On-page SEO factors you can influence for better rankings

SEO is a fairly vague concept for many people. I regularly get the question from customers what exactly we are going to do when we start working with SEO for them. What it is exactly – and what we do exactly – I do not want to discuss that in this article. You can find that basic information on our page about search engine optimization .

I want to talk about an important part of SEO. About one of the elements of the 'golden SEO triangle', namely on-page SEO . I would like to take you through the most important factors of on-page SEO in 2021.

Not to explain to you in detail what it is. But especially to show you in a handy overview exactly which on-page SEO factors you can apply and influence.

Think of it as a kind of on-page checklist that you can use, for example, in your work as a marketer. Or to show that you are already doing very well with your company website 😉.

Better organic positions and advantage with Google Ads

In fact, if you have optimized your website well on-page, even your Google Ads campaigns will benefit from it. Think of lower click prices through a better quality score. Or better DSA campaigns, because Google better understands what your pages are about.

So SEO and then optimizing for on-page SEO factors is always a good idea, but let's dig into it more deeply.

What are SEO on-page factors?

With SEO on-page factors you optimize your website for the search engines. You ensure that Google, Bing or another search engine understands what your page is about. They are optimizations that you perform on a specific page.

So what you apply on page A, you don't see on page B. Do you get the name, on-page? 😉 

This means that you will have to apply the points below on each page within your website separately.

The points below are guidelines. Guidelines are not rules and are not always 100% working. So I deliberately say guidelines here, but if you want to rank in the organic results of a search engine, it is necessary to take your on-page factors into account.

But like everything in online marketing… what works for your competitors may not work for your website. So make sure you add and use these SEO on-page factors as guidelines logically for your website.

You also have on-site factors and off-page SEO factors. A number of the points that I will mention more or less (also) fall under one of these denominators. However, they are too important to leave out.

20 SEO on-page factors

Think of it as an SEO checklist to determine whether you have the most important things for your website in order. Can you tick all the boxes or do you still see opportunities or points for improvement for your website?

1. Start mapping your keywords

Your pages should (almost) always contain text. Before you start writing that text, it is useful to know how people search for your product or service. You can find out by doing a keyword research .

You then use Google data and a keywords explorer such as that of Google itself or that of Keyword tool to investigate which words and phrases searchers use when they are looking for what you offer. You must then use these keywords in the texts you write.

Note: you will also need this information later in the checklist.

Keyword research is the most important source of data when you want to get started with SEO. It's the indispensable first step!

2. Give each page a good title

Every page on your website should have a good title. This should also contain the most important keyword for that page. That's why step one is doing (or even smarter, having it done) keyword research. Make sure the title of your page is short but sweet.

In the title (also called title tags or SEO title) you often put the target keyword. So the keyword that is most important for this page.

3. Provide a good URL structure

The URL structure of your website is an important part to include in SEO optimization. You have - if all goes well - thought carefully about your domain name. And after that? What do your further URLs look like? Have you thought this through carefully or have you lost count and thus the order of your pages and URLs over time?

There are a number of basic rules that you need to follow in order to be successful in the search engines. Make it clear in your URL what your page is about. Ideally, the most important keyword will also appear here. Usually the H1 is (almost) equal to the page title. Keep your URLs as short as possible. Make sure you use / as little as possible, so that the page name in the URL is as close to your domain name as possible.

An example of a bad URL is:

The category name and date are completely superfluous here. After all, the date is already included in the metadata and the category doesn't really matter.

URL structure important part of SEO

4. Use a breadcrumb pad

Actually, this is not an on-page factor, but an on-site or technical factor. Still, I want to name it. Not so important for your SEO and your organic rankings, but important for the user-friendliness of your website. User-friendliness is extremely important for your SEO and your website visitors.

Do visitors easily find the right information? Do they know where they are on your website and can they easily navigate to the next? A breadcrumb trail in your website provides a clear overview.

5. Make good use of headings

It is of course no surprise that you put content on your website, see point 10 for more information. How you package that content is an important SEO on-page factor, namely with the help of headings.

The title of your page is an H1 heading. In general, you can only use one H1, unless your page is built in HTML 5. After that you are fairly free to use headings. Place cups in logical places. Usually every one or two paragraphs.

