On-page SEO refers to search engine optimization efforts that are applied to the actual web pages themselves, as opposed to an SEO tactic like link-building, which would be considered off-page SEO. With on-page SEO we first identify the most appropriate keywords to target, then decide how the keywords will be applied to the site. The keywords are applied to the source code of each page (where only search engines see), as well as within the actual page copy visible to humans.
Keyword research is critical to on-page SEO because the keywords you choose determine a large part of your success. When conducting keyword research it is best to start with relevance, targeting terms that most closely match the products or services provided. From there, traffic volume must be examined to make sure the keywords chosen represent significant enough opportunity to warrant selection. Lastly, keyword competition must be considered to determine if the keyword is attainable in a reasonable amount of time, based on the client’s current website standing as well as competitor websites.
Information architecture is the information structure in which a website is broken up. Deciding which pages need to be created, what they should be about, and how they will be linked together and presented to the user is a primary focus of creating SEO-friendly information architecture. It is important that this structure is relevant to your business goals, and equally important it provides users with the content they are looking for. Keyword research will yield insight into what pages might be appropriate to create for best SEO practices, but you must also carefully consider user experience. Balancing these two elements is a key objective in performing the on-page SEO for any given website.
HTML semantic markup is a way to communicate to the search engines the importance of various parts of content on a page. This markup is partially visible to users in that they will see a variety of sizes and styles of text that separate and organize copy. Content can be broken up into heading tags, bold type, and italics. Heading tags can be: h1, h2, h3, h4 h5, h6. An example of an h1 tag is the text on this page that reads “On-Page SEO” at the top, while an h2 would be “What is On-Page SEO,” and an h3 would be “HTML Markup Communicates Keyword Importance.” By organizing content in this way you help search engines understand what your site is about and how the information is structured, as well as which keywords and keyword variations are most relevant for your website.
Incorporating a social-sharing widget into your website will help visitors share your content on the networks they use. This isn’t about which social media pages you may be using; this is simply creating an easy way for someone to share your website content with an already created social network of friends. This is arguably not part of core on-page SEO practices, but since social sharing of URL’s can impact search rankings, it is a relevant and important part of on-page SEO.