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On-Page SEO Factors

Success in marketing is an elusive goal, but digital marketing is even trickier—mainly because you have the added layer of web design. When you’re creating content for the internet, you’re not just writing for readers; you’re also writing for search engines, which help readers find content. In the online world, things like on-page SEO and off-page SEO are just as important as your campaign itself.

Looking to develop your search engine optimization strategies? DemandJump has you covered. The journey of content optimization comes with a lot of unexpected twists, turns, and unknowns…but with the right principles in place (and a solid overall strategy) you can keep your marketing plans both flexible and consistent. Keep reading for tips on how to develop your on-page SEO checklist, including some ongoing SEO tasks to shape your marketing now and in the future.

To set the stage, let’s establish what “on-page SEO” can include, and what makes on-page optimization one of the most important ranking factors for content.

What Things Are Included in On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO entails anything that comprises the finalized website pages. Some of these elements are visible on the surface—such as keywords and images—but others are embedded in the code of the website, such as metadata and alt image text. On-page SEO relates to the overall website experience: navigation, ease of use, and layout all matter here. While coding and website design are more technical SEO factors, the end result they produce does affect your on-page SEO. Some examples of ways to assess your on-page optimization include:

  • Checking your website’s load times and mobile friendliness
  • Using digital tools to track page rankings and gain consumer insights
  • Doing searches on topics relevant to your brand—and seeing if you show up

Why Is On-Page SEO Important?

On-page SEO plays a critical role in attracting, engaging, and ultimately converting consumers. It isn’t just the hook that catches readers’ attention; it’s also the reason they’ll stay on (or leave) your website. Having a good on-page SEO strategy is more than pasting a ton of high-traffic keywords into your copy. You need proper keyword research, yes, but you also need to add good metadata and make your website structure easy to navigate for people and web crawlers. Most think of keywords when they think of on-page SEO, and while that is partially correct, focusing on keywords alone is a recipe for failure.

It’s been long-since proven that keyword stuffing is not the best approach to SEO—but why is that? It’s not just because search engines like Google will punish this behavior (though that is part of the reason). This strategy fails because readers don’t care how many trending phrases a piece of content has; they care whether content gives them what they’re searching for. Think of keywords as ideas that represent:

  • What ideas/goods/services people are interested in
  • What web users know (or don’t know) about a specific topic
  • The language people use when searching for something
  • How interested someone is in a particular topic

Good content uses keywords to tell readers, “This page has what you’re looking for”—and then it delivers on that promise. Conversely, bad content tricks readers into looking at the page for a cheap boost in traffic, but ultimately doesn’t help them in their search. If you want to be the former and not the latter, treat keywords as a goalpost to aim for—not a piece of cheese to set on a mousetrap.

The idea of helpful content doesn’t just apply to human readers. Search engine crawlers want to easily know what content is valuable too—so they can help users find what they want more quickly. Consider this: when you’re thinking about trying a new product or service, where do you look? A recent survey showed the number one research method used by customers was browsing e-commerce websites, followed closely by search engine research. This highlights the importance of optimizing your website so your audience can easily browse and find what they’re looking for.

If you want to succeed in digital marketing, a well-rounded SEO strategy is the best way to get there. So, let’s discuss what on-page SEO techniques can help boost your content strategy.

What Are the Three Kings of On-Page SEO?

At DemandJump, we believe that the three ruling factors of on-page SEO are:

  1. Content Quality
  2. Site Layout
  3. HTML

The best on-page SEO techniques will focus on improving one or more of these things. You’ve probably noticed that “keywords” isn’t on that list, and the reason is that keywords on their own will not improve your on-page SEO. Keywords do increase the likelihood of readers clicking on your pages, but they cannot replace what the 3 most important on-page SEO factors provide—and here’s why.

#1: Keywords Don’t Make Up for Low-Quality Content.

There’s a reason that when you hear the term “clickbait,” you don’t think happy thoughts. Tactics like clickbait are essentially tricking you into consuming content that’s not actually worth your time. Well, using keywords just to use them is more or less a watered down clickbait tactic. If a piece of content is stuffed with trending phrases and questions, but doesn’t…

  • Provide value to the reader
  • Answer the user’s search intent


  • Present a new, original idea

…then, that piece of content is worthless. Thankfully, this is easy to avoid by simply being intentional about what you create. Your content should have an end goal, whether that’s thought leadership, education, entertainment, or some combination of all three—all while promoting your unique brand. It’s not just about quantity, but quality, meaning you want readers to build a trusting relationship with you.