You can use an H2 and H3 heading interchangeably. We usually don't use H4, H5 or H6, but you can of course just use it. Make sure that the text still looks neat. Try to make keywords appear in your headings in a natural way.

A real no-go is to spam your keywords in every heading. In the first place, write for the (visitor) searcher and then (preferably only after writing the content) take Google into account.

6. Use Images and Videos

Not only do you make your content a lot more lively if you add images and videos to it. Adding media as an on-page factor ensures that your bounce rate often decreases, your dwell time goes up and visitors stay longer on your page to view the media.

These are indicators for Google that you offer relevant content, because visitors stick around for a long time. This can indirectly lead to better organic positions. Points five and six go deeper into the way you display the content on your website and that can influence your page rankings.

7. Alt tags

Google is not human. That sounds logical and not like anything new. Yet many marketers forget that when they add media such as videos and images to their content.

Google cannot read images. So how do you 'tell' Google that the image or video you add does contribute to your content and the keyword you are targeting?

By adding an alt tag. In the alt tag you put what Google 'sees'. So not 1537_64353.jpg, but brown dog in basket.jpg. This description is also called an alt text and this allows Google to determine whether the image adds value to the content and the keyword.

In addition, you make your website user-friendly for blind and partially sighted people. They often have websites read to you and then the program will also 'read' your images. Then a brown dog in the basket entry is much easier to understand than the aforementioned 1537_64353.jpg. Just think what you see…

8. There they are again, your keywords

An open door, but you use your keyword research for your entire website and on all pages (minus the contact page). By first starting the keyword research (point 1), you can then return your most important keyword (which forms the theme) between 1 to 2 percent of the total number of words. It is useful to have your main keyword (for example On page SEO factors) appear in the first 100 words of your page.

Use your common sense for this. Google has now become so 'smart' that associations are also included and there is less and less focus on the exact use of keywords in your content.

9. LSI Keywords

In the past, that sounds old (and it is), you could just make your keyword come back often. Nowadays, Google is a lot smarter and you add LSI keywords.

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing . A technique that search engines use to map not only exact keywords, but also variants of them with the same search intent.

By also addressing words that can be associated with the search intent of the user, you also include those words. It is not for nothing that we always make a suitable SEO strategy that does not indicate a page per word, but bundles keywords into a specific theme. That way you have much more results in the search results.

10. Content, content, content

The amount of content you produce affects your rankings. You can indeed post one tip of one or the other every day. Really effective this will not contribute to your rankings. But content is definitely an on-page SEO factor that can influence your ranking.

Google values relevant content and it is still a fact that the length of your content affects your rankings. However, it is no longer the case that the motion applies the longer the better. Google finds it very important that your content answers a question from the target group. That you inform and be useful. That you actually answer the question 'what is an on-page SEO factor'.

Do not only create new content, but also take a critical look at older content. If you have a blog from two years ago, check whether the content is still current. Isn't that so? Then it is wise to update this blog and ensure current content.

11. Responsive design

User-friendliness is a very important factor in on-page SEO. Is your mobile website not in order? Then that is your number one priority. We live in a mobile first world, if your website is subsequently not displayed properly on mobile or tablet, it will have a negative influence on your rankings.

We also include your mobile website in our SEO check, because if it is not user-friendly, you will certainly not be found in Google and visitors will drop out on mobile devices. In addition, we often see companies that advertise search engine that they throw away a lot of money by advertising on mobile devices, while their website – as the website analysis shows – does not match the mobile search at all.

SEO and SEA work together and with the analysis of the website that Team Nijhuis performs, we can examine all channels that you use as a company.

Responsive website is an important ranking

12. Inbound and Outbound Links

You write content and base it on information you have found. Then make sure you link to that too. Keep in mind that you refer to relevant pages. So it is important that you think about external links in your content.

If you write about SEO or on-page factors, a link to a daycare center is less relevant than a link to an SEO news website.

13. Internal Links

Outbound links are important, but so are internal links. Make connections between your just posted content with previous content or important pages.

The longer your content, the more relevant information you share and where you tap other topics. On average, the number of internal links is 2 to 3, but with this on-page factor it is mainly your own insight.

