SEO Handbook

Chapter 4: On Page SEO

Content is still the king of SEO. Why? Because most people are not looking for your website — or any website, for that matter. They are looking to solve a problem. And problems are not always as simple as “how do I do this?” or “what does this mean?”

There is a misconception that content is losing importance because other factors provide greater SEO value. While this is true in a sense, it’s important to remember that quality content is always at the base of SEO. Without valuable content, visitors you attract to your site won’t stay — all other ranking factors are pieces to help boost content in the rankings so people will see it, but without that solid base, there is little point in putting effort into other SEO factors.

Title and Headers

Creating an eye-catching title and relevant headers is a critical step in ensuring you grab readers’ attention and inspire them to click on your page in search results. (Make sure the content that follows is relevant and accurate — you don’t want your copy to let down readers drawn in by your headline.)

Tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer (free account signup required) can help you craft titles that will boost click-through rates and engagement, but here are a few basic tips.

On-Page SEO

The title displayed on your page should be in the html code using the <head> and <title> tag. It should be under 65 characters, as this is the limit which shows on Google’s page description before it cuts off.

Headers tags should be used as accordingly:

<h1> Used once on the page, most often for the Title.

<h2> Used for section headings.

<h3> Used for sub headings for anything you want to highlight.



Readers should be able to understand what your content will cover in the first couple of sentences, if not through the title. The first paragraph should not only provide some of the info visitors are looking for, but also a reason to read the rest of the page.

Content should flow from one topic to the next and be easy to understand. Start off strong with an attention-grabbing opening to capture their interest, present the problem(s), examples, then the solution.

Pro Tip: Avoid “walls of text” and make copy easy to read by including sufficient white space. Get your point across by using bullet points, ordered lists, bold and italic fonts and tables.

Word Count

Unlike college homework, there is no required word count for any given page on your website. However, an article by SEJ on word count showed that a higher word count typically correlates to higher rankings.

That said, it’s important that word count matches your content. For example:

Not sure if you’re spending too much (or too little) time on content? Here are some basic guidelines:


There are benefits to including both internal and external links in your website content. Internal linking lets Google recognize which pages on your site have greater importance and encourages readers to stay on your site longer, boosting your SEO score while showing visitors all you have to offer. External links to other domains can develop your content with supporting links, statistics and testimonials, and increase SEO value by demonstrating your pages’ relevance to other content. Linking to a website with high authority also shows that your information is related to or gathered from more reputable sources and lends credibility to your content.


How to Get Linking Right

Anchor Text & Tooltip Tags

Anchor texts are the clickable portion of an HTML hyperlink. The most common mistake with anchor text is using terms that don’t directly relate to the linked content.

Bad example
Click here to see what the data shows…

Bad example
This post by Hubspot demonstrates that…

What is “here”? What is “this post” about? Anchor text should always let the reader know exactly what to expect when they click a link — it’s a form of keyword, really. (Avoid using keywords from your own copy as anchor text though.)

Good keywords example
“In a list of the most important ranking factors in SEO, we see that…”

Good keywords example
“A recent video published by Google explained why you need good anchor texts.”

The latter two examples show readers what to expect if they follow the links, and also help Google algorithms better understand the links as well — which limits the likelihood of Google flagging your site for link-spamming.

Some readers may also want to know the title, author, or webpage you are linking them to. You can include this information using an attribute called the title tooltip tag, which also adds SEO by displaying additional text when readers hover the cursor above the anchor text.

Here is an example to achieve this in HTML with the above example:

<a href=”” title=Top 10 SEO Tips by Website”>most important ranking factors in SEO</a>

Similarly, an image should carry an alt tag:

<img src=”image.png” alt=”Picture of Google’s HQ”>

Alt tags for images increase SEO by improving accessibility for visually impaired readers, which creates better user experience. Google also reads alt tags to determine what the image is as well as how it contributes to the page.

Social Media and Blogging

Authority (and hence, SEO) can be gained by people linking to your page. So it only makes sense to make your page easily shareable. Social media is a great way to get your page shown to a wide audience — and it’s that much better when someone else shares it for you. Social media buttons act as a double improvement to your site:

Blogs are a great way to provide more information to a wider audience. Optimized content can target keywords for different personas and lead to more traffic. (Regularly updating your website with new content is also a ranking factor for SEO.)

Social Media and Blogging

If you do decide to blog, keep in mind these points: