A Complete On-Page SEO Tutorial and Guide

For any web page, On-Page SEO is very important, it is a best practice to make your web pages search engine friendly and to rank higher. Practically there are so many SEO tutorials available on the web, but this below guide is completely different from any other tutorial on the web, because I covered every possible on-page factor to make your job more easier.

With this below guide you can work yourself on your on site issues and resolve them, as you might know that having too many on-page issues can cause huge ranking drops. Here it is a complete guide and a perfect tutorial for on-page SEO.

On-Page SEO tutorial and Guide

1) Critical On-page Ranking Factors:

1.1) Website Speed:

Yes, website speed is the most critical and important on-page factor for calculating your rankings. A long back, Google announced that they are considering website speed as a ranking factor but later it becomes more important than ever before, in every conference “Matt” used to stress on this. It is time to speed up your website.

1.2) Broad Keyword Usage in Document:

Both search engines and users want to see the targeted keywords in the body, because it will keep reminding them about the topic they are reading for. Employing keywords in the document element is not only a best practice, but an essential part of SEO (and good user experience too).

1.3) Appropriate Usage of Rel Canonical tag:

Canonical tag is becoming one of the top priorities in search engines, it will confirm correct address of a web page and avoid the duplication issue. If the canonical tag is pointing to a different URL, search engines will not count this page as the reference resource and thus, it won’t have the chance to rank. Make sure you’re targeting the right web page (if this isn’t it, you can reset the target above) and then change the canonical tag to reference that URL.

Rel Canonical Tags

1.4) Broad Keyword Usage in Page Title:

Google’s web spam departments head “Matt Cutt” always used say in many conferences about the importance of title tag and using the proper keywords in titles, because it is very common understanding that a crawler will first look for a title of the web page, then only it will continue further to crawl. SERP rankings are heavily influenced by keyword usage in the title tag

1.5) Accessible and Available to Search Engines:

You might be surprised that, how just availability or “accessibility” can be a critical factor, yes it is. Because pages that can’t be crawled or indexed have no opportunity to rank in the results. Before tweaking keyword targeting or leveraging other optimization techniques, it is very important to make sure this web page is accessible and available. Make sure to check with the noindex and nofollow tags, also check your robots.txt file to make sure that the web page was not blocked there..

Ral Nofollow Tag

1.5) Web Page loading Speed:

Website speed is added as the ranking factors

2) High and Important Ranking Factors:

2.1) Avoid Keyword Stuffing in Document:

Keyword stuffing is one of the black-hat technique used and adopted years ago, if you are still doing this, then get ready to banged by search engines. Please wake up, this is the time of Google Panda and Google Penguin, you will be instantly banned in the engines once they will find your pages filled with keywords. Write content for humans not for bots, this is very important. There are so many evidences available that excessive use of keywords can negatively impact rankings and your On-page SEO.

Make sure your content can be easily readable by humans, search engines will love you, if you write the content for people not for bots.

2.2) Appropriate Keyword Usage in Document:

Having as much as text can help a lot in your on-page rankings, text content is very important for modern SEO. In order to optimize your chances of ranking higher for the targeted keyword, we recommend using the targeted keyword at least not more than 4 times in a web page, I mean exact keyword or key phrase, or else it will look unnatural to the engines.

2.3) Avoid Keyword Stuffing in Page Title:

I see that this practice was adopted by so many webmasters, and still used vastly. Using the targeted keyword or key phrase more than twice in the title tag may be perceived as keyword stuffing (a form of search engine spam) by the engines, and thus I recommend against it.

This is a very old black-hat technique and not going to work at all. So don’t waste your time.

2.4) Avoid Multiple Page Title Elements:

A web page must have only single title tag, not too multiple. Make sure you do not use the multiple title tags in your web pages, this can commonly occurs in WordPress type CMSs, where multiple SEO plugins will produce multiple title tags. So check whether your website is producing multiple website titles and avoid it, this will confuse the engines unnecessarily.

2.5) No More Than One Canonical URL Tag:

Canonical tags are very important but it should present only once in a web page and pointing to single page only, to make sure the search engines properly parse the canonical source, use only a single version of this tag.

2.6) Exact Keyword Usage in Page Title:

Search engines consider the title element to be the most important place to find keywords and associate the page with a topic and/or set of terms. A research has also shown that rankings are heavily influenced by keyword usage in the title tag. So target a proper keyword in the title to make sure the high rankings in SERP.

On-Page SEO and Keyword Usage in Title TagsThe above image is a perfect example for targeting an exact match keyword..

2.7) Keyword Placement in Page Title:

This might look similar as exact keyword usage in title, but is not!. This is entirely different, target your keyword in the front place of your title, because there is a direct relationship between proximity to the front of the title element and prominence/rankings as seen by the engines, and the further back in the page title the keyword appears, the worse the correlation with high rankings.

This concept is also known as the keyword proximity, this concept will explain where you should target your keyword in a web page.

3) Moderate On-Page SEO Factors:

3.1) Sufficient Quantity of Characters in Content:

Your content should be easily understood by machines, I mean search engines!, they only seek pages that contain machine-readable content that fulfills the goals of their visitors. The “50” word limit, while somewhat arbitrary, is in a reasonable range for what the engines appears to fulfill ‘minimum’ unique content in most cases. I recommend you set it as “100” instead, this will help a lot in SERP.

3.2) No More Than One Meta Description Element:

I already told you that multiple titles can confuse the search engines and potentially damage your rankings too, the same way multiple meta descriptions will also confuse engines and destroy ranks. So don’t use multiples..

3.3) Keyword Usage in Image Alt Attribute:

Search engines love images as much as they love content, all they need is, you should define proper ALT tags for all your images. Keyword usage in the alt attribute of an image employed on a page is surprisingly positively correlated with good rankings. It also helps considerably with image search, a popular and oft-employed vertical/universal search system for images, try it once and see the results for your self!.

Keywords Usage in Image ALT TagsThe above image gives you a clear picture on how to use ALT tags in images.

3.4) Exact Keyword Usage in Document:

Sometimes people used write great content but forget to target their main and exact keyword in the document body, search engines and users are both seeking the targeted keywords in the text of the page. Employing keywords in the document element is not only a best practice, but an essential part of SEO (and good user experience). Excessive use of this kind of practice can also result in banning from the search engines, so just use it not more 4 to 6 times in a document. It all depends on how intelligently you use it.

3.5) Sufficient Quantity of Words in Content:

This is another important factor in the list of on-page SEO tutorial, it is the 300 character limit, while somewhat arbitrary, is in a reasonable range for what the engines appears to fulfill ‘minimum’ unique content in most cases. According to me its better to have at least “500 characters” in a web page document, this is a recommended count. After the recent Panda and Penguin updates, it is highly recommend that having more content in a web page can rank you well.

3.6) Static URL Usage:

URLs with dynamic parameters have been shown in a research to have dramatically worse performance in search engine rankings than static URLs. So it is highly recommend to use static type URLs instead of dynamic ones.

Also consult your developers to move to static and SEO friendly URLs by using the URL rewrite method.

URL Rewriting

3.7) Keyword Usage in URL:

Keywords in the URL string help to add relevancy to the page for search engine rankings, assist searchers and users in identifying the page’s content/topic when viewing the URL and offer value when used as the anchor text of referring links. This is also one of the best trick to increase your search CTR (Click through rate), means it will increase clicks rate per impressions, result in more visitors to your website.

3.8) Avoid Keyword Stuffing in the URL:

Make sure your web page URL should be little and sweet and don’t stuff it with your keywords, this will not help in your rankings instead it will destroy them.

3.9) Appropriate Characters in the URL:

Don’t use weird characters and symbols in the URLs which often result in 404 errors and characters which are less commonly used in URLs may cause problems with accessibility, interpretation and ranking in search engines. It is considered a best practice to stick to standard URL structures to avoid potential problems.

4) Low Important On-page Factors:

4.1) Keyword Usage in the Meta Description:

Using the queried keywords in the meta description tag gives it a better chance to be used by the engine as the page’s snippet. It also creates prominence and visibility for searchers, as the engines will make query terms in the search results snippets bold. This will also helps in increasing CTR.

However, employing keywords excessively in the meta description may be used as a spam signal to the search engines and will likely detract from a searcher’s wish to click on a listing.

Google Search Results Rich SnippetThe above image is the best representation of using description tag and targeting keywords.

4.2) Targeted Keyword Usage in Bold/Strong/Emphasized/Italics:

In testing, search engines appeared to have a preference for pages that employed a targeted key phrase with one of these elements than those missing the bold, strong, emphasized and italic tags. This may also be valuable to users who can more easily find references to their search query thanks to this highlighting.

4.3) Avoid Keyword Self-Cannibalization:

Don’t link to the same type of topic with your primary keyword, this is called as the self cannibalization. It’s a best practice in SEO to target each keyword with a single page on your site (sometimes two if you’ve already achieved high rankings and are seeking a second, indented listing). To prevent engines from potentially seeing a signal that this page is not the intended ranking target and creating additional competition for your page, I personally suggest staying away from linking internally to another page with the target keyword as the exact anchor text.

Note that using modified versions is sometimes fine (for example, if this page targeted the word ‘onpage SEO tutorial‘, using ‘onpage SEO tips‘ in anchor text would be just fine).

4.4) Appropriate Page Title Length:

The visible part of the page title in the search results extends to 66 to 70 characters, after which the engines will often truncate with an ellipsis. In order to optimize for the best possible title (and give the most compelling call to action for searchers) keeping the title tag under 66 to 70 characters in length is recommended.

4.5) Appropriate Keyword Usage in H1 Tag:

Although employing targeted keywords in the H1 tag does not correlate well to high rankings, it does seem to offer some slight value. It’s also considered a best practice for accessibility and to describe a page’s content, hence our recommendation. Keyword stuffing may be perceived negatively by the search engines and can impact rankings. Thus, we suggest keeping keyword usage in the H1 to 2 or fewer uses.

4.6) Minimal Sub folders in the URL:

The quantity of sub folders in a URL appears to correlate to rankings. URLs with fewer trailing slashes do better than those with more. Additionally, search engine representatives have recommended that excessive, sub folders in a URL string may be a signal that the page is very deep in a site’s structure and may be less valuable/worthwhile to crawl, index and rank.

4.7) Appropriate URL Length:

Search engines will often truncate the URL display at 76 characters and seem to pass less keyword value in longer URLs. Thus, I recommend limiting URL length when possible.

Onpage SEO and URL Length

4.8) Avoid Excessive Internal Links:

Employing too much measure of internal linking may not directly harm the value of a web page, but it can influence the quantity of link juice sent through those links and dilute it’s ability to help get link targets crawled, indexed and ranked.

4.9) Avoid Excessive External Links:

Linking externally is generally a good thing, but as with many optimization tactics in SEO, moderation is the best path. Employing a high amount followed external links may prevent the engines from passing much value through any given link and can also trigger potential issues of spam/manipulation (particularly if those links are not pointing to high quality/trustworthy sites).

4.1.0) No More Than One H1 Tag:

It is a very common understanding that a web page can’t have more than one heading, means one H1 tag. Best practices for both SEO and accessibility need only a single H1 tag. The H1 is meant to be the page’s headline, and thus, multiple H1s are confusing. Consider employing H2, H3 or CSS styles to meet the same results with text visualization.

4.1.1) Meta Description Usage:

The meta description, while it does not influence rankings in the results, can still be valuable to employ to improve the click-through-rate of searchers from the results page and to provide context to those visitors about the page’s topic/focus. Make sure every one of your web page must have proper meta descriptions.

