Ensure Your SEO Techniques Are Up to Speed with Our On Page SEO Checklist.
SEO can do amazing things to your bottom line, however, one of the most overlooked areas of optimizing your website is on-page SEO. On the page, SEO accounts for about 70% of the reason why you rank well, while backlinks account for about 30%. Having a perfectly optimized page with quality content will impact your rankings and increase traffic in a big way.
Want to learn more about improving on-page SEO? Check out our checklist below!
Some Deeper Reading About SEO:
- What is SEO
- What does SEO Stand For
- The Top Local Search Ranking Factors
- Easy Guide to Getting Local SEO to Work for Your Small Businesses
- The On-page SEO Checklist
- Keyword Research Mastery: The Beginners Guide
- The Ultimate Google Algorithmic Penalty Recovery Guide
- Questions you SHOULD Ask Before Hiring an SEO Expert
- The 5 Step Beginner Guide to SEO Writing That Ranks
Let’s Define It
Here’s a simple definition of what on-page SEO is: On-page is how you structure your keywords on your website to give high relevancy signals to Google and other search engines for the keyword theme you are going after.
Why is an On Page SEO Checklist Important?
I understand this is difficult stuff to execute. It’s difficult to find the time in the day to read a guide and take care of every proper on page SEO optimization step to increase the organic traffic on your site. But, it’s just as important as determining the markup on your goods and services.
I’ve seen so many SEO’s and marketing managers make costly mistakes by using outdated methods of on-site SEO (or by using none at all), but don’t worry – I’m going to help you be successful with some specific tips found on this on page SEO checklist.
Optimizing your website is not merely about the number of keywords you implement, the emails you send out, or even how much you delight people with your posts.
Great on-page is a mixture of building an understanding of the pain your customers are trying to solve, and doing keyword research with tools like SEMRUSH and “Google Suggest” to reverse engineer the exact keywords your customers are using. Then, write a rich, useful article that resonates with your customer.
Here are some of the top-ranking factors as announced by MOZ, an authority figure in the industry, in their latest industry research. You should know these when it comes to implementing the best local SEO practices:
Let’s Dive Into the Good Stuff
Ok, so now you know a little bit of the reason why we need to do great on-page SEO. In this on page SEO checklist, I’m going to give you a rich written guide about what exactly you need to do to make your URL rank above your competition, so you can start getting more wins for your bottom line and form a direct link between online prospects and your team.
Oh, and hang in there, because at the end of my article you can download my super-duper easy visual checklist at the bottom and post it on your wall for yourself or for your internal team to use for reference (I like visuals and useful images too).
First, Optimize for Speed
Your website should load in under 3 seconds. A recent study found that 47% of users expect your page to load in under two seconds, while about 60% of your users expect your page to load in under 3 seconds. In other words, your page needs to be fast if you want anyone to read it.
Great load times make users browse more pages, which results in better engagement signals being sent to Google. It also allows Google and other search engines to index more of your pages, giving you better relevancy scores.
- Use a great management system like WordPress
- Use a safe & secure host like WPengine
- Use a CDN and caching
- Optimize your images with WP Smush.it
- Optimize your database with WP-Optimize
- Disable hotlinking of your images in pages & posts
- Speed up page loads with Lazy Load WP
- Delete old post revisions with WP Revision Control
- Turn off pingbacks & trackbacks
- Avoid other unnecessary WordPress plugins that bloat your website
- Check your load times with GTmetrix
Here’s a snapshot of what one of our client’s rankings did when we increased site speed. Fannit provides WPEngine hosting as part of our local marketing packages.
This factor allows us to stay focused on driving leads to our clients because we don’t have to focus too much on slow load times or hacked WordPress websites.
Second, Optimize Your Page with Perfect Keyword Density
First, meta tags are located within the data that Google sees behind your website when you right-click and say “view source” on your browser.
They are also the most important relevancy signals that you can manipulate to help Google rank you higher over time.
Remember, Google reads every page left, right, top, bottom. Here’s how you should add keyword density on your website in order:
- Title Tags: This shows the title of your website on the search engine results page (SERPS). Your title needs to be between 50-60 characters long and should be focused on the search terms you’re trying to target for on that page. Never use duplicate tags on your website. This will cause a devaluation of your content and will make it harder for you to rank. Be sure to start your title tags with your search phrase (Google reads left to right).
- Meta Description: This is the little area below your title in the SERPS that should be no more than 160 words for best user readability. Technically, your title and description will not be penalized if they are over the allowed limit (which may allow you to place more search terms, within reason), but having too long of a title or description will sometimes make it difficult for the user to understand the value you’re giving them for that page or blog post (so use discretion). It’s important to also not have duplicate descriptions and improve the way they flow.
- URL: Your URL should be short and concise and include the main keyword theme you’re going after.
- H1: The most important heading that Google looks at. Often, WordPress will duplicate your title tag and also make it the H1, however, you can manipulate this to make each one unique so you can go after even more key phrases and user engagement (adding title modifiers) with the SEO plugin by Yoast.
