On-Page SEO – A Practical Guide to improve your Rankings

On-Page SEO is the name given to SEO Search Engine Optimisation practices applied directly to a website and its posts that improve its search rankings.

Table of Contents

What is On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is the name given to SEO Search Engine Optimisation practices applied directly to a website and its posts that improve its search rankings. It is crucial to a new website owner and content creator because it is the one area of SEO that you have the most control over. On-Page SEO helps create the ultimate user experience for your website and content.

On-Page SEO is also concerned with creating the correct structure and attributes to enhance a search engine understanding and ability to navigate your website and index your content.

Why it is so Important

Ultimately, external entities will decide the success of SEO on your website, such as

  • search engines like Google and
  • the behaviour of the public that uses the internet.

Unfortunately, you have little control over what they do, though many sites and people will tell you otherwise.

Many websites and experts tell you the things you must do for SEO and the products and services to buy. The problem is that you can spend an exhaustive amount of effort and time on SEO and ultimately achieve very little.

Several prominent websites in the ‘How to be successful’ niche have frankly described how they did all the SEO standard tasks and did not achieve any quantifiable result.
It warns about what lies ahead and how you should approach SEO.

  • You will need to develop a strategy that is
  • realistic
  • practical for you and your skills
  • be achievable
  • and has measurable benchmarks
  • and then be evolving and flexible.

What a full-time SEO expert can do and what a website owner and content creator can do are very different things. Unfortunately, most websites fail, with many doing this in the first year.

Invest some time in understanding SEO and what’s involved.

The great thing about On-Page SEO is that much of it is practically achievable. If your website is new, then you can implement it straight away. The more difficult websites have been around for some time and have themes, add-ons and plugins that do not meet current SEO recommendations.

Photo: Kal Visuals on Unsplash

High Quality Content

First, produce high-quality content. Content is everything, and it is where you need to start. Google does not include low-quality content in its search results. What On-Page SEO does is score that content against SEO rules. And then recommend On-Page SEO practices to improve the user experience of that content. It also enables search engines to crawl your site, understand and assess your content better and navigate your website.

SEO tools expect at least 1000 words, but you will need over 2000 words to get a high score. Other SEO sites indicate that the average word count of high-ranked articles is 2400 words. These words must be of high quality.

Many articles written by professional copywriters and content writers have few original ideas. They reproduce a version of material that is already out there. They rarely have the skills in the area they are writing.

Focus on creating original content and not just copying other sites’ existing content. High-quality content involves adding value and bringing authority to the article.

Avoid just plagiarising other website’s content. Use an online plagiarism checker to rate the originality of your writing. There is a number of these online. Plagiarism Checker is free and easy to use.


Photo: Spencer Davis @ Unsplash

Page Speed

The speed at which pages load is now a critical aspect of On-Page SEO. Before you proceed with other SEO tasks, assess the Page speeds of your website.

Use online tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights.



GTmetrix is a great online tool that will give a detailed view of your website, page loading speed and behaviour. It will list specific issues such as images, scripts and potential slow third-party software. GTmetrix will give plenty of recommendations to improve.

PageSpeed Insights is critical because it is Google’s view of your website’s page loading speed. It feeds directly into its rankings. Its results are brutal but specific, down to which images are too slow. It will split desktop and mobile. The mobile scores are much more severe.

The speed at which a WordPress site loads is driven by:

  • the speed of your Hosting Servers
  • whether your theme is lightweight
  • whether you built your WordPress site with bulky Page builders
  • if there are a lot of customisations and CSS added to the site
  • if the website is old

To improve the speed of your website, you need

  • a Hosting Provider with proven fast servers
  • Do not use bulky page builders but instead use WordPress Gutenberg editor.
  • Use a service like Cloudflare or another CDN to cache content close to a user.

You can make very significant improvements in speed with these choices.

Photo: Pixabay @Pexels

Mobile Friendly

You will need to test whether Google regards your website as mobile-friendly. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test page.


Whether your website is mobile-friendly will have a lot to do with how well your theme produces a mobile version of your website.

Test out your website and pages on all three platforms:

  • desktop
  • mobile
  • pad

Perform an actual test on a mobile device to see how your page displays. See if all images are resizing appropriately or distorted on mobile.

Use an SEO Plugin

Select an SEO plugin to get a firsthand assessment of the status of your On-Page SEO. These are only their interpretation of SEO and the recommendations of SEO experts. They are not Google.

Start with a plugin like Rank Maths or one of several other market leaders available.

