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 significant to the success of a website.

The goal of OnPage optimization is to improve the search engine rankings of a website through improvements to the technology, content and structure. Onpage optimization should improve the visibility of a website in search engines, and improve the website's usability.

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.

Positioning the keyword[edit]

The closer the keyword is to the domain name, the better the ranking of the subpage to the keyword. This rule has been propagated in SEO circles for a long time. The presence and position of keywords in the URL is no longer as relevant as it used to be, but for users and search engines, keywords are still important to orient themselves on the page in terms of content. In connection 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 many clicks are required to reach the desired content from the homepage. 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]

Title tag[edit]

The title tag, also called meta tag, 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.

Meta description tag[edit]

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 description is featured as a snippet. The snippet gives a short description of the website to provide insight into the content. It’s important here to display all keywords in bold. Keywords should be incorporated into an appealing text to catch the user's interest and encourage them to click via a call to action.

Canonical tag[edit]

canonical tag should be used, particularly by large websites. When there are many subpages on a website, the same or similar content often ends up published more than once under different URLs, for example a print version, or category pages.  Consequently, a URL which the webmaster had not intended for a particular keyword can rank. This can also lead to keyword cannibalization, in which a website ranks to many keywords with many URLs, but none of these pages ranks well. The canonical tag indicates to search engines which URL the canonical is, and should be favored.

HTML Body and Text[edit]

Applying synonyms[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.

Heading tag[edit]

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.

Alt attribute[edit]

The ALT Attribute is used 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. However, it shouldn’t be overdone as a search engine might detect an excessive or random use of keywords in the ALT attributes which would then result in penalties.

Naming image files[edit]

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.

Bold / italic[edit]

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 a navigation menu, it's also possible to refer to a subpage via internal links. These internal links offer a good opportunity of optimizing subpages, for example by including the relevant keywords in the anchor texts

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-file is useful here. It gives crawlers instructions to follow when accessing the site.


With a Sitemap.xml, all URLs of a website can be deployed and stored in the Google Search Console to convey all websites of an URL to Google, making it easier for Google to crawl and index these pages.

Technical aspects[edit]

Page Speed[edit]

The loading time of a website increases usability and is a possitive ranking signal for Google. File sizes should be kept as low as possible to improve the website's page speed. 

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.

Server Availability[edit]

The server must be available at all times for a website to achieve good rankings and to be visited by the Googlebot and users. OnPage optimisation therefore also includes monitoring the server accessibility and, if necessary, optimising the server.


A very significant area of OnPage optimization is the continuous improvement of website content. This includes text, images and videos. Texts should be unique and perfectly satisfy the search needs of the target group, and keyword stuffing should be avoided.  It is also important that text elements are clearly structured, for example with subheadings and h-tags.


OnPage optimization is an important element of search engine optimization. Ultimately, many aspects of optimization are based on many years of experience and the continuous improvement of Google algorithms. Webmasters and SEOs have to check their status quo again and again and analyse their own website continuously to ensure their websites are functioning perfectly. Google offers tools such as the Google Search Console and Google Analytics to analyze websites. With digital assets like the Ryte Suite, providers like Ryte enable a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of all relevant OnPage factors.


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