OnPage optimization includes technical, content, and structural adjustments to a website. Book a meeting with our consultant and get full information about On-Page SEO services that we can apply on your website.
Detailed On-Page SEO Services
Sometimes it seems that keywords are the only thing associated with OnPage optimization. But is that really true?
No, there are so many technical, structural, and content-related elements that have to be right for your website to reach the first page on Google.
Which OnSite and OnPage measures have the biggest impact? Which OnPage tools make your job easier? Here is the ultimate checklist for OnPage SEO optimization that Studio Stripe offers!
What is On-Page Optimization?
Our definition of OnSite and OnPage optimization.
OnPage optimization is the opposite of OffPage optimization. On-page optimization includes all SEO measures that take place on your own website.
This includes technical, structural, and content elements, such as:
- information structure
- website architecture
- SEO-friendly URLs
- internal linking
- URL management
- structured data
- usability as part of the user experience
- high-quality, up-to-date, and comprehensive content
creative use of different media, such as images and videos
and much more.
If we take it very closely, On-Page optimization revolves around the optimization of individual pages. All measures that affect the entire website should actually be called OnSite optimization.
First, we will look at how you can optimize your entire website to achieve better Google rankings. Then you will learn how to perfectly optimize individual pages for search engines.
Off- and OnPage optimization is definitely connected. Therefore, the question of what to do first is somewhat idle. Both are important, and a new website will benefit most if the On-Page basics are joined by a stable foundation for the link profile. In other words, perfecting OnPage optimization is of little use at the beginning.
What does OnPage optimization bring?
What is the importance of OnSite and OnPage optimization for the Google algorithm?
OnPage optimization is the basis of all your efforts for more Google traffic. Done correctly, it ensures that your website is easily accessible to Google (crawlability and indexability) and easy to understand.
OnPage optimization is the blade you sharpen and OffPage optimization is the force you strike with.
On-Page SEO optimization services: measures
In this chapter, we deal with the optimization of individual pages, i.e. OnPage optimization.
A Google Snippet consists of the Title Tag, the Meta Description, and the URL of the page. By the way, the term means nothing else than the presentation of your website in the search results pages (Search Engine Results Pages/SERP). Since the user should choose our result, the Google Snippet must be relevant to the search query and attractively designed. So, if you will, the snippet is the showcase of a website, so to speak.
The title tag is the most important ranking factor of OnPage optimization. In any case, the main keyword should be found in the title tag. The closer to the beginning of the keyword is, the more weight you give to the keyword in the eyes of search engines. The ideal length for a title tag is between 50 and 60 characters.
The Meta Description should also contain the main keyword. It is not explicitly a ranking factor, but it influences the click-through rate (CTR) and is, therefore, an indirect factor. For your page to get many clicks, the meta description should therefore reveal what the page is about. Meaningful and as gripping as possible: that is the recipe for success. The ideal length for a meta description is between 140 and 155 characters.
Formulate your title tag in such a way that you cover as many long-tail keywords as possible. This works, for example, if you mention the year and title your page (if applicable!) as a checklist or guide. Does anything stand out to you about the title of this guide?
Best practices for the title tag
- Main keyword must be included.
- Main keyword should be at the beginning.
- As many keyword variations as possible should be covered in one go, e.g. a good title tag would be: “WordPress SEO: The guide to plugins, speed & good rankings” Included keywords: WordPress SEO, WordPress SEO plugins, WordPress SEO speed, WordPress SEO rankings.
- Click-through rate is an important ranking factor. Moreover, an increase in click-through rate immediately leads to more traffic. Best practices for the Meta Description
- Main keyword must be included.
- Description is a teaser for the content and not the content itself.
- Active instead of passive!
- Format the meta description with special characters, e.g. checkmarks.
You probably know that the title must be an H1 heading. However, you should take a look at the code to make sure that the main heading is really marked as H1.
HTML subheadings are marked as H2 to H6. Make a logical structure for it and make sure that your focus keyword is present in at least one H2 subheading. If you have secondary keywords (which is the case in most cases), they do particularly well here – and often pre-structure the text.
