Beginner’s guide to On-page Search Engine Optimisation in 2021

So, you’ve set up your website/blog/online shop, it’s looking good, and you’ve even posted a few blog posts, products, or other information. But, looking at your analytics, traffic is only coming from places you’ve shared your content, or not at all. Welcome to the reality of non-optimized Search Engine Optimisation. While you might have heard about the term SEO and Search Engine Optimization, the differences between On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO might have missed you. If you are experiencing a lack of organic search engine traffic on your website, continue reading this blog post to boost your knowledge on the essential parts of On-page SEO, and in turn, boost your ranking on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), and organic traffic from those search engines.

What is On-page SEO?

On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, is the practice of optimizing the content on your page (both the written word and the HTML source code) to make it as discoverable as possible.

Lahey, 2020

On-page SEO involves everything you can do to optimise your SEO on your website. As Lahey states in a post on SEMrush in the quote above, this includes all written content, images, URLs, the website’s HTML elements, and site performance and user experience.

Why should you focus on optimising your On-page SEO?

All SEO strategies have one main goal: to increase the website’s organic traffic. The way this goal is accomplished is by providing optimized SEO strategies to boost the website’s search engine results page (SERP) ranking. This improves the chances of potential leads finding your website in their searches online. Search engines constantly use crawlers to go through websites. By optimizing your On-page SEO you make it easier for these crawlers to crawl your content, rank it according to your used keywords and key phrases. The higher the ranking of your website, the more likely it is to be visible to search engine users who are looking for similar content.

Optimised keywords and key-phrases

Keywords and key phrases are the most vital part of your SEO strategy. Keywords and key-phrases refer to the relevant words and phrases aimed towards your target audiences. These keywords should be on every relevant page on your website. However, it is essential to remember that these keywords need to be appropriate and natural. If you mention your keywords too often, your content might risk losing value for your audience and seem like it is written by a robot which is a method called keyword stuffing. If you want to get deeper into Keyword research go read my beginner’s guide that includes 12 recommended SEO keyword research tools as well!

How to utilize keywords for On-page SEO:

  • Research your target audience’s needs: Before even setting up your business and website, you should have researched who your target audience is, what their needs are, and how to fulfill those needs. By knowing this, you are a step closer to understanding what your keywords and key phrases are. If your target audience is looking for plant care information, your keywords should include aspects within this topic.
  • Research how your audience uses search engines: What search terms and phrases are they using? Which types of plants or aspects of care do they searching for most frequently?
  • Research and discover keyword competition: Once you have found some keywords through the first two steps, you should research the competitiveness of those keywords, find relevant and similar keywords to the discovered ones, and determine if the keywords are too narrow, broad, or just fitting for your business and target audience. How big is the search volume for these keywords and phrases? How easy is it to rank with these keywords? In this step, you should use various keyword research tools online such as keywordtool.ioWordstreamSEMrushMozGoogle TrendsGoogle Search ConsoleSpyFu, and Ahrefs.
  • Select relevant and optimized keywords: Now that you have gone through some keyword research, you should create a list of your chosen keywords and information about the keywords. By creating a list, you reduce the amount of time spent researching every time you want to post new content. However, you should re-evaluate the list frequently as trends, topics, and searches move quickly on search engines.
  • Optimize your content using the given keywords: Now that you have your list of keywords, it is time to incorporate them into your website in a natural, relevant, and valuable way – without keyword stuffing. Continue reading to see where to place your keywords other than blog posts.

Optimising HTML elements:

This section is a short introduction to the HTML elements within a website that must be optimized for a well-functioning On-page SEO.

