What is On-Page SEO?

Written by Aaron Hill

September 22, 2021

What is On-Page SEO and how does Google use it to rank websites?

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing your content to rank in search engine results pages. It’s important for every website, and it can make a huge difference in how high up on the results page your site appears. This means making sure your site’s code, metadata and content are optimized for search engines so that they can find you when people search for relevant keywords. A successful on-page SEO strategy will increase traffic to your site by helping it rank higher in Google’s organic (non-paid) rankings. The more visits you get from a high ranking, the more likely customers will contact you for services or buy products from your online store.

An image of how Google uses organic search from On-Page SEO to rank websites

How Google using organic search to rank websites


There are many different factors that measure on-page ranking, but there are a few main ones that we’ll focus on today. This includes items such as ensuring that the keywords are optimized for search engines, using headings and subheadings, creating quality content, and more. We’re going to go over each one and explain how it affects your website rankings so you can make sure your site is ranking as high as possible for all of your keywords.

There are so many tips and tricks that you could spend hours trying each one individually without seeing any real improvement in your rankings or traffic numbers. Let’s break down the basics of on-page SEO into 4 simple steps that anyone can follow.

At the end of reading through these steps, you should have a good understanding of how SEO works and some actionable strategies for improving your own website’s search engine visibility!

What does Google look for when it ranks a website?

Have you ever wondered how to rank higher in Google? On-page SEO is the answer. We know that ranking higher in Google isn’t just nice – it can also have a big impact on how much traffic your site gets. So, if you want to get more visitors from organic search, these four ingredients will help you tremendously.

The first thing we need to talk about is keyword density. Keyword density refers to how often a specific word or phrase appears throughout the content of a page compared with the total number of words written on that page. Generally expressed as a percentage you want this ratio to be relatively low – around 1% or less – because if it gets too high, search engines will think you’re trying too hard and won’t rank your site very highly at all. So, keep an eye out for any signs of keyword stuffing! Google still cares about keywords, but it cares more about user experience. So, be sure that your keywords are relevant to your topic and that your content is valuable and informative.

When coming up with titles or headlines of your posts, use keywords that are relevant to what you’re writing about as well as including non-keywords such as “how to” or “step by step.” The more words included in your headline, the more likely it will rank higher because there are more chances for search engines to find it! One of the most important things you should remember is to avoid using too many commas and exclamation points. In fact, some sentences don’t need any at all!

Google has changed SEO dramatically in recent years by using computers to investigate and rank website content. You can see how you rank for an individual keyword, such as ‘Primary Web Design,’ but that doesn’t mean that this is the most important thing! Google will still factor in all of your keywords, which means how well the ‘Primary Web Design’ page ranks is dependent not only on its own ranking performance but also on the ranking of other webpages linked to it.

Which brings us to link popularity! Since the purpose of a website is to provide information, there are times when you want to direct your visitors towards other websites for more details. Linking out from one webpage into another helps establish authority between two related subjects and allows you to guide your audience by connecting two or more ideas. The more backlinks coming into your website the more authority you have on a given subject and this gives you a higher ranking in Google.

Next up is mobile optimization: mobile devices are now the preferred way to access the internet, and many people use them exclusively. Before beginning any SEO campaign, make sure you have a website that is mobile responsive. This means the site will look good on all devices and takes up the full screen on a mobile phone. A responsive site can be accessed from anywhere, anytime which is important for ranking higher in Google.

Here is an example of a poorly mobile optimized website:

A mobile image of the Kroger experience feedback page displaying its lack of optimization and On-Page SEO

Google is now rewarding mobile-friendly websites by changing the ranking algorithm. Mobile users are on the rise and if you don’t have a mobile friendly website, your customers might not be able to find you when they’re looking for what you offer. The problem with this is that Google has changed their search engine ranking factors so that sites without a responsive design will rank lower in both desktop and mobile searches than those who do have one. If you want to stay competitive then it’s time to make your website more user-friendly by making sure it’s easy for all types of people to use regardless of what device they’re using!

Google has provided a wonderful tool to test your website’s mobile compatibility here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Google wants its users to have a good experience online, so if a visitor is using a mobile phone to browse the internet your business needs to be optimized for them. Beyond having your images optimized, caching turned on, and inline code such as css, html and javascript, a mobile optimized website is imperative for a good user experience. Over half of all visitors on the internet access it from their mobile devices, around 54.8% according to Statista as of April 2021.

A graphical depiction of mobile users from 2015 to 2021 on Statista


Now let’s move onto another important factor – meta tags! Meta tags include information like titles, descriptions, and keywords that appear in HTML headers (the <head> section) within webpages … and they’re super important when it comes to getting ranked by search engines because they tell them exactly what kind of content appears on each page. Other tags such as alt tags are of great importance as well, and are used by devices such as Screen Readers for the blind and visually impaired. These screen readers make use of your alt tags to explain to the user what an image looks like. For accessibility purposes these tags are enormously important and Google looks on them favorably, as do the visually impaired. So, it’s not just a great idea, it’s invaluable as an accessibility tool.

An explanation of how screen readers use alt tags from On-Page SEO to read images on websites


If you hope to rank well on google, make good use of your on-page seo. Contact Primary Web Design today for assistance with your SEO needs and we will be happy to help you get started. We offer a range of services including website design, search engine optimization (SEO), graphic design or all three! Our experts can work closely with customers in order to create an effective digital strategy that drives results by leveraging the power of Google’s algorithm. Ready to find out how much our team could do for you? Get in touch today and see just what Primary Web Design can achieve! What are some strategies that have helped improve your site’s rankings through SEO?


Some key points to take away from this post that contribute to good On-Page SEO:

  1. Make sure your site is compatible with mobile devices
  2. Use keywords and phrases that are relevant to your content in an intelligent and informative way
  3. Add a sitemap to make it easier for Google’s crawlers to index all of your pages
  4. Include a title tag on every page of your website
  5. Create quality, original content that will attract visitors and keep them coming back for more
  6. Optimize images so they load quickly and have alt text and title text descriptions
  7. Study Google’s algorithm

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