A Guide To On-Page SEO Checklist
If you are looking for a complete on-page SEO checklist then you have found the right article to take you through the step by step guide.
You might be scouring countless blogs and watching several YouTube videos until your eyes bled.
And if you’re honest, you wish you hadn’t.
Because it’s confusing.
One blog tells you to “optimize site speed” while another tells you it’s all about keyword research and content strategy.
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Yes, you might have read blogs and watched videos until you’re nearly blind, but if you haven’t done a single thing to optimize your site and push it higher up on those stubborn SERPs then your might be at ground zero.
In this blog, we’ll try and keep things super simple and we will help you to make the first step to take your on-page SEO ranking off the ground.
We know that most of us just simply want to rank higher on Google and earn more site visitors for our business.
Hence, in this blog we’ll show you:
What On-Page SEO really is
Why On-Page SEO matters
A simple On-Page SEO checklist
And yes we will add something more!
What Is On-Page SEO?
To better understand what On-Page SEO is, it’s a good idea to think of SEO as a basic tree.
Basically, SEO is like a tree with many branches.
Each branch represents a specific part of the search engine optimization process.
Now, we don’t want to confuse you, so we won’t go into the details of the SEO tree but that is the big picture if you look at SEO.
Nevertheless, here are four of the most important branches of the SEO tree (and what they stand for):
Content Optimization: which is the practice of ensuring your content is valuable and digestible to your audience. This includes writing high-quality blogs, presenting your content so it’s easy on the eyes, skipping the jargon and heavy language, and so on. It also includes keyword research and writing content that satisfies your visitors’ search intent.
On-Page SEO: Which is the practice of checking that your individual Web Pages are fully optimized before publication. This includes keyword placements in H1s, H2s, and H3s, customizing your URLs, resizing and compressing your images, and so on.
Off-Page SEO: which is the practice of optimization that largely takes place outside your site. This includes backlinks, social shares, and so on. (As you can guess, this type of SEO is not directly in our control.)
Technical SEO. Which is , as you can guess from the term, refers to techy stuff like optimizing your site speed, making your site mobile-ready, and so on. If people cannot navigate properly on your site they will loose interest and click-off in a heart beat.
Why Is On-Page SEO Important?
In a nutshell On-Page SEO is important because it helps Google and other search engines to understand your web page better. By scrutinizing your title tags, URL, image Alt text description and other factors, Google can come up with a clearer idea of what your page is about and whether it’ll satisfy people’s search intent.
Was That Clear?
Picture the process like this:
Google’s spiders land on your site and read your H1, H2s, and H3s.
Now, let’s say one of your H2s looks like this.
As you can see, the primary keyword “What is Affiliate Marketing” is in there.
This quickly tells Google that this blog article could potentially fulfill the query of a searcher who wants to know what is affiliate marketing.
Sure, that’s just one piece of the puzzle.
But put together, all the pieces of On-Page SEO work to signal to Google that says “Hey, this is the blog that will satisfy readers that search on this platform. So, they will rank you higher in the SERPs!”
That’s why On-Page SEO is super important to the success of your business.
On-Page SEO Checklist: Simple Steps to Success
As you write your blog post remember to keep this checklist with you as a general guide, especially when you’re about to publish a new web page.
Recommended reading for SEO Checklist: Seo Checklist By Jameel Jahanian Kindle Edition
On-Page SEO Checklist Item #1: Add Your Primary Keyword in the Right Places
Readability always trumps SEO every single time.
That doesn’t mean you should slack off and forget to add your primary keywords where it matters most.
To help you, here are some places you should add your primary keywords.
Your H1 and Title Tag
Your title tag and H1 will tell both Google and your readers what your blog is all about.
I mean, you wouldn’t give your story the title “Jack and The Beanstalk ” if it’s a story about SpiderMan.
We know a lots of writers get too creative with their titles and forget to include the main points.
But we recommend that for the average blogger, it’s best to stick with a direct, primary-keyword-at-the-beginning title like this
Here are two rules to keep in mind when placing your keyword in your blog title:
Make sure to plant your keyword as close to the beginning of your title as you can. So instead of “The Most Wonderful Guide to Affiliate Marketing” you can try “Affiliate Marketing: The Complete Guide” instead.
Your title tag and H1 can be different, but make sure to add your primary keyword in both places.
Here’s an example of a blog that has a different title tag and H1, but contains the primary keyword at the beginning of both.
The title tag…
Your H2s and H3s
It is safe to say that Google is smart.
They won’t stop at just your title tag and H1 when trying to determine if your blog matches people’s search intent.
It’ll go deeper and explore your H2s and H3s.
So, make sure you plant your primary keywords there as well.
Of course, don’t be unnatural and please try and write your blog articles to flow properly.
Never force a keyword where it simply doesn’t make sense or fit.
But always remember to add your primary keywords into your subheadings, if you can.
Don’t worry you will learn to master this over time.
You’re creative, and it won’t be hard for you to strategize a way to naturally plant your keywords in there.
As an example, check out how we did a H2 in this blog.
Source: GoNet Marketing
In Your Introduction
In any story, the first few words are the most important to kick off with.
Google and other search engines thinks so too.
That’s why you need to plant your primary keywords in the first 100-150 words of your blog article.
