On-page SEO focuses on a website’s technical and user experience to increase its rankings in Google.
Less than 1% of users clicked on websites listed on Google’s second page. So, learning about on-page SEO is vital to gaining organic traffic.Backlinko
Yes, it’s important.
And, yes, you can master it to keep your content on page 1 of search engines where it matches search intent.
What Is Search Intent?
Search intent is the driving force behind what someone is looking for from a keyword they type into Google.
Let’s say a user wanted to travel out of the country and was exploring what activities they might be able to embark on to have a once in a lifetime experience.
The intent is to find something they could do in New Zealand but probably couldn’t do in their current location.
Their search might look like this:
“things to do in New Zealand.”
When you see the results in Google, you would likely notice a pattern – and it’s Google providing website pages in the form of what people like to call “listicle” articles.
They are, quite literally, articles which are lists, with brief descriptors.
Because the user’s query contained the “things to do” portion, Google knows the search intent is to give the user a list of activities, not just one.
When looking at search intent for your own work, you want to focus on providing the user with the type of content they want.
Google has spent countless time and money studying people’s intent when they use their search engine, so you can get a good idea by searching the query and seeing what is already ranking in the top 10 or results.
In our New Zealand example, every post on the first page is designed in list form, with the top “X” number of things to do in New Zealand. The user would probably be very happy with this consolidated set of answers.
Styles of posts which typically match user intent might include:
- Research – often long form, data-driven, or containing infographics
- FAQ – what you’re reading now, common questions answered explicitly
- Purchase – product/service comparison, shopping, and e-commerce
- Gallery – image heavy articles, or Pinterest/Instagram-style results
- Guide – a how-to, recipe, or video explainer
What Is A Keyword?
A keyword is the search term, or query, you want to rank for in Google and the primary topic of your writing content.
While keywords can be a single word, most commonly, they’re phrases. It’s best to focus on topics as a whole, or keyword clusters, rather than just broad terms.
Choosing the right keyword cluster is essential to how often Google users will see your content – but it’s not as easy as it seems.
In a study performed by Ahrefs, over 92% of keywords receive less than eleven monthly searches.
Where should you put your keyword or phrase within your content?
- Meta Description
- Throughout Your Content
Here’s the best part: it’s not only okay to use a variation of the keyword you’re targeting, but it is encouraged.
A word of caution, though—never “keyword stuff.”
Back in the day, some people repeated keywords dozens of times to rank in Google – now, you’ll be penalized for this.
The bottom line? Use keywords naturally in your content and keep the nature of the content very conversational.
What Is A Title?
The title of your content is another item to consider for effective search engine optimization. A title is just how it sounds—the main heading of your web page.
Take time when choosing your title. You want it to catch the eye of the user, enticing them to click from the search engine results to your website.
Remember when we talked about search intent for New Zealand?
From the above example, a blog post titled “Things to do in New Zealand” isn’t as enticing as, say, “10 Unique Things You Can Do In New Zealand.”
When considering your title, browse through several searches, seeing what your competitors have done, and see how you might be able to improve on which ones are performing best right now.
Here are some other items to note when creating your title:
- It must accurately portray the topic of your article
- Be concise – the perfect title is about 60 characters long
- The creativity of your title may impact sharing on other platforms
What Is A Header?
Headers are used to organize and break up text on blog posts and websites.
“What is a Header?” just above this is a prime example.
Long-form content writing is part of on-page SEO, but let’s face it—no one wants to read thousands of words without breaks in the text.
Headers are numbered with “Heading 1” and are also referred to as H1. It’s not to be confused with the Title, which is (and should be) slightly different.
From there, all throughout your content, you should break up your text with “Heading 2” (H2) headers breaking up the different sections of your work.
If you have sections within those sections, you can use H3’s, and so on, up to H6.
Generally speaking, Heading 2 and Heading 3 are the most common headers used on websites and blog posts.
Headers do two things, primarily:
- Organize content for users, almost like a guideline
- Organize content for search engines, to better understand your content
Your headers are something you’ll want to do properly as they can help with search engine optimization just as much as they can help the user navigate the content.
Does The URL Matter?
URLs don’t technically matter, but simpler URLs are much more practical.
If you don’t use a keyword in your URL, make sure whatever you choose is a short phrase at most.
According to Serpstat, the average URL length is 75 characters. Keep in mind the URL will also include your website’s name, called the root domain.
You can use numbers and symbols in your URL, but typically, words make it easier for users and Google to identify the topic of your webpage.
You can also use your URLs to help your user (and bots) know where they are.
Take this URL for example:
There is a whole section within the website dedicated to animals. More specifically, about dogs. Even more specifically, about poodles!
This is just a simple and clean way to represent what the user might find on a URL without having clicked it yet.
On-Page SEO Is Under Your Control
With over one trillion Google searches per year, the potential to draw visitors to your website is practically endless with the implementation of strong on-page SEO.
And it’s one of the few things you have complete control over.