What Is On-Page SEO?

The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO

Chris Porteous Chris Porteous May 15, 2023 9 mins read
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The Internet is home to over a billion websites today. With Google processing more than eight times as many searches daily, getting accurate results would only be possible with a proven system. 

The good news is that such a system already exists — it’s called a search algorithm. But making it work doesn’t stop with the search engines. Website owners have work to do, including on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

On-page SEO, also called on-site SEO, is central to a website’s searchability and works with other SEO techniques to drive traffic. While not as advanced as robotics or AI recommendation engines, on-page SEO is as scientific as any other area of digital transformation. 

Read on to learn more about this technique and how it has helped website owners assert their presence in the market. 

Key Takeaways
  • On-page SEO works by optimizing a website’s internal elements to earn a higher ranking on SERPs.
  • Several on-page elements, such as meta descriptions, headings, and page speed, impact a website’s Google search ranking.
  • On-page optimization is only one aspect of SEO. Website owners often find it wise to hire an expert to help them reach their SEO goals.

Defining On-Page SEO and Its Importance  

On-page SEO is the optimization of web pages with the goal of boosting their position in search engine results pages (SERPs) and attracting pertinent traffic to a website. It optimizes different web page elements, allowing search engines to understand the website more easily from the inside. It differs from off-page SEO, which focuses on outside SEO, like external links and social media shares. 

There are many reasons on-page SEO is crucial to a website. First, it helps search engines determine a user’s search intent by matching keywords in a query with web page content. The stronger that connection is, the greater the website’s chances of appearing and ranking well in search results.

Second, on-page SEO improves a user’s overall experience of a web page by organizing it and making it more engaging and easier to navigate. This usually leads to more extended website visits and a lower bounce rate. This metric is the percentage of visitors navigating away from a website after visiting only one page. The lower this number, the higher the website’s potential ranking. 

Evaluating the effectiveness of on-page SEO also involves considering the click-through rate (CTR) — the proportion of ad clicks in relation to the total number of ad impressions. A website’s CTR rises with good on-page SEO techniques, such as excellent copywriting, leading to more traffic, conversions, and revenue. 

Lastly, on-page SEO can help a website differentiate itself from its competitors. It improves brand recognition and, in turn, attracts more loyal customers. 

Essential On-Page SEO Factors

On-page optimization involves several issues impacting a campaign’s results individually or together. Below are six of the most critical on-page SEO factors in detail:  

Content and keyword optimization

Content is one of the most critical factors in on-page SEO. High-quality content creates significant user value and increases a website’s search ranking and potential traffic. In creating content for on-page optimization, keywords play an essential role.

Keywords are words or phrases users often use when searching for something online. One aspect of content optimization is using the right keywords in the right places so search engines can pick them up during a search. Even something as basic as the file name of an image on a website can help improve on-site SEO.

However, content with high keyword density can easily backfire. Using too many keywords is known as keyword stuffing, which leads to a lower search ranking, penalties, or even a total website ban on search engines.  

Aside from strategic keyword optimization, engaging and relevant content is also necessary for good on-page SEO. Examples of high-value content are blog posts, infographics, and how-to videos. Of course, the content should be easy to read and scannable with headings and subheadings, bullet points, etc. 

Search engines generally favor fresh or new content over older material, whether in the SERPs’ featured snippets section or the link listing.


SEO tags are HTML elements that help optimize a web page for search engines. They help by giving hints on what a web page is all about, allowing search engines to understand the purpose and relevance of the website. As a result, the website’s search engine rankings increase. 

Some common SEO tags are page title tags, header tags, and meta descriptions. Title tags make up the main headline of a web page and must include relevant keywords for search engines to pick up. Header tags, including H1, H2, and H3, provide hierarchical organization to content and help search engines understand the web page. 

Three other types of SEO tags include meta descriptions or meta tags, canonical tags, and alt tags or alt text. Meta descriptions or snippets summarize a web page’s content. They must be compelling enough for users to click through to the website. Canonical tags point search engines to the preferred version of a duplicated web page, while alt tags, also called alt text, describe images. 


While often underestimated, URL structure plays a considerable part in on-page SEO. A URL is a website’s unique identifier on the Internet, but that’s not all it is. Even URLs help search engines determine the content of a web page. Again, the more search engines understand a web page’s content, the better they can work in attracting traffic to that site.  

Like other on-page SEO factors, URLs must also be optimized using the right keywords. The URL, “www.theispasta.com/cajunshrimppastarecipe,” will probably rank higher than “www.theispasta.com/recipes.” When people search for recipes online, they usually type in specific names of dishes rather than just “recipes.”  

Additionally, URLs must be easy to understand to prevent confusion among search engines and searchers alike. The more precise a URL reads, the higher search engines rank the page. Aside from being a readability issue, a long and complicated URL can also be truncated in the SERPs, which is detrimental to CTR. 

Also confusing to search engines and harmful to a website’s ranking is URL duplication. While it’s best to avoid it, the problem is easy to address with canonical tags, as mentioned earlier. Finally, a descriptive URL increases CTR as users more easily click a link that accurately represents their desired content. Plus, it simplifies site navigation.  

Internal linking

Internal links work for on-page SEO by creating a network of interconnected pages distributing link equity across a website. Link equity, or link juice, is the level of authority or value a linking page adds to the destination page. 

As a page links to another page with high authority, all the pages within the linking website enjoy some of that link juice. As an effect, that website’s SERP visibility and traffic increase.  