Internal links ensure a good user-friendliness of your website. You indicate from the content that someone reads what could also be interesting. Also spend time adding a good anchor text. A link with 'read here' means nothing to Google, but tell what you are linking to by briefly highlighting the content.

For a great example of how to link internally and outwardly, look at Wikipedia.

14. Loading time and technique of the website

How long does it take to load your website? Do visitors first see a white page, where they think you have nothing on it? Your loading time is a signal to Google for your ranking. And especially the higher your loading time, the more your rankings suffer.

And not only that. Some points that are important for a technically sound website include:

  • The loading time of the website
  • The presence of an XML sitemap and robots.txt file
  • Access to an SSL certificate
  • The hosting of the website
  • The mobile friendliness of the website

From May 2021, the loading time of your website is even a ranking factor, measured in 3 KPIs, also called core web vitals. 

15. Social sharing

Is your content easy to share or not? The extent to which you are shared on social media does not contribute to your ranking, but the fact that your content can be shared means that more people see your content.

That means more visitors to your website, they may stay longer (are curious) on your website and that hanging is positive for your dwell time.

16. Dwell time

How long are visitors actually on your page. Do they immediately hit the 'back button' the moment they land on your website? Or do they linger (dwell). By creating content that matches a search query, you keep your visitors longer.

Marketers often use the bounce ratio. But this gives a distorted picture. If someone visits your page, reads and watches everything for 20 minutes (and is therefore very interested) but then leaves, this counts as 100% bounce.

Dwell time focuses on how long a person spends wandering on one or more pages before returning to Google.

17. Provide a good XML sitemap

The XML sitemap is a kind of signpost for robots that come to visit your website. Make sure that this sitemap only includes pages that you really want Google to see. Think of pages that are important or change content regularly.

Exclude pages from the sitemap if they aren't important, so you don't let the crawlers visit unnecessary pages, wasting their time, so to speak.

18. Present yourself with good meta tags

Meta tags can be divided into the meta title and the meta description. Previously you could influence the rankings with this. Today that is much less the case. A well-written meta title with a matching meta description can ensure a higher CTR (click through rate).

The more attractive you write your text and the better it matches the search intent, the more people click on your content. Of course, it also counts where you are in the search engine ranking.

19. 404-page

Also think about old content that you take offline. There is nothing more 'deadly' for your online findability than a page that is not found. These pages are indicated by a 404. A 404 page means that you have landed on a page that no longer exists.

These pages often existed before and are therefore often still findable in the search engine, because they are indexed by the search engine. A 404 page occurs when you have changed a URL or taken a page offline. If you don't redirect this old URL to the new URL or to another page, you can create a 404 page.

Always make sure you take old content offline and redirect to another page to avoid 404 pages!

Users who search for something on your website can sometimes make a typing error. It is therefore important that you set up a 404 page with, for example, suggestions or that they can easily navigate back to the homepage of the website.

20. Optimize clicks

Your homepage is your most used page. If they search for your company name in Google, they will land (if all goes well) on your homepage. Moreover, there is often a link to this from, for example, news items or blogs that have been taken over by others. Your homepage is therefore an important on-page factor that is often forgotten. You can use this to optimize your clicks.

Optimizing for click, how do you do that?

By mentioning important content on your website and placing an internal link, you pass the authority of your homepage a bit to the other page. Moreover, the short way in which you can reach that page, namely directly from the homepage, ensures that you will rank higher in Google .

You do this by thinking carefully about your anchor text. This is also an important factor in determining the ranking in Google and the relevance of the link. You probably have a few links to your website, but which texts are used with these links? A text like 'click here' does not have much value, because is this link about information to click here? Probably not, but Google will read this link that way.

Don't make your anchor text longer than necessary and don't use the same keyword everywhere. Google takes a critical look at the keywords in anchor texts. If there are too many links on your website with the same anchor text, these links can be seen as suspicious and therefore become less valuable.

Getting started with on-page SEO factors

One on-page factor is more important than the other, but by taking these SEO factors into account, you ensure that your website can be found in the search results.

SEO continues to evolve, but if you follow our blog we will keep you informed of the most recent developments. Use your common sense, don't overdo it and put your visitors first. This may sound like a cliché, but it is the very best tip I can give.


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