16 On-Page SEO Examples That Will Rock Your World!
On-page SEO is a skill you must master to compete in any SERP of today.
There are far too many websites online and too much competition to even hope to get by without superior content optimisation for a given keyword.
So it’s clear you need to learn on-page SEO, but where?
Why not from Google themselves?
Of course, they won’t ever tell you how to rank, but the answer hides in plain sight.
In other words, Google loves the sites it ranks, so I will go one on-page SEO element at a time, and I will show you examples in the wild along with explanations of why something works and best practices for that on-page piece of the SEO puzzle.
Get ready to be blown away by a mountain of usefulness, and let’s go!
Why is On-Page SEO so Important?
Google is a machine whose algorithms run on some serious math.
Google is a machine whose algorithms are millions of baby algorithms, all working together, all governed by some mind-boggling math.
Google is a machine that cannot read. They can “read” content, but only as machines do, by counting keywords, exact matches, partial matches, entities, LSIs, word stemming, TF’IDF…
In other words, to hammer it home, Google can’t read, and your job as a webmaster is to give Google something they can parse and understand quickly.
And you do that with on-page SEO.
Here’s precisely how.
16 On-Page SEO Factors You Need To Optimise Your Pages With (+Examples)
Note: this will not be yet another on-page SEO content that lists the same regurgitated stuff you probably read a million times already.
No, the unique value of this post is that each tip is followed by an example found in Google, often ranking very highly for their target terms.
Let’s learn from the winners, shall we?
#1- SEO Title (Meta Title)
SEO titles are the blue links you see whenever you type any Google search.
For example, when I type “Belfast graphic design agency“, I quickly see Inkbot Design ranking near the top of page 1, immediately below the map pack.
The blue link is an SEO title, and it’s the most important on-page SEO element by far (fun tidbit: this is somewhat ironic because meta titles don’t appear on the page itself, but they do appear in the page’s code, put there by your SEO plugin of choice).
I have two simple rules for writing excellent SEO content titles:
- Always include your target keyword verbatim (it’s the strongest relevance signal you can serve to Google).
- Make your title ~60 characters long, or ~600 pixels.
How about an example from my site?
My Link Whisper discount page ranks number #2 for my target query:
Can you tell me which query I’m targeting with that article?
Yes, it’s a “Link Whisper discount”.
My SEO title is keyword-rich AND short enough to be displayed in full.
Pro tip: When writing SEO titles, never include just your target keyword and nothing else. Why?
Because it looks spammy like that and because the web user won’t be compelled to click.
Including a target keyword is crucial, and you should never write a clickbaity title at the expense of having it optimised for search;
But you also need to include additional words to make it more palatable to humans.
Some of the best phrases to include in the content are sentiment words.
Google says they don’t use sentiment in search, which might be technically accurate… but sentiment words are often a prerequisite for appearing in particular SERPs.
For example, Adam Connel understands the sentiment nuances in different SERPS.
His page includes the word “best”, which is a crucial reason it ranks number #3 for this pretty competitive query.
As proof of this concept, you can see in the image above how the phrase I searched for in Google is “social media contests tools” without “best”.
But Google knows what people want, and so does Adam.
I guarantee you that if he were to replace “best with “worst”, his rankings would plummet in a few days regardless of how much authority that page has.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, the address where your web page lives.
It is also a solid on-page SEO ranking factor that we can use to tune our pages to rank higher.
Similar to the SEO title, I have two rules when optimising URLs for SEO.
First, they need to be short. Shorter URLs are proven to have an edge in the SERPS.
Second, the exact match keyword in the slug gives you that SEO boost we crave.
How about an example?
This roundup of best webinar software targets the term “best webinar software”
How do I know?
Because besides having the keyword in the headline and content, it also has the exact match phrase in the URL.
That helps it rank higher.
#3- Meta Description
Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor. But they’re still super important to your rankings.
Because they influence CTR, Google measures CTR by favouring sites with above-average CTR relative to their ranking position.
If you craft a better meta description, you will get more clicks in theory and rise higher in the SERPS.
So you CAN apply SEO to your meta description, but what does it all mean? And how?
It means that you:
- Include your target keyword inside the meta description;
- Keep your meta description under the 160-character limit.
- Include trigger words that compel people to click. Trigger words are also called power words.
- Promise a tangible and speedy benefit + include a relevant CTA.
How about an example?
Inkblot Designs’ post on optimising images has this meta description “Check out the Best 5 Ways To Optimise Images For Better Web Performance in 2021 – Follow the Inkbot Design Blog for more Tips and Tricks.“
And it shows in the SERPS.
However, Google occasionally ignores your meta description and writes something they think is more relevant to the query typed into the search bar.
Here’s an example from Visme’s post on infographic link building.
Their meta description is: “A step-by-step guide to building high-quality links with original infographics.”
But look at what’s showing in the SERPS.
Google is not honouring their description in the slightest.
How to beat this?
If Visme folks wanted to have their meta description show up in the SERPS, they’d need to rewrite it and hope for the best.
They also need to include their target keyword inside the description because Google will then see it as more relevant to the query “can you create links with Infographics”
There you go.
I truly hope you can see there’s a method to my meta description madness 🙂
#4- H1 Tag (True Headline)
I call this on-page SEO element a true headline because SEO titles can also be considered headlines.
Well, h1 tags are true headlines because they appear at the top of your post content and are visible to the users.
And h1 tag is the third most crucial on-page SEO factor (after SEO title and content).
So it pays to optimise it.
First, you don’t have a character/pixel limit as you do with SEO titles. So you can go all out.
Second, headlines must be written with humans and robots in mind.
So it’s not enough to just include the target keyword.
Instead, you need to make it descriptive and compelling so that more than 20% of all visitors proceed to read from your headline onto your content body.
Finally, you do need to include your target keyword verbatim inside your headline.
But since you have room in spades, you can also target other keywords.
For example, this post targets the keyword “social media posting tools.”
But take a look at their headline.
It’s “8 Extraordinary Social Media Posting Tools for 2021“
So, their main keyword is “social media posting tools”.
But they also added extra words to give their title a bit of pizzazah, and they added 2021 as a keyword modifier to capture even more traffic.
#5- Keyword in the First Paragraph (First 100 Words)
This is an old 2007 SEO “hack” that still works.
Including your keyword early on tells Google that your content is about keyword X, so they better rank for it.
The perfect keyword-crumb trail for Google to follow is:
- Keywords in meta title;
- Keyword in meta description;
- Keyword in URL;
- Keyword in the headline;
- Keyword in the first paragraph;
For example, here’s how this blog post on best Photoshop alternatives craftily inserts the exact keyword in the first 100 words.
Pro tip: occasionally, the keyword you’re targeting is so long and clunky that it’s impossible to include it verbatim in the first paragraph.
In that case, partial matches are your new best friends. Include the partial match keyword and make it as close as possible to the exact match, and you should be fine.
For example, this post targets the keyword. “How Many Blog Posts Do You Need Before Traffic Comes In?”
And there is no exact match in the first paragraph of the content. But there is a partial match, which is good enough for SEO purposes.
#6- Keyword Frequency
Keyword frequency is the term that designs how many times a target keyword appears on the page.
It is not the same as keyword density, a term that designates the percentage of exact and partial match keywords that appear on the page.
Keyword frequency is important because it reinforces what your page content is about to the search engines.
How to fine-tune KF?
Use your competition’s best values and add 10% on top of it.
For example, let’s say I wanted to rank as “top website builders.”
Then I’d need to go through the first 3-10 results and see the exact keyword match count for each page, extract the average and add 10%.
Pro tip: too many instances of one keyword are called keyword stuffing and spam, but too many are pretty far off, and there is a middle ground between too few and too many, and it’s called optimal keyword usage.
