OnPage Optimization

OnPage Optimization describes the part of search engine optimization that consists of the technical and structural elements of a website, as well as the content. OnPage optimization is also known as OnSite optimization and this is a supplement to OffPage Optimization. Together, they form the search engine optimization and are therefore significant to the success of a website. The goal of OnPage optimization is to sustainably improve the search engine rankings of a website through improvements to the technology, content and structure, and thus improve the visibility of a website in the search engine, and at the same time to increase the usability of the website.

Elements of OnPage Optimization[edit]

OnPage optimization is made up of different elements, which can be categorized into individual aspects. Essentially, the aim is a technically perfect website that can load quickly, and has the best, most individual content to a certain search term. The content should satisfy the needs of the user regarding their particular search query, whereas technical and performance aspects ensure that the content can be crawled and indexed optimally by the Googlebot and search engine crawlers, and can be consumed by the user perfectly on any device.

Relationship between OnPage and OffPage optimization[edit]

OnPage optimization should always precede the offpage optimization, as the build up of backlinks is less efficient without an optimized and solidly functioning landing page. It also takes constant monitoring of the website In order to permanently keep up the website’s degree of optimization.

All relevant on page factors are listed here according to website area.


URL and website structure[edit]


Normally, a URL’s length is not regarded as a ranking factor. It still matters for search engines, as it can affect the crawling. Experience shows that short URLs are preferably clicked on in search engine rankings than longer ones. Because of its simplicity, a short URL is moreover rather being linked to other websites or recommended via Email or Word of Mouth.


The closer the keyword to the domain name, the better the subpage’s ranking regarding the keyword. An example on this: the site “website.com/keyword” will rank better than the site “website.com/subpage1/subpage2/keyword”.


The nearer the Keyword is to the domain name, the better the ranking of the subpage for the keyword. This rule has been publicized for a while now in SEO circles. However, the existence and position of the keywords in the URL is not as relevant. For users and search engines, keywords are however important for the orientation on the website. Im combination with the keyword focus, the most important keyword in the URL makes sense.

Click depth[edit]

The click depth describes the click path, which indicates how often one has to click on a website from the homepage to reach the desired content. Every link which is not shown on the homepage of a website is called a Deep Link. The longer you need to navigate the page, the bigger the click depth. From the point of view of search engine optimization, the recommendation is for a shallower click depth, and thus a short click path to the different subpages, as this makes the website more understandable to readers and search engines.

HTML Head[edit]


The Title Tag, also called Meta Title, is the most important Meta element within a website as it is almost always used as headline in the SERPs. At the same time, the title is relevant for the rankings. That’s why the title tag should contain the central keyword of the landing page or the appropriate keyword combination.


The Meta Description does not affect the ranking in search engines. It can however be used to increase a website’s traffic via the SERPs, as the the description can be featured in the results as a snippet. The snippet gives a short description of the website in order to provide insight into the content. It’s important here to display all keywords in bold. That’s why including the keywords into an appealing text makes a lot of sense here in order to catch the user’s interest, and to animate the user into clicking via a Call-To-Action.


Especially with large website projects, the Canonical Tag should be taken into consideration. When there are many subpages on a website, it can easily happen that the same content is published more than once under different URLs. Consequently, a URL which the webmaster had not intended for a particular keyword can rank. Possibly, so-called "Ranking canibalisation", in which a website ranks to many keywords with many URLs, but none of these pages ranks well. The Canonical tag shows search engines which URL the canonical is, and should be favored.

HTML Body and Text[edit]


In one of his videos [1], Matt Cutts (formerly Head of Webspam at Google) responded to the question in 2013 whether synonyms of keywords should be included into the text. In general, he recommended the use of synonyms but not to overdo it. Today, content optimization can be implemented using the TF*IDF formula.


The Heading Tag (h1 to h6 in HTML) allows browsers, search engines and screen readers to recognize headlines. Search engines and users can categorise and gather content better using the heading-tags. Generally, it is recommended to use just one h1 tag per URL, and to integrate the main keyword of the website here.


The ALT Attribute is used in order to attach alternative text to media such as images or videos. This is necessary as search engines can’t process such files. Alternative text is also required for visually impaired visitors of a website so that a screen reader can display a medium’s meaning. The ALT attribute has turned out to be significantly related to high rankings. That’s why it is recommended to include an image or another medium on every important page and to mention the keyword in the ALT attribute. Here too, it shouldn’t be overdone as search engine might detect an excessive or random use of keywords in the ALT attributes which would then result in penalties.


A certain amount of a website’s traffic can be generated through image search. That’s why an image file should be named meaningfully and contain the keyword.


Both bold and italicised keywords in a text can be slightly involved in a website’s ranking. Webmasters should therefore meaningfully highlight texts with keywords or combinations of terms in a way readers benefit from it.

Internal Links[edit]

While the website’s subpages are usually reached via an overall navigation, there’s also the possibility to point to the next subpage via internal links. These internal links offer a good opportunity of optimizing subpages. As no Spamfilter exists for internal links, anchor tags with the main keyword of the homepage can be linked "hard".

Crawling and indexing[edit]


In order to ensure that all desired areas can be visited by the Googlebot, the complete website should be crawlable. The Robots.txt-data can be helpful in this sense. It gives crawlers instructions to follow when accessing the site.


Using the Sitemap.xml, all URLs of a website are deployed and stored in the Google Search Console]. In this way, all URLs of a website can be conveyed to google. The probability that these elements can all be crawled and indexed therefore increases.

Technical aspects[edit]

Page Speed[edit]

The loading time of a website increases its usability on the one hand, and on the other hand a quickly loading website is a possitive ranking signal for Google. Within the scope of onpage optimization, it is recommended to keep file data and server requests as low as possible.

Mobile Optimization[edit]

Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor for Google. For this reason, on page optimization also consists of the improvement of a website for mobile end devices such as smartphones.

Continuous work[edit]

OnPage Optimization is, as an important element of search engine optimization, a process. Many aspects of the optimization are based on year long experience and the constant improvement of the Google-Algorithms. Webmasters and SEOs always have to be testing their Status Quo and analyzing their own websites continuously in order to offer the best website.


  1. Should I incorporate synonyms for important terms into my site? Accessed on 04/29/2015