Improved user experience through ease of navigation is another benefit of internal linking for on-page SEO. When pages within a website link to one another, visitors find it easier to navigate around content relevant to them. Users can easily hop from one section to another and find more information that fits their needs.  

By adding structure and organization to a website, internal linking also enhances its crawlability. Search engines use links when displaying results in the SERPs. Hence, having more internal links within a website helps ensure that all relevant pages appear. 

Like other on-page SEO factors, internal linking also requires a strategy to work. The links must be relevant, first and foremost, and placed strategically across the page. It’s best to add internal links on sections of the page that appear on all the other pages and posts, such as the sidebar, footer, and navigation menus. When adding a link within the content, the anchor text must also be related to the linked page.

Also, as the link equity of the most popular posts increases because of all the internal links, those linking pages get a boost. Then again, using internal links sparingly is important,, which can make the page look spammy and eventually pull down the website’s ranking.  

Page speed 

Page speed, the time it takes for a web page to load completely, has been a critical factor in on-page SEO since 2018. A fast-loading web page improves user experience, leading to lower bounce rates and higher page rankings. Conversely, a slow-loading page frustrates users, increases bounce rates, and decreases search rankings.  

Site speed can also affect search engines’ ability to crawl and index websites. When page load time is too long, search engine crawlers move slowly through the page, leading to a lower ranking.  

There are many ways to increase page speed, such as minifying JavaScript files and optimizing images and videos. These techniques help improve user experience and raise website search rankings. 


Among the most fundamental ranking factors for websites nowadays is accessibility. Websites with highly accessible content are more user-friendly and, therefore, more likely to get a higher rank on the SERPs. Two of the most common accessibility factors for on-page SEO are mobile responsiveness and screen reader technology. 

We don’t need statistics to prove the increasing use of mobile devices. Mobile-friendly websites display well on all screen sizes, allowing users to navigate them as conveniently as browsing on a desktop.   

A website that is not mobile-friendly will likely have a high bounce rate. Since mobile friendliness improves user experience, Google used it as a ranking factor since 2015.  Screen readers are also suitable for on-page SEO because they make content more accessible to users with disabilities.

7 Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency 

Website owners can choose between doing their SEO in-house or hiring an agency. Some prefer to be their own expert, relying on DIY tools like keyword explorers and Google search console. 

It’s good to be hands-on with a business, but there are challenges that even the most passionate and inspired entrepreneurs must entrust in the hands of specialists.  Choosing to hire an SEO agency yields the following benefits:   

1. They have years of knowledge and skills from experience 

SEO agencies employ SEO professionals who have years of in-depth experience with different website owners and industries. They know the latest SEO best practices and industry trends and can readily use this knowledge to benefit their clients. They also know the nitty-gritty of how SEO works.

For example, schema markup, also called structured data, is one part of technical SEO that allows search engines to understand web pages more efficiently. In-house teams often lack this level of technical know-how. Besides, creating and maintaining an in-house SEO department can be too costly and overall impractical.  

2. They have access to the best tools 

As professionals, SEO agencies have a whole arsenal of the latest tools, allowing them to work scientifically and, therefore, effectively. For example, they can analyze large data volumes, monitor rankings, and draw insights with high accuracy. Most importantly, these tools and technologies help them understand the latest Google algorithms and optimize their clients’ websites accordingly.

3. They offer fresh, impartial eyes

Working in-house can cloud an SEO team’s judgment when making decisions simply because they’re too close to the action. An SEO agency can provide a fresh, objective take on a website, enabling it to see potential solutions and opportunities that the internal team might miss.  

4. They can scale based on need  

SEO professionals can scale their services accordingly depending on a business’s needs. For example, an agency working for a rapidly growing company can quickly tweak its strategy to contain any surges in demand. When the business slumps, the agency can adjust its approach to help its client regain footing.  

5. They are accountable for their performance

An SEO agency can be held accountable for failing to meet a client’s deliverables, timelines, and expectations. As long as these are all stated in the contract, a poorly performing agency can face legal penalties. Otherwise, the client can terminate its services. This practice helps keep SEO players in check and focus on excelling.  

6. They are cost-effective in the long run  

Most people balk at hiring an SEO agency, thinking it’s too expensive. In reality, entrusting a business’ SEO needs to an expert is more cost-effective in the long run. Because these professionals have all the necessary resources and areas of expertise, they can generate positive results and better ROI faster. On top of that, outsourcing saves a business owner money otherwise spent on employee salaries, benefits, and training.  

7. They free up company time 

Outsourcing SEO services means giving business owners and employees time to focus on their core competencies. When they can do this, productivity increases and opens more expansion opportunities. In the meantime, an SEO agency can take care of their search optimization needs with its own set of competencies required for the job.

Did You Know?

In a 2021 survey among SEO experts, 32.8 percent said on-page elements, such as image tags, URL, and page speed, have the most significant impact on search rankings compared to other factors. For 24.6 percent of respondents, depth and accuracy also play an essential role in SEO.

Optimize Your On-Page SEO With SearchEye  

On-page SEO significantly impacts a website’s visibility and ability to pull relevant traffic. Through the various on-page SEO factors mentioned above, website owners can enhance user experience, increase their website’s search ranking, and funnel more targeted traffic into their websites. 

On-page SEO may only be one frame in the bigger SEO picture. However, it’s a fundamental element every website owner must put first en route to success. More importantly, they must partner with a reputable SEO agency like SearchEye to achieve real, sustainable results.  

Let our experts at SearchEye take care of your on-page SEO needs. Contact us today, and let’s get to work.

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