How to do On-Page Optimization for SEO

In this lesson, we’ll walk you through the exact process of performing on-page SEO for any webpage. By the end, you’ll understand which key elements and factors on a page you’ll need to optimize to improve in search engine rankings.

26 minutes

Key points you can
learn in this lesson.

Prioritizing Key Elements

Identify which on-page elements matter most

Usage of Keywords

Understand how to incorporate keywords into meta information, content, alt text, and headers

The Influence of Internal Links

Understand the use of internal links and how that can influence rankability

Our key metrics increased. More importantly, we implemented a lot of new tactics and test scenarios, which will boost our company’s future prospects.
Dave McCue
Digital Marketing Manager at Allstate

Lesson Preview

Now that keyword research and competitor research have been completed, it is time to learn how to apply all of this information to execute an on-page SEO strategy. 

In this lesson, we’ll be walking through optimizing meta titles, meta descriptions, and headings; creating SEO-friendly URLs; optimizing image alt text; optimizing on-page content; internal linking; using related keywords, and the importance of long-form content.

Some other topics that we will discuss include keyword stuffing and keyword cannibalization. 

What is On-Page Optimization?

On-page optimization (or on-page SEO) is the practice of optimizing web pages to rank higher on a search engine results page for a specific targeted keyword. “On-page” is in reference to anything that is located on the actual website and can be optimized, including HTML code, images, links, and more.

Google ranks each page individually. These ranking factors include valuable, unique content, targeted title tags, short and targeted URLs, optimized image alt text, and keyword targeted anchor text.

What is a Meta Title?

The meta title of a webpage is the title that shows up in the search engine results page. It is an HTML attribute that gives searchers and search engines a brief description of the page’s topic. The meta title is used to grab the attention of the searcher and to show Google and other search engines what keywords you are targeting on the webpage.

Meta titles typically are between 55 and 65 characters (including spaces). You also want to include the keyword towards the beginning of the meta title.

An example of a meta title is as seen below: 

<title>SEO Agency for Enterprise Brands | Directive</title>

You will place the above code inside the <head> section of your page.

What is a Meta Description?

The meta description of a webpage is the description that is shown on the search engine results page. It is an HTML attribute that provides a searcher and search engine with an extended description of the page’s topic. The meta description can highly influence click-through rates which can increase page visits.

Meta titles typically are between 145  and 165 characters (including spaces). You also want to include the keyword closer to the beginning of the meta description.

An example of a meta description is as seen below: 

<meta name=”description” content=”An SEO agency dedicated to B2B &amp; Enterprise! We specialize in comprehensive campaigns based on measurable success. Get a FREE custom proposal today!”/>

The above code is placed inside the <head> section of your webpage.

What is an H1 Heading?

An H1 heading (also known as a header tag or h1 tag) is another HTML attribute that is usually representative of the title of the post. The h1 heading usually is the largest text on the webpage; however, through CSS styling, you can change the size and the format of that tag to better fit your website and branding.

Header tags also include H2, H3, H4, etc. The structure of the tags is important because it gives Google and other search engines an idea of the full structure and topics discussed on each webpage. The other header tags can help with on-page optimization as well. 

An example of an h1 heading is as seen below: 

<h1 class=”pre-heading”>SEO Agency for Enterprise</h1>

What is Image Alt Text?

Image alt text, also known as alt attributes, is an HTML attribute that describes the appearance of an image. 

There are various uses for image alt text, including providing web accessibility for visually impaired users, displaying descriptions in the off chance that the image cannot be loaded, and providing better context to search engines such as Google to understand the context of certain images.

An example of image alt text is as seen below:

<img src=”pancakes.png” alt=”Stack of blueberry pancakes with powdered sugar”>

What is Internal Linking?

Internal Linking is the connecting of two pages under the same domain to one another. Internal links are commonly used in the main navigation but can also be found in the content itself in the form of “Anchor Text”. 

Anchor text is the text that appears highlighted in a hyperlink. When clicked, it can take you to the linked URL or open up in another tab. In SEO, anchor text can be valuable as an indicator of keyword targeting for a web page. Best practices indicate that anchor text should be relevant and natural-sounding within a sentence for it to generate value for that web page.

An example of internal linking is as seen below:

<a href=””> Anchor Text</a>

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing (also known by Google as irrelevant keywords) is the practice of overloading keywords into content to increase the frequency of the targeted keyword mentioned and increase the ability to rank.

Examples of keyword stuffing include unnaturally inserting a targeted keyword into content and metadata, and listing cities and states to gain local SEO relevance. Keyword stuffing is viewed unfavorably by Google.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization happens when a website’s information architecture relies on a single keyword or phrase on multiple parts of the website. This can occur unintentionally, having a bunch of pages that target the same keyword can cause problems with rankability.

Why is this important?

On-page optimization is a foundation for successful SEO. On-page optimization helps you to rank well in Search Engines and also helps in improving the overall readability of your website for your users.

On-page optimization is very essential to gain visibility in the search results as without optimizing your on-page factors, you won’t be found as often in Search Engines. If you want to grow a business online, on-page SEO is one of the most important factors.

