How to Write On-page SEO Friendly Content

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By tom.baldridge

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for driving organic traffic to your website. While technical SEO focuses on things like site speed and accessibility, on-page SEO is all about optimizing the content on each page to rank higher in search engines.

Writing SEO-friendly content may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are my tips for creating compelling, informative content that also hits all the right notes for search engines:

Focus on the User First

The #1 rule of great content (SEO or not) is to focus on creating value for the reader. Don’t get so caught up trying to appease search engines that you forget about the human on the other end!

Write conversationally, simply, and clearly. Use examples and stories to illustrate your points. Make it skimmable with good formatting. Ultimately, you want the content to be genuinely useful and engaging. This will naturally make it appealing to search engines as well.

Do Your Keyword Research

Of course, you can’t ignore keywords completely! Do thorough keyword research to identify terms and phrases that your target audience is searching for. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help.

Look for keywords that are highly searched for but have low competition on the first page of Google. These are terms you actually have a good chance of ranking for.

Also look at related long-tail variations of the root keyword. For example, if “content writing tips” is very competitive, try optimizing for “how to improve your content writing skills” instead.

Optimize Your Title Tags

Your title tags (the HTML <title> tags) are the first on-page element seen by search engines. Make sure they contain your focus keywords.

But don’t just stuff a bunch of keywords in there! The title should be compelling and clickable, focused on providing value to the searcher. Write them conversationally, while still working in 1-2 keywords.

For example: “5 Tips to Improve Your Content Writing Skills”

Title tags should be under 60 characters, since longer titles may get cut off in search results.

Use Keyword-Focused Headers

Break content up with well-optimized header tags. Search engines place extra weight on text in headers.

Use sentence case headers that include your target keywords. Don’t just say “Tips for Better Content.” Make it “5 Tips for Writing More Engaging Content.”

Only use one <h1> tag on each page, for the page’s main focus keyword. Use <h2> and <h3> tags for subtopics and related keywords.

Include Your Focus Keyword Early In the Content

You want your primary keyword to appear in the first 100 words of content on the page. This gives search engines a clear signal about the topic and focus of the page.

But again, don’t force it! Work it in naturally in a conversational way. For example:

“Writing compelling content is crucial for engaging your audience. In this post, I’ll share my top tips for crafting content that captivates and converts readers.”

Use Keyword Density of 1-2%

What percentage of words on the page should match your keywords? Experts recommend a keyword density of 1-2%. This means 1-2% of words on the page should match your focus keywords.

Too low, and you won’t give search engines enough signals. Too high starts to look spammy.

Keyword density tools like Yoast can help you nail that sweet spot.

Include Related Keywords Naturally

In addition to your core keywords, work in related keywords and synonyms naturally throughout the content.

For example, if your focus keyword is “content writing tips”, also mention “writing content”, “content creation strategy”, “how to write better content”, etc.

This provides additional keywords and context for search engines to understand the topic. But don’t go overboard – include them naturally in context.

Include Local Keywords If Relevant

If your content is about a service offered locally, be sure to include relevant location names. For example, “dog walking San Francisco” or “San Francisco dog walking services”.

This helps searchers find content specific to their location.

Use Descriptive Link Anchor Text

The clickable text of each link counts as a search signal too! Avoid generic anchor text like “click here” or “read more”.

Instead, make the anchor text descriptive, using your keyword. For example:

“Here are the top [content writing tips]()”

Break Up Text with Images, Videos and Headers

Big blocks of text are hard for readers to digest. Break it up visually with:

  • Images – include alt text with keywords
  • Videos – boost engagement
  • Headers – outline content hierarchy
  • Lists – break up sections
  • Quotes – highlight key points

This improves readability while also signaling keywords and relevance in multiple ways.

Optimize Image File Names and Alt Text

Give images file names and alt text that includes target keywords, like:


This is an image related to my-keyword

This tells search engines more about the image content.

Link to High Quality Internal Content

Links are votes of confidence. When you link internally to other pages on your site, it signals to search engines that those pages are important and relevant.

Make sure to link to other high value pages on your site naturally within content, using keywords as the anchor text.

Link Out Sparingly to Authority Sites

Don’t go overboard, but linking externally to 1-2 authority sites on a given topic gives your content credibility in search engines’ eyes.

For example, if you mention a study, link to the published study on the university website. Select authoritative, high quality sites to link to.

Too many external links can leech “link juice” from your site though, so use sparingly and link intelligently.

Write Longer, In-Depth Content

Search engines favor longer, more comprehensive content. Aim for long-form content over 2,000 words when possible. Thorough, meaty content satisfies searchers’ intent better.

For example, instead of “Content Writing Tips”, create a pillar page like “Comprehensive Guide to Excellent Content Writing”. Then link to it from related articles.

Includestructured Data Where Possible

Search engines can better interpret your content if you include structured data markup. This may include JSON-LD, microdata or RDFa.

For example, on a recipe page:

<div itemscope itemtype="">

  <h1 itemprop="name">Key Lime Pie</h1>

  <img itemprop="image" src="lime-pie.jpg" alt="Key Lime Pie">

  <span itemprop="author">John Smith</span>


There are many types of structured data that help search engines understand your content.

Check Your Work with Google Search Console

Link your site to Google Search Console to see how Google assesses your pages’ optimization. Check for crawl errors, review indexed pages, and optimize based on Search Console data.

This free tool provides key insights to improve SEO and fix problems.

Optimize Content Over Time

SEO is an ongoing process. Continuously optimize existing content and create new high-quality, useful content over time.

The more you provide value to searchers, the more search engines will reward your site with higher rankings.

Focus on Value, Not Just Keywords

Above all, remember that genuinely useful, engaging content ranks well in the long run. Optimize for humans readers first, not just algorithms. Provide real value on a topic you’re passionate about.

Craft content that stands out with an authentic voice, actionable advice, compelling stories, witty humor or a unique angle. That’s what earns trust and engagement. The keywords and SEO details support that core value.

What tips do you have for writing great on-page content? Let me know in the comments!

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