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Content Marketing

The Beginners Guide to On Page SEO

June 18, 2013

Search Engine Optimization, due to its constantly changing nature can be difficult to fully understand. Combine this with the different viewpoints many marketers hold about the components of SEO and you get a field of marketing that’s rife with speculation and a smattering of not-so-good practices.

We recently spoke about an important part of modern day SEO i.e. guest Blogging and how you can manage your guest blogging efforts with Brightpod. In this post, I’ll delve deeper into the importance of On Page SEO and how you can manage your own on page SEO strategy.

Key Components of On Page SEO:

Keyword Research

Proper keyword research is an essential part of on page SEO. With keyword research, you’ll know which keywords you want to optimize for and base all of your on page efforts on it.

I can go so far as to say that without proper keyword research, all your on page optimization efforts will be futile.

To help you get started with keyword research, here are some fantastic guides:

Title Tag

A title tag is known to have a high correlation to better search rankings so writing an optimal title tag for all the pages of your website is a must.

Best practices for writing a great title tag:

  • Don’t use more than 70 characters - 70 characters is the optimal length for a title tag as this is the number of characters Google displays in search results.
  • Start the title with your primary keyword - Starting the page title with your primary keyword is a must as the first words have the highest correlation with better search rankings (as seen in this chart by Moz). The format Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword | Brand Name is considered by many SEO’s as the optimal format for title tags

  • Create a unique title tag for each page - Many companies make the mistake of using the same title tag on each page or just a small variation. Additionally using only the brand name in the title tag is counter-intuitive as you will most probably already rank for your own brand name. Instead using the format — primary keyword + different secondary keywords + brand name on separate pages is a better strategy.

Meta Description:

Although meta description has been found to not be a high importance factor, it is necessary to optimize it from the point of view of search results. A great meta description results in higher CTRs and is the first impression of a website for a user.

The meta description should ideally be less than 160 characters.


Rel=”Canonical” is a highly useful URL tag that allows marketers to let search engines know if a particular page is a duplicate and to consider the original page in search rankings.

This prevents any unnecessary splitting of link juice and is easier to implement than a 301 redirect.

The canonical tag is useful in case of pages that have similar content but differing URLs i.e. pages which employ session IDs or print only versions etc.

Optimized URL Structure

  • Relevant URLs - Using clear and relevant URLs signals to search engines that the page is indeed related to the content within it. For example a structure like is a clear indication that the page contains content about desserts at Zacks Cafe.
  • Shorter URLs - Shorter URLs are known to rank better and are easier for users to understand and remember.
  • Pages over Subdomains - It has long since been a topic of debate whether pages or subdomains are better for SEO. Pages definitely are considered to be more favourable in terms of rankings and in general is the better way to structure a website.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is a sure fire on page SEO technique (within reason, of course) Linked pages tend to rank better so its definitely advisable to link to your content from several pages.

Image Alt Text

Alt text in images has a good correlation with higher rankings.

Using images on important pages and using target keywords in the alt attribute of the img tag is a great way to improve rankings.

Keyword Density & Location

Keyword density as an on-page SEO technique has gained a lot of criticism over the years due to keyword stuffing and other black hat techniques. In itself using the keyword certain number of times in the page content has a negligible effect on rankings and therefore is not something to consider too much.

However, as a visitor, seeing the keyword that I searched for on the page assures me that the content is relevant and I’m more likely to then stay on the page. Therefore mentioning the keyword a few times (reasonably) is a good practice.

Moreover, keyword location does matter when it comes to SEO which is all the more reason to use the primary keyword in the first few sentences.

H1 Heading

Hi headings do have a certain amount of effect on rankings but more importantly a clear, relevant headline just makes the page more readable and relevant for the user.

Usability & Clean Code

As I mentioned in a bunch of the points above, there are certain techniques that may not have a very large effect on rankings but are important from a usability point of view. Search engines are increasingly using usability as a criteria for higher rankings therefore spending time & effort on improving usability and maintaining a clean code base is phenomenally important!

How to best manage On Page Optimization?

While for a small website, on page SEO is not a supremely difficult task, the larger the website the more complicated it becomes to keep track of all the above components.

So how can you manage your on page SEO effectively? Here are a couple of tools that can help!


Moz is the granddaddy of SEO software with tools ranging from On Page Keyword Optimzation to Rank Tracking for several keywords. To launch and manage a successful SEO campaign, Moz tools really are the first choice for many.

Check out all of Moz tools here —

A Task Management Tool like Brightpod

Over the last few months, we’ve had some great SEO agencies sign up with us and after learning more about how they manage SEO, here are a few tips on using Brightpod to manage on page SEO.

One great way we’ve seen teams manage on page SEO with Brightpod is to create a custom workflow and then re-use them for different websites or clients.

The reason this works really well is that every SEO has their own methods and workflows. By saving this workflow, SEOs save themselves time whenever they’re starting a new on page optimization project.

Do you have your own workflow or template for on page SEO as well? Well, try Brightpod and automate your own page optimization planning process.


Project management software for smart marketing teams.

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