Plugins like Rank Maths work on a score of 100 and rate by scoring many predetermined attributes of On-Page SEO.

You get a practical sense of what you need to do to your page to get it in shape from an On-Page SEO perspective. It will look at:

  • the defining of keywords and the frequency you mentioned them
  • assess the post heading and associated Slug URL.
  • use of internal links, and whether there are external links.
Photo: Pixabay @Pexels

Identify and define Keywords

Using Keywords is a significant part of On-Page SEO. They are the keys that link your content to Google searches and its rankings. It is the specific technique that connects your content with internet searches made by users.

There are vast volumes of online material on Keywords that are overwhelming. First, decide what the purpose of your post is and define a keyword. Then create the post heading using the keyword, preferably near the front.

Using an Online Keyword Test tool, check the strength of these Keywords with online SEO Keyword tools to rate against data of what they search for that topic. Match your headings to the searches people are doing.

The subtle problem is that if you do what everyone is doing. When search results are displayed, it looks the same as everyone else. Advertising is all about standing out. To achieve that, you have to be different.

The keyword now needs to appear throughout the article. It shows that the article is about what is in the Heading. But it mustn’t appear gratuitously too many times. It has to be relevant and add value. SEO plugin tools will rate this. A good SEO Plugin is Rank Maths. It will help manage keywords in an article.

Photo: 1947, Roswell Daily Record, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Write a Great Heading

Write your first cut Heading that describes what you intend to write. When you have finished writing your content, revisit your Heading and update it to reflect that it accurately describes the completed contents. It must contain the following:

  • Use the keyword at the start of your heading.
  • The heading should include a power word.

Power words are strong emotive words that help describe keywords or actions that will happen in your headings. They have two effects:

  • They make it stand out from the ordinary
  • They energise even the dullest the words you have used in your headings
  • they create a positive or negative emotional response in the reader
  • they can encourage action.

Here is a list of Power Words to use as a guide. Other well-known sites have different lists to use as well.

SEO tools often recommend having a number in the Title. It could be “4 reasons why you should?”

Meta Description and Snippets

The Keyword must feature prominently in the meta description. These descriptive words become Snippets. These Snippets are increasingly important as Google uses them to display as a description under the Heading and URL of the search results (SERP). Sometimes Google will create its own from other lines in the content.

You can define a first version upfront. Revisit it later to improve the wording and confirm that it reflects the full content.

Create a well-structured article with a Table of Contents

It is very beneficial for On-Page SEO to use a Table of Contents. There are several reasons:

  • It creates a structure that helps in the writing and for the eventual reader.
  • It helps the reader understand and navigate the content
  • It allows the reader to go straight to the topic they are concerned with
  • It assists the Search Engine in understanding the post and enables them to present a specific part of the content.
  • It’s good for On-Page SEO.

A Table of Content is not available in default WordPress. You can add it with a Table of Contents Plugin or some Gutenberg Blocks library plugin.

Photo: github.com

Can’t access a URL – Redirections

In the early stage of a new website, there are a lot of changes and updates. If you change a URL as you work on On-Page SEO, the old links will no longer be accessible. If Google has already crawled and indexed them, then anybody accessing that search result will get a 404-page error – Page not found.

You need to set up redirections for any of these pages until the new URL gets indexed. SEO plugins can provide this functionality and are very effective, or use a standalone redirection plugin. Any broken links are unacceptable for On-Page SEO.

Advise Google whether to

  • follow or
  • not follow

any internal or external links.

Use Images and Videos

Increase On-Page SEO by supporting your content using different media, including images and embedded videos. Describe images in the alt text to enable search crawlers to know what they are. They also use it in accessibility.

The different media options, such as images and video, are presented in Google’s search results in specific areas. So if properly described and relevant to the search queries, they provide further options to get included in search results.

Images need to be optimised and correctly sized, including dimensions. The speed at which images load will significantly impact the page loading speed. The impact is even more on mobile. Google rates On-Page SEO badly for any poorly loading images. The page speed tools suggested previously will identify any of these.

Photo: Mikey Harris @Unsplash

Content Readability

Enhance your content readability by using brief paragraphs. Use bullets and list wherever you can to present or break down items. It should be easy to scan the page with plenty of white spaces. Use easily readable fonts and good font size. Have a focus on accessibility for the entire page.

Check for spelling mistakes and grammar errors. Lots of spelling mistakes and errors are a sign of low-quality content.

Use Grammar checking software to improve the readability. Grammarly is a good grammar checker and will rate the readability of the article and suggest changes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *