35 On-Page SEO Best Practices

(From the Best SEOs)

Hello to every unicorn in the galaxy.

Yes, even you!

It’s an exciting time to be alive.

The amount of content being produced is growing exponentially.

It’s never been more important to make the highest quality content possible.

Today’s growth strategy is On-Page SEO Best Practices:

We’re going to learn from the best:

  • Ahrefs

  • Brian Dean

  • SEMRush

Be advised - the sources used for this are anywhere from 7 months old to 3 years old.

But the underlying principles are timeless: provide a great user experience and help Google understand what your content is about.

These 35 best practices will give you enough to go off for 99% of your on-page content optimization needs.

Let’s get started.

"Ultimately Google's job is to make human users happy - which means your page needs to do that too or else it isn't going to rank very well."

35 On-Page SEO Best Practices

Here are 35 on-page SEO tips to help you win the SERPs:

  1. Optimize title tags to include target keywords, be under 60 characters, and attract clicks. Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages and browser tabs, so they should be optimized to contain your target keyword and convince users to click while being under 60 characters. This helps pages rank for keywords and drives traffic.

  2. Attract clicks with good meta descriptions. Write meta descriptions under 160 characters with target keywords to summarize page content. Meta descriptions, while not used for rankings, summarize pages on SERPs. Google may rewrite them.

  3. Use target keywords in URL slugs when relevant. Using your target keywords in a URL slug can signal relevancy to search engines. Keep slugs short and descriptive.

  4. Use heading tags (H1, H2, etc.) with target keywords for headlines and subheadings. Proper use of heading tags establishes hierarchy, improves skimming, and helps search bots understand the page structure when target keywords are used appropriately.

  5. Add contextual internal links between relevant pages using keywords. Internal links pass authority between pages, help bots discover new content, and lead users to related content when anchor text uses relevant keywords.

  6. Use alt text and descriptive image filenames with target keywords. Alt text describes images for accessibility and SEO. File names help search bots understand images. Use target keywords appropriately.

  7. Compress images to optimize page speed. Faster page speeds improve user experience and are a ranking factor. Compressed image file sizes help pages load faster.

  8. Focus on readability - short sentences, paragraphs, descriptive subheadings, easy to read font. Optimizing content for readability and skimming leads to better user experience. Google wants to satisfy search intent with readable content.

  9. Include target keywords in first paragraphs and a few times through the content. Using keywords early and sparingly helps search bots determine relevancy while avoiding over-optimization.

  10. Create long-form, in-depth content over 2,000 words. More in-depth, lengthy content tends to perform better in SERPs and attract more links, which are strong ranking signals.

  11. Add hooks like statistics, case studies, or unique strategies. Hooks entice users to click on and link to your content, improving rankings. Give people a reason to share.

  12. Research competitors' top-ranking content for topics and formats. Analyze what's working for ranking competitors to determine optimal content strategies, topics, and formats.

  13. Check for SEO issues with tools like SEMrush's On-Page SEO Checker. Tools can efficiently find technical SEO issues that may be harming your rankings so you can fix them.

  14. Avoid keyword stuffing, hidden text, repetitive anchor text, cloaking. These tactics violate Google's guidelines, lead to poor user experience, and can cause manual or algorithmic penalties.

  15. Use LSI keywords related to targets throughout content. LSI keywords provide context and topic relevance signals, improving rankings. Research LSIs with Google's related keywords.

  16. Provide value to searchers quickly. Rankings favor pages that satisfy intent quickly with value upfront. Avoid burying key information.

  17. Make skimming easy by using highlighting, bullet points and comparisons. Formatting content for easy skimming improves user experience. Google ranks pages that best satisfy searchers.

  18. Load fast & be mobile-friendly. Google considers site speed and mobile optimization ranking factors to satisfy user intent.

  19. Build internal links from relevant pages, especially higher authority ones. Internal links pass authority and help search bots crawl new content. Link to and from authority pages for a boost.

  20. Use quality external links to boost authority and keyword relevance. Relevant quality backlinks are strong signals of popularity and rankings boosts.

  21. Use rich anchor text with target keywords for internal links. Anchor text helps pages rank for keywords and provides context for users and bots.

  22. Link important pages like homepage and pillar content. Homepage and pillar content have authority to pass and need links for bots and users to discover them.

  23. Vary anchor text for different pages. Unique, context-relevant anchor text helps bots understand each page's topic and purpose. Avoid repetitive anchor text.

  24. Put important links higher on page for visibility. Higher page links have more prominence for users and search bots, improving clicks and discovery.

  25. Use Google Search Console to audit internal links. Search Console shows crawling stats and internal linking to identify issues.

  26. Avoid orphan pages with no internal links. Orphan pages are harder for bots to discover and indicate low importance pages. Add links.

  27. Limit pages to 3 clicks away from homepage. Deeper pages suffer lower bot crawling rates. Keep pages within 3 clicks of homepage.

  28. Add related/popular posts sections on blogs. Related links help visitors discover more relevant content and increase engagement.

  29. Use Google's autocomplete for low competition keywords. Google autocomplete provides trending long-tail keyword suggestions that are less competitive.

  30. Target long-tail over short keywords for lower competition. Longer, more specific long-tail keywords are easier for new sites to rank for than short general ones.

  31. Check competitors' keywords with tools like Ahrefs. SEO tools show what keywords competitors rank for to inform your content approach.

  32. Use semantic/LSI keywords in image filenames. Relevant filenames help search bots understand image content and rank in image search.

  33. Add Open Graph meta tags for social sharing. Open graph tags can customize content appearance when shared on social media.

  34. Use schema markup to help search engines understand a page. Schema markup provides additional metadata about page content and purpose.

  35. Learn key metrics for site performance and speed. SEO tools can efficiently find technical issues impacting rankings to address.

Got all that?


Here’s another reference on seo content optimization tools I put together a while back.

That’s it for this week.

I hope this helps you on your growth journey.


PS - Always operate from the first principle of SEO: make the user happy.

Here’s a good reminder from Ahrefs on how to use your brain when it comes to SEO.

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