For example, this Quicksprout post targets the phrase “top website builders”, yet it has zero instances of the exact match keyword on the page.
If you wanted to break into this SERP, a significant advantage for you would be to write an article that is similar in length to theirs, but that uses the keyword 10-15 times naturally.
I know 15 times seem like this, but it’s not if you’re creative just a bit.
Quicksprout doesn’t need to use their keyword 15 times because they have so much link authority, but if you were to use it, it’d instantly make you significantly more competitive, and your chances of ranking would be much greater.
Remember, Google is looking for the most relevant result to rank, and often whoever says it most is the most relevant result in the eyes of Google.
#7- LSI Keywords
LSI keywords. Some say they exist; some say they don’t.
Who to believe?
I say it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether LSI exists. What matters is that the concept behind them is valid.
Going back to the beginning of this guide, I mentioned that Google is a robot that counts words and can’t read them.
One particular type of word they count is LSI.
But what are these?
First, they’re not synonyms, as nearly everyone on the web is repeating on autopilot.
Instead, they’re words that go together with target keyphrases and give them meaning and context.
For example, LSI’s of the word “kitchen” are no other ways to say the kitchen.
Instead, they’re words like:
- Kitchen table;
These words give context to “kitchen” and are true LSI’s.
How to find LSI keywords?
Use a free service called LSI Graph. Input a target keyword, and it’ll mine LSIs for you.
How to Use LSI Keywords to Optimise a Page?
First, you can take the keywords that can flow to your article and make them subheadings for your posts.
Pro tip: choose keywords with decent search volume because you’ll be optimising your article for them too.
Second, use the “lesser” keyphrases to sprinkle them in your post, giving context to the search engines and making for a better read for the visitor.
How to See if LSIs are Important for Ranking for a Given Query?
I’d say that LSIs are always crucial because including them improves your content.
However, some queries appear to be more critical than others.
As you write, you’re naturally going to be including LSI keywords, but to check whether it’s worth going out of your way to include them, you need to see how your competitors use them.
The best way to do it is to use specialised on-page SEO software like Page Optimizer Pro, Cora and Surfer SEO, which I recommend.
It’ll save you loads of time.
However, if you can’t afford those tools, the next best thing is to go to your competitor’s pages and see how they use LSI keywords.
It’s a slow, painful, manual process that goes like this.
Let’s say, for example, I wanted to rank for “how to create an email list”, and this guide from Email Benchmark is my direct competitor:
Next, I need to go to the LSI graph and see which keywords are LSI’s for “how to create an email list”.
Then I’d need to take those phrases one by one and do CTRL+F to see how often it’s used on their page, if any.
It’s a tedious process that’s almost not worth it because you won’t be checking only one keyword but potentially dozens.
Entities are the new thing in SEO, the new, TRUE holy grail that solves all your ranking woes for good.
Except that they’re not.
Entities are just another layer of complexity to the insanely complex Google algorithm.
But what are entities?
Entities are well-defined people, concepts, things, and events that can map onto the Google Knowledge Graph.
For example, Lost Angeles is an entity.
So is Roger Federer.
So is the Moon.
So is Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Entities and the knowledge graph as a whole are a new way for Google to deeply understand the comprehensiveness of any piece of content on the web so they can rank it appropriately. They’re a new way for intelligent web admins to optimise their content.
How to Add Entities to Your Article?
Luckily, there’s a free tool from Google that can help you extract entities from any article.
Here’s how it works:
I wanted to rank as “best NPS software” in search engines. It’s a money term, a buyer keyword, and if I got to number #1, I’d make much money off that article.
And I think entity optimisation will help me achieve it.
Then I’d look at the results Google gave me while focusing on those with super high salience.
Those are the topics I need to cover to be super optimised from the entity standpoint.
Again, entities as an SEO concept are a few years old, but this is cutting-edge SEO, even today. If you start to optimise your articles around them, don’t be surprised if you rank noticeably higher.
Subheadlines are super important for your SEO and web users.
