The 2023 Updated Guide Of On Page SEO Best Practices
On page SEO is a big part of the website optimization process, including all activities that can be taken directly on the site. In this article, On Digitals will summarize the latest and most effective on page SEO techniques as a complete guide for you in 2023.
What Is On Page SEO?
The term “on page SEO” is concerned with every action that needs to be done to optimize all displayed i.e. on-page elements of a website. As a result, the site rankings on search result pages will improve, leading to growing traffic and attracting more potential customers.
Besides publishing content, on page SEO also includes a number of optimization tasks, including the URL, title tag, HTML tag, meta tag, keywords, content, page speed, sitemap, etc.
When all of these elements are optimized, search engines will regard the website as a credible source of expertise and authority. Therefore, if you want quick results, on page SEO is one of the proven ways to go.
Why Do We Need On Page SEO?
With the potential to bring about quick, tangible results, it’s not surprising that many companies put on page SEO on their “must-do lists”. To get the most out of it, in addition to SEO copywriting content, certain on page SEO techniques must be carried out. The ultimate goal is to facilitate Google search engine’s crawling and ranking process so that our site will claim the top position in a shorter time.
Moreover, on page SEO also helps your site appear more user-friendly in the eyes of real users, hence attracting and retaining more potential customers, ultimately reaching a higher conversion rate.
When Is The Golden Time For On Page SEO?
The short answer is: As soon as possible. The full answer is: The best time to implement on page SEO is when your website has just been set up, which means planning must be done in advance. At this early time, you can start optimizing the website structure, https and sitemap among other factors.
Remember that on page SEO is not a one-time project, so there are certain optimization tasks that should be performed regularly, such as SEO copywriting content, content audit, page loading speed, etc.
Even when your site has claimed the top position on Google SERPs, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. This is a relentless battle and the championship can change in a flash. Set up a plan with clear timelines and follow to keep up the good work. Your victory will be ensured for much longer.
Important On Page SEO Elements
- Crawlability: To make sure Googlebot can access the site to crawl and index it
- Uniqueness: The content should be original to be of high value and differentiate your site with competitors
- Speed: Any page of your site should complete loading in 3-5 seconds
- Targeted keywords: Choose the right main and sub keywords for the content
- Keywords are inserted wisely in the title, description, H1, URL, anchor text of the internal link, and the alt tag of all images
- Internal links lead to related content
- The interface is compatible with multiple devices and operating systems
- The content utilizes structured data and provides valuable insights
- The content is updated regularly
- Keywords are inserted selectively in the body of the content in bold/italic format
- Accurate canonical tags
- No broken links
- Appealing content layout and structure
On Page SEO Factors Appreciated By Google
Friendly URL structure
URL is one of the factors that have a big impact on on page SEO. Therefore, don’t forget to insert the main keyword in the URL.
An optimized URL should satisfy the following conditions:
- Containing the main keyword
- Short yet succinct (Top 1 URLs are usually 59 character-long)
- Related to the article content
Also, keep in mind that:
- The URL length and its likelihood to get to the top position are negatively correlated. In other words, the shorter the URL, the higher the probability to rank top.
- Consider combining multiple keywords with the same search intent into one URL for enhanced SEO impact
A title which is catchy, engaging and central to the query will naturally attract more clicks. As for Google, optimized titles also give their bot a higher chance to crawl and understand the content quickly with higher accuracy.
When optimizing your titles, pay attention to the following:
- Each Title should be separated by the vertical bar | or hyphen -
- Since the top 1 keyword has been inserted in the URL, the title only needs to contain keywords with the second highest search volume
- Placing keywords at the beginning of the title will help increase CTR and rankings
- The more keywords the better, as long as the title still sounds natural and engaging
- The homepage should have special treatment: The title must contain the brand name while expressing its full meaning.
Heading 1 is the most important here, so try to make it inclusive and relevant to targeted users.