Best practices for the H1 heading
- Title must be implemented as an H1 heading.
- The title should encourage reading, e.g. “Facebook Marketing: 10 valuable tips for guaranteed success”.
- The main keyword and different keyword variations (secondary keywords as well as search refinements) must be included in the (sub)headlines.
Everything ultimately revolves around providing the best possible content. The rest is not unimportant, of course, but excellent content can make up for a lot. Is there a mantra you can adopt here? Yes – reverse engineering: look at what the top sites are doing for your keyword, take your cue from that, and go one better.
Text is great, of course, but interaction is even better. If you have the technical possibilities to play the entire media spectrum (well-dosed, of course), you can set accents with it.
Important guiding questions that will help you plan and design content:
What’s driving the competition?
A look at the top 10 competitors in your SERP, you will see what content ranks at the top. Look at the sites to see if they included videos, images, infographics, etc., and do better than them. Media elements reduce bounce rate and increase dwell time. They also increase the perceived value of content.
SERP features likewise show you what users value for that search query.
What is the search intent?
Looking at a keyword only in isolation and building your own world around it is rarely crowned with success. This is where SERP analysis is important. What do users who Google this keyword want? Are they looking for information, do they want to compare or complete a transaction? Take them into the content marketing funnel accordingly and lead them further there.
Normally, we advise looking at the top 3 and skimming the top 5. In this case, however, it’s also worth taking a look at Google Ads. Because that’s where smart people have invested a lot of money and time to figure out what converts and what doesn’t – so it’s a model to learn from. Take a close look at what words they use in the ads and design your Google snippet based on that!
Take a cue from how many images your competitors use and include the same or similar number. Visuals emphasize textual content, but you should still be careful not to overwhelm your site visitors. By the way, unique images have a clear advantage over stock images. If you can and want to invest here, you should do so, because good images catch the eye.
Also, your images should be high resolution so that they display nicely everywhere. JPEG or PNG are the formats of your choice. And then it’s about finding the right size concerning the loading speed and compressing your images accordingly.
Last but not least, you should place the focus keyword in the first image of the page, in the ALT attribute, and the file name. The ALT attribute, which should contribute significantly to accessibility on the Internet, is your way of “explaining” the image content to the search engine.
Image SEO Checklist
- high resolution
- JPEG or PNG
- Keyword in the file name
- Keyword in the ALT attribute
- Keyword wrapped in a sentence in the title attribute
Videos are becoming more and more important. If you share videos on your page that are actually viewed, you will find that the dwell time logically increases quite automatically.
From an SEO perspective, it makes the most sense to upload videos to YouTube. Among other reasons, because YouTube has now established itself as the third-largest search engine (Google Images is No. 2).
Visual content is the future. Because it is becoming more and more important, you should consider including videos on your site even if your competitors do not. For agencies: your next job posting should definitely be a video content pro!
Checklist for videos
- Video Markup
- embedded via YouTube
- for all devices
- preferably longer than 5 minutes (depending on the topic)
Here are some more pointers for SEO copywriting in practice:
Long texts usually give you an advantage from the SEO point of view. SEO experts, such as Brian Dean, claim that nothing works below 2000 words. It is not yet that extreme here, but what is already the order of the day there will sooner or later come to us.
There is no general answer to the text length. To determine the length of an SEO text, we pay attention to these points:
- how long is the content of the top 3 results for the respective keyword?
- how much text is needed to satisfy the user?
Ideally, your content should be a bit longer compared to the competition.
Almost as important as the right length is the structure. Short paragraphs, logical headings, and covering everything – that should be the stated goal. Create tight content that has something to say and can be skimmed quite easily. When writing, always ask yourself if users can understand what it’s about without reading every word.
The easier a search engine optimized text is to read, the better. Accordingly, keep readability firmly in mind. Also, you should think about what fits stylistically to your page. For example, we decided to address our visitors with “you” – it simply fits better to us and our company philosophy.
Storytelling can also play an important role. Think about which stories and anecdotes can enhance and emphasize your content. Note: Storytelling does not mean telling fairy tales! Fact-based writing is incredibly important in these times of fake news. Do you know what you’re talking about, and do you present yourself accurately and without bias? Users will thank you for it!