- H2: The second most important heading. Be sure to use a variant of your keyword theme in your H2. While you can only have one H1 per page, you can have multiple H2’s per page.
- Alt Text in a Dazzling Photo: A great place to wow your readers and also put another variant of your keyword in, especially if it’s difficult to place your keyword in the text of your article.
- Paragraph Text: This is the main text you will use to create your article. You need to have a variant of your keyword theme about every 100 words. This is called latent semantic indexing.
- Use Outbound Links and Internal Links: Be sure to link to relevant websites. Linking to relevant, high-domain sites will boost your relevancy scores and help you beat out your competition.
Third, Start Publishing Content that Solves Your Customer’s Pain (browse, compare, buy)
81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases.
Begin with your customers’ buyer’s journey in mind. First, they are trying to gather information, next they are comparing options, and finally, they are looking to buy. At this stage, even the titles you choose must be relevant!
If you’re a local service company, you’re buyer’s journey often looks like this:
- My water tank just broke and I need a plumber (awareness of pain).
- I’m searching Google for the most reputable plumber (consideration).
- I’ve found the best plumber and now I’m ready to convert (decision).
If you’re in a business with a longer sales cycle and high average sales price like manufacturing, your buyer’s journey probably looks more like this:
- I just won this contract for Designing Architectural panels and need someone to manufacture these parts (awareness)
- I’m going to Google to see who has experience with this type of work (consideration which requires more education than the plumber)
- I’ve been educated by an expert and feel comfortable about making the call to work with them (decision).
The most important thing you need to do is to make sure you’re solving the pain problem of your customers from their perspective, answer their questions, share useful information, and link to off-page resources they may deem useful.
In the future, you can even build re-marketing campaigns and distribute your content via email, with a few tweaks of course.
So, here’s a quick list of things you can do to optimize your content for SEO: Optimize content with user intent in mind.
- Make sure your website is easy to use, includes valuable information, and has a polished-looking design
- Produce high-quality pieces that are as long as 2000 words for highly competitive topics and as low as 500 words for low-competition blogs. Here’s a snapshot of one of
- Our client’s sites whose rankings changed when they started posting 2000+ word articles in a highly competitive niche, especially after answering important questions
- Make sure to publish fresh content often and be consistent (once a week or more).
- Stay away from duplicate content. In most cases, duplicate content is not acceptable in written form. Duplicate content with added value can be acceptable, but be sure to reference the original author.
- Stay trendy with your content. Keeping on top of the latest news will help your site get indexed more often. Share it on social media. This type of content is easy to update and helps your readers stay on top of the latest changes happening in your niche.
Fourth, Automate Your Content Writing System
72% of marketers say relevant content creation and optimization was the most effective SEO tactic they practice. You’ve got to focus on organizing your post-producing system. You’ll need a process similar to the following to consistently get fresh content on your blog or pages every week:
- Research – Figure out the persona and keywords you’re aiming for, use social media to your advantage
- Writing – Have your team of writers use your persona and keywords, then craft posts about a pre-selected topic
- Proofing – Edit the content for grammar and proper on-page SEO
- Posting – Post the content to your website
- Promotion – Promote your content via the proper social media channels
- Analyze – Gather data on how your content did so you can do better next time
If you’re stumped on what to cover, try Hubspot’s nifty blog title generator. You should have a really solid idea of what to write and a quality topic though if you’ve done the proper research in step one.
Fifth, Make Sure Google Can Easily Crawl Your Website
Nothing is worse than a website that’s set to no-index. That little checkmark in WordPress that says to discourage search engines from indexing your site should not be checked if you want Google to place your website on its results.
A 404 error is basically a dead page link. If a Google spider crawls your website and hits a 404 dead page, it’s going to stop crawling your website altogether, which is going to put a huge kink in the indexing process of your website.
I recommend you pay a lot of attention to 404s to prevent issued down the road!
Finally, Your Web Presence Must Be Mobile-Friendly
Keep in mind, 65% of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant, high-quality pieces of information regardless of the company providing the information.
Check to see if your website is mobile-friendly with Google here. If you’re not mobile-friendly then you’re killing your conversion rate and CTR with mobile traffic. You must have a responsive website design.
Seventy-eight percent of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. On average we see 50% of our client’s traffic comes from mobile devices. Of the entire amount of leads our local service clients receive, only 40% are even visiting the website.
Most local service leads come from people looking at their reputation on their phone in the Google map listing and then clicking the “Call” button.
You have to be mobile optimized with both your website and your local Google My Business listing or you’re losing out on about half the conversions you could be getting.
Let’s Bring This Home
Carefully crafted buyer’s journey content, mixed with the other great on-page SEO tactics I mentioned before, can do amazing things to your bottom line.
If you don’t slow down and make sure you’re really creating great content, content that is solving your customer’s pain from their perspective with great on-site SEO, you’re just placing words on a page that will simply not affect your ranking or bottom line.
Happy content crafting! Also, make it easier for you and your team to remember on-page SEO by downloading my infographic below!
Print it out, and post it as a reminder to everyone.