On-Page SEO – The Definitive Guide

On-Page SEO 3

This guide will cover all aspects of on-page SEO for 2021.

This guide will teach you:

  • How to optimize content
  • How to create SEO-friendly URLs
  • How to write descriptions and titles
  • There are many more

Let’s get going.

Chapter 1: On-Page SEO Basics

What is On-Page Search Engine Optimization?

On-page SEO, also known as “on site SEO”, is the process of optimizing web pages for search engines and users. On-page SEO techniques include optimizing title tags and content, as well as internal links, URLs, and URLs.

On-Page SEO

This is different than off-page SEO which optimizes for signals that occur off your website (for instance, backlinks).

Why is on-page SEO important?

Is traditional on-page SEO still relevant in 2021?


Google’s “How Search Works” report actually states:

Google is much smarter today than it was in the past, but they still use old-school stuff like looking for specific keywords on your pages.

This is supported by data.

We found a correlation between first page rankings and keyword-rich titles in our analysis of 11M Google Search Results.

On-Page SEO 1

If you search for any competitive keyword you will notice that almost all the top-ranking pages use that keyword in their title tags.

This is what we mean:

On-page SEO is more than just cramming keywords in your HTML.

You must optimize your content for the following:

  • User experience
  • Bounce rate and Stay Time
  • Search Intent
  • Page loading speed
  • Click-through rate

This brings us to chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Optimize Your Content for SEO

Now that you know why on-page optimization is still important, it’s time for you to optimize your content.

In this chapter, I will show you how to keyword optimize every page of your website.

This chapter will provide actionable tips and tricks to help you use keywords effectively on your pages.

Use your target keyword in the first 100 words

This old-school on-page SEO strategy still works.

You only need to use your keyword once in your first 100-150 words.

In my article, I used the keyword email marketing.

On-Page SEO 2

What is the point?

Google places more emphasis on terms that appear early in your webpage.

This makes perfect sense. Imagine you have just published an article on The Keto Diet. It would make sense, if your article was really about The Keto Diet, to use the term “keto diet”, halfway down the page.


This is why your keyword should be included in the first 100 words of your page. This little detail helps Google to understand the content of your page.

Wrap your blog post title in an H1 tag

The H1 tag acts as a mini title tag.

Google actually stated that an H1 tag ” ” helps Google understand the structure and content of the page.

On-Page SEO Basics

Many platforms, such as WordPress, automatically add the H1 tag under your blog post title. You’re good to go.

However, this is not always true. To ensure that your title is properly wrapped in H1, you need to inspect your site’s code. Make sure your keyword is within that H1 tag.

Wrap Subheadings in H2 tags

Include your target keyword at least once in a subheading. Wrap that subheading with an H2 tag.

What will an H2 tag do for your on-page SEO?

It’s not true. It can’t hurt. My own SEO experiments have shown that wrapping your target keyword into an H2 tag can make all the difference.

This is an example of the strategy in action (target keyword=”content-marketing tools”)

Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency is exactly what it sounds like: It’s the number of times that your keyword appears within your content.

Google might deny that multiple keywords can be helpful. However, SEO professionals with years of experience will confirm that it works.

This is how you should think about it:

Imagine you have a page on Google that Google THINKS about a particular keyword. However, that keyword appears only once on the page.

They are so confident that the page will be about this keyword. It’s not.

Google may be more confident about a page’s topic if it mentions the keyword ten times.

It is clear:

This is not about keyword stuffing, or anything similar.

Simply mention your target keyword several times to verify to Google that your page is indeed about this topic.

One of our posts, for example, ranks among the top 3 results in Google for the keyword YouTube SEO.

What number of times did you think I used “YouTube” SEO in the 3,200-word blog post?

6 times.

You don’t have to be too extravagant here. You’re fine as long as your keyword is used naturally at least a few times.

Use external (outbound) links

Google can use external links to similar pages to help them determine the topic of your page. It also tells Google that Your page. It is a source of high-quality information.

This is not a theory. Reboot Online conducted an experiment to determine if external links could improve rankings.

Ten new websites were created. The majority of websites were linked to authoritative sites, such as Oxford University. The remaining half did not have any external links.

The websites are also available.With External links ranked higher than the sites Without They are.

SEO Optimization : Optimize Your URLs

On-page SEO is incomplete without a proper URL structure.

Google has recently begun to use strange URLs in search results.

However, even so, your URL will still show the terms you used in it. Also, URLs in both the desktop and mobile SERPs can now be found. As mentioned above The title tag

Your URL is now more important than ever.

Here’s how to make SEO-friendly URLs.

  1. Your URLs should be short
  2. In every URL, include a keyword

Seriously. That’s all.

My guide to link building was optimized around the keyword “linkbuilding”. That keyword was used in my URL.

This doesn’t mean that your URL should only contain your keyword. You can add a few words to your URL.

…or to have your keyword appear after a subfolder.

Chapter 3 : Optimize Title & Description Tags

This chapter will teach you how to optimize your meta descriptions and title for SEO.

Title tags “help a lot” in your search engine rankings, according to Google.

They are worth optimizing.

It’s the exact same with your description. Although Google might not use your description for understanding the content of your page, search engines use it to determine which result to click.

This chapter will help you write SEO-friendly titles and descriptions.

Front-load your Title tag

My opinion is that your title tag should be the most important factor in on-page SEO.

This is because search engines can see your page’s title tag and get a high-level overview.

My experience shows that the closer a keyword is to the title tag’s beginning, the more weight it holds with search engines.

Here’s an example from my huge list of SEO tools.

It doesn’t have to appear at the beginning of your title. This is not always a good idea.

The closer your title to the front of the title tag, the better.

Use title tag modifiers

You can rank for long-tail versions of your target keyword by using modifiers such as “best”, “checklist”, and “review”.

Our Ahrefs Alternatives Post contains the modifiers “free”, and “paid”.

This allows us to rank long tail versions of “best Ahrefs alternative” such as “best free Ahrefs alternative”.

This is not the only way to be strategic.

In the list of keyword research tools, I added the title tag modifier “for search engine optimization”.

Why? My page would appear when someone searched for terms such as “SEO keyword search tools”. It worked!

Use unique, keyword-rich meta descriptions

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide states:

Google recommended recently that you create your own meta descriptions.

Google cannot override these snippets with their own.

This is because a great meta description makes your result stand out and can increase your organic CTR .

Here is a description template I recommend and use.

Also, you should include your keyword in your description.


Google bolds queries that are related to the query.

This can again give you a nice little CTR boost.

Chapter 4 : Create SEO Content

It’s now time to publish content worthy of ranking #1.

This goes beyond simply using keywords on your site.

Your content must be:

  • Unique
  • Super valuable
  • Optimized to meet search intent

In this chapter, I will show you how to ensure that your SEO content meets all these criteria.

Unique Content

When I use the term “unique”, it doesn’t mean duplicate content.

Publishing something is more than just redistributing the same information that is already out there.

Also, content that adds value to the table.

This is how something new can be:

  • A fresh tip or strategy
  • The best list of curated resources
  • Design and UX are strong
  • A new case study
  • Step-by-step, simplified process

The SEO checklist post ranks among the top 3 results for the keyword “SEO check-list”.

Are you sure that I rank simply because I use my keyword multiple times?

This definitely helped. However, keywords are not enough to make a competitive term such as this one.

Because it is unique, my page ranks among the top 3.

It has strategies and tips that you won’t find anywhere else.

It also contains many tips and examples you won’t find anywhere else, including my own post.

Valuable Content

It’s a great idea to publish something unique.

It’s not enough.

(After all, millions of blog posts are published every day.

Your content must be extremely valuable in order to be noticed and stand out.

These are just a few of the ways you can make your SEO content extremely valuable.

  • More details : It is easy to translate your content into action by using images, screenshots, or steps.
  • Crisp writing : Strong Copywriting, This will make your content more interesting.
  • Material updated : New strategies, steps, and examples can go a long ways.
  • Expert authors : The majority of content is written by people who have never done the task they are telling you to. A first-hand account is often more valuable than content written by a freelancer.

My SEO checklist post is a valuable resource because of the content.
It all starts with easy-to-understand material.

It gets more difficult as you go.

You will also learn a lot of details along the way:

Examples of the most recent examples:

Content written by someone who lives and breathes SEO every single day.