By the way, not all text is the same. Again, the SERP analysis is worthwhile: Do you find a lot of lists and tables among your competitors? Or are they particularly detailed guides? Let yourself be inspired – and do it better.
Try to cover everything in your SEO content. This way you hit long-tail keywords and increase your “content comprehensiveness” at the same time. Depending on your niche, it’s also necessary to update your content regularly. Therefore, take a look at your content at regular intervals and make adjustments.
Spelling and grammar
Last but not least: Down with spelling mistakes! The Internet invites people to be less careful about grammar and spelling. But anyone who has ever closed a window because a perhaps even valuable text was teeming with errors knows: spelling is and remains important for the user experience. Not to mention, Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines explicitly call this type of error low-quality content.
Features like summaries and FAQs aren’t just nice because they answer specific questions at a glance. They also find their way into featured snippets now and then. A handy tool to find typical questions is Answer The Public.
Content on commercial pages
For information sites, this is all well and good and comparatively simple. But how does it work with content if you are the operator of an online store or a commercial site?
If you want to establish yourself in a local market, there are some possibilities to offer real added value. Mainly because, to be completely honest, we see more terribly constructed pages than those that are simply beautiful and perfectly optimized.
Underline what makes your products and therefore your site unique, answer the customer’s typical questions as quickly as possible and design a user experience that is leaps and bounds better than anyone else’s. This includes a pleasant and unobtrusive design that structures your page.
Videos and images are truly unique selling points in many industries. If you jump on this bandwagon, produce videos, or shoot photos yourself, you will generate excellent user signals and enjoy a high conversion rate.
Last but not least, you can score points with the page layout: Make sure that all-important forms (e.g. newsletter sign-up) and the call-to-action button are prominent and easy to find. This way, you’ll quickly see if you’ve really created content that converts.
Checklist for commercial pages:
- Videos and images
Using and placing keywords correctly
Maybe you would have expected this to be about keywords earlier. Somehow they are an art in themselves and of course, they are not unimportant for SEO today. So take them important, but not too important. Clever keyword placement is a lot more relevant than keyword density, which some still get hung upon.
To make sure you optimize for the right keywords, be sure to check out our guide on keyword research.
Where the main keyword should appear?
- title tag
- meta description
- at least one H2
- filename of the first image
- first image as ALT attribute
- first image as the title attribute
- in a caption (if applicable)
- in the first 100 words
- scattered naturally in the text
Where should the secondary keywords appear if possible?
- in the title tag, if space allows
- as filename of one of the other images
- in one of the other images as ALT attribute
- in the title attribute of one of the other images
- in at least one H2
- scattered in the text of course
Learn more about keyword optimization services here.
The Keyword Difficulty shows you how difficult it will be to achieve top rankings on Google for a certain keyword. Of course, it is tempting to be able to compete for the really big keywords of your niche with extremely high search volume. At the same time, however, you have to ask yourself which keywords are really worth fighting for.
Various tools provide information about how difficult it will be to rank for a term. For keywords, Ahrefs, KWFinder, or SEMRush are optimal.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
Latent Semantic Indexing sounds like… a science in itself? It is sort of. It was developed as a mathematical method in the 1980s. But we don’t need that much background knowledge. Essentially, this is just about discovering the keywords around your focus keywords that are closely related to your topic.
These can be synonyms that are relevant to the page or variations of the keyword. A look at the “Others also searched for…” field in the SERPs can be very revealing. Often, these terms are automatically covered, especially if the top maxim is completeness.
More formulas? TF-IDF stands for term frequency-inverse document frequency. It can be used to calculate the relevance and frequency of a search term. The key question: How often does a word occur in your content compared to other relevant documents?
As far as TF*IDF is concerned, we can only say: Although many well-known SEOs swear by this formula, the studies on it are rather meager. From our experience, a TF*IDF analysis is only useful to prevent important subtopics from being forgotten.