But try not to sound too spammy and/or boring.
Do it naturally.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should abandon your creativity and start every blog like that example above.
Your primary keyword can show up a bit lower down in the introduction, but it must still be within the first 100 words.
In Your URL
Which URL looks better to you?
This one long one?
Or this short one?
We will say the second one, right?
Google will thinks so too.
Because first of all, the second one is shorter.
And more importantly, it’s got the primary keyword in it.
So when ticking off those On-Page SEO boxes, make sure:
Your meta description contains your primary keyword
Your meta description is as short as you can make it
In Your Meta Description
Believe it or not your meta description can make or break your web page’s success.
(Really, it can.)
That’s because readers are indecisive.
And can be conservative with their time.
So, if your meta description is “meh,” visitors will probably shrug and skip your blog, thinking your blog won’t be worth their time.
But if your meta description looks nice and short like this…
…. then you might get their attention to read on by clicking your blog.
And notice this: the primary keyword “blog tips” shows up at the very beginning of the meta description.
This communicates to the readers exactly what the blog is about (and that it won’t waste their precious time).
Key Note: meta descriptions aren’t an official ranking factor. However, they influence whether or not people click on your blog, which is a ranking factor. So, they are an indirect ranking factor.
6. Your Images’ File Names and Alt Text
In case you are wondering does image file names and alt text matter then…Yes because Google is smart.
But it isn’t human, which means it has some limitations.
One of these limitations is the inability to see and/or identify pictures that are in your blogs.
So, no matter how many photos you insert into your page, Google won’t know what you’re talking about just from the pictures.
Unless, of course, you add your keyword to your image alt text and file name.
When you do, you won’t only be telling Google what’s in your images, but you’ll also get the chance to appear on Google’s image search tab.
This is a double benefit, that you can take advantage of.
On-Page SEO Checklist Item #2: Add Your Secondary Keywords to Your H2s and H3s
Using secondary keywords in your sub-headers can help you rank for related keywords that your audience is searching for.
This is a smart thing to do. So, whenever you can, use variations of your primary keywords in your H2s and H3s.
For example, if your primary keyword is “how to start a blog,” you can use:
How to launch a blog
Launching a blog
Starting a blog
And so on
Another thing you can do is include long-tail keywords in the “people also ask” section of Google as your H2s and H3s.
On-Page SEO Checklist Item #3: Resize Your Images
Ever been on that website which didn’t have any images?
Or rather, it did have images, but since they took forever to load you didn’t even see them.
Hint, hint: you don’t want that to be your website. Speed is essential for this business.
So, instead of forcing those huge images into your web pages, take time to resize them properly. We use https://tinypng.com/ and they have a free version which gives you the ability to optimize and compress around 20 images a day.
Best practice is to keep your images between 100 and 300 kb.
On-Page SEO Checklist Item #4: Avoid Keyword Cannibalization
When you have too many similar keywords spread out across your website, Google and everyone else get confused about which page you want to rank over the others.
So, Google goes ahead and makes a decision.
It ranks one page higher, even though this page might not be the one you want to rank high on the SERPs.
To avoid this, you can add some variety to your keywords.
Don’t target too many keywords that are too similar to each other.
And before you publish that brand new web page, check to see if another one of your pages isn’t already ranking for the same set of keywords you’re targeting.
If it is, it’s worth it to take some time to tweak your keywords.
See reference article by Digital Marketing Institute:Keyword Cannibalization..
On-Page SEO Checklist Item #5: Add High-Quality Links into Your Content
Without high-quality links, your content will not make in the online space.
That’s because links are like spider webs that help Google’s web crawlers get to you.
Links also help the bots understand what your content is about through their connection to other content.
At the very least here are two types of links you should add to your blog articles:
Internal links. These are links to other pages on your website. As a good rule of thumb, most of your links should lead to your site’s cornerstone content.
External links. These are links to other high-quality sites. It’s a great idea to add at least 5-10 external links to your content.
On-Page SEO Checklist Item #6: No Follow Your Affiliate Links
As an affiliate marketer, nothing is more important than your affiliate links.
They’re the source of your bread and butter.
That being said, you need to be sure your affiliate links aren’t bringing your Google rankings down.
Because your ranking and traffic flow also make you money.
So, how do you do this?
No follow your affiliate links, so they cause you to lose your coveted high ranking spots on Google’s SERPs.
On-Page SEO: It’s Really Not that Confusing
This is great news!
There are tons of blogs and Youtube videos about On-Page SEO and this might confuse the average reader.
Some even include stuff from technical and Off-Page SEO to make it more confusing.
But you should know this.
On-page SEO really isn’t that confusing.
It’s simply about helping Google to have a better understand of your web pages, so it knows how and where to rank you on the chart.
With some small changes to your URLs, headings, meta title/description, and links, you’ll be on your way to never again publishing a single blog that’s not optimized for On-Page SEO.
To assist us with our Google ranking we use the WordPress plugin RankMath which is a powerful tool and it will give you an overall score for each post. This tool will also show you where you can make changes to improve your blog score out of a 100.
Did we miss anything?
Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?
Or maybe we didn’t mention one of your favorite SEO On-Page tips?
Either way, let us know by leaving a comment below right now.