On-Page SEO Guide | 11-Steps to Master SEO Optimisation

Thanks for joining me for this tutorial blog on how to optimise your website for on-page SEO.

It’s one of those tasks that most people who own or operate websites know they should do. But many don’t have the time (or desire) to learn how to do it.

To start learning from this SEO guide, it will help if you are familiar with editing a website or webpage, especially WordPress.

Though you don’t have to be!

I’m going to be a little sneaky here, and use the creation of this actual post to explain how SEO optimisation is done!

We hope that it will make it easier for you to understand and to follow along, especially if you are optimising your own page at the same time.

Let’s get started with our On Page SEO Guide…

Activate an On-Page SEO plugin

You may have a built-in SEO tool on the platform you are using, which is great. If you are using WordPress, you’ll need to  install a specific plugin to help you with the SEO optimisation.

The awesome thing about using an SEO plugin is that it will essentially provide you with a checklist of items to address in the quest to achieve SEO optimisation. 

RankMath SEO
Yoast SEO

At Ranki, we specialise in WordPress SEO, and use both Yoast and RankMath very frequently. Although both are great, we have found Yoast to be a bit more detailed (perhaps too much so for beginner’s) and find RankMath to be more user-friendly. 

If you don’t have or are not able to use a plugin like RankMath, you can still follow along with the steps by changing your content according to what we are doing in the on-page SEO guide.

On Page SEO for RankMath

Find your SEO Keywords

Of course, you can’t optimise a webpage if you don’t know what search terms you want it to be found for.

This step is crucially important. 

We will do a separate post on how to choose your SEO keywords carefully, but for the purposes of this tutorial, let’s look at the term ‘on page SEO’. 

You can use some free searches via sites like Ubersuggest and Moz, which will give you an idea of the search volume and competition level. These are usually limited without a subscription.

This is an interesting one. Notice that the phrase can be spelled ‘on page SEO’ or ‘on-page SEO’. One has a hyphen, the other doesn’t. 

Should this make a difference? Let’s see.

Before we move on to comparing SEO keywords, check out our video lesson on selecting SEO keywords. 

It will help summarise what we have discussed so far in this guide to optimising on-page SEO for your own site..

If you do have any questions on getting set up with your SEO plugin or selecting the right keywords for your niche – please don’t hesitate to drop us a message via the Chat Tool or the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Comparing similar SEO Keywords

For new websites (such as ours!), it’s better to target less competitive keywords. These are usually long-tail phrases i.e. multiple words – as you can see below, the term ‘on-page SEO’ with a hyphen, is rated as 25 (Easy) for difficulty to rank for. This is a good sign.

It’s also worth noting that the CPC (Cost-Per-Click) is £3.14, which means there is some inherent value in ranking organically for this key phrase.

Now, let’s compare the almost identical term ‘on page SEO’. We can see that the search volume of 880 per month (UK only) is similar.

Not huge, but enough to get substantial numbers of visitors with the Focus Keyword and other, related keywords. 

Can you see any significant difference’s in the rest of the keyword overview?

As you can see from the snippet, they are not exactly the same. The SEO difficulty is even easier (20/100) for the term without the hyphen, though it is searched for a similar amount of times. Notably, the CPC value is £8.79, which is really quite high, suggesting this is a valuable term to compete for. 

To put this into context, if we were starting a new site and trying to compete for the term ‘SEO’, how much more difficult would that be?

Should you chase the top SEO keywords?
On page SEO comparison

As you can see, the search volume is very high for this high-level keyword.

Unsurprisingly, it is very competitive (57/100)! You can also see that the search term is highly valued (£10.69 CPC).

I know, it’s very tempting to go after a SEO keyword of this nature.

It’s SEO FOMO (fear of missing out), and completely normal.

For younger websites, it makes little sense to compete for these key terms until your establish some traffic and credibility, otherwise the chances of ranking highly are pretty slim!

It makes more sense to build relevant content around the key term, by focusing on closely related long-tail keywords – such as, in this case, the phrase ‘on page SEO’ looks quite promising, so we will use that as our ‘Focus Keyword’.

Over time, your site may put itself in a strong position to compete organically for the most competitive keywords.

Additional SEO Keywords
Additional SEO Keywords

Once you’ve got to grips with the SEO keyword selection process, it’s relatively easy to add some additional long-tail keywords that you would like to incorporate into your content. 

For example, in this post, we have identified a few other phrases that we will be using repeatedly and for which we think we can compete over the long-term. 

You can see from the image that these are – ‘SEO optimisation’, ‘on-page SEO’, ‘SEO keywords’ and ‘SEO’.

