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On-Page SEO: The Definitive Guide

This is a complete guide to on-page SEO in 2020.

In this new guide you’ll learn:

  • How to optimize your content
  • How to create SEO-friendly URLs
  • How to write titles and descriptions
  • Lots more

Let’s get started.

On-page SEO: The Definitive Guide

Chapter 1:On-Page SEO Basics

On-page SEO Basics

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO (also known as “on-site SEO”) is the practice of optimizing web page content for search engines and users. Common on-page SEO practices include optimizing title tags, content, internal links and URLs.

This is different from off-page SEO, which is optimizing for signals that happen off of your website (for example, backlinks).

Why is On-Page SEO Important?

Does traditional on-page SEO still make a difference in 2020?

Yup!

In fact, Google’s own “How Search Works” report states that:

Google on On-page SEO

Even though Google is MUCH smarter than it was back in the day, they still use old school stuff (like looking for a specific keyword on your page).

Google still crawls your site for keywords

And there’s data to back this up.

Our analysis of 1M Google search results found a correlation between keyword-rich title tags and first page rankings.

Keyword appears in title tag (exact match)

And if you search for any competitive keyword, you’ll notice that the top ranking pages almost all use that exact keyword in their title tag.

Keywords in titles on SERP

That said:

There’s more to on-page SEO than cramming keywords into your page’s HTML.

To rank your content in 2020, you also need to optimize your content for:

Which leads us to chapter 2…

Chapter 2:Optimize Your Content for SEO

Optimize Your Content For SEO

Now that you’ve seen why on-page SEO still matters, it’s time to start optimizing your content.

Specifically, in this chapter I’m going to show you how to keyword-optimize every page on your website.

So if you’ve ever wondered “how do I actually use keywords on my page?”, you’ll love the actionable tips in this chapter.

Use Your Target Keyword In The First 100 Words

This is an old school on-page SEO tactic that still makes a dent.

All you need to do is use your main keyword once in the first 100-150 words of your article.

For example, in my article optimized around the keyword “email marketing”, I mentioned that keyword right off the bat.

Keyword in post intro

Why is this important?

Google puts more weight on terms that show up early in your page.

Use your target keyword terms in the first 100 words

Which makes sense. Imagine that you just published an article about The Keto Diet. If your article really was about The Keto Diet would it make sense to first use the term “keto diet” halfway down the page?

Of course not.

Which is why you want to drop your keyword somewhere in the first 100 words or so. This is one of those little things that helps Google understand what your page is all about.

Wrap Your Blog Post Title in an H1 Tag

The H1 tag is like a mini title tag.

In fact, Google has stated that using an H1 tag “helps Google understand the structure of the page”.

Google on H1 tags for rankings

Most platforms (like WordPress) automatically add the H1 tag to your blog post title. If that’s the case, you’re all set.

But that’s not always the case. You want to check your site’s code to make sure your title is wrapped in an H1. And that your keyword is inside of that H1 tag.

Title and keyword in H1 tag

Wrap Subheadings in H2 Tags

Include your target keyword in at least one subheading. And wrap that subheading in an H2 tag.

Will an H2 tag make or break your on-page SEO?

Nope. But it can’t hurt. And my own SEO experiments have shown me that wrapping your target keyword in an H2 tag can make a dent.

Here’s an example of this strategy in action (target keyword=”content marketing tools”):

Keyword in H2 tag

Keyword Frequency

Keyword Frequency is just like it sounds: It’s how many times your keyword appears in your content.

Google may deny that using the same keyword multiple times helps. But SEO pros with experience will tell you that it definitely works.

Think about it this way:

Imagine that you have a page that Google THINKS is about a specific keyword. But that keyword only appears once on the page.

Keyword frequency : Low

How confident can they be that the page is about that keyword? Not very.

On the other hand, if the page mentions the keyword 10 times, Google can be more confident about that page’s topic.

Keyword frequency : High

To be clear:

This isn’t about keyword stuffing or anything like that.

It’s simply mentioning your target keyword a few times to confirm to Google that your page really is about that topic.

For example, one of our posts ranks in the top 3 in Google for the keyword “YouTube SEO”.

"youtube seo" SERP

How many times do you think I used the exact term “YouTube SEO” in that 32,000-word post?

6 times.

So yeah, there’s no need to go overboard here. As long as you use your keyword naturally a few times, you’re good.

Use External (Outbound) Links

External links to related pages helps Google figure out your page’s topic. It also shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info.

And this isn’t just a theory. The folks at Reboot Online ran an experiment to see if external links helped improve rankings.

They created 10 new websites. Half of the websites linked out to authority sites (like Oxford University). The other half had no external links.

And the websites with external links outranked the sites without them.

Phylandocic experiment – SERP

Optimize Your URLs for SEO

Your URL structure is an underrated part of on-page SEO.

Yes, Google recently started to use weird versions of URLs in the search results.

Breadcrumb URL in Google SERP

But even then, the terms that you use in your URL show up here. Plus, URLs in the mobile and desktop SERPs are now above the title tag.

URL above title in mobile SERP

So I’d say that your URL is actually more important now than before.

With that, here’s how to create SEO-friendly URLs:

  1. Make your URLs short
  2. Include a keyword in every URL

Seriously. That’s it.

For example, my guide to link building is optimized around the keyword “link building”. So I used that keyword in my URL.

Exact keyword in URL

That’s not to say that your URL should ONLY have your keyword. It’s perfectly fine to add an extra word or two to your URL…

Keyword in URL

…or to have your keyword come after a subfolder.

Keyword in URL after subfolder

Chapter 3:Optimize Title and Description Tags

Optimize Title And Description Tags

In this chapter you’ll learn how to optimize your title and meta descriptions for SEO.

According to Google, title tags still “help a lot” with your rankings.

So they’re worth optimizing.

And it’s the same story with your description. Google may not use your description to understand the content on your page, but searchers use it to figure out which result to click on.

So if you want to write SEO-friendly title tags and descriptions, this chapter is for you.

Front-load Your Title tag

In my opinion, your title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor.

That’s because your title tag gives search engines a high-level overview of what your page is all about.

In my experience, the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines.

Frontload your keyword in your title tag

Here’s an example from my big list of SEO tools.

Frontloaded keyword in title

Your keyword doesn’t necessarily have to be in the very beginning of your title. It doesn’t always make sense to do that.

But the closer your title is to the front of your title tag, the better.

Use Title Tag Modifiers

Using modifiers like “best”, “guide”, “checklist”, “fast” and “review” can help you rank for long tail versions of your target keyword.

For example, our guide to learning SEO includes the modifiers “New” and “guide”.

Keywords in title tag

That way, we can rank for long tail versions of “learn SEO” like “learn SEO guide”.

You can even be more strategic than this.

I added the title tag modifier “for SEO” in this list of keyword research tools.

Keyword in post title

Why? So my page would show up when people used terms like “SEO keyword research tools”. And it worked!

"SEO keyword research tools" SERP

Use Unique, Keyword-Rich Meta Descriptions

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide states that:

Google Webmasters on Description meta tag

And Google recently recommended that you write your own meta descriptions.

Google says "Fill in your meta descriptions"

(Even though Google can override them with their own snippet)

That’s because a good meta description helps your result stand out, which can boost your organic CTR.

A good meta description boosts your organic CTR

Here’s a description template that I use and recommend.

Meta description formula

You also want to include your keyword once in your description.

Why?

Because Google bolds terms that match the person’s query.

Bolded search terms in descriptions

Again, this can give you a nice little CTR bump.

Chapter 4:Write SEO Content

Write SEO Content

Now it’s time to publish content that deserves to rank #1.

This process goes well beyond using keywords on your page.

To rank your content in 2020, your content needs to be:

  • Unique
  • Super valuable
  • Optimized for search intent

And in this chapter I’ll show you how to make sure that your SEO content checks all of these 3 boxes.

Unique Content

When I say “unique”, I’m not just talking about duplicate content.

I mean publishing something that doesn’t just regurgitate the same stuff that’s already out there.

In other words: content that brings something new to the table.

That something new can be:

  • A new tip or strategy
  • A better list of curated resources
  • Strong design and UX
  • New case study
  • Streamlined step-by-step process

For example, this SEO checklist post ranks #1 in Google for the keyword “SEO checklist”.

Backlinko SEO Checklist post

Do you think I rank #1 because I used my keyword a bunch of times?

That definitely helped. But for a competitive term like this, using keywords isn’t enough.

My page ranks #1 because it’s unique.

Sure, it has tips and strategies that you can find anywhere:

Common tip in post

But it also has lots of tips and examples that you can only find in my post.

Unique tip in post

Valuable Content

Publishing something that’s unique is a good starting point.

But it’s not enough.

According to Hosting Facts, 4 million blog posts come out every single day.

So for your content to stand out and get noticed, it needs to be SUPER valuable.

