Onpage optimization (also: onpage optimization) is a part of search engine optimization (SEO). It describes the measures website owners apply to the actual website to make it as findable, usable and readable as possible for search engines and the user.
Onpage optimization is used to paraphrase all the search engine optimization measures that website operators apply on the page itself that is being optimized. It should ensure that a page is optimally designed for search engine and reader. Onpage optimization can be roughly divided into technical, content-related and structural aspects. For example, links, texts or redirects can be optimized on a website.
The main goal of onpage optimization is to achieve the best possible ranking in search engines.
In contrast to Onsite Optimization, Onpage Optimization only refers to the improvement of a single website, not an entire domain. In addition, it is also distinguished from offpage optimization, which involves measures that are largely taken away from the page being optimized.
Reasons for Onpage Optimization
Google evaluates millions of websites and compares them with each other according to certain guidelines. In this way, the search engine operator wants to find the most relevant website for the respective topic and provide the user with the result that best matches the search result.
In the context of onpage optimization, website operators place signals on a page that show Google
- what the respective page is relevant for and
- in which relationship it stands to the other pages of the domain.
The better a page is optimized, the higher its chances of ranking well in Google SERPs.
Important elements of onpage optimization
Many factors play a role in onpage optimization. However, Google and Co. only officially disclose a few of these factors. SEO experts must therefore define a large part of the ranking factors through tests, logical conclusions or personal assessments. Which measures have which and how strong an effect is therefore only predictable exactly to a limited extent in onpage optimization, as well as in offpage optimization.
Google considers the following factors, among others:
One of the most important elements of any website are the keywords, which should be present in various places on the website. The search engine crawls the texts of a page and assigns the website to a certain topic, depending on the words and word sequences found. The respective website is then played out to match the user’s search queries.
With the right words, website operators signal to the search engine what they want to be found for. Keywords, semantically related terms and synonyms should therefore not only appear in the text, but in the best case also in the right places. SEO experts assume that, for example, a keyword in the headline is more important than in the middle of a paragraph.
With which density or frequency the keywords should be used is controversial. The information on the correct keyword density has changed again and again over time. Many experts now assume that no fixed percentage exists for this. In addition, there are also always new ideas on keyword density, such as the WDF*IDF formula, which are intended to redefine the correct use of keywords.
Meta tags are markers in the HTML code that explain certain properties of a website to the search engine. Webmasters can define here in the code how Google and Co. deal with a page or what you should tell from the page. Important meta tags are for example
- the title tag (in the header): names a page and is usually used as a heading in search results, here for example keywords are very important to show the user the content of the page;
the meta description tag: describes the content of a page and is often used as a teaser in search engines;
- (IMG) Title: names an image and thus makes its content easier for Google to understand, is also used for links;
- (IMG) Alt: describes the content of an image and is displayed if, for example, the image cannot be loaded;
- Robots: determines, for example, whether a search engine should crawl and/or index a website;
- Canonical: can define a website with identical content to signal to the search engine which page does not need to be crawled.
Not all meta tags are considered by the search engine, some weigh more heavily, some less heavily for ranking.
Search engines prefer well-structured content. HTML tags can be used to organize and structure texts, videos or images. Many SEO experts assume that keywords marked by certain tags, for example, are recognized as important by search engines. These include, for example, headline tags such as h1 or h2 as well as sorted (<ol>) or unsorted lists (<ul>).
The content of a website includes, for example, texts, images, videos or infographics. Unique, up-to-date and high-quality content influences various ranking factors and is the key to high customer satisfaction. For example, it increases dwell time and reduces SERP return and bounce rates.
Duplicate content, i.e. duplicate content on different pages, can be rated negatively by Google. They mean additional crawl effort for the search engine and bring no benefit to the reader. Therefore, unique content is a factor that webmasters should not neglect in onpage optimization.
In order to publish high-quality content, there are various possibilities. In addition to a blog, in which articles or tutorials appear regularly, website operators can create videos or infographics, for example. Well-made e-books or whitepapers also offer readers help, advice and entertainment and thus positively influence important ranking factors.
Links are the internal and external connections of a website. Links that lead from other pages to your own fall predominantly into the area of off-page optimization. The internal linking of a page, on the other hand, is considered an important factor in onpage SEO.
The better and more structured the individual pages of a website are linked to each other, the better a user can navigate through the page. This is a characteristic that search engines value positively.
Links can be placed at different positions of a web page. Probably the placement also influences how the search engine classifies a link. Links in the main navigation could therefore be more important than links in the footer.
The functioning of links in search engine optimization is often explained with the so-called linkjuice. According to this, every website has an individual strength, i.e. a certain amount of linkjuice. The strength is defined by various factors such as the number of incoming links. This linkjuice is partially passed on by a page via outgoing internal and external links. So the more links a page has, the more linkjuice can flow from this page and benefit other pages. Thus, the backlink of a strong page is more valuable than the backlink of a page with little linkjuice.
URL and Redirects:
The URL of a page can have an impact on search engine rankings. Keywords in the URL, for example, are considered by many SEO experts to be an important ranking factor. The length of a web address could also have an impact on rankings, as suggested by Google’s Matt Cutts.
How fast the average load time of a website is can have an impact on ranking. The speed at which websites build is a ranking factor on Google. The search engine assumes that users will leave a page very quickly if they have to wait too long for it to build up (completely). Especially in mobile use, where slow or unstable internet connections often still exist, a high website speed is enormously important.
Website operators can not only track the loading times of their pages in Google Analytics, but also test them for free with tools such as PageSpeed. The tool rates the loading time on a scale between 0 and 100 and indicates where the page can be optimized.
A good site structure shows the search engine that a website is designed to be user-friendly. This means, for example, that each subpage can be reached with as few clicks as possible, that the navigation is well thought out or that the design is right.
Search engines cannot crawl individual programming languages, files or page elements, or can do so only inadequately. For example, Google has repeatedly had problems reading AJAX applications in the past. This resulted in pages not being (fully) crawled and/or indexed.
Website operators should build a page in such a way that search engines can access it as easily as possible. This includes, for example, granting the appropriate rights in the robots.txt file of the page. Creating a sitemap can also make indexing easier for the search engine.
Onpage optimization analysis
Google always states that website owners should simply base their search engine optimization on what is helpful for the user. Even if this is correct in the first intention, the search engine has more than 200 ranking factors by which it evaluates a page. Therefore, in order to keep track of which small adjusting screws website operators should turn in order to present their page in the best possible way, certain tools can help.
The programs can be divided into paid software such as Searchmetrics or Sistrix. These tools offer very extensive functions and thus allow an in-depth analysis. They rely on their own database to correctly determine rankings and keywords.
In addition, there are also free tools such as Screaming Frog or Google’s Search Console. These programs also analyze your own website and provide data on the status of optimization. However, the range of functions is limited here.
In addition, webmasters can use Google Analytics to retrieve helpful information about their website and derive instructions for correct onpage optimization from it.
With the right onpage optimization, webmasters ensure that their site is found by search engines. In contrast to offpage optimization, onpage optimization revolves around all factors that are found on a single website. These factors can be roughly divided into technical, content and structural aspects. In order to analyze one’s own site and to optimize the individual factors in a targeted manner, website operators can use various tools. Onpage optimization as a subarea of SEO is an important method to increase traffic for one’s own website. For even more detailed information on the individual measures, we have created a guide to onpage optimization.
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