your content more because you are quoting a trusted online source. (I leave the discussion regarding ‘nofollow’ out of scope for this article.)

On Page SEO: A last note

After reading this article, you might be wondering how heavy you must optimise your page. Questions like: how many words to use, how many keywords, how many italic words, et al.

I will write a separate post about how far you need to turn up the volume of your On Page SEO.

For now, follow these basic rules and you are well on your way with On Page SEO!

Related Articles

  1. Title tag, meta description & headings: the 3 most important SEO Tags marketers need to know about
  2. Keyword Research (III): What you have a chance on
  3. Keyword Strategy, the final step: evaluating your Keyword Research
  4. Social Media & SEO: the importance of a Keyword Strategy for marketing on the social web
  5. What is the difference between PageRank (PR) and SERP?
  • http://twitter.com/seobro Seo Bro

    I have found if you have a do follow link to another page it helps you rank well for the anchor text, so you should do that now. Also, images need to be on the page. This helps you.

  • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://twitter.com/seobro Seo Bro

    I have found if you have a do follow link to another page it helps you rank well for the anchor text, so you should do that now. Also, images need to be on the page. This helps you.

  • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.firstfound-blog.co.uk Andy @ FirstFound

    A great basic guide to on site SEO, but as you say, it does need a bit of guidance on things like keyword density and the like.

    I look forward to your next post!

    • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

      Thanks Andy. Yes. Agreed. SEO is quite a tactical little game. Little details can have a great effect on the grand total.

      Also the mix on different things is important. I’ve seen pages get to the first page of Google even with low keyword density and just an optimised Title tag and h1. Vice versa I’ve seen highly optimised pages struggle because of a shortage of links.

      All taken under consideration: content is leading.

      My post tomorrow:

      “King of Niche: don’t sweat on Page SEO, focus on great content!”

      Thanks for your continued engagement on my blog.

      Cheers
      Michiel

  • http://www.firstfound-blog.co.uk Andy @ FirstFound

    A great basic guide to on site SEO, but as you say, it does need a bit of guidance on things like keyword density and the like.

    I look forward to your next post!

  • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

    Thanks Andy. Yes. Agreed. SEO is quite a tactical little game. Little details can have a great effect on the grand total.

    Also the mix on different things is important. I've seen pages get to the first page of Google even with low keyword density and just an optimised Title tag and h1. Vice versa I've seen highly optimised pages struggle because of a shortage of links.

    All taken under consideration: content is leading.

    My post tomorrow:

    “King of Niche: don’t sweat on Page SEO, focus on great content!”

    Thanks for your continued engagement on my blog.

    Cheers
    Michiel

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  • Anonymous

    good and solid article about on page. You said 2 – 4 percent keyword density, I have discussed this with many industry leading professional and they advice me not to go over 3%. Any way nothing is concrete in our world of SEO.

  • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

    I think overall keyword density is getting less and less important. I always play safe by at least having the keyword in there a couple of times. But I think having great content which is on-topic of the keyword/phrase, supported by adjacent text and synonyms etc does the trick even better. A good development I think. Hate keyword stuffing :-p

    Thanks for your comment!
    Appreciated!

  • http://www.zagoumenov.com/ alexander zagoumenov

    Michael, thx for a great post! I’m not sure though if keyword density is still as important as it used to be.

    • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

      You are absolutely right Alexander! And that is pretty good news actually. Makes text much more readable and natural. I guess ‘the new keyword density’ is adjacent text, context and synonyms etc. Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.submitshop.co.uk Submit Shop

    Good information is given in this article. Really the three main important elements of SEO are link, keyword & tags.

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  • http://www.thenerdynurse.com The Nerdy Nurse

    Nice tips. Although it is very unfortunate that content cannot just speak for itself.

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  • http://www.kooldesignmaker.com/ banner design

     It was a wonderful post but i have to know about Keyword prominence and how effective as far as on page seo is concerned.

    • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

      As for keyword prominence: having the most important keywords in the beginning of the title tag really helps. Also make sure you use enough contextual keywords and synonyms. 
      Here’s two other posts on copywriting and seo that might help:
      http://www.michielgaasterland.com/seo/copywriting-seo-6-tips-to-help-your-blog-posts-get-found-more/
      http://www.michielgaasterland.com/seo/seo-copywriting-part-ii-6-tips-to-get-your-blog-posts-found-even-better/

      • http://www.kooldesignmaker.com/ecommerce-website-development ecommerce website development

        Yes, i have read on a blog post that Google does not like stop words in the title specially so better to keep the away the stop words like and, the etc. keep close keywords the better.

        • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

          Maybe so. But it really depends on what you want to achieve.

          If you are writing a ‘silver bullit’ post and you target is on very specific keywords, etc then yes – keep the titles sharp i.e. no ‘ands’ and ‘the’s’ – but overall: just write good titles.

  • http://lxry.ca LXRYmag

    Great Post! A lot of useful tips!

  • Anonymous

    I think to some extend this indicates that black hat SEO firms are concerned about crack down by Google. 
    search engine optimization company

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/ Local Search SEO

    Good post! These On-page optimization tactics should be used on every post on every WordPress site. I bet this is why SEOPressor is so popular with so many WP seo guys.

    • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

      Thanks for your comment Neil. I too believe that On Page SEO tactics should be used when your objective is to rank high in search engines based on certain key phrases.

      I tried out SEOPressor as well – a while back. One of the reasons I stopped using it, is it’s emphasis on keyword density and font styling such as underlining, bolden and italising. I felt that the tips SEOPressor was giving me were impacting my content too much. I felt I was better off applying these tips (much like the ones described in my post) naturally and manually.

      I wonder how SEOPressor driven sites are doing now since Google’s Panda update. Google’s algorithm now has a strong emphasis on Quality Content. In addition the people in the Google’s search quality team also adjust rankings of web pages they feel are over-optimised and where the content does not live up to the expectation of the person doing the search query.

      The above post was written before Google’s Panda update. Meanwhile I have written two other posts with On Page SEO tips much more from a quality content angle:

      http://www.michielgaasterland.com/seo/copywriting-seo-6-tips-to-help-your-blog-posts-get-found-more/

      http://www.michielgaasterland.com/seo/seo-copywriting-part-ii-6-tips-to-get-your-blog-posts-found-even-better/

      All the best,
      Michiel

  • http://www.the4thmarketeer.com Benny Howe

    Hey Michiel,

    Great post and thank you. I often forget about the title tags, so thanks for the reminder! ;p

    • http://www.michielgaasterland.com/ MichielGaas

      Thanks for your comments Benny.
      Title tag mucho important :-)

  • http://www.sahiwalian.com SEO Pakistan

    Hey! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the great data you could have here on this post. I can be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.

  • http://istanbully.com/ Seo Teknikleri

    Also there are many wordpress extensions to help on-page seo. Thank you for the great tips Michiel.

  • http://113tidbits.com/ tony greene

    When Yoast added Linkdex to the plugin it made it much more valuable that the common AIOSEO.