As you can appreciate, it takes some time to establish which of these additional SEO keywords should be targeted. An extra bit of research via your keyword research tool will help you with this. If you don’t have a keyword research tool available, just try this…..

Google Search SEO Suggestions

A very simple and much less technical way to check on page SEO opportunities is to use your trusty old friend Google. 

Just type in the beginning of the search term to immediately see longtail keyword variations that may be relevant for your content. If you like, you can use these suggestions to go back into your keyword research tool and check the search volumes, competition and cost-per-click etc.

Using this simple method, you can narrow it down to the terms you think will be most relevant to your content, easiest to compete for and most valuable.

Et voila, you are off to the races.

Would you like to recap on what we have just discussed relating SEO keyword comparison?

Check out our 5-minute video which summarises the elements that we have just covered.

Start Optimising On-Page SEO

Ok, so you’ve selected the main keyword/s that you want to target. It’s time to build out your content in a way that satisfies the search engine’s.

As we write this post, we will already be satisfying some of what the SEO plugin is asking for. But don’t worry, we will go over what we done specifically to optimise the different elements.

This is what the SEO plugin (RankMath) screen will look like when you first install it.

Yes, it can look a bit daunting but don’t panic, we will walk through it step-by-step. Starting with the basic SEO elements first, as you can see listed on the image. 

Choose Your SEO Title

The first element to tackle is the SEO title or Title Tag, which is an important step.

It’s usually best if you can incorporate the main keyword into the beginning of your SEO title. On this page, we’ve decided to go for ‘On Page SEO – 11 Steps to Master SEO Optimisation’.

As you can see, we have also integrated the term ‘SEO optimisation’ into this title, as we have listed it as an additional keyword that we want to rank for. 

On-Page SEO for your URL/Permalink

This one is often overlooked, but can be quite impactful when it comes to rankability!

It’s the URL or the exact address of a specific webpage or file on the internet. You want to make sure you focus keyword is in the URL, preferably at the start of it. 

Our example for this page is https://ranki.co.uk/on-page-seo-guide-to-seo-optimisation

As you can see, we have made sure to include not only the main keyword, but a couple of additional keywords too. Often the URL will default to the ‘Page Title’ if it is not manually adjusted – this makes future changes more troublesome.

Consider the keyword research you have done and try to incorporate (in a natural way) keywords where you can.

Remember, when people see the search result via a search engine, they will see the permalink, and it can act as a motivator to click on your webpage.

The URL or Permalink is not something you want to be changing too often, so take your time to consider it properly before committing. If you do change it in the future, you will have to ensure the old page is redirected to the new one.

Optimise your SEO Meta Description

Next up, your SEO meta description. This is a brief summary of what is contained on your page that will show up as a description in the SERP’s (Search Engine Result Page’s). 

Try to incorporate your main focus keyword (e.g. On Page SEO) and additional keywords if possible. It’s good practice to keep it brief i.e. 160 characters or less.

If you are using RankMath, you will be able to find the preview box in your page editor or at the bottom of the webpage. If you click on ‘Edit Snippet’, it will allow you to adjust the meta description. 

You should immediately see an uptick in your on-page SEO score once this is created. You can get as creative as you like with this to attract clicks. Here’s ours for this page…

On page SEO snippet
On Page SEO for your Content!

Ok, we’ve started to grease up a few of our moving parts.

Things are beginning to look much better from an on-page SEO perspective! 

Next, we have to think about how we are including our Focus Keyword and Additional Keywords into the main body of our content.

Tools like RankMath and Yoast are handy to give you prompts that indicate whether your keyword density (ratio of keywords vs content length) is optimised for the quantity of content.

RankMath will also remind you to include your Focus Keyword at the start (first 10%) of your content and indicate if your content is long enough. 

It is thought that a page should contain at least 600 words of text to give it a better chance of ranking in the SERP’s. Some content is ‘000’s of words long – I would suggest that you only put in what is necessary. 

Consider the user’s search intent. If the topic demands lots of detail, then include it. Keep it natural and don’t create more detail to bulk out a page if it is just fluff.

This will ultimately damage the user experience (UX) and Google’s analytics will pick up on it pretty quickly.

Remember: Quality is more important than quantity.

On page SEO Content
SEO Titles and HTML Tags

As you build out your content, it’s important to consider the layout and structure of the headings and sub-headings of the text.

This is where HTML tags come into play. 

Google likes to see a nicely structured page, which makes it easier for the search engines to identify relevant information on a page. You will often see certain element’s of pages being extracted from pages and showing up in SERP results.

This is a good thing for anyone producing valuable content, and you should take advantage of it!