Here are a few ways that you can make your SEO content insanely valuable:

  • Add details: Images, screenshots, and steps makes it easy for someone to put your content into practice.
  • Crisp writing: Strong copywriting will make your content more engaging.
  • Updated material: Brand new strategies, steps and examples go a long way.
  • Expert authors: Most content is written by people that have never done the thing they’re telling you to do. Content from someone with first-hand experience is almost always more valuable than something written by a random freelance writer.

The main thing that makes my SEO checklist post so valuable is the checklist itself.
It starts off with beginner-friendly stuff.

Beginner-friendly tip in post

And gets more advanced as you work your way through it.

Advanced tip in post

Along the way, you get a ton of specific details:

Detailed tips in post

Up-to-date examples:

Up-to-date tip in post

And content written by someone that lives and breathes SEO every day:

Real-life example in post

Content That Satisfies Search Intent

Unique, valuable content can get you to the first page of Google.

But if you want to stay there, your page has to satisfy Search Intent.

In other words:

Your page has to be EXACTLY what a Google searcher wants.

Otherwise, your page will likely be buried on the 3rd page.

SERP goes to third page

This is a mistake that I had to learn the hard way.

I recently published this comparison of the top backlink checkers on the market.

Backlinko Best Backlink Checker post

My goal was to rank for the keyword “backlink checker”.

A few days after I published that post, I decided to check out the SERPs for that term.

And I quickly realized that 100% of the first page results were tools.

"backlink checker" SERP

Literally 10 out of 10 results were backlink checker tools. There wasn’t a single blog post on the first page.

Which means the chance of my post hitting the first page was basically zero.

Whoops!

Fortunately, I do rank for a long tail version of that keyword (“best backlink checker”).

"best backlink checker" SERP

But if I spent more time looking at the Search Intent for that term, I would have realized that my content had zero chance of ranking for “backlink checker”.

And now it’s time for the next chapter…

Chapter 5:Optimize for CTR

Optimize For CTR

Your organic click through rate is important for two reasons:

First, CTR is (probably) a Google ranking factor.

Second, increasing your CTR can drive more traffic to your site.

In this chapter I’ll show you four practical ways that you can improve your organic CTR.

Use “Question Title Tags”

Last year we analyzed 5 million Google search results to figure out why certain pages get clicked on over others.

Backlinko study on Google CTR

And one of our most surprising findings was that question-based title tags have an above-average CTR.

Question titles have a 14.1% higher organic CTR .vs. Non-question titles

So whenever it makes sense, I recommend testing titles tags that have a question.

For example, my nofollow links guide uses a question in the title tag.

Nofollow Link post – Title with question

That’s because anyone searching for “nofollow link” probably just wants to know what that means.

And my title tag shows people that my site will give them what they want.

In fact, that page has a 27% CTR for the keyword “nofollow link”.

Nofollow Link post – CTR

Fill In Missing Meta Descriptions

I talked about meta descriptions way back in Chapter 1.

Specifically, I pointed out that you want your descriptions to be super compelling.

But you don’t need to write an amazing description 100% of the time. Just HAVING a meta description might be enough.

In fact, we found that pages with a meta description got approximately 6% more clicks vs. pages with a missing meta description.

Pages with a meta description have a higher average CTR .vs. Pages without a description

I recommend doing an SEO audit on your site to find pages that don’t have a meta description. Then, add in descriptions for pages that need them.

Use Review or FAQ Schema

Schema doesn’t directly help your SEO.

But using certain types of Schema can hook you up with you Rich Snippets.

And Rich Snippets CAN help you get more clicks.

Two of the best types of Schema for getting Rich Snippets are review Schema:

Review type snippet in SERP

And FAQ Schema:

FAQ type snippet in SERP

You can double check if you have your Schema set up correctly using the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Structured data testing tool result

Add Some Emotion to Your Title Tags

Our CTR study found that emotional titles got clicked on 7% more often vs. titles that didn’t have a strong emotional sentiment.

Emotional titles have a higher organic click through rate

We also discovered that emotionally-charged “Power Words” decreased click through rate by 12%.

What gives?

Well, people are attracted to titles that pack an emotional punch… to a point.

If a title goes overboard, it looks like clickbait.

And they’ll click on another result that looks less spammy.

Bottom Line: Write title tags with some emotion. But avoid terms like “insane” and “powerful” that can make your title look like clickbait.

Add the Current Year to Title and Description

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Current year in title and description

Adding the year to your title and description won’t make or break your CTR.

But in my experience, it does help… especially for content that can go out of date really quickly.

For example, someone searching for “Seneca philosophy” doesn’t need something that came out last month.

But for a keyword like “best smartphones”, people want to make sure they’re about to read something current.

And adding the year to your title and description makes it clear that your content is up-to-date.

Chapter 6:On-Page UX Signals

On-page UX Signals

In this chapter I’ll show you how to optimize your content for “UX Signals”.

(In other words, how Google searchers interact with your content).

Does Google really pay attention to Dwell Time, Bounce Rate and other user interaction signals?

Yes.

In fact, Google’s "How Search Works" says that, to help them rank the best results, they “use aggregated and anonymized interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant to queries”.

Now it’s time to show you how to make sure that your content keeps Google searchers on your page.

Push Content Above the Fold

When someone lands on your site from Google, they want their answer FAST.

Which is why you want to avoid massive images above the fold, like this:

Huge image above the fold

Instead put your headline and introduction front-and-center.

Backlinko Improve Your SEO post

To be clear: it’s OK to have an image at the top of your post. But if it pushes your content down the page, that’s bad.

Chunk Your Content

In a perfect world visitors would read every word on your page.

But we don’t live in a perfect world 🙂

Which is why you want to make your content super easy to skim.

This is something I spent A LOT of time on here at Backlinko.

I use a ton of H2 subheadings.

H2 tag in post

Bullets:

Bullet list in post

And images:

Images in post

Have an Active Community

Having a community on your blog is like a Bounce Rate cheat code.

Why?

A high-quality comments section gives people something to read… after they finish reading your post.

That’s because comments add context to your post:

Comment from Teresa on Backlinko post

Contribute new approaches and strategies:

Comment from Marko on Backlinko post

And, sometimes, spice things up with a little bit of controversy:

Comment from Pawel on Backlinko post

All things that keep people super glued to your page.

Chapter 7:Advanced On-Page SEO Tips

Advanced On-page SEO Tips

This last chapter is a list of some of my favorite on-page SEO techniques.

So once you’ve optimized your page’s title and H1 tags, here are a handful of tips that will help take your on-page SEO to the next level.

Let’s get right into the strategies.

Use Original images

Do you use stock images in your content?

Well, those stock images might be hurting your SEO.

Shai Aharony recently tested the effect that stock images had on Google rankings.

Here’s what went down…

First, Shai created a bunch of brand new websites just for this experiments. These were fresh domain names that had never been registered before.

Shai

He used generic stock images on some of the sites. And original images on others.

Stock image or unique image

The results were clear: sites with unique images outranked the sites that used stock photos.

Duplicate images .vs. Unique images

So if you’re using stock photos that a thousand other sites use, consider creating custom images.

This is something we do at Backlinko. And at least according to this little study, these original images probably helps us rank.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is HUGE for SEO.

Specifically, you want to link from high-authority pages on your site to pages that need a boost.

Internal link from high-authority pages to low-authority pages

When you do, make sure to use keyword-rich anchor text. Here’s an example:

Keyword-rich anchor text

With that, here’s the process that I use and recommend.

First, use an SEO tool like Ahrefs to bring up the pages on your site with the most link authority.

Ahrefs – Top pages backlinks – Backlinko

Then, add a few internal links from those pages to a high-priority page on your site.

For example, I recently wanted to improve our rankings for our press release guide.

So I added an internal link from one of our most authoritative pages to that guide.

Internal link in Backlinko post

Simple.

And if you want to see a great example of how to internal link on your site, check out Wikipedia.

They add LOTS of keyword-rich internal links to every page:

Keyword-rich links in Wikipedia article

Write Comprehensive Content

Google wants to show their users content that gives them EVERYTHING they want on a single page.

In other words: comprehensive content.

And if your post covers an entire topic, it has a higher chance of ranking.

Content topic authority (Marketmuse data)

And one of the easiest ways to make sure that Google sees your content as complete?

LSI keywords.

LSI keywords are synonyms that Google uses to determine a page’s relevancy.

I don’t go nuts about LSI keywords because I usually write REALLY long content.

(Long content increases the odds that you’ll naturally use LSI keywords).

But if you want to make 100% sure that you’re using LSI keywords, search for your keyword in Google and scroll down to the “Searches Related to…” area at the bottom of the page:

Google search – Searches related to

And toss any that make sense into your post.

Boost Your Page Speed

Google has stated on the record that page loading speed is an SEO ranking signal (and they recently made PageSpeed even MORE important).

According to our analysis of 5.2 million websites, you can improve your site’s loading speed by moving to a faster host.

