What is SEO On-page optimisation

3 years ago
Written by
Luke Szkudlarek

Understanding SEO ranking factors in 2020

Ranking factors have evolved over the years, but still the essence of good SEO hasn’t changed – meaning well structured, useful and focused content wins. We focus even more on creating content hubs based on overall keyword themes.

Ranking factors that have some importance:

  • Page titles
  • Headings (H1, H2 etc.)
  • Body text
  • Keywords in internal links
  • Keywords in external links
  • Indirectly keywords in URLs

Keyword hubs & themes

Keyword themes are entire collection of related keywords. This is an important concept, since optimising for an individual keyword won’t be an effective strategy. Let me give you an example. Let’s take “SEO zurich”, consider other keywords that could belong to its theme, e.g. agency, resources & adjectives. So if we build the entire theme we might come up with keywords, such as:

Example theme for: SEO zurich

  • SEO agency zurich
  • SEO switzerland
  • SEO coaching in zurich
  • SEO expert in zurich
  • SEO zurich meetup
  • SEO zurich conference
  • Good SEO agencies in zurich
  • zurich SEO agency reviews
  • SEO consulting in zurich
  • SEO jobs in zurich

etc. If you run out of keywords you can extend your theme. You’ll need to do it once you’ve created content for each individual keyword to create a hub. In the example above you’d probably create pages for each of the above keywords and you’d link them to the main keyword hub (i.e. SEO zurich). You can view our SEO service page and our 2020 SEO blog, to see how we’ve created a keyword hub. Feel free to crawl our site to see the keywords in internal links and how they form a hub.

Keyword mapping

Once you’ve conducted keyword research and you understand content hubs, it’s time to select keywords for optimisation. I call it keyword mapping – it’s essentially a process of assigning keywords to individual pages. It’s useful to know what keyword will dominate the optimisation of each page. This will help you decide how the pages should be linked and what keyword to input in the link. E.g. if you’re on the page about “SEO zurich meetup” and you want to link to SEO jobs in zurich, you know what keyword to use to link to each URL. Keyword mapping is typically presented in a table with the following columns:

  • URL
  • Primary keyword
  • Secondary keyword
  • (optional) Page title
  • (optional) Meta description
  • (optional) H1

Primary Keyword and Secondary keywords

  • The dream keyword for each page that we want to be #1 on Google
  • Should be challenging enough but still realistic
  • Relevant to the page content
  • Ensure no two pages on the site have the same primary keyword
  • More generic for category pages, more specific for products and lower level pages
  • Unique for each page
  • Max 3 secondary keywords or phrases, these help with content optimisation and should be included in meta description, headings and body text

Optimising on-page elements

Fundamental rules

  • Each page can rank for 2-3 search queries that are similar and relevant to the content of the page
  • Every web page has some five fundamental elements that are important to SEO:

– URL – increases CTR when search query matches the keyword in the URL, can help pages rank higher

– Page Title – can have a positive impact on CTR and is still very important from the ranking perspective

– H1 – The most important on-page ranking element

– Meta Description – doesn’t impact rankings, but can significantly help CTR

– Internal linking  – important to help the ranking of other pages on the website

  • Consistency in the use of keywords is more important than the depth of the optimisation, in other words – having all page elements

Example page

We’ll use this SEO service page as an example in this article

Primary keyword: SEO zurich

Secondary keyword: SEO agency switzerland

Page Title

  • Contents of page title are displayed in the search results
  • Effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content
  • Between 50-67 characters because Google only shows a portion of it in the search result, if the site is primarily optimised for mobile you should go for shorter titles
  • Contains primary keyword at the beginning
  • Contains another secondary primary keyword (optional)
  • Human readable
  • If possible should contain brand name at the end

Bad Example

what. Zurich’s top SEO agency

  • too short
  • keywords not included
  • brand at the beginning of the title

Good Example

SEO agency in Zurich | Switzerland’s #1 SEO Agency – what. (59 characters)

H1 tag

  • Similar to Page Title but for those who are already on the page, hence doesn’t need the brand name anymore
  • Contains primary keyword
  • Contains secondary primary keyword (optional)
  • Needs to look and feel right for the users
  • Short, up to 50 characters
  • Only one per page

Bad Example 

Our SEO Services

Good Example

#1 SEO Agency in Zurich

Meta Description

  • Summary of what the page is about
  • Ideally between 90 – 140 characters
  • Contains call to action and brand name
  • Should read as a sentence because Google might use them as snippets for your pages in search results
  • Contains both primary and secondary keywords
  • Avoid copying and pasting content of the page into the description tag
  • Should be unique for each page

Bad Example

Search Engine Optimization is used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine.

Good Example

15+ years of SEO experience – Browse our resources and learn more about our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services – delivered with passion by Zurich’s #1 SEO agency.

Content – text

  • Primary keyword appears in the first 2 sentences
  • Secondary keyword is mentioned in the text

Internal linking

  • Try to reference other pages on the website
  • When linking to another page, ensure to use the page keyword as the anchor text
  • Don’t overdo it – max. 5 links per 300-500 words, unless there is a good reason to have more links (e.g. list blogs)
  • Use variations of the link text that include the primary or secondary keyword – ensure they “look organic”
  • Each page needs as many links as required to achieve the desired rankings


Google – Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Luke’s Intelligent SEO Strategy Presentation

Moz – On-page Factors