On page SEO: How and where do you apply keywords?

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

The terms SEO and keywords are being used more and more often. If you want to be findable online, there is no way around it nowadays. In this article we tell you what these terms mean and how you can apply on page keywords yourself.

What is on page SEO?

In short, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a form of search engine optimization that aims to make your website rank higher in the search results of Google. With on page SEO you optimize specific pages to increase their findability. You do this by using keywords. Keywords are the words on which a specific page should be found. When you use these keywords in the right way in your pages, you will be found sooner in Google when someone searches for them. If you are going to start with on page SEO, you must first determine what keyword the page needs to be found for.

Where do you apply keywords?

Once you have determined the keyword your page needs to be found for, you will start optimizing your page for this keyword. Google places the most value on words that appear at the top. Therefore, in on page SEO, it is always recommended to optimize your pages from top to bottom.

Meta title

In on page SEO optimization, the best place to start is with your meta title. This is the most important place for your keyword. The meta title is the title of your page. Together with the meta description it should make clear what the page is about. The keyword you use should always be in the meta title, preferably right at the front. In the Google search results the meta title of your page is always shown in blue.

Meta description

The meta description is a short description of your web page. It should make it clear what the page is about. The main purpose of your meta description is to increase the clickthrough of the page. You want to convince the searcher to click on your page. The meta description is not a direct ranking factor for Google. However, it does make sense to include the keyword in the description. It will be printed in bold so your description will stand out faster.

The URL

For the URL it is important that you keep it clean and relevant. In addition, here the keyword should always appear. Together with the meta title, the URL has the most influence on your ranking within on page SEO.

To maintain a neat structure with your URLs it is best to use your standard domain and then directly use the keyword. See for example our blog about starting your own business. Here the keyword is “start your own business”. The URL is https://hustl.nl/starting/eigen-bedrijf-starten/. Here we just use /starting/ after the domain name to indicate the category followed by the exact keyword. The URL is now not only neat and short, but it immediately tells what the page is about.

To make it look even neater, you can also choose to put the keyword directly after the domain name. This would then look like this: https://hustl.nl/eigen-bedrijf-starten/. In principle, this would be even neater. However, this can get tricky if you are writing about the same topic within different categories. Of course, you can’t use the same URL twice.

Photo by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash

Images

On most of your pages you will use images. When you upload an image to a page it is important that the keyword is in the name of the image. Also, sometimes you can add an alt tag to an image. The alt tag is basically the description of the image. It is important that it is short and simple and also contains the keyword.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs show the path from the homepage to your page. Through this trail the visitor can quickly return to the homepage or parent category. The keyword is always included in this trail as well.

The H1 title

Your blog or web text usually starts with a title. This is your so-called ‘heading 1’ or ‘H1’ tag. Do not confuse this with your meta title, although they are often identical in terms of text, they are two different parts of your page. The meta title is the title of the entire page that is also shown in Google. The H1 tag is just the title of the text on your page. Just like in the meta title, the keyword must be included and preferably right at the beginning. The H1 tag may only appear once on each page.

The first paragraph

After the H1 tag you start with the first introductory paragraph of your blog or webpage. Your keyword should always appear in this paragraph. Preferably right at the beginning of the first sentence. In addition, this piece, just like your meta description, should be catchy and arouse interest. You want your entire blog to be read.

The intermediate headings H2

In addition to your title, you should normally always use intermediate headings. These are your so-called h2 tags. When using sub-paragraphs you can also choose to use h3 or h4 tags next to h2’s. The lower the number the more value it has. The lower the number the more value it has. Google attaches more value to a h2 than to a h3. These are therefore often used less.

Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

Besides being good for your SEO, headings are also important for the readability of your article. Because you work with intermediate headings it becomes clear what each part of the text is about. This will make the reader less likely to drop out if he doesn’t get an immediate answer to his question. With a table of contents on the page you make it even easier to navigate.

When you use H2 headers it is best if the keyword appears in them. However, this is not always possible. You also want your headings to be logical and readable. For example, in this article the keyword does not appear in the headings. But suppose you write an article about ‘starting your own business’ (this is also your keyword) then you could use the following H2 headings as an extension of your keyword:

  • Starting your own business as a student?
  • Start your own business while being employed
  • What does it cost to start your own business?
  • How old do you have to be to start your own business?

Above you can see that everywhere the exact keyword appears in the H2. This would be optimal for the page. But do not worry if this does not work, the readability of your article or text is more important.

In the text

Finally, it is important that the keyword appears several times in the text. Preferably several times per paragraph. However, the keyword use should never come at the expense of the readability of your article. Besides the fact that Google pays a lot of attention to where and how often your keyword appears, readability and ease of use are also very important when evaluating your page. The easiest way to get the keywords to appear sufficiently is to try to put them once at the beginning and once at the end of the paragraph.

When you have a longer keyword that consists of several words you can also put 1 or 2 short words between them. For an article about ‘starting your own business’ you could also do it in the text: “These are the most important steps when you start your own business”. In this line, the keyword is in the sentence with the word ‘goes’ in between. It is not literally there but Google can recognize the keyword this way. It is important, however, that the keyword also appears literally and in full on the page a number of times.

Internal links

Another important aspect of on page SEO is the use of internal links. Internal links are links to other pages on your website. By using internal links you make it easier to navigate within your website. This makes it easier for the reader to move around, but it also allows Google to know which pages are relevant and important. Important with internal linking is that you always link on the keyword of the page the link goes to. This gives the page extra value and it ranks better on the relevant keyword.

For example, if you want to link from a page about SEO or online marketing to a page about landing page you can do it this way: “To increase your online findability you can use landing pages. These pages are specially created to get more visitors to your website”. As you can see the link is put after the word landing pages. This shows that the page being linked to is about landing pages.

Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

Call to action (CTA)

Finally, it is always advisable to put a call to action on the page. This does not affect your findability or your ranking in Google. It is also not a direct part of on page SEO. But this is important for possible conversion. A CTA does not always have to be for a direct conversion as a product purchase or a purchase of a service. This can also be another action, such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a brochure. With this you can for example acquire email addresses that you can use for email marketing.

Important for a CTA is that it is seen, so it must stand out. For this you can use a bright color in the design. The text should also be inviting, you can do this by adding certain words. To make it seem accessible you can add words like “simple” or “direct”. You can also emphasize that you don’t have to pay for anything by using words like “free” or “ complimentary”.

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