10 steps of how to do a perfect onpage optimization in SEO
Kira Stürzer
Kira Stürzer

10 steps of how to do a perfect onpage optimization in SEO

Welcome to the ultimate guide to flawless onpage optimization in SEO! You're here because you understand that your website's visibility on the Internet is essential for your business success. Whether you're an experienced online marketer or an aspiring blogger, these 10 steps will help you optimize your websites for search engines and catapult them to the top of search results.

What is onpage SEO?

First of all, we should clarify the facts. This includes the question of what onpage SEO exactly is and how it differentiates itself from other SEO categories. All SEO-experienced readers may forgive me.

So: The SEO onpage optimization refers to the optimization of elements directly on a website in order to improve the websites visibility in search engine results.

In contrast, technical SEO is about the optimization of technical aspects of a website to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index. This includes improving pagespeed, mobile optimization, cleaning up duplicate content, and implementing an efficient XML sitemap.

Offpage SEO on the other hand refers to external factors that influence the visibility of a website. This includes backlinks from high-quality websites, social media signals, and other external referrals, which increase the authority of the website and thus also the position in the SERPs.

These three sectors form the basic categories in search engine optimization. If you cover them completely, you have already won a lot. There are also several small categories, such as local SEO or video SEO, which also provide very exciting approaches.

What is this article aimed at?

This article is about onpage optimization in SEO. In other words, all steps you can take to “clean up” your website content for search engines.

Just think of the search engines as distant aunts who come to visit you, aka your website. These aunts attach great importance to a well-kept appearance and the best possible experience for their visit - including tea, coffee and cake. Preparations must therefore be made.

10 steps of how to do a perfect onpage optimization in SEO:

Step 1: Find the right keywords

Each onpage optimization is, of course, preceded by a detailed keyword research. This is essential for your search engine optimization.

The goal is to identify the key terms or phrases that drive potential visitors to your website. Through a thorough keyword research, you can understand which terms are being entered into the search engines by your target audience.

You can then incorporate high in-demand terms into your website content to improve the likelihood of a higher ranking in search results.

Keyword research without paid software is of course possible, but it is more time-consuming. We like to use Sistrix or SEMrush to get a good overview of search volume, intent, and raking difficulty level of potential keywords.

Step 2: Assign a focus keyword to your websites

Keyword mapping is closely linked to keyword research. It describes the process of strategically assigning selected keywords to specific pages of a website.

Each page should focus on a specific topic and collect the most important words about it. A great recommendation is to define a focus keyword for each page, for which you want to rank as well as possible with the respective page.

This approach helps to send clear signals to search engines as to which content can be found on which pages. This in turn influences user-friendliness and ranking.

It also counteracts keyword cannibalism. Keyword cannibalism refers to the situation where multiple pages on a website compete for the same keywords instead of complementing each other. This internal competition can affect the efficiency of search engine optimisation (SEO), as search engines may have difficulty determining which page should be considered the most relevant for a particular keyword.

By ensuring that different pages target different focus keywords through a well-thought-out keyword mapping, keyword cannibalism is avoided from the start.

Step 3: Give your website a good structure

Search engines are like professors. By this I mean that Google & Co. places great value on a meaningful and clear structuring of website content.

Anyone who has ever written a scientific paper may still painfully remember their formal errors and the associated deducted points.

So watch out! What is to be done?

First, think of a good outline. It is best to use topic groups, which can be logically stringed together.

Use headings and subheadings to delimit your website sections. But be careful: Each page should only contain one H1 heading to signal to the search engine (and also to website visitors) what the main topic of the page is.

However, other headings such as H2 and H3 can and should be used frequently to further structure the text.

“Write for people, not for the search engine” is a tried and tested sentence in SEO. This is true because search engines also value the user experience of a website.

Therefore, try to make your sentences as target group-orientated as possible. A text aimed at experts must be written differently than one written for non-experts. As a general rule, it is better to write in simple words than to get too complicated.