Search Intent Satisfied Content

You can be on the first page of Google with unique, valuable content.

However, if you want your page to remain there, it must satisfy Search intent.

And this is how it works:

Google searches want your page to exactly match their criteria.

Your page will be likely to be hidden on the third page.

This was a mistake I made and had to rectify it.

This comparison of top backlink checkers in the market was published recently.

My goal was to rank for “backlink checker” as a keyword.

A few days later, I decided to look at the SERPs.

I realized quickly that all of the results on the first page were 100%. Tools.

Literally, 10 of the 10 results were backlink checking tools. The first page didn’t contain a single blog post.

This means that my chances of getting on the first page were virtually zero.


Luckily, I rank for the long tail version of this keyword (“best backlink-checker”)

However, if I had spent more time looking at Search Intents for the term, I would have realized my content was not likely to rank for “backlink checker”.

It’s now time to move on to the next chapter.

Chapter 5 : Optimize CTR

Two reasons are important to consider your organic click-through rate:

CTR ( likely) is a Google ranking factor.

Second, increasing your CTR can drive greater traffic to your website .

This chapter will show you four ways to increase your organic CTR.

Use “Question Title Tags.”

Last year , we analysed 5 million Google search results in order to determine why certain pages are clicked more than others.

One of our most unexpected findings was that question-based titles tags have a higher-than-average CTR.

If it makes sense, I recommend testing title tags that contain a question.

My Nofollow Links Guide asks a question in its title tag.

This is because most people searching for “nofollow links” don’t know what it means.

My title tag also shows that my site can provide what they need.

This page actually has a 27% CTR on the keyword “nofollow”

Complete missing Meta Descriptions

In Chapter 1, I discussed meta descriptions.

Particularly, I said that your descriptions should be compelling.

You don’t have to write an incredible description all the time. A meta description may suffice.

We found that pages with meta descriptions received approximately 6% more clicks than pages without them.

To find pages without a meta description, I recommend conducting an SEO audit of your website. Next, add descriptions to pages that require them.

Review or FAQ Schema

Schema does not directly affect your SEO.

However, certain Schemas can be used to hook you up with your Rich Snippets.

Rich Snippets can help you get more clicks.

Two of the most effective Schemas for Rich Snippets can be obtained from review Schema.

And : FAQ Schema

You can double-check if your Schema is correctly set up using The Structured Data Testing Tool.

Title tags with emotion

CTR research showed that emotionally charged titles were clicked on 7 percent more often than titles without strong emotions.

We also found that “Power Words”, which are emotionally charged, can be used to communicate our emotions.Reduced Click through rate 12%

What is the answer?

People are attracted by titles that have an emotional punch.

It’s clickbait if a title is too long.

They’ll click on a different result that is less spammy.

Bottom line : Title tags should express emotion. Avoid using terms such as “insane”, “powerful”, and other words that could make your title seem like clickbait.

Add the current year to the title and description

Here’s an example to show you what I mean.

Your CTR will not be affected by adding the year to your title or description.

However, I have found it to be very helpful in my experience… especially when content can quickly become outdated.

Someone searching for the “Seneca philosophy”, for example, doesn’t necessarily need anything that was released last month.

However, people want to ensure they are reading the most current information when searching for keywords like “best smartphones”.

Adding the year to your title or description will make it clear that you are up-to date with your content.

Chapter 6 : On Page UX Signals

This chapter will show you how to optimize content for “UX Signals”.

In other words, Google searchers will interact with your content in a similar way.

Google is really paying attention to Dwell Time, Bounce rate and other user interaction signals.


Google’s How Search Works states that they use aggregated and anonymized interaction data in order to rank the best search results.

Let’s now show you how to keep Google searchers on your site with your content.

Push Content above the Fold

Google users will land on your website from Google and want to know their answers quickly.

This is why you should avoid large images that are too high up, such as this.

Instead, place your headline and introduction in the center of the page.

It’s fine to include an image at the top or side of your post. If it moves your content down the page, that is bad.

You can chunk your content

Visitors would love to read every word on your webpage in a perfect world.

We don’t live in a perfect universe.

This is why you want your content to be easy to read.

This is something that I spent a lot of time here at Backlinko.

I use tons of H2 subheadings.



