Surfer SEO is an on-page optimization tool that compares your site to those of your highest-ranking competitors. Accessible yet powerful, it's a game-changer for research, content generation, and analysis alike.
Surfer SEO analyzes page content against more than 500 on-page SEO factors and is based around 5 core toolsets: Keyword research; content planning and editing; SERP analysis; SEO audits; and growth management. Its powerful content editor provides data-driven suggestions for content creation that include keywords to incorporate (along with their optimal density), plus recommendations for ideal length and number of headings, paragraphs, and images.
On-Page.ai offers a whole new approach to on-page SEO. Cutting-edge artificial intelligence engineered by an SEO industry mastermind is a winning combination.
On-Page.ai uses Google's own AI technology to go one step beyond matching the competition to actually outranking them. Core features of On-Page.ai include its superior website crawler, content creation software, real-time tracking capabilities, link relevancy analysis and recommendations, Topical Keyword Tool (which helps to verify that the keywords you're focusing on will build authority and relevance), Highly Related Terms tool (which identifies potent keywords you may want to target), and much more.
An industry giant, Semrush provides a comprehensive SEO toolkit under one umbrella. Its on-page SEO features are user-friendly, effective, and strategically integrated within a big-picture context.
Semrush is fully loaded with just about every type of SEO feature you can imagine. Its On-Page SEO Checker includes ideas for improving strategy, backlinks, technical SEO, user experience, SERP features, semantics, content, and more. You can zero in on one specific page or use the checker to analyze your entire website as a whole. Once you've identified the next steps you want to take, you can turn to other tools within the Semrush suite to help you achieve your goals.
Rank Math is known for its plethora of features, many of which are connected to on-page optimization. I can't list them all right here and now, but some of the biggies are: Straightforward post and page SEO tools, Google Search Console integration, in-depth keyword tracking, media optimization, automatic schema markup detection, 301 and 302 redirects, and much more.
Like Surfer SEO, PageOptimizer Pro is an on-page SEO tool with an emphasis on content optimization. Some of its standout features include: The fact that it supports 61 different languages and provides exact keyword and schema recommendations, a target word count, an advanced content editor, automatic competitor search, and more. PageOptimizer Pro also integrates with both WordPress and Google Docs and gives you the option to download reports.
Link Whisper is the most niche software in this article, but I've included it because internal linking is a critical but too often neglected aspect of on-page SEO. Link Whisper's features include: Auto-linking (supports bulk link building), the Link Changer (automatically changes old URLs to new ones for all internal links on your site), and the reporting dashboard (which provides reports on links, orphaned posts, errors, domains, and clicks).
Like Semrush, Ahrefs is a fully loaded SEO tool platform with a long list of features that relate to on-page optimization. Some of the most important ones include: Its Site Explorer; Keywords Explorer (which reports on keyword difficulty, volume, potential traffic, and global volume, as well as provides keyword ideas); Site Audit; and Content Explorer (which helps you generate authoritative and optimized content on any topic). Ahrefs also integrates directly with WordPress.
Moz is yet another comprehensive SEO platform with a solid offering of on-page optimization features. In addition to more standard features such as a keyword explorer, rank tracker, site crawler, link explorer, and analytics, Moz also has a dedicated suite of on-page optimization tools. Your website receives a score for page optimization and step-by-step instructions for how to further improve it.
Google Search Console's features are intended to help you understand how Google views your website. Its features revolve around confirming that your site is crawlable, indexing new or updated content, and communicating traffic data (broken down by search queries, click through rates, and more).
On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO or on-page optimization) is the process of optimizing the visible and internal elements of your website to improve its organic traffic and search engine rankings. The major facets of on-page SEO include, but aren’t limited to:
On-page SEO has a major impact on website rank and must comprise a substantial facet of any comprehensive SEO strategy.
Note: Off-page SEO encompasses SEO actions and elements that take place beyond the scope of your website itself. It commonly includes backlink building, social media management, and efforts to encourage branded searches.
It's one thing to read a list of all the different features on-page optimization software has to offer, but it's entirely different to experience their actual function and benefits. While each and every software offers unique features and user experiences, on-page optimization is broadly based around three main types of tool sets. In this section, I'm going to try to give you a more practical sense of the main functions they encompass and what you can expect when employing them:
In layperson's terms, keyword research tools help you identify relevant keywords and phrases that people are actually searching for on Google (or other search engines) and narrow them down to a list of target keywords that you believe your site can rank competitively for.