And last but not least: Write in paragraphs. Nobody likes an endless wasteland of text on websites — neither people nor search engines. Therefore, write paragraphs frequently to optimize the reading flow.

Step 4: Write lots of text but stay relevant

Just as a good professor prefers detailed seminar papers, Google, Bing & Co. also prefer long and detailed websites with lots of text and visual elements.

So go into depth with your topic. Search engines check how much content a website offers on a specific topic. In particular, semantically relevant words are considered.

If you keep that in mind, it makes sense to come up with as many semantically relevant words as possible beforehand. In this way, you can be sure that no important detail about a topic is forgotten.

Tip: Of course, there are plenty of SEO writing tools on the market that recommend semantically relevant words. However, a short, free query with OpenAI also helps.

For example, let's say I want to create an webpage on the topic of "vegan dog food". ChatGPT, for example, can quickly help me with this.

The prompt: Give me semantically relevant words about “vegan dog food.” Use words that search engines also take into account when evaluating website content.

And here are the 20 helpful results:

  • Plant-based proteins
  • grain-free
  • sustainability
  • animal-friendly dog food
  • Vegan diet for dogs
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for dogs
  • Raw food for dogs
  • Soy-free dog food
  • Vegetable-based dog food
  • Healthy vegan dog food options
  • Eco-friendly dog food
  • Balanced vegan dog nutrition
  • Biotin-rich dog food
  • Digestive vegan dog food
  • Vitamin B12 for dogs
  • Minerals in vegan dog food
  • hypoallergenic vegan dog food
  • Gluten free dog food
  • Avoid artificial additives
  • Vegan dog food without the addition of synthetic substances

This gives me a good overview of which specific topics I should address on my website.

While we're on the subject of OpenAI: Of course, artificial intelligence is a great helper when it comes to copywriting. But try not to make your website content too generic.

Because despite all the knowledge available to artificial intelligence, your own experiences, tips and illustrative examples - in short, an individual touch - are what really bring a website to life!

Step 5: Include the focus keyword in the content

A focus keyword should be the centre of attention on your website. Use it as concisely as possible to achieve perfect onpage optimisation in SEO.

However, avoid placing your focus keyword in every other sentence. If the density becomes uncomfortably high, there is a threat keyword stuffing. This means that Google bots and other search engines' bots recognize the over-optimization and rank the quality of the website lower.

Nevertheless, the focus keyword should be placed in the following areas of your website:

1 | In the H1 heading:

Your title is the #1 SEO indicator. It clarifies what your website is about. Your focus keyword should therefore definitely be placed here.

Sometimes, however, web designers and copywriters are not happy about choosing a simple title or the keyword doesn't fit ideally into the desired sentence.

For example, let's take a look at our agency page about website relaunch. The keyword we want to rank for is “website relaunch agency”, as the searcher's intent is clearly focused on our service as an agency.

However, most titles with this focus keyword simply don't sound successful:

Boost your business with our website relaunch agency?

Great websites with our website relaunch agency?

Your website relaunch agency?

Rather no...

For this reason, we have a small SEO trick applied, which plays with the design. People interpret the relevance of titles visually. Search engines, however, do not; for them, only the attribution to H1, H2, H3 headings in the source code counts.

For this reason, we have created a lower-case “about heading.” Which is visually less important but has the H1 tag in the source code:

Bildschirmfoto von Webseite zum Thema Website Relaunch Agentur
Webnique website about website relaunch

Website relaunch agency“ therefore is the H1 and ”Boost your business with an effective website relaunch” is an H2 heading. However, the visual impression is reversed due to the difference in size.

Mission completed.

2 | In the meta data:

The meta data of your website is displayed by search engines in the SERPs. The abbreviation stands for “Search Engine Results Pages” and describes the pages with search results that are returned by a search engine when a user makes a specific search query.