TTFB performance among major web hosting providers (Desktop)

Removing as many third party scripts as you can.

Third-party scripts negatively impact page load times

And reducing your page’s total size.

Factors that impact fully loaded on desktop & mobile

Image Optimization

You want to give every image on your site a descriptive filename and alt text.

Alt text

This helps Google (and visually-impaired users) understand what each image is showing.

And if it makes sense, make one image optimized around your target keyword. So use a filename that includes your target keyword (for example, on-page-seo-chart.png). And use that same keyword as part of your image alt tags.

Alt text on WordPress image

Another reason to optimize your images for SEO: it gives search engines another clue of what your page is about… which can help it rank higher.

Put another way: when Google sees a page with pictures of “blue widgets” and “green widgets” it tells them: “this page is about widgets”.

Optimized images help search engines understand your content

Rank Your Content In Featured Snippets

Ranking in a Featured Snippet can make a HUGE difference in your CTR.

The only catch?

According to this industry study, you need to already be on the first page to have any shot of getting a Featured Snippet.

Where featured snippets tend to rank

Which means you need to find first page results that have a Featured Snippet AND you rank for.

To find them whip open Ahrefs, SEMrush or whatever SEO software that you use.

And find pages from your site that rank on the first page of Google.

Ahrefs – Organic keywords filter first page SERP

Then, filter for keywords that have a Featured Snippet already.

Ahrefs – Organic keywords filter featured snippet

Then, look at the Featured Snippet in Google for each of those terms.

Featured snippet in SERP

Finally, you need to optimize your content to rank in the Featured Snippet.

So if you see a “definition” Featured Snippet, then you want to include a short definition in your content.

Bounce Rate definition in Backlinko post

If it’s a list of steps or tips, then you want to make sure that your page structure is consistent.

Consistent page structure on Backlinko post

Voice Search SEO

Voice search is growing SUPER fast.

And the best way to optimize your content for voice search?

Create FAQ pages.

Our voice search SEO study found that Google loves to pull voice search results from FAQ pages.

Results which are FAQ pages

Now I’d Like to Hear From You

Conclusion

I hope you found this new on-page SEO guide helpful.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which tip from today’s post do you want to try first?

Are you going to front-load your keyword in your title tag?

Or maybe you want to rank in the Featured Snippet spot.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

  1. WHAT… AN… AWESOME… POST! Well done 🙂

    I plan to start a blog and this post has definitely helped me.

    Thank you for your hard work.

    Chuck

    P.S. Just checked who’s ranking for on-page SEO and I see this article on page 1 of Google. Well deserved 🙂

  2. Hey Brian, great reference guide — definitely my new go-to when people ask what to do for on-page.

    And I love that you called out the importance of unique content. So many people just look at what’s already working and do the exact same thing (only 10% better or longer). We need more unique content!

    1. Thanks Kyle. As the creator of The Skyscraper Technique, I do think there’s a place for content that’s better than what’s out there. That said, at a certain point that’s impossible or impractical. Or the SERPs demand something different. Which is where actual unique content (and not just “unique” in the sense that it passes copyscape) comes in.

      1. Oh, totally. It’s just amazing how often people think doing it just a *little* better is enough. Low-DA sites trying to out-rank incumbents with slightly better versions of the same content (and no promotion, either). Not a winning recipe.

  3. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the insightful guide as always! Really appreciate it as it is always helping my business immensely.

    Quick question – you have page A and B. You want to rank keyword “xyz” on page A, so is it a good SEO practice to link from page A to page B with “xyz” as an anchor text? Would that increase or decrease your chances of ranking “xyz” on page A?

    Or it would be better if you link from page B to page A with “xyz” as the anchor text if you want to rank that keyword on page A?

    1. Hey Milos, you’re welcome. You definitely want to rank from page B to page A with your target keyword in your anchor text. This tells Google: “Page A is the page on my site that’s most about that keyword”.

      1. Hey Brian,

        Many thanks for your clarification. I will make sure to do like that.

        Would you then say that it makes sense to link to the external high-authority website with your main keyword in the anchor text? So from the example above – from page A to high-authority external page with “xyz” as anchor text. Would that help page A with “xyz” as the keyword?

        Anyways, keep up the awesome work!

        1. Hey Milos, that probably won’t help you rank for that specific keyword. External links can help you rank. But if you link to another page on the same topic and link with “XYZ”, you’re telling Google: “This other page is actually about XYZ, which is why I’m linking to it”. Which is not ideal.

  4. Awesome guide Brian! I think that there’s a lot of evidence now to suggest pushing content above the fold is really important. Creating hybrid “featured image sections” like you’ve done with your guide here is something I wish more people were doing. It’s something that a lot of people don’t even consider, so it’s nice to see you’re including this in here when not many would have picked up on it if you didn’t!

  5. I liked where you gave example of wikipedia for internal linking. I was always confused about how should I go about internal linking.

    Not to worry now!

    Also, I liked the tip where you mentioned that high authority page can give other page good boost if it’s linked through high authority page using main keyword as anchor text.

    1. Thanks Tobias. For sure: on-page SEO has changed a lot. There’s more to take into account (Search Intent, page loading speed etc.) and to actually do. Hence why I wanted to produce a new guide to on-page SEO.

  6. Great article. Well-written, as always! Since Google recently changed how they display results on desktop, the “Optimize Your URLs for SEO” section is a bit out-of-date. Just thought you might like to know so you can make that update.

    1. Thanks Stephen. Do you mean Favicons next to the URLs? We have a screenshot of that new-ish style in the guide.

      Either way, with the new breadcrumb URLs, I still recommend the same best practices as before. In fact, they make kthe keywords in your URLs even more obvious.

  7. Your publish date on this article is today. Yet… there’s 20,961 shares on this post and you’re ranking #1 already. Did you publish new instead of just hitting update? Why?

  8. Hey Brian, another great post as always and mostly the tactics I am implementing on my site but there are a few things I probably need to go back through like adding the keyword in the first 100 words.

    My site has a low DA so if you were in charge would you target more specific long tail keywords around the 20-400 range that are likely to convert rather than build out a definitive guide say like this on branding but I doubt I would have the authority to rank on page 1 for big volumes?

    Alex

    1. Hey Alex, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’d actually combine the two: create a definitive guide on a long tail topic. That way, you have a good chance of ranking and create something that’s worth linking to.

  9. Great Information, thanks for the article, my boss paid a web company for SEO and they simply created web pages with no site links! “Orphan pages” I heard they were called. But a lot of articles say it’s actually bad for SEO…have you done any articles on this?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Andrew, you’re welcome. Orphan pages definitely aren’t ideal. You want internal links somewhere on your site to every page. But as long as you interally link (and ideally get external links too) to your orphan pages, you’re fine.

  10. Hey brian,

    Thanks for sharing this masterpiece with us. I believe on page seo and technical seo is the two main factors of ranking.
    And I totally agree with you that voice search is growing and everyone should focus on that.

    Thanks again brian.

    1. No problem. On-page SEO + technical SEO = the foundation. After that, it’s all about link building. And that pretty much sums up SEO in two sentences 😆😆😆

  11. Hey brian. This post is super helpful 😍

    I came to know about few new things that I was not aware about.

    As I’ve published a post on my blog yesterday for On-Page SEO.

    I will add new things learned from you once I will try and test it 👌

  12. Wow, I mean, you are the best, I have been trying to get a in depth in on page seo for a while now, this was very much helpful

  13. Brian, do you take deep dives into your Search Console and how it can be leveraged to inform your on-page? Your deep dives are no joke and I’d love to see how you approach Search Console. Thanks again for the amazing content.

    1. Hey Joe, it may be a while for that. It takes some time to turn these guides into PDFs. Please check back in a few weeks on the post and we may have a PDF version available.

  14. Excellent!!! We do most of what you pointed out. A couple of things we haven’t focused on… but will now. Top notch work and insights. Bang on from our experience as well.

    1. Hey Andy, thank you. It was tough to distill this HUGE topic into a single-page guide. But I tried my best to highlight the most important strategies that are working best right now.

  15. Hi Brian. All the time I’m reading your posts with interest. This time I found something new, which I have not tried it before. Let’s see…maybe will work. Cheers!

  16. Brian, another incredible comprehensive overview of on-site SEO for 2020. There is so much value from just focusing on a few of the basics here. If I had to focus, I’d start with understanding what Google thinks users who type in your keyword need, to get the search intent aka “Let’s see what the SERP says”, then crafting the right content to match up to that.

    1. Hey Robin, thank you. 100%. Sometimes you can get Search Intent from the keyword itself (“what is X” or “buy Y”). But Search Intent is mostly learning from the SERP.

  17. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for another amazing masterpiece in New Year. On page SEO is important factors to rank a website or a page. But the sad thing is people are still following the old tactics that aren’t effective anymore, I mean keyword stuffing like stuff.

    Most people are still believing in old SEO tactics that has died years ago. I hope this guide would shake them and will make to use advanced SEO methods.