First, they give your article structure and make writing a breeze.
Second, keywords in subheadlines wrapped in h-tags 2-6 are a significant on-page ranking factor.
Third, the subheading structure sends relevant signals to Google and helps it understand your page as a whole.
Fourth, proper subheading structure helps you get selected for featured snippets and in passage indexing.
Finally, proper heading structure is super important for the user because almost all of them will skim, and they need those subheadlines to see what your article is about and hopefully stay on to read.
How to Optimise Subheadlines for SEO?
Here are some basic guidelines:
- Repeat your target keyword once in one of your subheadlines;
- Embed related keywords in other subheadlines;
- Don’t repeat the same keyword in different subheadlines;
- Never write just your target keyword as a subheadline – add filler words to make it more palatable;
- Use power words to get people to read that section of the page;
- Use a table of content so users can jump to the section they like best.
How about an example?
This page on Inkbot Design targets the phrase “social proof in marketing”, and here, one of their subheadlines is “why is social proof important for digital marketing?”
Filler words separate keywords, but Google “gets it”, and there’s definite SEO value there.
Pro tip: as mentioned earlier, subheadlines turn into clickable links inside a table of content usually perched at the top of the page.
This usability feature also has some SEO value as it helps keep people longer on pages, and higher dwell time is a potential Google ranking factor.
#10- Internal Links
Internal links are hyperlinks that point within your domain.
For example, this is an internal link pointing to the Inkbot Design article on branding.
Internal links help with SEO in 3 significant ways.
First, they help with site crawlability. Google spiders follow links to render and index pages.
If your site is well linked to and accessible to Googlebot, you will get indexed quickly and get faster rankings.
Second, internal links distribute PageRank across your site. PageRank algorithm is arguably the most famous (and most important?) of the whole Google algorithm. Not to get too much into that complicated topic, the more PageRank a page has, the higher it ranks in Google.
And you can use internal links to funnel PageRank from one part of the site into another and from one page into another.
Third, internal links help web users discover more of your content. This equates to more sessions, higher dwell time, more subscribers and more sales, whether through direct affiliate links or exit intent pop-ups of sorts.
I love internal links and hope it shows in my writing:)
How to Optimise Internal Links for SEO?
This topic is worthy of its own blog post, and we can’t go too deep into it here, but here are some basic guidelines.
Follow these, and you’ll be safe and effective most of the time.
- Always use keywords with internal links. You can’t get penalised for it, and it’s a wasted opportunity if you don’t.
- Exact match internal links are powerful;
- Keyword-rich internal links help more when ranking for long-tail phrases instead of short ones.
- I don’t have an insane number of internal links per post. This dilutes PageRank.
- More internal links pointing to the same page increase the amount of PageRank passed.
- Relevant internal links are the strongest.
- Irrelevant internal links still pass PageRank, but not relevance.
- Removing unnecessary internal links from a page makes other links stronger and more effective.
And I could get on and on. But these tips will serve you well.
About Internal Link Anchor Text
Internal link algorithmic and manual penalties are non-existent. I never heard of anyone getting penalised because of aggressive internal linking, and I spent 20m searching the web for stories of it ever happening.
I couldn’t find them.
In other words, feel free to be aggressive with internal anchor text and every internal link not having a keyword is a wasted opportunity.
But you also need to be clever with internal anchor text, meaning you need to know precisely the keywords you’re targeting for search engine ranking.
The longer the keyword, the less competitive it is, and internal links will have more potent effects.
For example, this page internally links to their edX and Coursera reviews using anchor texts “edX” and “Coursera.”
It’s a wasted opportunity because they don’t want to rank for those brand names. Instead, they want to rank for reviews of those platforms because that’s where the buyer’s internet traffic hangs out.
#11- External Links
External or outbound links are hyperlinks pointing to pages outside of your domain.
They’re links from site A to site B, page A to page B.
Contrary to what you might’ve heard, external links also help with SEO, albeit more indirectly.