Das SERP-Ergebnis für die Homepage unserer Agentur.
Example: The SERP result for our agency's homepage.

Meta data consists of a meta title and one meta description. Meta titles should ideally be between 50 and 60 characters to ensure that they are displayed in full in search results. Meta descriptions should be around 150 to 160 characters long.

In principle, meta data has two very important functions in the search engine universe and for both, it is worthwhile to incorporate the focus keyword:

  1. As an incentive for visitors to click: Meta data is the storefront of your websites and should therefore present in an appealing and clear way what visitors can expect on your website. Placing the focus keywords therefore clearly makes sense.
  2. As a first point of contact for search engines: The meta titles and meta descriptions are used by search engines as a first step to understand the content of the website. By cleverly integrating the focus keyword, you signal to the search algorithms that the page is relevant to a specific search query. Having the focus keyword in the meta tags can also increase the likelihood that the page will be better positioned in search results for the corresponding keyword.

Overall, integrating the focus keyword does a lot to improve your site's visibility in search engine results.

It's best to integrate the focus keyword into both the meta title and the meta description. Ideally right at the start so that the focus keyword doesn't get cut off even with sitelinks.

3 | In text and subheadings

It is of course crucial to integrate the focus keyword into the text and subheadings of a website to improve on-page SEO.

The placement of the keyword in the text and in subheadings signals to the search algorithms the relevance of the page for specific search queries.

However, it's important to avoid keyword stuffing, which involves inserting keywords excessively and unnaturally frequently. This can lead to devaluation by search engines.

To prevent this, the focus keyword should be integrated organically and meaningfully into the text. This can also mean using synonyms instead of the focus keyword in between. Basically, if the focus keyword can't be used fluently in a sentence, it's better not to.

4 | In the URL (speaking URLs):

The URL is also an important topic indicator for search engines. Unsurprisingly, Google & Co. also prefer clear and meaningful URLs that provide a clear reference to the website content.

Therefore, you should always provide a “speaking URL”, i.e. a web address that describes the purpose of the website in a human-readable way. For this reason, avoid cryptic strings, automatically generated URLs, or URLs with too many keywords and special characters.

Of course, it is also beneficial to integrate the focus keyword with the URL. This significantly increases the keyword relevance of the website and improves SEO performance.

However, it is important to ensure that the URL still remains readable and easy to use. The integration of the focus keyword into the URL should be done sensibly and organically to have a positive effect on search engine optimization without affecting the user experience.

Step 6: Set internal links

Internal links are a key aspect of on-page SEO optimization, which significantly contributes to improving search engine ranking.

Well-placed internal links link relevant content together. This helps search engines to understand the relationship between different types of content and the structure of your website.

This not only improves the user experience, but also promotes a deeper indexing, which results in better visibility in search results.

Cleverly set internal links also strengthen the authority of important pages on your website.

Although alt attributes are normally used for images, they can also be useful for internal links. These attributes provide an additional way to explain the purpose and context of the link.

Search engine algorithms use various signals to understand the content of web pages, and the alt attribute on internal links can help improve semantic meaning. It is crucial to ensure that the alternative text is relevant and meaningful in order to maximize the benefits for search engines and visitors alike.

Step 7: Make your images visible

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” But unfortunately not for search engines.

Since Google Bot & Co. does not visually look at a page but reads out the source code, it is important to also display the content of the images and videos there.

First of all, it is helpful to adjust the image file name. For example, let's take the following image:

Kätzchen in einem Baum im Sommer

Which file name will tell a search engine more?

539xZb9899-RB.jpg or cat-in-tree.jpg

The question is purely rhetorical. 😉

In addition, the image can be used with a “alt attributes” provided. The “alt attribute” is usually inserted into the image tag (<img>) via the source code or content management system and provides a way to provide text descriptions for images.