    Thanks,
    Umesh Singh

  18. F.R.E.A.K.I.N.G T.A.S.T.I.C

    Brian, first you made this complex topic SIMPLE a couple of years back, now you gradually progressed to make this SIMPLE topic even SIMPLER to understand, accessible, and actionable.

    Well done… BOOKMARKING IT!!

    BTW I would like to append one short topic into “image optimization” that “image compression,” (don’t need to use paid plugins, I compress my images for free), here is a funny story that happens with me recently.

    Recently I published my new (power) article, which uses hundreds of images in it because I wanted to run my images through “imagify” compression algorithms to compress my images.

    However, before uploading any image to my website, I always use a free online image compression tool. But I wanted to compress it even further to increase my article load time As fast as it could be.

    But when I activated “imagify,” it didn’t even compress my image by 1%. Instead, it says, “well done; your images are already compressed as it best”… and it was for free, that made my day.

    So I wanted to let fellow readers know that online image compression tool I use. So they don’t need to pay for any premium plugins to compress their website images.

    Use these two image compression plugins before uploading images to your site.

    https://compresspng.com/
    https://compressjpeg.com/

    And you never need to use any other paid plugin.

    BTW Thank you brian for this brilliant article, loved it.

    1. Thanks Rahul. For sure: image compression is massive when you use lots of images in your posts (like we do here at Backlinko). Also: you linked to the same plugins twice there.

      1. Yes brian… it’s the same compression tool, but the first one is for compressing “PNG,” and the second the one for compressing “JPG.”

        I included both versions right there.

  19. Thank you very much, Brian, for such an in-depth on-page SEO guide. You are a “rock star” in the SEO industry. I learnt a lot of things from your blogs which are very detailed yet simple to understand for beginners and intermediate SEOs.

    Keep it up!

    Have a nice day!

  20. Hi Brian,
    I love your content. I have learned many pertinent tips.
    My website is image based because I am a photographer. Do I need to add a blog to increase my ranking? How do I get to the 1st page of search results without blogging?

    Thank you so much for your help.

  21. Awesome article, Brian!
    You start at the core, pragmatic and easy to understand, but you’re also going beyond the obvious-standard-SEO-know-how and make this article up-to date and really useful – even for SEOs!
    User signals, markup, title optimization, emotions to account for real user behavior… All of that makes the difference! Supreme content.
    Thanks!

    1. Thanks Matthias, you’re welcome. As you may know, this guide is based on one of Backlinko’s first posts (which was an infographic). Since then, on-page SEO has become 10x more complicated, with UX signals, new title tag optimization approaches etc. So I wanted to combine some of the traditional stuff with lots of new strategies and approaches.

  22. All tips are relevant and helpful as usual, i think you missed AMP features in page speed section, AMP is quite essential for content publishing website.

    1. Thanks Hannah. On-page SEO has actually changed very slowly and gradually. Things like UX signals, organic CTR etc. only came on over the last few years. And even then, they started as sort of fringe ranking factors and are now, in my opinion, central to ranking.

  23. Great article bro, I do all of the mentioned things but sometimes leave Image description empty. Will make sure to fill that in from now on as well. Thanks!

    Btw, in the “Have an active community” paragraph, you have written “the” I think it should be they*.

  24. Great post again! In relation to optimizing URL’s, isn’t it better to shorten the URL’s and therefore also exclude the subfolders? Or is that not relevant (anymore)?

    1. Thanks Jeffrey. You 100% want to shorten URLas as much as you can. But sometimes it makes sense to have subfolders. For example, it’s almost impossible to structure an ecommerce site without category subfolders.

  25. Thank you for the guide! Haven recently gotten back into content marketing, it’s useful to get a refresher on what’s important and new in on-page SEO. I really like the information you’re putting out. 🙂

  26. Well Brian, back in the days I used to follow your blog a lot, but now you’re just updating your old posts and in new articles, you’re just adding so simple tips and just changing the names like you changed the “keyword density” to “keyword frequency” you just changed the name as it will look cool. Also, in the last chapter, you just tried adding internal links to your previous posts, and just adding simple tips and naming them advanced tips? Literally bro? Now, you’re jsut selling your course and making people fool.

  27. Excellent on-page SEO tips and as always very useful in the real world! About to start a SEO review of our site soon and your article will be of great help. Thanks!

    1. Hi Mikael, thank you. For sure, this should really help you find ways to boost up your on-page SEO. Let me know if you have any questions.

  28. Hello Brian,
    Great content as usual.

    A quick question:
    What is the minimum limit for content length? I know that more than 190p words will be optimum, but it’s sometimes hard to write that long in some topics. Some say minimum 800 words would be mandatory for a good on-page SEO, some others 1000…

    Thank you and please keep up the great stuff!:)

    Lots of love,

    Cigdem

    1. Hi Cigdem, there’s really no minimum content length. It depends on the page. For example, a contact page can literally be 2-3 words. Obviously, that’s kind of an edge case but I think you see what I mean. If you’re trying to rank a piece of blog content, I’d focus on covering the topic in-depth, which usually required at least 500 words, if not 2k+. Hope that helps.

    1. Hi David, you’re welcome. I’ve actually been using those templates for the last few months now so I thought it would be useful to share them in this guide.

  29. Really well-written guide, Brian. Thanks for addressing headings and keyword frequency. As a content developer, I was over-cautious, but finding the same thing you did- use them as often as they fit naturally, performance improves, and stuffing is a non-issue.

    1. Hi William, you’re welcome. For sure: the headings are more about UX than SEO. Although, because they help with UX they can indirectly help with SEO too. They’re a win-win!

  30. Wooh! Such great insights Brian.

    While I have been focusing on on-page SEO for a while, I had not approached it from various perspectives that you shared.

    Relevancy is such a big deal when it comes to Search intent.

    Integrating YouTube SEO is also a good approach to setting your content apart. However, you need to ensure that your Video is very useful as well.

    It all boils down to writing the best content that you possibly can, then optimizing it so that it’s 2 times better than content that’s already ranking, and finally ensuring that it meets the on-page irreducible SEO minimums.

    1. Hi Mysson, thank you. Well said there. That’s basically on-page SEO in a nutshell. As you said, the key is to make sure that it’s actually meeting people’s needs. If not, then you may want to change things up. This is something that we do ALL THE TIME at Backlinko and it really seems to work well.

  31. Hi Brian, I read many things I know and use. But this really helps me because it’s a beautiful overview. I still have a printed version of you On-Page Seo checklist on my desk. It helps me check and focus on on page SEO. I admit, I am a fan of your work. When do you come over to the Netherlands? 🙂

    Thanks Guido
    * Now quickly putting some quality outgoing links on a customers site 😉

  32. Thank you, the first 5 sections I worked with before, which is the right way, now I’m going to focus on Sections 6 and 7, What I want to say you are a wonderful person.

  33. Hey Brian, thank you for your brilliant guide. great job! may i ask a question? concerning the Title tag:

    If your keyword is “restaurant new yorck” or “pizzeria rome” or sth like that can i write “Restaurant in New Yorck” or “Pizzeria in rome” or is it a problem since it is no exact match?

    specially in other countries it oftens sounds very overoptimized for Google if you write “Pizzeria Rome” in the title tag and the h1 tag and in the text etc.

    is it a problem if i add an “in” there like “Pizzeria in Rome” or is it a must to take the Pizzeria Rome” Version in the text, the h1 and the title tag? thanks a lot 🙂

    1. Hey Jance, happy to help. I’d look at the SERPs for that keyword. If they all use exact match, I’d do it even if it doesn’t read well. But if there are a few outliers that use “in”, go ahead and do that. Either way, Google cares less and less about that sort of thing so an “in” won’t make much of a difference.

      1. On that note, I’m wondering how Google can even tell a stock image from a custom image if they cant even read images, only file names and alt text – which can easily be changed. Please explain.

          1. On that topic, have you experimented with adding something to a stock image so it is not identical to other people’s images?
            I like to add plants or artwork on the wall if it is an inside shot but I’ve done things like add photos that look like a cover on a laptop, etc., too.

  34. Really nice guide Brian. As always, top class and easy to read/digest.

    We are working on a huge causation experiment for 2020. Will send you a sneak preview when its finished.(Around June 2020)

  35. What an excellent post! I was surprised to see that stock photos are a negative. I’m guessing that this is one of those “all things being equal” factors and that better text will win over original photos. But I’m going to share it with my team and see if this is an area where we can improve.

    1. Hi Rebecca, that’s my feeling too: it’s not a make or break factor but might be a tiebreaker if two pages are otherwise tied.

  36. Hey Brian, nice post but you have mentioned that we should add external link for ranking, this is good for blog but but how can one add external link on e-commerce category or product page

    1. Jayesh, you probably wouldn’t want to add external links to category pages. But product pages can have a few external links.

