Which On Page Element Carries The Most Weight For SEO?

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On-Page SEO can feel like a pretty daunting task. There are many moving parts involved, and knowing which ones to prioritise can be tricky.

In reality, you should aim to optimise all the elements that make up on-page SEO if you want to get the best results. But if you feel you can’t meet all of these markers with your optimisation, it’s worth knowing which on-page element carries the most weight for SEO to help you know what to prioritise.

If you’re reading this and wondering what on earth on-page SEO is and how it differs from other types of SEO, let’s cover that quickly.

The 3 Types of SEO

When it comes to SEO, there are three main categories you can divide most tasks into.

  • On-page SEO: This is also known as on-site SEO or content SEO. It’s SEO tasks that are carried out on the pages of your website, such as to the written content, images, links, etc.
  • Off-page SEO: These are SEO tasks carried out off of your website. Such as link building, optimising your Google My Business listing, etc.
  • Technical SEO: This is carried out on and off your website, depending on the task. It includes things like speed optimisation, indexing your pages, etc.

A quick Google search on this will tell you there are 4 types of SEO, 5 types, etc., but the reality is most tasks are divided into these three. I might throw a bonus number 4 in for Local SEO at a push but today’s not that day.

Let’s look at on-page SEO in more detail.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to optimisations you make to content on your website’s pages. This helps search engines to better understand what your content is about, and as a result, your content may rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

These optimisations are typically for keywords you’ll have uncovered during the keyword research phase of your SEO strategy.

Before diving into which on-page element carries the most weight for SEO, let’s look at all of them.

Title tag

Your title tag is used for the title of your website’s page. On Google’s search engine results page (SERP), it’s the clickable headline displayed for your page. Here’s an example:

Google SERP Title Tag Which On Page Element Carries The Most Weight For SEO

It’s also used on platforms like Facebook to generate a preview of your website’s page when you share the link and in the browser tab once someone has your page loaded.

Your title tag should be a brief and accurate description to effectively communicate the content on the page and encourage clicks. The optimal title tag length is 50 to 60 characters.

Meta description

Your meta description is the text that appears directly below your clickable link in Google’s SERPs. Similar to your title tag, it should describe your content and encourage clicks, however, you can use 150 to 160 characters here.

Heading tags

Heading tags range from H1-H6 and are used in your page’s written content to show what the content is about and the hierarchy.

It’s important that you only use one H1 and that it’s used for your on-page title. It’s not the same as your title tag, however, in some instances, you may end up using the same content for both.

We’ll use my post on how to use Google Search Console for keyword research as an example.

The title tag is set as my blog post title:

Google SERP Title Tag Which On Page Element Carries The Most Weight For SEO

The H1 is my blog post title:

On-Page SEO Heading 1 H1 Which On Page Element Carries The Most Weight For SEO

The other heading tags you can use are:

  • H2
  • H3
  • H4
  • H5
  • H6

However, you can use the rest of these multiple times as long as they are correctly nested to show hierarchy in your content.

Going back to my Google Search Console blog post, the page features:

  • 1 x H1
  • 3 x H2
  • 7 x H3

They are structured like this:

  • H1: Page Title
  • H2: Method 1
  • H3: Step 1
  • H3: Step 2
  • H3: Step 3
  • H3: Step 4
  • H2: Method 2
  • H3: Step 1
  • H3: Step 2
  • H3: Step 3
  • H2: Summing up

URL

Your page’s URL is what users enter into their browser bar to access the page and it’s used to make clickable links to your page. Typically it will be yourdomain.com/your-page-here/.

Keywords

Keywords help search engines determine what the content of your page is about and what queries it would best answer. This is probably the most common “buzzword” you have heard about search engine optimisation. You’ll typically use keywords in the page title, content, headings and all the other elements that make up your on-page SEO.

Internal links

Internal links are links to other pages on your website. At the time of writing this, I’ve linked to two different blog posts within this post. That’s internal linking.

You should place internal links in your content to help search engines understand how all of your website pages relate to each other and so they can pass authority between them.

External links

External links add credibility to your page and can help boost its authority. Keep in mind that this only applies if you are linking to trusted and relevant websites for your industry. For example, in my GSC blog post, I link to Google Search Console and relevant studies.

Images

Images are a great way to boost your on-page SEO. Google loves media like images and video as it shows your content is diverse and engaging for readers, and you can add extra SEO weight to your page by optimising your images.

To optimise your images, you can add your keywords to:

  • Image titles
  • Image alt tags

A quick note on alt tags: These are used by screen readers to describe the images, so be considerate with your optimisation.

Readability

One of the ranking factors for your page will be user experience. There’s a lot to that, such as page speed which is diving into technical SEO, but when it comes to on-page SEO, you should be considering readability.

This means that your page content should be easy to scan for readers who want to find something quickly, as well as enjoyable to read overall.

You can achieve this by:

  • Using short sentences & paragraphs
  • Not overstuffing keywords (if it feels too much, it’s probably too much)
  • Use subheadings to break up chunks of text (see Heading tags above)
  • Use lists where appropriate (see here)

Word count

I almost didn’t include this one.

There are no definitive guidelines from Google over word counts, however, in the SEO world, there are certain things we believe to be true. I will share them below but keep in mind they are not definitive guidelines.

These are:

  • Your page needs 200-300 words minimum to rank
  • Blog posts should sit around 1000 words*

*I’ve seen 800-word blog posts ranking in search, so take this with a pinch of salt.

The best thing to take from this is if you have a page with a load of images and 5 words, it probably won’t rank on Google.

Well. I wasn’t expecting that list to be quite as long as it was, but I think it’s important you have a good overview of all the important on-page SEO elements before we get to this bit!

Which On Page Element Carries The Most Weight For SEO?

Your page’s title tag carries the most weight for on-page SEO. It’s the first impression people get of your page and is used in search engine results pages (SERPs), browser windows and link previews on other platforms.

Out of all the other on-page SEO elements, your title tag is used the most and holds the most power in generating traffic to your website’s page. This means when you optimise your title tags, they should include your main keyword and be super engaging to encourage clicks.

If you want to improve your website’s success in ranking on search engines like Google, your title tag is very important, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of the content on your page.

Looking for more on-page SEO pointers? Use my free SEO checklist as you work through your on-page SEO to make sure you’re hitting all the right notes!

Kate Smoothy
Kate Smoothy
Kate Smoothy specialises in shit hot websites that rank on Google. When she's not working with SEO and website design clients, you can find Kate sharing helpful content on TikTok and LinkedIn to help you level up your website and SEO.
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