Some common categories of keyword research tools include the following (though their names may vary from software to software):
For more specifics, check out my recent review of the Best Keyword Research Tools.
Content optimization tools focus on taking the target keywords you've identified for your site and building high-quality, authoritative content around them. These types of tools will help you optimize your content based on the content of your highest ranking competitors.
Content optimization tools provide you with topic ideas and guidelines—such as how long your content pieces should be and sometimes even how many headings, paragraphs, and images they should include. Some may also provide recommendations for keyword optimization and readability while others may boast AI writing assistance and analysis.
The best content optimization tools provide you with timely content recommendations based on up-to-the-minute trends and data.
This category of tools assesses your website's performance based on HTML elements and site architecture. Some technical SEO factors also come into play.
On-page analysis tools commonly look at headers, title tags, meta descriptions, image optimization, structured data, internal links, URLs, mobile responsiveness, site speed, and more. Some on-page analysis tools can be automated (at least in part), while others require you to act on each individual finding yourself.
For clarity's sake, it's worth noting that some of the software products recommended in this article encompass all three categories of tools (keyword research, content optimization, and on-page analysis), while others are primarily centered around just one. Semrush, Ahrefs, Rank Math, and Moz are all-in-one tools while Surfer SEO and PageOptimizer Pro are heavily weighted toward the content optimization end of the spectrum. Link Whisper is a niche internal link building tool and Google Search Console is more focused on technical SEO.
When selecting an on-page SEO tool, be sure to understand its scope and make certain that it will meet your specific optimization needs.
Investing in an on-page SEO tool already puts you miles ahead of those who don’t, but here are a few pro tips to maximize the benefits you'll ultimately get out of it. These tips are based on my years of experience in the SEO industry:
I've already mentioned many of the major components of on-page SEO, but below, I’ll flesh out the top 5 in a little more detail:
A title tag is a piece of a web page's HTML code that specifies its title. Among other locations, title tags can be found in browser bars, in SERPs, and on social media posts. It’s crucial to your overall SEO strategy not to ignore title tags because they definitely have an impact on rankings!
Meta descriptions are short summaries of web page content. They’re found beneath the page title in search engine results pages (though they don't appear within your page's actual content) and don't typically exceed 160 characters. Best practice is to include keyword(s), brand name, and location(s) in meta descriptions when possible.
Headings help search engines (and real people, too) scan and interpret content. HTML header tags range from H1 to H6, with H1 denoting the highest level of importance (such as the title of a written piece). Heading structure improves the quality of written content (and thus the user experience) by providing cues for scanning and information gathering. Be sure to break up your content with effective headings.
There is simply no replacement for relevant, high-quality content. And Google knows it. Increase organic traffic to your site with content your audience is dying to read, and you'll be acing the SEO game in no time. In the digital marketing world, E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These are legitimately the qualities Google is assessing in every piece of content you produce (straight from the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines).
Structuring your URLs to be clean, organized, and consistent is an important but often ignored aspect of on-page SEO. At a basic level, SEO-friendly URL structure involves practices like using all lowercase letters, putting hyphens between words, avoiding special characters, including keywords, eliminating duplicates, and above all, trying to clearly communicate what a user might expect to find on the page in question. Check out this link for a more in-depth look at URL structure for SEO.
To conclude, on-page SEO encompasses many critical elements and must be factored into any overarching SEO strategy in a substantial way. Big or small, no business will organically attract more visitors to its website or boost its search engine rankings without dedicated attention to on-page SEO. There are a lot of on-page aspects to keep in mind, but fortunately also a wide selection of on-page SEO tools to keep your endeavors calm, cool, and collected.
In this article, I've shared my top three on-page SEO tool picks as well as several more that also shine in their own rights. Before making a final decision on which tool to invest in, be sure to thoroughly assess your site's current on-page situation, your future SEO goals, your budget, and the time you have to dedicate to on-page SEO. If you have further questions or would like customized SEO guidance for your business, reach out to me at SerpFocus—any time.
For the past decade I've been building businesses and using SEO to rank them in top positions. For the last 5 years I've worked at a premier search engine marketing agency where it's my job to stay on up-to-date with the latest SEO developments and implement SEO strategies for my clients. Read my full bio here.