  37. Awesome!! Time to reasses my onpage seo!

    Since a few days I am experimenting with static site generator for my wordpress blog. I have a secure subfolder where I have my live wordpress site and it generates a static version to my public folder.

    Pretty neat trick to increase speed and thus onpage seo? I am only still looking at the redirection stuff. Because it does not uses my .htaccess but has some strange header redirection which is bad for seo..

    1. Hi Tim, thanks. I’ve actually heard that more and more people are doing that to speed things up. I haven’t given it a try yet though.

  38. Brian, excellent as always.

    Still getting great results from using brackets and parentheses in title tags.
    Will look into those clickable phrases too…

    Regards.
    Marcus

    1. I wouldn’t worry about keyword density. If you ctrl +f “Keyword Frequency” on this post I’ll explain how that works.

  39. A well done, succinct presentation of on-page SEO. I booked marked it.

    It’s largely the only SEO component a website owner can exercise complete control. There is really no excuse not to do it well other than it takes a lot of work.

    Darn, there’s always a catch.

    1. Hi David, thank you. There’s also technical SEO. But you’re right: it definitely takes work! Especially with all the changes in how on-page SEO works.

  40. Another great guide! Thanks for the awesome work. Definitely learned a lot about SEO from you in the last year. Keep the great guides coming!

    One thing, I found a typo in the section ‘Wrap Subheadings in H2 Tags’ – you say ‘at least once subheading.’ You mean probably ‘one.’

      1. But you can optimize for featured snippets, right? Since query understanding is super important for featured snippets, would the BERT update make sentence syntax more important for snippet optimization?

        I love your articles, by the way! You consistently post such awesome content.

  41. Photos have importance to images and ranking. Note you never see blurry out of focus pics shown in Google images (another potential source of traffic to your site).
    You touched on valuable content, but what about the same content that is translated to another language? Does Google consider it as your own?

    1. Hi Craig, for sure. Nice images are great all around. It depends on whether or not your site is seen as the original author.

    1. It depends on the image. If it’s an image of coffee, you can take it with your phone and its free. But if you want a pic of the top of Mount Everest, that’s gonna cost ya 😄

  42. Well you wrote well, but i have a news website and for that i have to use new keywords and sometime it is difficult to use thaw keyword in top 100 words. Secondly how can I create my own images of news? I have to take those images from someone where.
    Third, my website is connected with google webmaster tool and sometimes google index is 300 sometime it is 100 I didn’t get that.

    1. I’m not sure the “keyword in first 100 words” rule applies to Google News. But I don’t know much about how Google News works. In terms of images, not sure there outside of having someone on the scene.

  43. This is an amazing resource, thank you for all the effort you’ve put into it.
    I have been considering custom images for a while now. I noticed you have seriously upped your site design game, I always notice and appreciate the featured images, graphs and screenshots. Do you have any tips for creating your own featured images? (no budget for a graphic designer). I used to use Canva a few years ago but the free version is now too difficult to use. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hey Andreea, thank you. The process depends on the type of image you want to make. For screenshots, you can use a free tool called greenshot to get started. But graphs and illustrations (like we use to start off each chapter) do require designers in my experience.

  44. This is a great post! Many of the things you say might seem obvious to some, but sometimes it´s important to hear them again, so we don´t loose focus. This guide couldn´t be more clearer and easier to understand, and this comes from someone who´s not a native English speaker. Great work and thank you!

    1. Hi Daniel, you’re welcome. I’m glad you learned some new stuff and got a refresher on things you may already be doing.

  45. It took me more than 30 minutes to read this because I am absorbing all the tips that you shared for on-page SEO. Oh, by the way, I’m a big fan of yours. I am an SEO specialist from the Philippines and want to learn more especially that every day is a learning process in the world of SEO.

    Thanks Brian!

  46. Freaking awesome, clarify a few things to the new era of SEO. Downloadable PDF would be a great resource as well…
    Thanks for a great article.

  47. Hey Brian, This blog post was extremely useful for me and cleared every doubt’s that I had about On-page SEO.
    However, I need expert guidance on getting backlinks for one of my site (makepassportphoto.com) where you can create passport photo online as per the countries requirement. from what I described, you can clearly say that this site is for a more specific set of audience, in that case, how can I built backlinks for that site?
    Some of my competitors use grey hat technique to build links for their site. In that case, can I follow their techniques or is there any other ways to build backlinks for a site which is for the audience of a specific niche

      1. That was really a fast reply from you. It was sooner than I expected. love the way how you are committed to your audience. By the way thanks for your tip I’ll go and check on that.

  48. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for post.

    Although I have a question about content length.

    Most of my competitors articles which rank on the fest page are short articles (I’m in the gardening niche).

    So take an example about lawn scarification.

    There are articles about ‘how to scarify’, ‘when to scarify’, ‘what to do after scarifying’.

    These articles are 600-1,000 words.

    I went in with a 3,000 word ‘ultimate guide‘ and didn’t even come close to ranking.

    So how would you tackle this?

    Thanks

    Ben

    1. Hey Ben, it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on in that situation because content length is only one of 200+ ranking factors. So it could be that your content is too long. Or they have more links etc. That said, I’d generally go with whatever User Intent the SERPs tell you. So if that’s shorter content, maybe try to mirror that.

      1. Thanks Brian,

        Kinda what I thought.

        I’m in the process of breaking the bigger articles up into smaller pieces so I’ll see what happens!

  49. Hi Brian,
    Awesome content as always. This info will be very helpful to me, especially the tip on optimizing for voice search. Voice search is mentioned all the time, but until now I’ve never seen anything about how it works!

  50. great post like usual. I can not be bored of your content Brian, even if you repeat, it is always good to reread and redo what we already know.
    CTR, is the game changer recently…
    Snippet , integrate a description or a list, can really do the difference.

  51. Hi man,
    Your posts are just too awesome. I wish I could write something like that. And hey, everyone knows why you rank. You are one of the most value-providing writers in the niche!
    (Plus the other SEO stuff obvio). BTW, make sure you keep up the good work. Goin’ to share this article and gonna wait for your next.

    1. Hi Davide, for sure. That study was super interesting. Even though the sample size was small, it was a well-controlled experiment which means the data is probably valid.

  52. This is great Brian Dean, but i felt you would add these words to the list “Create Lenghty Content” as an On-Page Signal… Or isn’t it considered On-page SEO?

    Great article tho

  53. The depth of this post is miraculous, though I would love to see something focusing on local SEO since almost every SEO article online approaches local the same as a site like backlinko which doesn’t make sense.

  54. Hello ! Thanks for this guide it’s perfect as a check-list ! I have one question about writing compréhensive content. I cant seem to figure out if i should cover all questions about a topic in one article or write one in-depth article about each question / aspect of the topic ? Thanks 🙏

    1. Hi Sophia, it depends on the topic. If each question addresses something different, than I’d create a new page around each one. But if they overlap a lot, then I’d cover them on one page.

  55. Thanks for the post. I am following you on Youtube and reading your blogs everyday and I recently noticed you are focusing on helping people to get YouTube views and subscribers. But you are missing YouTube’s major algorithm which is Browse Features i.e. featuring on homepage. I came to know about this algorithm after applying it myself on Youtube. However, I would love to share a conversation with you to tell you everything about this feature.

    P.S. I dont want any link or stuff.This is just from a true fan of yours.

    Cheers,
    Avinash Ahluwalia

  56. Hi Brian, thanks for the great article. Do you think it’s worth leaaving cloudflare and stick back to my Aussie based host “crazy domains”? Also, any free seo plugin that you recommend for a small wp website in 2020? Cheers

        1. Thanks Calvin. I honestly think TF-IDF is a little bit overrated and complicates things. As long as your keyword frequency is good you’re set.

  57. Hi Brian? I can call you like that right? Cause I just joined today

    Finally I found a website that has a lot of guidelines about SEO, hopefully reading all the guides here can make me better at running SEO, coincidentally I’m looking for a super complete SEO guide, it turns out it’s all here, by the way I’m from Indonesia, unfortunately the SEO guide Indonesia is not as complete as Backlinko, it might be difficult to learn a few words, because my English is not very good, but calm down there is Google Translate who is ready to help: D

    And thanks for all guide, I hope I can read all of your guide and apply that guide to my website to get lots of visitors.

  58. Great post, Brian!

    The point about using stock images really stood out for me as that is what I have mostly been using all this while.

    Any recommendations on the providers that one could consider for custom images?

    Thanks,
    Jack

    1. Hey Jack, thank you! You could always hire a graphic designer to create illustrations (that’s what we do here at Backlinko. The Angel list blog and helpscout blogs do the same thing).

  59. I really want to start creating FAQ pages, and I’m hoping that someone builds a WP plugin to make it easy for us non-techie types. I read Neil Patel’s guide on the topic, but the more technical bits just went over my head.