What you’ll need:

  • SEMrush (Get a free 14- day trial here) 
  • SEO Meta-1-Click Chrome Extension (Free)
  • Screaming Frog Tool (Get the free version)
  • Template: Keyword Map 
  • Template: Metadata Optimization Tracker
  • Template: Internal Linking Tracker
  • Template: SERP Analysis Tracker

The Process:

Step 1: Create a Keyword Map

Keyword mapping is an imperative step to on-page optimization for a website. Keyword mapping is an organizational tool that involves mapping out your site structure, keyword targeting each individual page, implementing proper SEO tactics, and making recommendations in order to have a well-structured website.

Creating a keyword map is an easy way for you to map out what URLs you want to keep on your website, which ones you want to edit or optimize, and which ones you want to remove.

Create your keyword map by following these steps:

  1. Decide which way you want to pull the list of important URLs from your website. We will be pulling all of the links from the navigation page. This can be done a few ways:
    • For the purpose of this course, we are going to individually pull each URL and place them within the Keyword Map Tool.
    • Use the ScreamingFrog tool to pull the core pages
    • Individually pull each URL from the website
  2. For example, we’ll go to and pull every link from the navigation bar. 
  3. Rank the URLs based on their depth from the homepage. For example, the homepage is considered Tier 1, the “Capabilities” page is Tier 2, and each individual sub-services such as “Search Engine Optimization”  is Tier 3.
    • Once you have determined each webpage’s rank based on their depth in the website, place each individual URL under their individual Tier.
  4. Now that we have mapped out the informational architecture of the website, we must audit each core page to determine if we are currently targeted the correct keyword for each core page. We will also determine whether or not we are doing everything we can to maximize our ability to rank for that targeted keyword.

Step 2: Audit Each Core Page

Now that we have built out the infrastructure for our keyword map, we can audit each individual core page to determine whether or not it is properly targeting the keywords that we want it to target.

For this example, we will be taking a look at the Pay Per Click Advertising page (

There are a few things that we want to take a look at when we are looking for the targeted keyword:

  1. Keywords mentioned in the metadata (Meta Title, Meta Description, and H1 Heading)
  2. Keywords mentioned in the body content
  3. Context of the content mentioned on the webpage
  4. Business intent of the webpage

Here are the steps to audit the core page:

  1. Open SEO Meta-in-1-Click. This is where we will be analyzing the metadata. For starters, when we take a look at the meta title, we notice that the first keyword mentioned is “PPC Agency”. Other keywords mentioned are “Enterprise Brands” and “Directive”.
    • When we take a look at the meta description, we see that “PPC Agency” is mentioned early as well. Other keywords mentioned are “B2B”, “Enterprise”, and “PPC Services”.
    • When we take a look at the meta description, we see that “PPC Agency” is mentioned early as well. Other keywords mentioned are “B2B”, “Enterprise”, and “PPC Services”.
    • When we take a look at the H1 Heading, we see that “PPC Agency” is mentioned again.
    • Based on the metadata, it could be assumed that the targeted keyword for this page is “PPC Agency”. However, for a website that may not already be optimized for a targeted keyword, it may not be as obvious. When this is the case, we must move forward with our audit and look for keywords mentioned within the body content of the webpage.
  2. Now that we have taken a look at the metadata for the web page, we want to take a look at the remainder of the content on the page. There are a few things that we want to keep an eye on:
    • a. Word count
    • b. Number of times the keyword is injected
    • c. Keyword targeting in the URL
      • In order to determine the word count on the webpage, go to Highlight all of the core page content on the page including the heading all the way down to the bottom of the page (excluding the footer), copy it, and paste it into the word counter. 
        • As you can see, this page contains 596 words (give or take where you copied the content).

    • When we take a look at the content on the page, we see that the keywords mentioned the most frequently include:
      • PPC agency (5 times)
      • PPC (10 times)
      • Ad (6 times)
    • When we take a look at the URL, the term “PPC Agency” is mentioned as well.
    • After analyzing the word count, the number of keywords mentioned and at what rate, and whether or not the keyword is mentioned in the URL, it is clear that the targeted keyword for this page is “PPC Agency”.

3. Once you determine what keywords are being mentioned and which keywords are looking to be the highlight of the webpage, it is time to determine what the context of the content and intent of the webpage.

  • This step is somewhat intuitive but is crucial to the rankability of the webpage. When you read through the content on the page, ask yourself these questions:
    • Where is this page located? Is it located in the blog, or is it located under services?
    • What are we trying to convince a reader to do when they read this page?
    • What are some of the buzzwords that capture my attention? And what do these buzzwords make me think? How do they make me feel?
  • Being able to answer these questions should help you figure out exactly what the end goal of the webpage is. In this case, it is clear that the “PPC Agency” page is a core service page that is trying to sell a service to the reader.

4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each core page, and add all metadata to the Metadata Optimization Tracker Tool.

Step 3: Perform SERP Analysis for Each Core Page

A SERP (search engine results page) analysis is a way for you to compare and contrast your page to other pages targeting the same (or similar) keywords that are currently ranking on the search engine results page.

This process is crucial to on-page optimization because it gives you the ability to determine what it is going to take to rank for your chosen target keyword(s). Although crucial, it is very simple to complete a SERP analysis.


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