In any case, we do not use the formula. In fact, from our point of view, it makes much more sense to analyze which entities are highlighted in the top results for the given keyword. In this video, you’ll learn everything important about entity optimization.
And there it is again, the dear competition. If you know the top 3 pages almost as well as your own, you can assess your starting position and your chances much more realistically.
In the next step, you can compare the top 3 with each other. What overlaps do they have and for which keywords do they still rank? Are there any content gaps that you can fill? This way you can optimize your own page.
Avoid keyword cannibalization
One page per search intent: this is the basic rule and you should stay ironclad here because keyword cannibalization can have negative consequences for your search engine rankings. When it’s time to make a major overhaul of your content, you should revise that one page instead of creating a new one. Exception: the second page has a completely different focus and user intent.
The call-to-action, or CTA for short, is incredibly important, and not just for online stores. It’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss to get the maximum success out of your project. Place a button or link in such a way that it quickly becomes clear to the user on your page what the next steps are. Clear graphic assistance is definitely required here.
Links are another factor that Google has now clearly named and that is not only part of OffPage optimization, but also OnPage optimization. Links should add value for readers and should be clearly marked.
Setting links to other pages? Quite helpful, because the Google bot understands what it’s all about when it finds links to related topics and can better classify the thematic thread.
When you set outbound links, you should make sure that they open in a separate window. Sponsored links are marked with rel=”sponsored” and links from user-generated content are marked with rel=”UGC”. If you are not sure, just mark the link with rel=”nofollow”.
Also, be aware of the domain authority of other pages. The rule is: You should only be able to link to others if the other side is a high-quality online presence.
The rule of thumb for your writing: put 2-4 links per 1000 words to show your users what sources you are working with. When you revise content in the future, you should always check whether your links still work. Broken links should be replaced as soon as possible.
Internal links are important for the distribution of link juice on your site. In simple terms, link juice is the ranking power that links to other documents provide.
For internal links, you should always use a keyword-rich anchor text and vary it as little as possible so that you send clear signals to Google.
You should also make sure that you always link to the actual URL and not to a redirect or non-canonical URL. Apart from that, think carefully about which content you link to, as this will give these pages additional weight.
Finally, here are a few more tips that we won’t go into detail about, among other reasons, because most of them are absolutely self-explanatory. Nevertheless, they can make all the difference for OnPage optimization and ensure that you stand out from your competition.
Buttons to share content
No, they are not a ranking factor, but with standard integrated buttons to share content on social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) or via email, you are guaranteed not to do anything wrong. This way, you’ll attract more attention to your posts – at the latest when users actually share your content.
But only use platforms that are relevant to your target group. The motto is not: the more, the better.
We already mentioned it at the beginning: Interaction is a good thing, so you should encourage your users to do it. The comment function is particularly suitable for this, and surveys can also be helpful. This way, Google sees that your users really get involved. Keyword engagement.
Avoid annoying pop-ups
Google has something against them and for users, they are incredibly annoying (not only, but especially on smartphones) – we are talking about pop-ups. The same goes for advertisements. We know that it’s not always possible to avoid them, especially if they are used to finance the website. Nevertheless, it is better to simply place them discreetly and not to place information about services or the newsletter in a glowing pop-up that absolutely cannot be closed.
Onsite SEO optimization services: measures
Crawlability & Indexability
In the beginning, there was the Googlebot, one would almost like to title this section as SEO. The first step in OnPage optimization is to check whether your website is accessible to so-called web crawlers (also spiders, search bots, or robots). Web crawlers are a special type of bots, i.e. computer programs that are primarily used by search engines to index web pages.
Set the appropriate meta robots tag, otherwise, search bots will not be allowed to index your page. And without allowed crawling or indexing, no ranking is possible. For this reason, you should take a close look at the robots.txt and the meta robots tags. The best way to do this is to use the Google Search Console.
All important and indexable URLs should be present in your website’s sitemap. What is a sitemap? Google itself states:
“A sitemap is a file in which you specify information about pages, videos, and other files on your site, as well as the relationships between those files. Search engines like Google read this file to crawl your site more intelligently.”
In simple terms, this means that in this file you put all the information that tells Google where everything can be found and when the URLs were last updated.