    1. Hi Priya, that would be an awesome plugin! I’m actually surprised Yoast or RankMath haven’t added that feature yet.

      1. The Magnificent Mr. Dean,
        I’ve been trying to understand whether adding FAQs that I can add to pages with shortcodes that end up duplicating some content (because I use the same FAQ on multiple pages, like basics that apply across the board for psychological content that I write about) would harm SEO or be considered duplicate content?
        I have a lot of information that I currently repeat in new words — basics of stress management skills, etc.
        But I don’t want to use them if it will decrease SEO.
        Thanks for any help you can provide.
        Jeanine

        1. Hi Jeannine, I’d only use them if they really make sense for the topic of that page. In other words, I’d add little FAQ pages to each post where it makes sense vs. a sitewide one that can cause duplicate content issues.

  60. Hey Brian! Thanks for post.

    Although I have a question, would this technique work if your industry or service is related to say gambling/betting etc.?

    1. You’re welcome, Mitchell. I honestly don’t have a lot of experience in those industries but I think Google’s algorithm is fairly consistent across different niches.

    1. Thanks Greg. Yeah, that page doesn’t have a high keyword density in the original sense. But it has enough keyword frequency + LSI for Google to figure out what the page topic is.

  61. What a great post-Brian.
    I have a basic question, why is it important for a content writer to write 3000 odd words, why not 1000 words with the relevant keywords?

    How does it make an impact?

  62. Hello Brian,

    Thanks for writing such a wonderful and informative article on on-page SEO. I really enjoyed your well-researched writing. I am a regular reader of your post. Keep going with the same. Thanks again

  63. No-doubt, this is the definitive guide for onsite SEO in 2020 but I was expecting that you will share more information about internal linking like silo structure and how many internal links we can use in a page because each internal and external backlink get the value equally from a page if you are not using nofollow relation.

    Thank you so much for helping us.

  64. Brain, This article is really awesome and well written in simple words. I am following this practice and decided to give a session on “On-Page SEO by Brian Dean” to my team.

    A big round of applause for your hard work.

  65. All Hail, Brain 🙂 Thanks for the detailed post once again. I am an avid reader of your blog and used all your tips and tricks so far to improve website ranking.

    I have a question related to voice search based on your suggestion that we should create an FAQ page separately on our website.

    What if I add FAQ box at the end of my targeted page with FAQ schema. Will it work? Could you provide more detailed insight into optimizing targeted pages using FAQ for voice search?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks

    1. Hey Ravi, I honestly don’t have a ton of experience yet with FAQ schema. But I am confident that FAQ sections or dedicated FAQ pages help with voice search.

  66. Hi Brian. I saw your video on YouTube for On-page SEO and then I came to your website to read the entire content. Though old school tricks are still working because of too much information, people are not practising them. They search for new things that have been advised by an industry leader.

    It is always “optimise for users, not for bots”.

    IMO, sticking to the basics and implement them in innovative ways can help the content to skyrocket on search engines.

    Really enjoyed the read. It brushed up my memory. Thanks a ton Brian :).

  67. Hey Brian, Well explained, I just wanted to let you know about the on-page factor I have a question like if our domain authority is High then deep pages rank well or not. either we need to create a specific page-wise backlink needed for rank.

    1. Hi Alena, having a high domain authority will definitely help deep pages rank better. Whether or not you need backlinks to those deep pages depends on the keyword. If the keyword is super competitive, you usually need high DA + backlinks to rank.

  68. Hey Brian,
    I really like you emphasizing on real images instead of stock.
    Stock images have become so mainstream that they look dead on pages, on the other hand, I’ve tried using real images and videos on pages and seen that those pages look more inviting to the people like it’s the most humane site.
    Great post overall!

      1. I mean to ask which software or tools do you use to create these stunning graphics like a web browser and one more ques which tool do you use to take a screenshot and highlight them.

  69. Great piece of Information Brian, as every article of yours. I just started with the Skyscrapper technique yesterday. Sent outreach mails to a few including you😄.Hoping for positive results.
    KEEP SPREADING KNOWLEDGE!!!

    Thanks,
    Nasmeer

  70. Hey Brian! Epic post as usual!

    However, I have a request:
    Can you make a guide for regular E-commerce sites instead of blogs?

    E-commerce websites a lot of different challenges than a blog, like:
    Keyword cannibalism, duplicatea/boilerplate content, where to target a keyword – product page or collection page, and so on.

    The world desperately needs a Backlinko special on E-commerce SEO!

  71. Hey Brian, Again another mark! Waiting for it’s video soon 🙂

    Brian can you please help me about how to resolve these two most famous webmaster error?
    1- Text too small to read
    2- Clickable elements too close together

    Note: I do each and everything which google mention in their support guide but still stuck in error.

    Your prompt response in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
    Have a good day!

    1. Hi Alex, I’m not the best person to ask because I’m not a developer. In my experience, those GSC errors are sometimes errors. If you resubmit I find that they are magically “fixed” more times than not. So it might be worth trying that.

  72. Nice article Brian.

    I have question,

    Are there any special provisions for adding outbound links? for example the number of words the article must be 1000 words to be given 1 outbound link, or how?

  73. About stock images used on website.
    My company started another project and that is Travel Agency for companies (incentive travel etc.). As we are offering travel around the world, almost everywhere, in our offer we were not able to use our own photos. We can organize a travel to Indonesia, Bahamas, Vietnam, USA, Australia, but we haven’t been there yet personally, so we had to use stock photos. Now it’s about 70% stock and 30% our photos. We will change this pictures in the future, but for now we have hands tied…

    I know it’s not ideal, but sometimes there are not many options left.

    1. Hi Grzegorz, I wouldn’t stress too much about that. According to that study, original images can help. But I don’t think it’s a super important ranking signal. More like a bonus if you’re able to do it.

  74. This is my badluck that I did not find this post 6 months ago. Really it was Awesome post…

    What you think, on page SEO is easier than off page SEO or not?

    My friends say off page SEO is very easy while on page SEO is very hard..

    Thanks..

  75. Hey Brian,

    This post is literally amazing and I learned a lot of things from this.

    I have a doubt which I mentioned below.

    I have seen that many bloggers are using review schema on their “informational posts” is this good because I think review schema will be good for commercial or transactional topics.

    What do you think about it?

    1. Thank you. I’ve seen that too. I’m with you: that’s pretty spammy and not really what review schema is meant for. So it might work temporarily but it’s risky because, if you get caught, Google may just start ignoring legit schema on your site.

  76. Another useful article. I own a danish website with useful tips and tricks for WordPress, and I miss the featured snippets part on all my ranking keywords.

  77. Another great guide – thank you Brian.

    I just only want to say that thanks to Brian’s advices I managed to put my small blog about indie games for Nintendo Switch very high in SERPs. For some keywords it’s even #1, where I over ranked big gaming sites 😁

    So if someone is thinking if it will work for them, I can assure that Brian’s guides are the best ones that will help you 🙂

  78. Hi Brian

    I have a page created in the mould outlined above that is around a year old. I’ve just updated it slightly as it seems to hit a ceiling at around page 5 in Google for my target term “polycarbonate roofing sheets”. I realise you are busy, but could you or the guys on here have a quick look and perhaps offer me some quick advice/point out something that I have perhaps missed please? The page is here https://www.omegabuild.com/polycarbonate-roofing-sheets

    Much appreciated,
    Steve

  79. Hi Brian,

    I read somewhere that google introducing new feature called “slow warning badges” for slow websites.. Is that true ??

    1. Hi Sumit, I read that too but they haven’t started rolling that out. It was more of a future Chrome experiment they were considering testing out.

  80. Thanks for sharing these million dollars on-page SEO hacks to all SEO ninjas.

    Now, I need to do more on-page SEO study because of the competition in the SEO industry will be high.

  81. A superb article……….
    Thank you Thank you very much for it.
    I will implement first Use “Question Title Tags” Technique.

  82. This guide is only talking about SEO for blog type pages. I would be happy if you could include topics about e-commerce webpages, and how to rank products without blog pages.

  83. Hey Brian, Long time follower, first time commenting. How you continue to knock it out of the park with every post is beyond me. This is an EPIC on-page guide that I’ll be referring to over and over.

    I was wondering if you have any thoughts you can share about tools like Surfer and POP and their role with On-Page SEO? Pros or Cons?

  84. Must say one of the best posts I have read about on-page SEO. Everything is explained in a simple manner, I mean without much of technical jargon!
    For the Featured Snippet tip, I have a question (and hope I don’t sound stupid!). Can’t we simply do a google search to find the No.1 post already ranking for a keyword and optimize my article accordingly? I mean this is for those who can’t afford an expensive SEO tool!

  85. Hi Brian,
    Great article. Do you recommend manual internal linking or is it ok to use a plugin? I’m using a plugin, because the plugin will catch all my keywords in various articles, but is that still ok in 2020? Thanks!