Create an Active Community

A community on your blog can be like a Bounce Rate cheat key.


High-quality comments give people something to look at after reading your post.

This is because comments give context to your post.

Contribute to new strategies and approaches

Sometimes, you can spice things up with some controversy.

These are the things that keep people on your page.

Chapter 7 : Advanced on-page SEO Tips

The last chapter contains a list of my top on-page SEO strategies.

Once you have optimized the title and H1 tags of your page, these are some tips to help improve your on-page SEO.

Let’s dive right into the strategies.

Original images are best

Are you using stock images in your content or not?

Those stock images could be hurting your SEO.

Recently, Shai Aharony tested the impact that stock images had upon Google rankings.

Here’s the bottom line…

Shai first created a number of new websites for these experiments. These domain names were brand new and had never been registered before.

On some sites, he used stock images. Original images were used on other sites.

It was clear that sites with unique images outperformed sites using stock photos.

If you are using stock photos from a thousand sites, create custom images.

Backlinko does this. These original images, at least according to our little research, probably help us rank.

Internal Linking

Internal linking can be a huge help with SEO.

You want to link to high-authority pages on the site to pages that require a boost.

Make sure you use keyword-rich anchor texts when you do. Here’s an example.

Here’s what I recommend and how to do it.

To find the pages with the highest link authority, first use an SEO tool such as Ahrefs.

Next, you can add some internal links to these pages to a page of high priority on your website.

Recently, I wanted to increase our press releases guide rankings.

So I added an external link from one our most authoritative pages as a guide.

It’s simple.

Wikipedia is a great place to look for an example of how to create internal links on your website.

Every page is enhanced with a lot of keyword-rich links:

Write comprehensive content

Google wants their users to see content that provides them with everything they need on one page.

Also, comprehensive content.

Your post that covers a whole topic has a better chance of being ranked.

Google will see your content as complete if you do this.

LSI keywords.

LSI keywords can be described as synonyms used by Google to determine a page’s relevance.

Because I write long content, I don’t obsess over LSI keywords.

(Long content increases your chances of naturally using LSI keywords).

If you are unsure if your keywords are LSI, you can search for them in Google. Scroll down to the “Searches Related To …”” section at the bottom.

Include any comments that make sense in your post.

Speed up your page

Google has made it clear that page loading speeds are a ranking signal for SEO (and PageSpeed was recently even more important).

Our analysis of 5.2 Million websites shows that you can speed up your site’s loading time by moving to a faster host.

Remove as many scripts from third parties as possible.

You can also reduce the size of your page.

Image Optimization

Every image on your website should have a descriptive filename as well as alt.

This allows Google and visually impaired users to understand the meaning of each image.

If it makes sense, create one image that is optimized around your target keyword. Use a filename that contains your target keyword, such as on-page-seo.png. Also, include the same keyword in your image alt tags.

Optimizing your images for SEO is another reason. It gives search engines another clue about what your page is all about, which can help it rank better.

Google will tell you if it sees a page that has pictures of “blue widgets”, and “green widgets”, then it will say: “This page is about widgets.”

You can rank your content in Featured Snippets

Your CTR can be greatly affected by ranking in a featured Snippet.

The only problem?

This industry study states that you must be on the first page in order to get a Featured Snappet.

This means that you must find the first page results with a Featured Snappet AND rank for it.

You can find them by opening Ahrefs, SEOrush, or any other SEO software.

Find pages on your site that appear on the first page in Google.

Next, filter keywords that already have a Featured Snappet.

Next, take a look at the Google Featured Snippet for each term.

Last but not least, optimize your content for the Featured Snappet.

If you find a “definition”, Featured Snippet in your browser, you should include a brief definition in your content.

You should ensure that the page structure you use is consistent if it’s a list or tip.

Voice Search SEO

Voice Search is growing SUPER quickly.

How do you optimize your content for voice searches?

Make FAQ pages.

We found that Google loves pulling voice search results from FAQ pages in our voice search SEO study

Now, I would like to hear from you

I hope that you find this on-page SEO guide useful.

Now, I would love to hear your thoughts:

What tip do you want to use first from today’s post?

Do you plan to front-load your keyword into your title tag?

You might also want to be ranked in the Featured Snippet position.

Let me know what you think by commenting below.