With all the ads and entertainment vying for people’s attention, it can feel like you have to do everything in your power just to get your message out there. But never forget that the goal of marketing is not just to make people hear you; it’s to get them to listen to you. That happens when you provide actual value.

#2: Keywords Don’t Fix Poor Site Layout.

We all know the frustrating experience of sites that load poorly, are hard to navigate, or show up in strange configurations on our phone. Nobody wants to click on an article whose subject catches their eye, only to watch the rainbow wheel of death or scroll through “images” that never load. While some of this relates to coding, there are easy ways to improve site layout that don’t require expertise:

  • Pay attention to file size for your images. Try to keep them under 1MB whenever possible.
  • Make sure you have a mobile-friendly layout. Most people browse the web on their phones.
  • Connect your content together. Strategies like Pillar-Based Marketing focus on doing this well.

#3: Keywords Don’t Do What HTML Can.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is code, but you don’t need to be a programmer to use it for marketing purposes. HTML presents another chance to make your content easier to find. For example:

  • Headers (and keywords in headers) increase your chances of making Google’s answer box
  • Meta descriptions provide a quick summary that AI crawlers can reference for web users
  • Adding alt text to your images makes them more likely to populate image searches

Doing the little things well can make a big difference—especially in the world of digital marketing.

Okay, so to summarize, keywords are not a replacement for…

  1. High-quality, helpful, original content
  2. Convenient, easy-to-read web page designs
  3. Using metadata and coding to your advantage

Those three things are the true kings of content marketing. That said, keywords do matter to your plan; it all comes down to how you use them—and more importantly, how you do your keyword research.

Keywords: The Keys to SEO (If Used Correctly)

As we discussed above, keywords are only part of the recipe to SEO. They can indeed act as keys to unlock doors for your readership, but if your audience opens that door and doesn’t like what they see, they’ll shut it and move to the next page. On the other hand, if your content then gives something to readers, they’re far more likely to come back. What exactly does that look like in practice? Here are some action items you can use to improve your content’s quality:

  • Pay attention to user intent. Keywords tell you not just what people want, but where they’re looking for it, how much they know about the thing they’re searching for, and sometimes even where they’re looking for it. So as you do your keyword research, pay attention to how they are phrased and what exactly the keywords could say about the searcher’s goals. For example, if someone types “content optimization tools” into a search engine, they’re probably looking for one—or at the very least, more information about them as a whole. Good strategies like Pillar Based Marketing (PBM) take note of reader intent and structure content plans around that. And speaking of structure…
  • Create an interlinked web of content. Generally speaking, you don’t want to publish a bunch of pieces that don’t work together. Building a network of content around the same topic gives you more angles to reach readers, plus more existing content that amplifies, well, your other content. If we go back to our “content optimization tools” example, the person who’s searching that topic will likely also have interest in “content optimization techniques.” So, if the first article they find also has a link for “content optimization techniques,” they’re probably going to check that out too. Using keywords as titles for your pieces—then linking those pieces together—creates an easy, convenient way to unify your brand’s digital presence.
  • Match your language to your readers’ language. Unless a company is already very well-established, they typically will not get to control how people talk about their products. Many brands fail to recognize this—namely, by not using certain keywords because they don’t exactly match the specific phrasing they use for their specialties. But even if keywords are not the right phrasing, they are no less valuable to you as a marketing tool. If nothing else, they are an opportunity for you to educate new readers about that topic.

Each of these are complex in their own right, and can be difficult to measure without the right tools. Thankfully, there are good solutions out there to help you do the research you need to get results.

What Are On-Page SEO Tools?

On-page SEO tools support and augment your SEO strategy—mainly through methods like keyword research, linking strategies, content publishing, and overall goals. The best SEO will not just tell you to use more keywords or what’s the hot-button topic at hand; you’ll be able to make connections between keywords to map user journeys, then tailor your plan to mirror those journeys. You don’t just want to make content that’s a pit stop on your audience’s search, you want to pave the road they walk on.

If you’re wondering how to do an on-page SEO analysis for your website, reach out to us at DemandJump. With the help of our expert advisors, quality writers and our signature Pillar-Based Marketing strategy, we can help you figure out what words to use that will speak to your audience—and more importantly, get them to speak back. Check out our Consumer Insights platform, read through some of our customer success stories, or even try our platform free today.

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