  86. Hi Brian, I am Makis from Greece. A huge fan of backlinko.
    I would add to you amazing on page seo list :
    – a table of content, its really awesome how important is.
    – caption to images
    – call to action buttons

    Pls consider make a post about black hat seo technics or what to avoid. It’s the other side of things. It would be also interesting to know not only what to do but also what not to do 🙂
    Many thanks for creating always something amazing,
    Cheers,
    Makis

  87. Damn, What a blog, You never fail yo mesmerize with your content, Our whole team at HIcentrik follows you and your words of wisdom in the SEO domain blindly.

    and yes thanks for adding that generic stock image point – That’s something really serious.

  88. Thanks Brian – great post!

    One question regarding URL structure. My eCommerce store runs on Shopify which has a fixed URL structure that’s a bit convoluted.

    Apart from changing platforms, is there anything you’d advise to address this?

    1. Hi James, I’d just make them as simple as you can. Long URLs aren’t ideal but they’re not the end of the world either.

  89. The updated article looks great! I intend to work on ‘above the fold’ and ‘internal links’. Some questions:

    1. For above the fold on service pages, do you recommend to put a ‘call to action’ button above the fold? Would it be too salesy ?

    2. For home page, do we still need to do internal links as there’s already menu links to different important pages?

    1. Thanks Cheefoo. 1. I definitely recommend that. Nothing wrong with being salesy on a service page 🙂. 2. As long as you link to key pages that link to other pages, you’re great.

  90. Hi, Brian

    Great Post. I have a question for you? Which host do you use?
    I am currently facing page speed loading problems on my website. I want to migrate my website to WPENGINE. Do you suggest WPENGINE as a good host?

    Cheers
    Jatin

  91. This is all good info. But the fact is that Google gives priority to high authority sites, such as yours and this is why it was so easy for you to doll these. Maybe you can do a post for new sites which have low traffic, links and DA?

    If I want to rank for a keyword ‘graphic design tips’ it will be very hard for a low traffic site because high authority sites are already ranking for this. Good luck bitting them! Will take lots of time and money.

    And by the way bounce rate is not a ranking factor. Not all sites have Google Analytics installed for Google to determine the bounce rate 🙂

    1. Hi Edmon, Yup, it’s not easy for a low authority site to rank for a competitive keyword like “graphic design tips”. Which is why you should target long tail keywords that aren’t as competitive.

  92. Awesome post you shared here. I’m a regular reader of your blog. Let me clear one confusion.
    Is it necessary to use the table of content for a niche site?
    Actually, I don’t see anybody to use it on a niche site.
    Thanks a lot.

  93. Another amazing SEO blog post, thanks Brian! So informative and visual, and all of the information is up to date and relevant to 2020 🙂 I use your guides to train my in-house team and look forward to the next one.

  94. Definitely a guide to follow, based on the number of positive responses above and the sheer amount of incredibly valuable info.

    Thank a lot Brian for the splendid article!

  95. Great post as always. We often think we are still right at the beginning of the affiliate marketing journey (just 1 year in to it) but looking at your post we are doing 90% of the things you suggest so maybe that is why it is going so well (and maybe we got 90% because we acted on what you suggested for 2019 !)
    Thanks for the informative content.

  96. Does anyone else agree I no longer conform to google or any other engine..cant have a 1000 garages getting top pages with same SEO…get with it..how asinine are people…Plus google is taking away your artistic look of how YOU want the site to look..not stupid should just go away google

  97. Brilliant article Brian! I just wrote a long content recently and i did all those tips you mentioned here. Lot of them very new and happy to learn atleast now.

    Keep up the good work.

  98. I always like how comprehensive you are in your articles, very detailed. This is more of a book than an article. You also have unique tips one won’t see in other blogs. I have gained so much from your videos and articles. It is from your posts and videos that I understood the concept of backlinks. I always look forward to your next post.

  99. Hi Brian,
    SEO is not my area of expertise. But it was a good read thoroughly. I was actually searching for SEO tips for fiverr gig and eventually, I found this amazing article. Is there any article of yours, where you guided about fiverr gig SEO? Though this article seems pretty good for gig SEO but please assist me if there is a specific article about fiverr.
    Thank you very much 🙂

  100. I did some on-page SEO a long time ago but after that, I was tasked solely to do off-page and link building for years. Now I am doing both, I just couldn’t ask for a better on-page refresher (and also an updater) than your post, so thank you very much, Brian!

    I would just like to ask, is there a minimum and maximum of internal links within a landing page/blog post? If so, what is the best SEO practice in terms of ratio for internal links:content length?

    1. Hi Anthony, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and picked up a few new ones (and a refresher of some old stuff). There’s really no set number. It depends A LOT on the page. Some of my posts have 4 internal links. Others have 25+. It depends on how many times it makes sense to add an internal link to the page.

  101. Hi Brian,

    This post provides me a great checklist to know if I am doing my SEO right or not. However, pushing my content above the fold seems difficult to me. Won’t that deopnd on the WordPress Theme I use? Do you have any suggestions for free theme that can help push content above the fold?

  102. Thanks Backlinko for the good content!

    I have been following your on-page SEO skills to optimize my blog posts. It really works, especially LSI keywords! I started with those LSI keywords with lower competition and moved on with those with higher competition. I also talked to users to put their first-hand experience into the content. I’d say this unique content makes visitors stay on my website longer and make the content more in-depth. The length of my blog post has increased to almost 2000 words from 500 only in the beginning. I also put up an awesome infographic.

    Although it’s a long process, I am happy with the result. Next step, I’ll try to implement FAQ snippet to improve CTR! It’s a very good idea

    1. Hi Christina, we still need to see how that shakes out. So far it’s looking like only a small decrease and its still better than ranking out of the top 3.

  103. Great post Brian? Always good to check up on your on page SEO. Will you be updating the snippet CTR advice based on recent changes? Also, is it still debatable that CTR is a ranking factor?

    1. Hey Trevor, thanks. I still need to see how the FS changes impact CTR. To me, it’s not debatable that CTR is a ranking factor (but that doesn’t stop people from debating, LOL).

  104. Awesome Brian! I was wondering if there can be too many internal links on my site:
    I use a theme (Soledad Magazine) that automatically creates for every new post an internal link to every existing blog post on my site with a featured slider.
    Asking the publisher of the theme they said, Google can differentiate from an “selfmade internal link” and an “automatically created internal link made by my theme”, so this should not be a problem.
    What do you think?

    Thanks and all the best,
    Martin

      1. The creators of the Soledad Theme told me that Google as an intelligent algorithm can differentiate between an automatic link by the theme and a selfmade internal link done by me.
        What do you think? Could this be an issue for me or is Google really that smart?

  105. This is amazing, Brian. Thank you for sharing. Each of your blog posts great courses on their own. It takes time to analyze and put them into use. How do you manage to share so much value for free all the time? Cheers.

  106. Hi Brian,

    Amazing guide. Really loved it!

    Questions – usually all guides refer to sites with pages that include a lot of content. Long articles. over 1000 words guides. etc.

    What about sites that deal with short types of content, such as news updates, questions and answers, Trivia sites, jokes sites, Pinterest style, etc. All the content on these pages is very short.

    How you address the thin content issue?

    1. Hey Ed, that’s true. In that case, I’d try to think of ways to bulk things up. For example, one of the reasons that Quora crushed other Q&A sites is that they had lots of in-depth content on each page. But in some cases (like Pinterest) it doesn’t really make sense. There are others like the ones you pointed out where this epic approach may not make a lot of sense.

  107. Google still (and recently) confirmed that LSI keywords are not a thing. No doubt they look at similar phrases (the bolding of similar words testifies to this), but perhaps advising people on LSI when Google themselves state there’s no such thing, isn’t the best idea.

    1. Hi Robb, to me, LSI keywords are related words and phrases. I’m not one to get into semantics about what things are called. But the concept is the same.

  108. I have read your all Hubs – SEO Hub, Content Marketing Hub & Youtube Hub. Its amazing!

    But now this topic, actually I want to say that, in the whole SEO, On-Page SEO is my favorite part. And this post has cleared my all doubts related to On-Page SEO.

    Thanks Brian Dean!

    Waiting for Next Post?….I hope this will be in few days:)

  109. Hi Brian,
    All your posts are awesome. One thing I would like to ask, do you create a framework or any type of outline and then fill that one by one. I see that all your content is structured neatly and everything flows so smoothly in your article. Thanks once again for this amazing guide

    1. Hi Vikram, the key is to outline your post before hand. And have a few “go to” frameworks that you use againa nd again.

  110. Hi Brian it’s a noob question – does the “put main KW within top 100 words” strategy work only for onsite content/article? Or it this still useful for off-page article/guest-posts etc.?

  111. This is really in-depth and thorough. There are strategies here that I don’t even use and I need to implement ASAP.

    Thank you for the amazing content, Brian!

  112. Hi Chris,

    I am new to SEO so this might sound a bit stupid.

    Does Google value keyword frequency more than keyword density? They both give a measure of how many times one is repeating a keyword, but keyword density can be tricky when writing long-form content?