Website indexing process
How do I know if everything has been indexed by Google? Quite simply, by entering the relevant URL in the Google search. It is available? Perfect.
Even more reliable: You enter the Google Search Console for your property (domain) and copy the desired URL into the field for the URL check. Now, if a checkmark appears with the message “URL is on Google”, the URL is in Google’s index. In addition to the index coverage, you’ll get detailed information about the user experience on mobile devices and structured data.
The URL is not indexed? Then you need to troubleshoot. Probably one of the following problems is present:
- noindex: Googlebot has been instructed not to index the page or URL.
- Disallow: In robots.txt the URL or directory has been excluded.
- Your page structure: If the page is buried too deep in the structure and your website has too little crawl budget, Googlebot may not reach the deeper levels. In this case, you’d better link the URL internally.
- Redirection chains: The Googlebot follows redirection chains only up to five jumps.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
That’s a real mouthful, isn’t it? Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a look at the WCAG, as the guidelines contain standards for the web sector. These are often, but not necessarily always, technical in nature. Mobile accessibility (important at least since Google’s Mobile-First Index) is also addressed.
The guide in a few keywords:
This applies to every subpage and applies equally to content and technical aspects. For your OnPage optimization, you should take a look at it and keep it in mind.
SEO friendly URLs
Who doesn’t know them, those people who put everything important in the subject of their email and actually have nothing new to say in the content? Some apply a similar principle to the URL. Suddenly you get a URL with 10-15 words – infinitely long and quite spammy.
Google itself says that the words at the end of the URL are simply weighted less. Our recommendation is, therefore: Create URLs that are short, speaking, and hierarchical. Attention: Your focus keyword, Main Keyword, should appear in the URL.
By the way, the main reason for talking URLs is that they tell the user valuable information about the page behind it, are easier to remember, and are also more likely to be shared.
Bloggers and forums also like to link to the “naked” URL. If your URL contains the main keyword, you will automatically get a relevant anchor text.
Best practices for SEO-friendly URLs
- as short as possible
- hierarchically structured
- contains the main keyword
- does not contain stop words
- words are separated by “-“
- no keyword stuffing in the URL (or elsewhere!)
Structured data allows you to give explicit hints to the Googlebot or other web crawlers about the meaning of the page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page, making it easier to classify page content.
Basically, it can only have a positive effect if you implement relevant structured data. Ideally, you have a CMS or a suitable plugin that even makes it easy for you to insert important data and check that it is displayed and available correctly.
Depending on the niche and search query, Google may even provide enhanced snippets from the structured data. A good example is the Recipe Markup for recipe pages. The SERPs then deliver details on ingredients, cooking times and temperature, or calories. While the use of structured data is not a ranking factor, it can illustrate the importance of content to the Googlebot.
Depending on the industry, other markups are important:
- Local businesses: If you only offer your services at certain business locations, be sure to include structured data following the “Local Business” scheme on your website.
- Online Shops: If you run an e-commerce business, be sure to include structured data according to the “Product” schema on all product pages of your store. If you make content like user reviews, the price, or the current stock level understandable for Google, the search engine will usually reward you with eye-catching Rich Snippets.
- Bloggers and news sites: Companies that regularly publish news content on their site should definitely add the “NewsArticle” schema to all of their content. This will allow the articles to show up in the special “headline” blocks in the search results.
This slogan is well known, often quoted – and quickly forgotten again. If you are still in the early stages of on-site optimization, however, you should definitely not leave smartphones out of the equation, because this will save you annoying and time-consuming “conversion work” later on.
Google wants to use mobile-first indexing for the entire web. This means that only the ranking signals of the mobile version will be paid attention to.
Accordingly, it is essential to provide a high-quality mobile solution for your users and the Googlebot.
This becomes an absolute must (or it has been for a long time) that everything is displayed perfectly on the smartphone. According to Google, the easiest way to achieve this is through a Responsive Design, which is displayed perfectly on all mobile devices.