In the source code, this would look like the following for our example image:

<img src="cat-in-tree.jpg" alt="Brown and white kitten sitting in a tree in summer">

In addition to more visibility for search engines, the “alt attribute” also functions as alternative text. If the image cannot be displayed for any reason, the alternative text is shown to the user. This is particularly important for the accessibility of your site, as it also allows people with visual disabilities to understand the content.

The description should always be as precise as possible and as general as necessary. The alternative text also offers another opportunity to include relevant keywords or even the focus keyword. However, you should do this sensibly and make sure that the “alt attribute” actually describes the image content.

A perfectly SEO-optimized image is also advantageous because it is more likely to appear in the results of an image search. This can drive additional traffic to your website.

Step 8: Make your videos visible

Videos can also be optimized for the search engine. In most cases, you use a video service provider such as YouTube, which acts as a host and provides an embed code.

For this reason, video SEO primarily takes place on the video service provider's side. YouTube, for example, offers the option of describing the content of the video through title, description, tags and transcript.

In order to transfer the beneficial effects of YouTube optimization to your website, it is crucial to establish a seamless connection between your company's YouTube channel, uploaded videos, and your online presence.

This requires a two-step process: First, connect your YouTube company channel to your website. Then integrate the videos directly onto your website using the embed code provided on the YouTube platform.

Tip: To ensure that Google indexes your video quickly, it's also a good idea to use a video site map to create and submit them to Google (e.g. via the Google Search Console).

That's most of the work done. In the last step, you should mark up the video in your source code with schema markup. You'll find out more about this in the next step.

Step 9: Use schema markup

Schema markup (aka structured data) is like special information labels on your website. When you use these labels on your website, search engines like Google can better organize the information.

Structured data can also be used to provide additional information about website content, which search engines can include in their results.

Let's say you've placed a product video on your website that shows the collection of your fair trade straw hats. You now want to distinguish this with structured data so that it can be found faster in Google search and the SERP snippet shows as much information as possible.

There are now various ways to create structured data. However, you usually use JSON-LD for this, a markup language, which was developed specifically for this purpose.

For your video, an example of JSON-LD markup would look like this:

JSON-LD Markup Beispiel

As can be seen, all information relevant to the video has been compiled here. For example, the video thumbnail, the time of upload or even the link to the sales offer including the price.

This gives the search engine everything structured at a glance, which makes it easier for it to correctly display the data in the SERPs.

Detailed instructions for creating structured data can be found at Google's Introduction to structured data markup in Google Search.

Step 10: Keep your content up to date

The ultimate goal of search engines is to always provide searchers with the most relevant and up-to-date information possible.

To ensure that your website always remains SEO-relevant, it is therefore crucial to regularly revise and update the website content.

Not only do you update existing information, but also add new content to keep your site fresh and dynamic. By regularly checking and adapting your pages, you not only show search engines that your website is alive and relevant, but you are also always providing your visitors with up-to-date and valuable information.

Don't forget to update the release date to maintain transparency and build user trust.

Onpage SEO checklist

To help you keep track of all this variety of tips, we will summarize all the essential steps in an on-page SEO checklist below:

  • Keyword research: Create a keyword list with all relevant keywords for your topic.
  • Keyword mapping: Assign a suitable focus keyword to each page of your website.
  • Think about a useful structure of the website page content
  • Make sure to only create one H1 heading
  • Use subheadings
  • Write in paragraphs
  • Integrate as many semantically relevant words as possible
  • Use descriptive URLs
  • Integrate the respective focus keyword into the H1 heading
  • Integrate the respective focus keyword into the meta data
  • Integrate the respective focus keyword into subheadings & text
  • Integrate the respective focus keyword into the URL
  • Set internal links (including alt attributes)
  • Give your images a meaningful file name
  • Describe your images using alt attributes
  • Optimize your videos
  • If appropriate, use structured data to make your website content more visible to search engines
  • Keep your website content up to date

Need SEO OnPage support?

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