  • Page names: Pages should have specific titles according to their contents. Little is more frustrating than finding a website’s ‘about page’ found under a random number and letter name.
  • Meta description: This tag provides search engines and visitors with a summary of your website and page’s content. It is vital to use relevant keywords that accurately describe the content of your website and each page. Each page’s meta description should be different and specific. Look at the example below on the meta descriptions for BBC’s home page and their news page.
This image shows BBC’s home page meta description and how it shows up on Google.
Google search result on BBC's news site showing meta description
This image shows BBC’s news page meta description and how it shows up on Google.
  • Heading tags: Heading tags (H1, H2, H3…) inform search engines and visitors about the most important topics on each page. It is also a way to structure your content, which makes it easier to navigate and extract information. Place the most relevant keywords in your headings. Looking through this blog post you can see different heading (H1) and subheading (H2, H3) tags throughout, depending on which section they belong to. Heading tags should be used when it makes sense to add a functioning structure. Using heading tags instead of paragraphs looks weird and confusing. Below is another example from BBC showing how they use headings sparingly to create informational content sections in their articles.
BBC article heading examples
Example of heading use in an article from BBC
  • Images: Webpage images can also be optimised for On-page SEO under the or tag in your HTML codes. Image file names and image ‘alt’ text are important features as search engines cannot view images but rely on these elements to understand the image’s content. In addition, if your visitors, for some reason, cannot see the images, the ‘alt’ text will describe them for them. See below for the image code with alt text.
  • Link anchor text: When you link, whether it’s an internal or external link, the clickable text for the link, the anchor text, should inform visitors and search engines about the page the link is referring to. Using non-descriptive anchor text such as ‘LINK’ or ‘MORE’ gives users no indication of where the link leads. Furthermore, all links you include on your webpage should be, like keywords, relevant and valuable. See below for the link code with anchor text, which will look like this in text: Elise Ols’ index page
<a href="">Elise Ols' index page</a>
<a href="URL">ANCHOR TEXT</a>

Page speed

In 2020, Google announced that page speed and user experience are considered when it comes to your site’s SERP ranking. It means that an optimized page speed is a vital part of your SEO strategy. When it comes to measuring your page speed I recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights as they give you a score from 1-100 and insights into which aspects and files on your website are increasing your page speed and how to improve it. PageSpeed Insights measures both your website for desktop and mobile devices with individual scores and insights for both categories.

On-page SEO for E-commerce and online businesses:

This section is for online shops and online businesses as I have seen these issues while working and evaluating different online shops in the past.

  • Use specific product titles: When selling products or services online the product title must be as descriptive as possible. One of my previous collaborations, for example, was selling pet apparel, but their products were titled’ Dress’, ‘Jumper’ and ‘Shirt’. With this, the SEO competition tools I was using did not register the shop as a shop for pet apparel, but a shop for human apparel because of the lack of keywords like ‘pet’ ‘dog’ or ‘cat’. Therefore it is vital to remember to use researched keywords in your product titles and elsewhere on your page. However, we’ve all seen the product titles on sites like – ‘Creative Funny Slingshot Darts Launch Bottle Corkscrew Bar Party Gift’ is more likely to leave leads confused than converting them to customers.
  • Include detailed and helpful product descriptions: We know that customers are more likely to research products before buying. By not including product descriptions or bad and non-descriptive ones, you will be missing out on a better SERP ranking for that product page. In addition, leads will be unimpressed by the lack of information. So remember to make time to write a relevant and valuable product description for all of your products.
  • Start business blogging: If you own an online business and you have not started blogging, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Not only does business blogging allow you to provide your users with valuable content, but it also allows you to increase your rank on SERPs by creating regular On-page SEO optimized content.

The takeaway:

Although SEO might seem scary and complicated at first, taking time to learn how search engines work and how SEO might impact your ranking is always worth it to boost your organic traffic. 

By following these tips on On-page SEO you are well on your way to improving your website’s search engine ranking without hiring an SEO specialist.

You are more than welcome to save, like, share this post to remember in the future! Or pin the image underneath as a simple overview of some of the basic elements within On-page SEO! IF you’re looking for more SEO content check out the post below! If you’re looking for more SEO content check out the post below!

Woman sitting on floor working on laptop

Keyword research for a powerful SEO strategy [2021 Beginner’s guide]

You’ve read my Beginner’s Guide to On-Page Search Engine Optimisation in 2021, and you’re ready to start optimising your website to get that sweet, sweet organic content. But wait, you know how to place your keywords into your HTML codes and alt-text, but which keywords should you use, and how do you find them? 

Have no worries! In this guide, I’ll be leading you through all the ins and outs of SEO keyword researching!

Keep reading

Published by Elise Olsen

Media and research devotee turned marketing enthusiast! I strive to give small business owners and bloggers all the research-based content needed to optimise your online marketing and social media strategy for growth!

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