Short loading times
Mobile ranks what loads quickly. And even on the desktop, people aren’t necessarily known for having a lot of patience. Loading times of less than 3 to 4 seconds are good for your search engine rankings and your conversion rate.
In fact, loading speed is a ranking signal confirmed by Google. With a few tricks of the trade, your site will load in no time at all. The prerequisite for this: you choose a reliable hosting that won’t let you down.
Other tips to perform well in the PageSpeed test of your site include these:
- Enable http/2
- Prioritize visible content
- minify CSS and JS
- compress images
- reduce internal 301 redirects
- Use lazy loading
- Use CDN (Content Delivery Network) if you are going international
The best way to find out where your site’s weak points are is to use WebPageTest and Google PageSpeed Insights and start right there. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Google’s AMP sounds like a good idea, but here you have almost no possibility to prepare the content nicely and lose control over your content.
If you have little budget for performance optimization and are looking for a quick-win, you should definitely focus on TTFB (Time to First Byte). This usually has a big impact on loading speed and is the performance metric that correlates most strongly with good rankings on Google.
In practice, we encounter the same two problems over and over again in connection with a bad TTFB:
- Wrong server location: If your server is located in the US and all your customers are from the UK, you’ve done something wrong. Your server location should always be as close as possible to your visitors.
- No cache: If each of your web page requests requires numerous calculations in the background, the response times of your server will be very slow. With a well-implemented cache, you can remedy this and cache the results of your calculations for a longer time. Many content management systems offer special plugins for this purpose – you should definitely use them!
HTTPS and SSL for more security
The move to HTTPS should have been done long ago. Google is quite behind here because security creates trust. What is not encrypted via SSL today, Chrome marks as not secure. And who wants to be on the insecure side of life? Accordingly, you should make the switch here at the latest as part of your on-site optimization.
Tools for OnSite and OnPage Optimization
Speed up and check your work with these tools for OnPage optimization!
Is everything done? OnPage optimization is very time-consuming in the beginning, but you will benefit from it in the long run. Basically, the Google Search Console is your main starting point for OnPage optimization.
Nevertheless, for the fine work various paid SEO tools are recommended, such as:
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider: The best SEO spider for many years.
Surfer: Analyzes over 500 OnPage signals in one go
- SEMRush Site Audit: Checks your on-page optimization and also provides suggestions for solutions
- Moz On-Page Grader: Checks your OnPage optimization and provides suggestions for improvement
- DeepCrawl: The best technical SEO tool on the market.
- OnCrawl: Alternative to DeepCrawl
- Copyscape: Helps you to detect duplicate content.
Alternatively, there are these limited free SEO tools:
- TechnicalSEO.com: TechnicalSEO.com is a goldmine of small but mighty SEO tools.
- Varvy SEO Tool: Varvy provides various OnPage tests.
- SEO Meta in 1 Click: SEO Meta in 1 Click is the SEO browser extension of our choice.
- Animals Revive: Animals Revive analyzes your Google Analytics data and then provides you with a list of pages that need an update.
- Woorank’s SEO & Website Analysis Tool: This SEO tool provides a handy score for beginners, as well as a checklist of suggestions for improvement.
- WebPageTest: WebPageTest provides accurate data on your website’s load times.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: PageSpeed Insights provides recommendations for reducing load times.
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: Test how easy it is for visitors to use your site on a mobile device.
- Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool: Test the correctness of structured data on any URL or in a code snippet.
Checklist for OnPage SEO optimization
The most important terms in the context of OnPage optimization!
So much for our ultimate checklist for OnPage optimization, with which you can avoid the most common OnPage SEO mistakes in the future. Many different SEO measures can lead your page to the top of Google search results.
Finally, here are the most important keywords for you and your website. You should regularly turn these screws – for fine-tuning, so to speak:
- Crawlability & Indexability
- URL management
- Google Snippets
- HTML headings
- Keyword Optimization
- Page structure
- Internal linking
- Structured Data
- Mobile First
- Loading times
Now it’s time to implement the OnPage optimization, test it and make success measurable. We would also be interested to know what your focus is in terms of OnPage optimization. Feel free to leave us a comment. Are there any points that are missing in this guide?