For example, there’s proof that Google uses them as on-page signs of high-quality content. According to the study I linked to in the previous sentence, pages linked to authoritative domains consistently ranked higher than pages that didn’t.
Also, outbound links help you build relationships in the industry, which results in getting more links for free in the future.
What do I mean?
Well, links are like currency on the web. All webmasters that know what they’re doing covet and crave more high-quality backlinks.
So, when you start being generous and sending backlinks left and right and then letting them know about it, they will remember your name, brand, and that you did them a favour.
Over time they’ll start to link back to you unprompted, and BAM, you have a link-building machine in your hands,
That is one of the more creative ways to promote your blog, as it’s counterintuitive.
Common wisdom would tell you to hoard links and PageRank for yourself, while blogs that do the opposite tend to prosper and fast too.
Pro tip: if you want to be clever about it and a blogger you want to connect with, make sure you find a target page they want to rank and then send them a keyword-rich anchor text link.
Because the effect on their SEO will be much stronger than if you sent them a generic anchor link.
So when you reach out to tell them you send them a precious gift, you can bet they’ll be looking for ways to return the favour, and pronto.
I’ve used them and can sing praise for both tools all day.
Here’s a template you can use:
There you go. You can be sure your email will put a smile on their face.
No examples here because I’m sure you know what an outbound link looks like:)
#12- Have a Hero Image
What are hero images?
The hero image is the primary image for the post, often perched at the top of your article and leading into it.
Here images are aesthetically pleasing, but for SEO purposes, you need them because they serve to carry your image SEO.
What do I mean?
You usually do image SEO for the entire post on one image only.
On your main hero image.
That way, you reap the benefits of image SEO and are not spamming your other images with out-of-place keywords.
Search engines can pick up on spam and lower your rank.
Here’s an example of a hero image on this Inkbot Design post about the best Canva alternatives.
Pro tip: no need to pay for a designer when creating hero images. A free Canva account will do just fine.
I have no artistic talent, but I could create some decent hero images for my blog.
Canva also lets you reformat your images for sharing on various social media platforms.
This is a beautiful feature because featured images on social media are proven to get more clicks.
I recommend you use Canva for Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and Instasize for Instagram photos.
#13- Image Filename
We’re now veering into image SEO proper. Image SEO helps you rank in Google Images.
But what might surprise you is that properly optimised images also help your page rank higher in regular Google searches.
The first element you need to optimise is the image filename, which is dead simple.
The first image on your page, usually the header/hero image, must have its target keyword as an image filename.
For example, this Inkbot Design post targets the keyword “technical SEO audit”, and its image filename is how-to-technical-SEO-audit-step-by-step.
This is very nice, and this does help the page rank higher in Google and Google images.
Whereas this page could work a bit harder on its Image SEO.
Their post’s title is “Google Ads Quality Score: What Is It & Why Should I Care?” The hero image file name is “SEO-blog-testing-1”.
Pro tip: image filename can be written in dashes or underscores. Always write it in dashes as Google can’t understand names written with underscores.
#14- Alt Attribute
Alt attributes are not an SEO feature. They’re a UX feature, text added to images so blind people using screen readers can know what the image is about.
As a webmaster who wants to accommodate every visitor on their site, even people with disabilities, you need to add alt attributes to every image. Still, as an SEO, you need to optimise your first image for any SEO value you can get.
Here are some tips.
- Include your primary keyword in verbatim in your hero image.
- Use related keywords in subsequent images.
- Don’t spam inside alt tags because Google can easily detect it.
And that’s pretty much it. Alt attributes are a tiny on-page SEO factor, but when competing for tough keywords, every little bit helps.
Here’s an example:
#15- Image Title Attribute
Adding image title attributes is something rarely an SEO does.
I don’t know why.
Google does index them, and they do contribute to your keyword usage on the page.
I like to use my exact target keyword on my hero image title, and then I use synonyms and LSI’s for other images.
This helps optimise my page for my main keyword in both Google images and regular searches.
