On-Page SEO Checklist: Optimize Content for Search
When creating effective and rankable web content, it’s vital that your SEO is up to speed. Important on-page SEO factors such as knowing how to optimize your content for search engines to gain visibility and ensuring your content shows EAT SEO (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) will improve your ranking results and help you gain organic traffic.
Auditing your website’s existing content before creating new content will help you identify if the information is still relevant and up-to-date, check what type of existing content is working and what isn’t and examine if your current content is gaining ROI and achieving its targets.
If you’re wondering how to optimize for search engines and learn on-page SEO, look no further.
This handy, downloadable on-page SEO checklist will teach you how to learn on-page SEO so you never miss a chance to optimize your website or blogs. Keep in mind, these checklists aren’t just for net-new pages but existing ones as well; a content audit for SEO will identify on-page issues.
What Is On-Page SEO and Why Is It Important?
What is on-page SEO optimization? On-page SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to improve search ranking and, in turn, drive relevant, organic traffic to your website. It refers to the content and HTML source code, both of which can be optimized.
What Does On-Page SEO Include?
Your content should be high quality and relevant and include on-page optimization of headlines, images and HTML tags (meta, header and title).
Paying attention to on-page SEO includes focusing on SERPs (search engine results pages). This will boost your website traffic and mean higher ranking status on Google.
Why Is On-Page SEO Important?
On-page SEO is required to attract search engines so they can recognize, understand and rank your content accordingly, bringing the right people to your site.
What’s the Importance of Keyword Research?
The keyword research step should underpin any SEO campaign to create the best opportunity for ranking well in search engines for a specific topic. Higher rankings drive more organic traffic to your website.
The best keyword is a term or phrase that:
- Is searched for frequently by your target audience.
- Is relevant to the central theme or topic of your content.
- Is already within your site’s ranking power.
URL Structure: What Is the Best URL Structure for SEO?
Keeping URLs short and simple is the best URL structure for SEO. Users should be able to identify the content of the webpage from the URL.
Using URLs correctly can help increase click-through rates of shared links, upping your traffic further.
The recommended URL structure for SEO includes:
- Keeping URLs lowercase. It’s what users expect, easier to read than all caps and standardizes the URL to prevent linking errors on and off the site.
- Use hyphens (-) rather than underscores (_). Underscores cannot be seen if the URL is published as a bare link.
- Use accurate keywords. Pick keywords that give an accurate description of what the page contains.
- Avoid using unnecessary words. Keep it simple and only use words users will search for.
Title Tags: How to Write Title Tags for SEO
What Is a Title Tag in SEO?
Title tags are an HTML element used to specify web page titles. You will see them displayed on SERPS as a title you click after searching for a result. It tells you (and the search engine) about the website’s content.
Why Are Title Tags Important?
Title tags are the first impression visitors have of your page, telling you what the site is about and helping the search engine find and display your page when the keywords are typed.
How to Write Title Tags for SEO
Keeping your title tag length under 60 characters will give you a 90% chance of having your titles displayed properly. If it’s too long, it may be cut off by search engines and important words may be omitted.
Give Every Page Its Own Title Tag
Help search engines understand each page of your site is unique by giving individual pages unique title tags. Avoid generic titles such as "product page" or "home," which can reduce click-through rates.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Don’t create a list of things in your title tag or repeat the same keyword. SEO title tags should have variations of keywords so search engines can understand them. Putting the keywords first or close to the beginning of the title tag can have a positive impact on search rankings.
What Is a Meta Description for SEO?
A meta description is a short summary of the content that can be found on the web page. It includes keywords relevant to the page content that tell the searcher what the web page contains, encouraging users to click on your page.
What’s the Best SEO Meta Description Length?
For optimum results, SEO meta descriptions should be between 50-160 characters. Make them long enough to be descriptive, and bear in mind your primary goal is to make them long enough to provide value and encourage clicks.
To optimize meta descriptions, you should:
- Have a clear call to action (CTA).
- Make each tag unique.
- Include important keywords and avoid keyword stuffing.
How Important Is an H1 Tag for SEO?
What is an H1 tag in SEO? H1 tags are an overarching summary of a page’s content and are important to organize and present your page clearly so people can understand the page content at first glance.
What Should H1 Tags Contain?
H1 tags for SEO should contain the most important keywords to help users navigate the content when searching and seeing displayed pages. Organized H1 headings are correlated with achieving higher page rankings.
Understanding H1 Tag Length for SEO
They should be around 20-70 characters, in bold, and use relevant keywords to facilitate a strong user experience.
SEO Content Guidelines — Keyword Targeting and LSI Keywords
Good SEO writing involves keyword targeting to clearly reflect what your web page is offering.
Important points to remember:
- Use LSI keywords
- Have SEO optimized subheadings (H2, H3)
- Avoid keyword cannibalization
What Are LSI Keywords?
LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are phrases and terms similar to a web page’s target keyword. LSI keywords are not individual words but rather phrases that may include synonyms related to the keywords. They help search engines to understand a page’s context and connect the copy to the target keyword.
LSI keywords can be incorporated within your H2 and H3 headings. Always make sure the headings are readable, relevant and not duplicated.
What Is Keyword Cannibalization in SEO?
This refers to having one specific term or phrase across multiple pages. When several pages on your website are ranking for the same keyword, you are in competition with yourself. The search engine can’t determine which article or page should rank higher when keywords are identical or very similar across multiple pages, eating away at your chances of ranking higher.
Links in SEO
Links are one of the most important things you need for SEO, and creating a solid SEO linking strategy involves using various types of inbound and outbound links. SEO link building typically involves backlinks, internal links, and outbound links.
Backlinks for SEO
These are HTML hyperlinks that link back to another website. Having backlinks to reputable websites acts like referrals, reassuring the search engine that you are a trustworthy site.
Internal links for SEO
Also called inbound links, internal links connect back to pages on the same website. Having a number of internal links signifies to the search engine that the site is important.
Outbound links in SEO
Also called external links, they send visitors from your web page to other sites. These links have more value than internal links, signaling to search engines that you’re an EAT source.
What is Image Optimization in SEO?
Images are vital in creating quality content and image optimization can help increase your site’s findability and speed.
How to Make Images SEO Friendly
Try to incorporate the following practices for image optimization:
- Choose the right format. PNG and JPEG are most common for websites.
- Compress images to enhance your site’s speed.
- Customize image file names with keyword-rich titles.
- Be aware of copyright restrictions. Use only original images or stock photo images you have a license for.
How to Tag Images for SEO
The alt tag (or alt text) exists to describe the image if it’s not displayed correctly.
Use an alt tag that includes the SEO keyword/ phrase for the page to describe it clearly for the viewer and search engine.
Follow These On-Page SEO Guidelines
By utilizing these SEO guidelines and following our downloadable checklist, you'll be well placed to enhance your website’s visibility, attract new visitors, and rank higher on search engines, attributing greater EAT to your site and business.
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