What is On-Page SEO?

minutes read
April 28, 2024


On-page SEO is the process of optimizing individual web pages to improve their ranking and attract more relevant visitors from search engines. This practice includes enhancing both the content and the HTML source code of the page.

Difference Between
On-Page and Off-Page SEO

The primary difference between on-page and off-page SEO lies in their focus areas. While on-page SEO is about what your site is about (i.e., the topic of your site), off-page SEO is about the authority and popularity of your site.

On-page SEO centers on optimizing elements within your website, such as content, images, and HTML code, to improve its visibility and ranking on search engines.

Off-page SEO involves external factors like backlinks, reviews and social media engagement that occur outside of your website.

Why is On-Page SEO important?

On-page SEO is essential because it helps search engines understand your website and its content, as well as determine if it's relevant to what someone is searching for.

Effective on-page SEO strategies not only improve the user experience but also help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), which attracts more visitors. This can increase visitor engagement and the likelihood of them taking desired actions on your site.

Though Google's algorithm is always changing, Google will prioritize people-first content over other factors and to avoid search engine first.

Pro Tip: Use SEMrush's On Page SEO Checker for actionable on-page SEO optimization ideas for your website.

SEMrush's on-page seo checker

Guides to Improve Your On-Page SEO

Site Content

Ensure your content is high-quality, informative, and addresses the needs of your audience. Content should be engaging, well-researched, and provide real value to readers. Avoid plagiarism and keep your content unique.

Freshness: Regularly update your site with new content and refresh existing pages to keep them relevant over time.

Schema Markup

Schema markup is a powerful SEO tool that helps search engines understand the content of your website more effectively.

By providing search engines with detailed metadata about your website content, you can improve your SEO performance, as search engines can better understand and index your content.

Some common markups are:

  • Reviews
  • Local business
  • Article
  • Carousel
  • Event
  • Product
  • Recipes

You can find a full list of every type of markup and how to implement them at Google Search Central: Structured data markup.

Pro Tip: Use ChatGPT to help you with your schema markup. Then use the Schema Markup Validator to let you know if you've implemented the markup correctly.


Keywords help search engines know the purpose of your content.

For example, if your webpage contains the keyword "best lawyers in nyc," search engines understand that the content likely provides information or reviews about lawyers in nyc, making it more likely to appear in search results when users search for that specific topic.

Keyword Research

Start your keyword research to find relevant topics with SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool.

You'll get a list of keywords related to your search that's sorted by search volume.

Intent: Purpose of the keyword search intentions including:

  • Informational: To find answers and information on a specific search.
  • Navigational: To find a page, site, or physical location.
  • Commercial: To investigate brands or services.
  • Transactional: To complete an action. Like buying, scheduling or completing a transaction.

Volume: The average number of monthly searches over a 12-month period.

KD: Keyword Difficulty, how hard it would be for a website to rank for this keyword.

CPC: Cost Per Click, average price an advertiser would pay for someone to click with this keyword.

Pro Tip: Longer the keyword the easier it is to rank.
For example, the keyword "lawyer in nyc" is easier to rank for than "lawyer" and "personal injury lawyer in nyc" would be even more targeted and easier.

Keyword Placement Strategy

Now that you have your keyword, it's time to place them strategically to help Google and your audience know the context of your content.

The first 4 places you should place your primary keywords is: 

  • Header 1 (H1): This is your main header. You should only have one of this per page.
  • First paragraph of your content.
  • Title tag
  • Meta tag

Be sure to use other variation of your keyword.

Let's say your primary keyword is "Personal Injury Lawyer in NYC"; include keywords such as "Personal Injury Lawyer", "Personal Injury Lawyer in NY", etc.

Learn more about title tag read SEMRush guide on What Is a Title Tag & How to Optimize Title Tags for Google.

Title Tag

Title tags is what shows in search engines, social media posts and the browser tab.

This greatly influences a user's decision to click on your website.

Here are some tips on how to create an ideal title tag:

  • Short and to the point: Keep your title tag between 50-60 characters long.
  • Include your primary keyword: To help users and google know the primary focus of your content.
  • Unique: Don't reuse the same title tag.

Meta Description

A Meta tag is a description of your title tag.

Here are some tips on how to create an ideal meta tag:

  • Mobile friendly: Keep your meta tag shorter than 120 characters long.
  • Include your primary keyword: Google will bold the keyword which will visually stand out for the users.
  • Unique: Like the title tag, don't reuse the same meta description.

Learn more about meta descriptions read SEMRush guide on What Is a Meta Description? [+ SEO & Writing Tips].

User Experience & Page Speed

User experience plays a crucial role to rank your website.

User Attention

When a user visits your page and spends more time there, it indicates to Google that your website is user-friendly.

One factor that helps users stay on your website is page loading speed. You can check the performance of your website with Google's PageSpeed Insight Tool.

Google PageSpeed Insight for asolace.com

Reduce Image Size

Large image file sizes are a significant factor that contributes to slowing down a website's loading speed. Reducing image size, particularly during the initial page load or First Contentful Paint (FCP), can notably enhance user retention and website SEO.

Use a image resizer tool like Image Resizer to shrink, crop and convert your image. The ideal file format is WEBP, which is a modern and efficient image format developed by Google.

Read more about Website Image Optimization for SEO.

User goal

When a user discovers the desired information on your website without needing to return to search for additional resources, it indicates to Google that your website is the preferred destination for that specific keyword.

Internal Links

Internal links are links that goes to different pages on the same website.

Some of the reasons why internal links are an important part of on-page SEO are:

  • Site structure: it helps search engine understand your website structure and how each pages are related.
  • Crawlers: it helps Google crawler discover new pages.
  • Users: it helps users navigate through your website and understand the relationship between content. It also help keep users on your website longer.

Read more about Internal Links: Guide and Strategies.

External Links

External links are links that goes to other websites. This helps build trust with your audience.

Read more about What Is an External Link? + SEO Best Practices.

Other Resource

Check out SEMrush's On-Page SEO Guide for additional tips and strategies to enhance your On-Page SEO efforts.

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