Most web admins either forget or don’t know about image titles.
That is an easy opportunity to sneak in one more exact match of the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
In competitive SERPs, every little bit helps and here, this site uses image title attributes to stealthily and naturally increase their keyword usage on their review page.
#16 – Use of Videos
By using videos, I mainly mean using YouTube videos.
How do YouTube videos help with SEO?
First, having a video on a page is a (very) weak signal of quality.
Second, embedding a relevant video has a similar effect as linking to relevant articles on the web. It boosts your page’s relevance scores.
Finally, having a video that people watch naturally boosts your dwell time. When Google notices that people stay longer on your pages than on your competitors, they will reward you with higher rankings.
For example, yesterday, I was reading about forbidden guitar riffs. The topic was so interesting that I had to watch the embedded video on the page and spend roughly 20m on it.
I’m sure Google took notice of that and gave that page an SEO boost.
Pro tip: using relevant YouTube videos is just fine, and it works, and you should be doing it most of the time.
However, it’s not the most effective because YouTube videos are accessible to the masses and played out.
If someone has already watched the video you’ve embedded, they won’t watch it again, and you’ll miss out on potential SEO benefits there.
The solution is to make your own videos for the most important posts.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of free video editors on the web, and it’s only a matter of your preference.
For example, I use Bitebale’s tools (linked above) to create a quick video for my coffee niche site.
Bonus – the Importance of Website Speed
Yeah, I’m including site speed as an on-page ranking factor.
Because it is on-page.
Yes, it’s technically invisible, but it influences how the page loads and everything on it.
Website speed is a small SEO factor but a significant CRO factor.
According to Google, just a 0.1s increase in speed can boost conversion by almost 10%.
Nothing to sneeze at, agree?
How to speed up a slow site?
This topic to too large to cover here, but basically, you need:
- A super-fast host (I’m on Cloudways cloud hosting and loving it).
- Excellent caching plugin (I use WP Rocket, which is repeatedly voted by the community as the best caching plugin for WordPress.).
- CDN (I use CDN Bunny).
- Additional bloat removal plugin (I recommend Perfmatters).
Finally, don’t build your site on the wrong blogging platform.
For example, Blogger is super fast (because it’s served over the Google Cloud) but lacks customisation features.
Self-hosted WordPress is reasonably fast out of the box but can be slowed down with excessive plugin use (still the best CMS to use);
And Wix and Weebly are known to be slowpoke website builders that add unnecessary code to their websites.
Pro tip: speed is super essential for e-commerce websites. Web users are in a hurry to buy and are used to Amazon, which serves dynamic product pages at equally incredible speeds (hosted with Amazon AWS).
So it would help if you had the speed to compete, so I recommend cloud hosting to people starting e-commerce sites today.
I recently did a speed audit of my entire site, using the tools mentioned above; I got fantastic load speeds for my site.
Here’s how one of my heaviest pages performs in GTMetrix.
Have I seen a ranking boost?
It’s too soon to tell, but I love how my site is so much faster. The dashboard is also much faster, which helps me work more on my site as I don’t have to wait for the slow WordPress to load.
Note: you can hire a freelancer from a marketplace to optimise your site for speed or learn it yourself.
I recommend the latter simply because it’s evergreen knowledge that will be useful for you in the future, not just this one time.
But if you’re strapped for time, then go with the former. But do something.
Site speed is critical.
I will start my conclusion similarly to my introduction to this gigantic post…
On-page SEO is a skill you must master to compete in the SERPs of today and the future.
The competition is just too fierce not to be doing everything you can to succeed.
And on-page SEO is the basic stuff good rankings are made of.
Learn from the examples you saw above and get cracking, but not before letting me know how much you liked my post.
Author Bio: Nikola Roza is crazy about SEO, and you can tell it simply by reading his articles. Visit his blog If you want to read some insane SEO theories that will keep you up at night. You won’t be sorry that you did, and your upcoming insomnia will be 100% worth it.