In specific, an optimized Heading 1 should:
- Contain keywords ranked 3rd in search volume
- Convey the overview of the content
- Be “single”, which means one article has only one Heading 1 tag
- Be different from the Title and URL
As for the Heading 2 and 3, make sure they:
- Are short and sweet, representative of the main content of the paragraph
- Consist multiple subheadings
- Contain related or semantic keywords
- Don’t resort to keyword stuffing
Heading 2 and 3 have a certain effect on SEO while Heading 4, 5, 6 don’t help much in this respect. Therefore, put the most focus on Heading 1, 2 and 3.
The meta description tag is a short description that needs to be under 156 characters. It is the paragraph displayed right on the search results pages to inform users about your content prior to clicking.
Instead of trying to stuff keywords in the description tag, optimize it for CTR (Click Through Rate) to increase traffic and keyword rankings.
Together with keywords and content, images have their own voice when it comes to website rankings. Here are some ways to optimize the images on your site:
- Each image needs a unique name with hyphens separating each word
- Optimize SEO tags
- Complete the meta section of the image including the title, subtitle, author, meta description, etc.
- Implement advanced SEO for the images to get to the top
- Add text to images to help Google recognize them faster, easier and more efficiently
Some tips to keep in mind when optimizing images:
- Use the alt tag with full description to push the image to top Google Image search results
- The first image should contain the main keyword
- Avoid keyword stuffing in the image
Optimized TOC (Table of Content)
The table of content acts as a navigator, providing users the ability to go straight to the content they are looking for. Moreover, Google's Hummingbird and Rankbrain algorithms prioritize articles with a TOC. Websites built on WordPress can utilize the TOC Plus Plugin.
The right content length
Google will factor in word count when making an overall assessment of your content. In-depth content that serves the user search intent is particularly appreciated. More often than not, top trend articles are over 2000 word-long to provide comprehensive and detailed information. And as long as your content is engaging, the longer it is, the more time visitors will stay on your website.
However, long-form content doesn’t always win over short-form content. After all, what matters is how much the content and the search intent match. In short, your content length should vary with users’ needs.
Semantic keywords are keywords related to the set of keywords you use for SEO purposes. They help users and Google understand more about the context or topic of the article, and create depth for the content. You can search for semantic keywords using the Ahrefs tool or Google Search Box.
Readability is an indicator to gauge how concise, understandable and readable an article is. The higher readability, the more easily users can obtain information from your content, and the longer they will stay. Double the effect by combining with effective internal linking and your bounce rate will drop while conversion rate soars.
Readability affects 4 factors:
- Bounce rate
- Dwell on time
- Conversion rate
- Featured snippet
Advanced On Page SEO Factors For 2023
Unique content that meets the search intent
Many people want themselves to be unique. Your content shares the same need. To online users, it’s a real put-off when seeing the “same same, but different” content once again. So put your effort in making them stand in awe of the novelty and freshness exuding from your articles.
To that end, put a good time in doing research from multiple sources to produce new content that brings value to the audience. Rest assured that your effort will pay off handsomely.
And don’t forget the majority of users only care about content that satisfies their needs. So even content fresh out of the oven can lose its luster when it is off target.
The best content is neither long-form or short-form. It is one that can predict and match the user’s search intent. Pinpoint the search intent in advance will help you create the right content that works, thereby increasing traffic and boosting website rankings.
Featured snippets – Position Zero
Featured snippets are those short snippets of a paragraph, a list, a table or an image shown up at the very top of Google SERPs, before any search results. Featured snippets provide users a quick answer for their questions by taking an excerpt from one of the top ranking pages.
To get featured in this Position Zero, your site must meet these conditions:
- Ranked in the top 10, because Google often pulls featured snippets from websites on this list
- Make sure Google has chosen featured snippets with similar content from other sites to help you understand how to answer users’ questions
- Provide the answers to users’ queries right on your site so Google can pull it out quickly
- Use correct formatting: paragraphs, lists or tables
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. These are the standards to evaluate content creators and their websites.