    For example, in your YouTube SEO article, you repeated ‘YouTube SEO’ six times. The prescribed keyword density I find other SEOs touting is 1%. That means, in a 32,000-word article, I’ll be mentioning YouTube SEO 320 times, which really seems a lot.

    Thanks for this long article. Really helped.

  113. Hi Brian,

    Again a nice article..
    It would have been great if you had gone little more depth for readers who are ready to step up from beginner level. It won’t complicate for beginners as well

    For eg: Importance of outbound links but how does follow and nofollow affects on-page seo, SILO or relevant interlinking vs random interlinking.

    Thanks!

  114. Thanks for the masterful work Brian, brilliant – and just getting better. Just some quick questions please – my sales pages are mostly long-form, beginning with information about the topic, before scrolling down to the ‘product-related’ info towards the bottom of each page. My 2 questions are…

    1. are combined ‘information / sales’ pages, which have a number of PayPal payment buttons, still OK in regard to SEO?

    2. Would it be a good idea to convert some of the standard ‘payment process’ info at the bottom of these pages into an audio file – so there is zero duplicate text whatsoever?

    Many thanks Brian.

    1. Thanks Craig. Honestly, I wouldn’t put much effort into ranking long-form sales letters. It’s not a good search intent match for most keywords. Instead, I’d create pages that target informational keywords.

      1. Many thanks Brian, appreciate the lightning fast reply! Sounds like I best separate the info from the sales pages, and develop that info into pure articles. With this in mind, would you recommend if its OK to have:

        1. a PayPal button at the base of the article (to purchase a relevant product), or
        2. an internal link to the relevant sales page
        3. or both?

        Cheers Brian.

  115. Came here through a link from Coursera course “Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals”.
    They link quite many pages, but this one really stands out and is fun to read. I love the number of images that nicely split the text into smaller, easier to digest pieces.
    I wonder however – when I first came here, I scrolled a bit down and by looking at the scroll bar, I thought that there will be A LOT of content to go though. Not that I don’t like long content, but it was a bit discouraging.
    Now, I still started studying like a good student, but towards the end of the post I realized that the post itself is actually not that long and the scroll bar also includes the comments part!
    This made me think how many people might be leaving pages because they think the content is (too) long for their need, while actually the content might be shorter. Any thoughts on this and how to go about it? ??

  116. As always brilliant stuff 😀 packed with lots of helpful tips. Thanks for all the hard work you’ve been doing while teaching us how to do SEO the right way, it’s greatly appreciated :)!

  117. Really really good and extensive article. (I’ve saved the link ;)) Btw I didn’t know about the URLs. And header tags tip will also help hopefully. Nowadays I’m creating backlinks for my site. But one thing I was not cleared about was outbound links. Will act on that one right on. Thanks for the article.

  118. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for sharing this information. As you know SEO is never ending learning process but in my opinion quality content and relevant content is the main factor for top rankings. Link building and content marketing is the another factor. But to achieve better ranking there is no doubt that your website should be technically sound.

    I do agree that next big thing would be Voice Search. Also, is it still debatable that Exact Match Domains is a ranking factor?

    Cheers.

  119. Great post, thanks! I’m doing my internship in a SEO company. Well this article provides such a vast information which will be very useful for future reference to me. Also,is featured snippets is not recommended after Google recent updates?

  120. As mentioned, it is very important that the user is presented with information at the beginning. That’s why I designed my website so that on the left you can see a product image and a list of the advantages and disadvantages of the product. The text begins on the right. This means that the reader has all the important information at a glance and can get started with the article text.

  121. Hey Brian. How do you think, should I worry about h1-h6 tags structure?
    I mean, The perfect headlines tags structure is:
    h1
    – h2
    – h2
    — h3
    — h3
    – h2

    etc.

    but, Right now, in my site I have unstructured headlines.
    h1
    h3
    h2
    h2
    h4
    etc…

    Should I optimize that?
    Thanks

    1. Hey Andrew, I don’t think H tags are a huge deal. But ideally it would be
      h1
      h2
      h2
      h2
      h2

      You usually don’t need to even use H3, H4 etc.

  122. One of my pages ranks for several very low competition keywords (0-8 in ahrefs) but only at about #7 spot. One of these keywords gets 800 searches / mo!

    Yet the page isn’t specifically optimized for these keywords, there’s just an H2 header and some text.

    Should I create a dedicated post just about these keywords for a chance to get a better rank?

    Thanks!

  123. what a great topic, thank you Brian for this awesome useful content, your style of writing is so good it makes me feel like I’m sitting and talking to you face to face.

  124. What an amazing post brian. I got one question here. So, you advised adding keyword-rich anchor text for the internal links. But when I tried doing the same by using Yoast, it showed me an error in the red signal indicating that it is not good to add exact keyword phrases to the anchor and should be avoided. Brian do you think it will be still effective if I make my anchor text partially keyword-rich?

  125. Hi Brian,

    You say that Push Content Above the Fold. Does this include the table of content? Would it be a problem if the table of content is just at the beginning of the content?

    thanks

    1. The table of contents can be below the fold. You just want some content above the fold so there’s something for visitors to read right away.

  126. Hey Brian,

    Nice guide here. It is really working out well for me.

    I see you recommend H1 and H2 tags as they go a long way. What if they would make the content look uneven?

    Say you have a theme that uses a small font size and then add the H1 tags. Wouldn’t that show unprofessionalism?

    What is your advice on this?

  127. I love all of your posts but I was looking for a really good post on SEO. Can you recommend anything extra those in the health coaching industry can do to improve further?

  128. Hey Brian,

    which is a better URL structure according to you?
    example.com/reviews/ubbersuggest
    example.com/reviews/seo-tools/ubbersuggest
    example.com/ubbersuggest-review

    Btw great Post.

  129. Sorry but I don’t understand your TTFB graph. What do the colors actually mean?? Green means fast according to your label, but the percentages and size of the bars mean what? Are the lower percentages faster load times? Is Siteground faster or slower than Github??

  130. I literally have this article open automatically when my computer turns on and thought it was about time I thanked you and your team for the great info.

    Love your stuff!

  131. This guide is awesome. I am still trying to wrap my head around the correct internal linking within the website and avoiding black hat backlinking. It still seems all of the competition does it… Thanks Brian!

  132. Hi Brian, I’m an “old school” SEO who’s been out of the game for a good 10 years.

    Back in the day we would try to put the exact match keyword in the H1 title and url etc. even if it wasn’t very grammatically correct.

    eg. “best content marketing boston”.

    How do you handle scenarios like this to still rank for that keyword without making your page titles, url’s and tags look like they were written by a 5 year old?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Bradley, I’d look at the top 10 results for that keyword. If they’re getting away with a more natural phrasing, I’d do that too.

  133. Hey Brian,
    I am just starting with my blog which is about the education system in India.
    I’m working on an article dedicated to top schools in India.
    My focus keyphrase is – top schools in India
    But, my subheadings are in form of – top schools in city 1, city 2
    Yoast SEO is saying your focus keyword is not getting mentioned
    What can I do? This is my first article
    Can you give any advice about what I must do

  134. Amazing content Brian, I really liked the CTR pointers and specially where you mentioned using a question mark in the title. But will it not be ok to have them in the FAQ schemas section, what do you think ?Would you recommend using tools like answerthepublic for building up content schemas while doing onpage seo ?

  135. Hi, Bryan! This is awesome. I just have a question. Will it hurt or help my site if I wrap my subheads in H1 tags instead of H2? The platform I’m using is not the kind that automatically adds the H1 tag to the post title.

    Thanks!

  136. Hey Brian,
    This post is literally awesome and I learned a lot of things from this.

    I know the image “ALT” tag helps on-page SEO but does the title of the image help on-page SEO?

    What do you think about it?

  137. Thanks so much for making these awesome guides available! I love what you are doing!
    I made myself a checklist and was wondering if it would be ok to publish this on my blog, obviously crediting you for the content and linking to your article?

  138. Brilliant guide Brian – thank you.
    Does it count against your SEO efforts, if all your text on a page is wrapped in an H1 or H2 tag?

    Thanks
    Mike

  139. Hallo there Brian,

    I am kinda new with the whole seo aspect of websites and I was wondering if font size of the content really matters.

    Assuming you have content with small font size that readers won’t be able to read might cause a bad user experience for the visitors and lower rankings. What are your thoughts on this?

  140. Hi Brian,

    You say it’s better to avoid zombie pages and merge content, that can be merged, in the same article.
    However, it’s, in my opinion and experience, more efficient to have an article dedicated to each very specific topic.
    For example, our company sales 4G SIM cards for yachts. Shall we make a huge article saying we sell SIM cards with each of our eligible countries in a paragraph under an H2 title? Or shall we make an article per eligible country? Therefore the country’s keyword, associated with “4G SIM cards”, will be inside URL and title tag.
    Making a dedicated article for each very specific keyword/topic, but increasing our number of pages related to the same overall topic.

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

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