Your SEO Title will be classed as H1 (Header 1), as you can see from the snippet above.

Any sub-section below will be H2, H3, H4 etc. Think about the different chapters and sub-chapters in your content. Then assign the sub-headings with the appropriate ‘H’ designation. You will want to integrate your focus keywords as much as possible within these headers.

As an additional SEO booster, you can also consider adding a ‘Table of Contents’, as we have done on this page.

Check out the image below – we can start to see how the different chapters (with sub-chapters) begin to look. The Table of Contents feature also provides readers with the option to jump from section-to-section as they wish, which is a big plus for user experience!

On Page SEO Table of Contents

As you can see, this is only the start of the content breakdown. You can view the entire Table of Contents at the top of the page. 

The contents table provides a nice overview of the blog post, and allows you to easily change up the structure. Think about how to make it flow as smoothly as possible for the reader.

Usually breaking the content down into 2 or 3 levels will be sufficient. You will need to decide what is reasonable based on the depth of your content.

On-Page SEO for Images

One of the other important aspects of your on-page SEO effort, is ensuring that your images are aligned to your target SEO keywords.

We achieve this by editing the ‘Image Alternative Attribute’ or ‘Alt. Text’ – this is what search engine’s will use to identify what your image relates to.

As you can see in the attached snippet, this can be done quite easily in the image editing section of your page editor.

You may find that your image will come up in the image-related search results via Google quite quickly for the term you use! 

On page SEO Image Alt Attribute | SEO With Images

The visibility of your images will depend on the level of competition for the term you have used, but don’t worry about that too much, as it all lends itself to better on-page SEO performance for your post.

Just make sure to complete this task for all images that you use!

How is our On Page SEO score?

You can see from the snippet below, that our on-page SEO score is now a whopping 92/100 for the page.

Awesome! 

We have pretty much addressed the vast majority of the on page SEO requirements that are needed by the RankMath scoring system. 

Another couple of areas to remember is the general layout/readability and linking of your content. 

Our content piece is already doing pretty well for these elements. Let’s look at the reasons why this is the case, then you can deploy the techniques in your own SEO optimisation.

On Page SEO Ranki
Internal and External Links

Your WordPress SEO plugin (or other platform!) may also push you to create internal and external links. 

Internal links are easy to create, just highlight a piece of text in your content that relates to another part of your site, and pop the URL into it. 

A very simple example is to link your brand name back to your homepage.

You can usually do this easily via your text editor. For broader SEO purposes, it’s important to interlink different pieces of content around your site to one another, both for users and for search engines.

For external links, the process is the same. Except of course that you are linking to an external source. 

RankMath External & Internal Links for SEO

On this page, we have linked out to RankMath (see image), the WordPress SEO plugin developer. Another aspect of the external link is whether it should be ‘DoFollow’ or ‘NoFollow’. The former means that the backlink will indexed by Google and the external source will benefit from an SEO perspective. 

By selecting ‘NoFollow’, it means that the external will not benefit. Although this may seem like a smart option if you are linking to a competitor website, it can hurt your own SEO performance.

Therefore it’s always good to have a mix of ‘DoFollow’ and ‘NoFollow’ on a webpage. If you are using an SEO plugin, these settings will be reflected in your on-page SEO scoring.

Page Layout & Readability

RankMath is already sending us some positive signals about our page layout and readability.

Lots of green on the screen below!

SEO Readability Check | Ranki

The first positive note, is that we have included a Table of Contents. We previously discussed how this is beneficial for the user experience. 

RankMath has also recognised that we are using short paragraphs.

This makes it easier for the reader to understand the content, as it is broken down into little bitesize chunks.

You don’t eat a 16oz sirloin steak in one bite, do you?

Of course not, you cut it up into small, digestible pieces. The same rule applies to how people like to consume content.

Final SEO Optimisation Hurdle

As you add more points to your on-page SEO score, it may get slightly more difficult to see the gains.

One last thing to look at, is ensuring that you have optimised for all of the SEO keywords that you have identified.

The basic RankMath system allows you to identify 5 different keywords/phrases. Just check that you included them all enough times within your text, and following a similar criteria to your Focus Keyword. 

Once you have done this, you will be well on the way to perfecting WordPress SEO optimisation for your page or post.

All you have to do now is share your content with people who might find it valuable!

96On Page SEO Optimisation Score
Ranki On Page SEO

That’s it for our On Page SEO Guide.

We hope it helps you tackle the challenge of getting your site ranking organically.

Let us know if you have a questions or comment below- if you would like some help, don’t forget Ranki’s SEO Service for Business.

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