Here are a few ways to improve E-A-T for SEO:
- Invest to develop brand reputation
- Audit and improve the quality of current content
- Provide more information about the author of the article
- Edit or remove low E-A-T content
- Make it easier for users to access the website
Recently, Google has added another “E” for “Experience” to the formula, making it become E-E-A-T. This is an obvious movement to show Google’s increasing attention to user experience. It also gives you another way to increase SEO effectiveness and reduce the bounce rate: optimizing on page experiences.
Internal and outbound linking
Without internal and outbound links, your content is a beautiful yet isolated island. Effective internal linking does not only help users navigate to related content but also facilitate Google’s crawling process. Consequently, the site rankings will enjoy a boost.
On the other hand, don’t forget that outbound linking is essential because it both helps Google understand your site better and build good relationships with other sites.
Therefore, an article with effective internal links to provide relevant valuable information and outbound links to reputable websites is the best combination.
Advanced title optimization
For the highest on page SEO results, your title must be able to satisfy two criteria:
- The number of lowercase letters in the title is from 30 to 63 characters
- The size of capital letters in the title is from 200 to 550 pixels
Keep these in mind for successful advanced title optimization:
- Analyze your competitors to know their titles before deciding on yours
- The title must convey the content overview
- Insert the modified keyword into the title
Advanced image optimization
The purpose of image optimization is to increase the possibility of images getting featured and reaching the top position on Google Image SERPs. Also, the use of images is considered a great aid to content in driving SEO results. After all, brand development is the ultimate goal of every digital marketing campaign.
Let’s take a look at some tactics of advanced image optimization:
- Rename the image and resize it to the standard size (600; 900)
- Use the Geosetter tool to optimize the image
- Add NAP (Name - Address - Phone) information to the comment section and insert keywords in the tag
- Provide full information of the author
A content gap analysis is the process of reviewing, evaluating and referencing competitors' content of the same topic. The expected process output is identifying the content that has not been published on your site.
You don’t need to start creating every “missing” content. Just filter out a number of themes that are most suitable to your page. This is to increase the competitive advantage for your site and increase the likelihood to get to the top.
The process of implementing a gap content analysis on the Ahrefs tool includes 3 basic steps:
- Step 1: Conduct a domain search to find your competitors
Click on Competing Domains on the left side of the screen, then look for websites with high organic traffic. You will see some data, including a column of different colored bars.
○ Blue bar: The number of keywords unique to your website
○Green bar: The number of keywords common to both your site and the competitors’
○ Yellow bar: The number of keywords unique to the competitors’ site
- Step 2: Add the domain(s) you want to run a comparison to the Content Gap section
- Step 3: View the comparison result
After adding the domain(s) you want to compare with, click Show Keyword. A detailed report table will be displayed to help you compare and consider adding which keywords for higher optimization impact.
Optimize CTR with structured data (schema markup)
CTR or click through rate is an indicator of the ratio between the number of ad clicks and the number of times that ad was shown. The higher the CTR, the more likely your website to gain the trust of users. Therefore, CTR optimization always stays on the “must-do list” of every SEO practitioner.
In addition to common factors such as the title, meta description and slug, structured data also plays an influential role. Schema markup is responsible for providing intuitive user experience, creating diverse interactive content, all of which to improve the CTR for your site.
Improve page loading speed
Page loading speed is one of the deciding factors for a user to stay and explore a website or just click back. Great content that challenges a user’s patience is as good as no content, sometimes even worse.
In order to improve the page speed, try one of the following methods:
- Use decompression or unzip software to reduce the size of CSS and HTML files that go over 150 bytes
- Use Photoshop to fix blurry or broken images
- Use low-resolution photos
- Optimize the code
- Limit the use of website redirects
A mobile friendly website will show up nicely on any mobile device. As more and more people use mobile devices to search for information, Google also updates their algorithms to better accommodate this habit.