5) Optional Factors:

5.1) Employ External Links:

Linking externally is something the search engines have suggested provides potential ranking rewards, and many who’ve tested this confirm. Thus, we suggest that on any page specifically targeting a keyword, linking externally to at least one (and possibly several) useful, valuable resources is often a best practice. But don’t use excessive links as it might be considered as the link farm, so beware.

5.2) Avoid Using Meta Keywords Tag:

Search engines have, for years, ignored the meta keywords tag as a ranking signal, several times I also insisted on not using the keywords tag in your web pages, as it is completely waste of time. Although it technically does not harm rankings, it can be used by competitors as a method to extract your targeted terms and thus, I recommend against its use.

5.3) Appropriate Meta Description Length:

Since the meta description isn’t used for rankings, and the snippet cuts off after 156 characters (in most instances), it’s unwise to have a longer meta description tag. Words beyond this count won’t be seen by anyone.

5.4) Keyword Placement in H1 Tag:

Just as keyword prominence in the page title element can positively impact rankings, so too do we recommend making the targeted keywords the first terms in your H1. Since the H1 appears to have such a light impact on rankings, we feel this recommendation is optional.

5.5) Canonical URL Tag Usage:

Although the canonical URL tag is generally thought of as a way to solve duplicate content problems, it can be extremely wise to use it on every (unique) page of a site to help prevent any query strings, session IDs, scraped versions, licensing deals or future developments to potentially create a secondary version and pull link juice or other metrics away from the original. We believe the canonical URL tag is a best practice to help prevent future problems, even if nothing is specifically duplicate/problematic today. Use it wisely as specified above…

6) Microformats and schema.org:

You might be surprising that why I am giving so much importance to microformats and schema markups as i have given it as a complete unique factor, yes there is a strong reason for it, now all the search engines are showing the rich snippets with microformats, it is nothing but having a structured website with rich navigation for both visitors and bots. Now microformats are officially part of the search engine rankings factors.

I have covered as much as information I could which can fix all your On-Page SEO factors, please don’t forget to drop your comments, suggestions and questions in the comments section below. Also if you have any specific question for us, please ask us at our webmasters forum.

About Arafath Hashmi

Arafath Hashmi is a Blogger from 2007 and he wrote 700 and above articles for solvater.com, He is a Senior SEO Analyst.

Comments

  1. Awesome On-Page Seo Information Really I got Some Valuable And Informative technics. :)

  2. Awesome article about on-page optimization.

  3. awesome article about seo…

  4. What I look for the post many time. Thanks for the share and really treasure your effort.

  5. wow! This post is just too much.

  6. Above tips are really useful for new bloggers.Thanks for the informative post.

  7. This will be great post to the newbie blogger. On-page seo is a great factor to tell the search engine about your post topic and website. It’s has a great impact on search engine result pages = SERPs on your expected or suggested keyword. If you want to rank your website on the expected keyword and get visitor by those keyword you have to do this (On-page SEO) on your website efficiently and effective. Definitely there is no doubt regarding this.

  8. I agree with everything you said except for one thing I believe linking internally to other relevant webpages and using the anchor text is not manipulative. I feel it helps the end-user experience as well as helps Google crawl your entire website thoroughly.

    If I’m reading a blog on “example” and I come across something I might want to know about just as much or more call “example2″ with a link to a post on the same website that I already trust enough to have been reading then I will be grateful that they were able to point me in the direction I wanted to go.

    Now don’t get me wrong I know that people will abuse this however I believe Google will find them and essentially take them to the cleaners.

    I use a tool called Scribe content by Copyblogger and it looks that your entire text and makes suggestions as to what you should make an internal link point to. So far so good and we all know copy bloggers not suffering.

    Other than not outstanding article very well put together.
    All the best,
    Thomas

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