To help your website gain visibility in search engines, you need to use this on page SEO checklist. This will help search engines, such as Google, to understand the content on the page and rank it appropriately.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO or onsite SEO is the process of optimising individual web pages of content to improve search rankings and drive relevant traffic in your target audience. The tactics involved helps a page rank for its target keywords.
While on-page SEO will help you rank your pages for your primary keyword, it is also supported by different types of SEO marketing. For some websites, using onsite SEO will not be enough to get a page to rank. You may need an off-page strategy (such as link building), a technical SEO strategy and a content marketing strategy that will make a website look more attractive to search engines. With many ranking factors involved in Google’s algorithms, a combination of all strategies is the way to success.
Why is On-page SEO Important?
On-page SEO remains an important part in websites ranking in search engines. Google’s own How Search Works report states that:
“The most basic signal that information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as your search query. If those keywords appear on the page, or if they appear in the headings or body of the text, the information is more likely to be relevant.”
So while Google has evolved and expects various things to rank web pages, on-page SEO remains an important ranking factor.
In this blog, we will focus our attention to on-page SEO, giving you the ultimate checklist for ensuring your website is friendly to search engines.
You want your page’s URLs to be short, punchy and keyword rich. Google prefers URLs with around 3-5 words, especially over long ugly URLs like ‘ricemedia.co.uk/b-92/009’. It does not look nice to Google and looks very unprofessional to your potential clients.
That is why this blog has the URL slug: /on-page-seo-checklist because its target keyword is: on page seo checklist.
2. Optimise Your H1 Title Tag
A H1 tag is your headline tag, it highlights the title of a page or blog post for Google and can directly affect the SEO value of a page. There are a range of tags, H1 to H6 but H1 is the most important and cannot be ignored. It helps define the page’s relevance in search and make that page more searchable.
When titling pages and content, think of searchable titles like ‘How to conduct your own home evaluation?’ and set that as a H1, making your page incredibly searchable.
If you have a long title, the target keyword for the page should appear at the beginning of the content. An alternative title for this blog could be “On-Page SEO: The Ultimate Guide”. On-page SEO is at the beginning to maximise its importance to search engines.
3. Use Target Keyword in First 150 Words
Google sees the first 100-150 words of your content as important, just like a reader would. It’s vital to include your primary keyword once at the beginning of the page. You can see this clearly in our blog, How to do a Competitor Analysis, which includes “competitor analysis” in the first sentence.
4. Add Modifiers
By modifiers I mean adding ‘2020’, ‘top…’, ‘guide’ or ‘review’, to your blog content. This will help those pieces of content rank for long tail versions of your keyword and make your content more searchable.
Also from a user experience perspective, it helps sell your content. ‘Top 10 hotels in Birmingham’ or ‘Guide to the Best Hotels in Birmingham’ is more appealing to your readers. Using locations in the title can help improve rankings for local keywords as well.
5. Use Your Keyword in H1, H2 or H3 Tags
It’s important that you use target keywords in H1, H2, or H3 tags. As you can see on this page, we have used “On-Page SEO Checklist” in our H1. We’ve also used “On-page SEO” in a H2. This again adds weight to the importance of these keywords which search engines will identify when ranking the page.
6. Optimise Images with Alt Text
Google’s algorithms don’t understand what an image is just by looking at it like humans do. It needs a bit of guidance. Help them understand your pictures by optimising the file names and alt text of images you upload to the site. It can also help you rank in Google Image search.
For example if you had the below image on your site, you would want to save it as “apple.jpg” and a simple alt tag of: woman holding apple in her hand. Writing this description is also important for web accessibility, to allow disabled users to understand what is on your site.
7. Synonyms and LSI Keywords
The old black hat SEO tricks of keyword stuffing is no more, as Google can pick up when you are trying to manipulate its search algorithms. However, it is smart enough to understand synonyms you may use to describe a particular thing. That is why we recommend that you use synonyms and LSI keywords.
If writing a blog about starting a website, you could use the following ways to describe it:
- How to build a website
- How to launch a website
- How to create a website
- How to start a website on WordPress
Now you want to add LSI Keywords. You can use LSI Graph which will come up with terms that can go with your main term.
Add a few of these to your content to enrich your keywords.
8. Link to External Sites
When creating content that uses quotes from sources, you should link to authority websites that are trusted by Google already. This will help Google to realise that the sources you use are notable and trustworthy for users.
9. Internal Linking
When you post new content on your website, you should add internal links to between 2-5 other pages on your site. Don’t just add links wherever you want, however. Your anchor text for the link should be keyword rich – preferably with the primary keyword for the page you are linking to.
Internal linking is just one way you can improve your Google rankings – and this sentence also demonstrates how to use anchor text correctly.
10. Loading Speed
This is important for both an SEO and onsite optimisation perspective as well as part of enhancing your client’s user experience. Slower loading speeds for sites can directly affect bounce rates and SEO value.
Optimised meta titles and descriptions are important as they help your site rank as well as give short descriptions of the site’s content.
Meta titles tend to be the title of the page or blog, so write good strong titles. It’s in meta descriptions where you can drop keywords and modifiers, such as locations, to help inform users. While meta descriptions aren’t ranking factors, a well written description could improve your click through rate. Write these for every page, individually. Each page is different, why not the description.
12. Use Social Sharing Buttons
Include social sharing buttons in your blog posts or add buttons to invite people to follow you on your social media. This might not seem relevant but social signals playing a larger part of search algorithms. Also, it will help increase sharing your content.
With user experience in mind, allowing your clients to find and see your LinkedIn profile allows them to see your business in another positive light and allow them to conduct their own background check on your business, looking at reviews and recommendations.
13. Long Content
In our monthly round up of Digital Marketing in September, we featured an interesting article from Search Engine Land by columnist John Lincoln that discusses why long-form content trumps short, bitesize posts. The article is long, as you can imagine but it supports his argument very well and has won me over.
A good aim for content length is 1500 words; it allows you to scatter more keywords but also, it provides more value to your audience and that’s what you need to be focusing on. The point of your blogging is, besides making your site more searchable, is to provide an extra service to your potential customers, giving them a reason to trust you. That is more difficult to achieve if you keep it in 500 words.
14. Use Schema Markup
Schema markup is a great way of helping Google better understand your content, while Google themselves said will help you rank better. It can be tricky to implement, but Google has its own Structured Data Tool that you can use to help you add it to key pages.
Have you got FAQs on service pages? Adding FAQ Schema will bring up your content on Search Engine Results pages
Other Things to Consider in Your On Page SEO Checklist
- Product descriptions are also content, don’t forget this. That strip of description needs the same amount of care and thought in writing it as any other piece of onsite content.
- Keep an eye on bounce rates. Search engines use bounce rates to judge the quality of your site. Also it is an indicator that something on that page or on your site is not appealing to your audience or turning them away. This could be images, content or any number of things but should be investigated.
- Tools, there are plenty of SEO tools that will help you analyse your site. Check out Majestic SEO, Screaming Frog and Google Analytics.
- If you’ve got duplicate content on your site, this could lead to the wrong page ranking for a target keyword of another page. Tools such as Screaming Frog and Siteliner will give you a list of pages featuring duplicate content.
- Competitor analysis – peek at your competitor’s site and see what they are up to. It might not be useful and you’ll be reassured that your site is performing better than theirs or you’ll find something useful to try for your own site and capitalize on it. So don’t be afraid to analyse your competitors, they’re probably doing the same to you.
That was Ricemedia’s on page SEO Checklist. If you’re unsure why your site is under performing or want to know how else you can improve your site, go through that checklist and find out. If you want to see how else Ricemedia can improve your on-site optimisation and our other PPC or SEO services, get in touch today.