That’s the short story of how mobile-friendliness becomes one of the website ranking factors. On this aspect, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Utilize AMP
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages helps your mobile site load more quickly.
When your website is on par with the competitors’ on other aspects, AMP provides the golden chance to one-up them in rankings.
- Turn off the display of registration forms
Dynamic registration forms spell trouble for mobile users, especially when these forms are often so big that they cover the whole website content.
This is not to say that you should eliminate registration forms, but think twice before putting them anywhere in your website. One right placement is much better than many less-optimal positions.
Other On Page SEO Factors
Anchor text is a short piece of text that directs the user to another link when clicked on. Albeit short, the anchor text must be able to fully and accurately represent the content of its link.
When optimizing anchor text, be noted:
- Do not use a general word or phrase like “here” or “click here”. Be specific and convey correctly the linked content.
- Try not to use the same anchor text
More and more users are favoring video over text, which pushes SEO practitioners to think of novel ways to create and utilize this content form. Many companies choose in-house production while others seek professional help. It depends on your topics and internal resources as there is no one-size-fits-all video template.
The comment section is also important to on page SEO results. Customers will be unlikely to buy in your content or website when they don’t get a response from anyone. Therefore, the comment box will bring certain benefits to your site, including:
- Increase interaction between customers and the business
- Build customer trust in the business
- Retain more customers
Favicon is the small icon representing your website. It is located on the left of the browser tab when opening the site. It can be the website logo or an equivalent design.
Favicon matters to brand identity. It also helps users switch tabs faster when surfing multiple websites at the same time.
Without a favicon, your website will have a hard time to create an impression on users, and suffer the fate of just-another-so-so-website. In other words, users are made unable to recognize you and of course will not return.
Social share is one of the factors for Google to gauge the popularity and quality of an article. Research shows that website rankings are most influenced by the number of shares on Facebook.
So after publishing new content, remember to encourage users to share and leave comments under your post.
On Page SEO Support Tools
SEOquake is a support tool for running on page SEO analysis. It can help you check whether certain on page elements meet the requirements of search engines. The most common elements include the sitemap, favicon, URL, image, title, meta description, meta keywords and headings.
Not only providing such substantial benefits, SEOQuake is also free to use, making it a go-to choice for many SEO practitioners.
Yoast SEO is a popular on page checker tool in Vietnam. It provides almost every necessary on page error checking features such as the title, meta description, sitemap management among many others.
Yoast SEO is a good choice for building personal blogs and SEO websites. The premium upgrade offers a comprehensive guide of on page SEO. However, the free version has already included common basic features, mostly sufficient for your tasks.
On page SEO checker of Semrush
This is a specialized checker tool to check on page factors with high accuracy, endorsed by many SEO experts.
Based on the data obtained from Semrush and Google, this on page SEO checker will do you a great service by analyzing your website, making a comparison to the top 10 competitors, and providing useful tactics to boost your site rankings on SERPs.
Website Auditor is a software that assesses both basic and advanced websites. This tool supports evaluation in both on page and off page SEO factors to boost rankings.
Some outstanding features of Website Auditor include:
- Crawl websites with SEO bots
- Analyze the website structure
- Audit many types of websites
- Minimize page load problems
- Display warnings about broken links
- Manage many other factors: title, URL, domain name, etc.
The Surfer SEO tool helps optimize website content by calculating the weight and frequency of keywords on top-ranked pages.
It runs an audit on the criteria of content that affect on page SEO such as article length, meta, title, image, page loading speed, and more. Users will be notified of content errors for on time adjustments.
Surfer SEO is a paid tool with many pricing plans:
- Basic package: $59/month
- Pro package: $119/month
- Business package: $239/month
With this updated guide and checklist of on page SEO practices, we hope you have obtained valuable insights about how to do optimization tasks for site ranking improvement and customer attraction in 2023.
Contact On Digitals today for specific advice on effective SEO and Digital Marketing strategies.