The Visual, Step-by-Step Guide (+Checklist)

If you’ve ever thought-about a web page rating on the prime of Google to be “lucky,” assume once more. For any such fortunate duck, majestically perched on the prime of the SERP, you’ll be able to relaxation assured there’s a number of legwork happening beneath the floor to make this doable.

Said legwork known as search engine marketing, however when you get the hold of it, it turns into like second nature. So on this information, I’m going to show the complicated strategy of on-page search engine marketing right into a step-by-step, visible information to make this doable for you.

Ready to start out rating larger and get extra visitors to your web site?

Quack 🦆

What is on-page search engine marketing?

Just because the identify sounds, on-page search engine marketing refers back to the optimizations you make to a particular web page in your web site to get it to rank larger on the SERP for queries associated to the key phrase it’s concentrating on. Some of these optimizations are seen on the web page itself whereas others are behind the scenes. This, after all, interprets to extra related visitors to that web page, and the extra pages optimized in your web site, the stronger your search engine marketing muscular tissues turn into.

on-page seo checklist template

Save picture | Go to the Google Sheet

On-page vs off-page search engine marketing

To perceive the distinction between on-page and off-page search engine marketing, it’s greatest to return to the search engine marketing fundamentals. There are three core forms of search engine marketing:

  • On-page search engine marketing refers to efforts made on to the web page you’re attempting to optimize, equivalent to bettering its content material or including key phrases.
  • Off-page search engine marketing refers to efforts made on different pages of your website, or with different websites, to assist your web page to rank, equivalent to with backlinking, listings, social promotion, visitor posting, PR, and extra.
  • Technical search engine marketing refers to efforts involving the positioning’s supply code, sitemap, velocity, safety, structured knowledge, and extra phrases that don’t start with S.

on-page vs off-page vs technical seo

While the overlapping circles look good, they’re introduced that method as a result of these efforts are all interconnected. For instance, you’re not going to get backlinks (off-page) in case your web page content material isn’t high quality (on-page), and compressing photos (on-page) helps with web page velocity (technical).

On-page search engine marketing guidelines

In the remainder of this submit, you’re going to discover ways to do on-page search engine marketing like by no means earlier than. But like I stated, it’s a hefty hustle, so right here’s the hen’s eye view of your on-page search engine marketing guidelines:

  • Keyword research
  • Content quality
  • Keyword placement
  • Images
  • Title 
  • Headings
  • Meta description
  • URL
  • Links
  • Technical
  • Content freshness
  • And right here’s the video model of this submit!

    1. Keyword analysis

    First and foremost, do your key phrase analysis. You can’t do any of the steps on this submit should you don’t know what key phrase you’re concentrating on. We present you tips on how to do key phrase analysis right here, however listed here are a number of suggestions:

    • Your weblog posts are the place you’ll do most of your key phrase concentrating on and on-page search engine marketing.
    • Use key phrase analysis instruments to search out key phrases with first rate quantity and low competitors.
    • Target one key phrase or key phrase theme per web page. For instance, this submit targets the key phrase “on-page SEO” in addition to “on page seo checklist” and “what is on page seo” as a result of if I wrote separate posts on every key phrase, they’d compete towards each other within the SERP.

    on-page seo - keywords

    • Google your key phrases. If you do the entire steps beneath however the content material of your web page doesn’t match the intent of the key phrase you’re concentrating on, you’re not going to rank!

    2. Content high quality

    Google defines thin content as inauthentic and offering little worth—like auto-generated copy, skinny affiliate pages, scraped content material, and doorway pages.

    But simply because your web page doesn’t match the above standards doesn’t imply your content material isn’t skinny. The vital phrase above is “value.” If you need your web page to rank for the key phrase it’s concentrating on, it must be:

    • Trustworthy: info is correct and delivers on the promise of the headline.
    • Useful: offers the data a consumer is searching for once they search that key phrase.
    • Actionable: all “what”s ought to be accompanied by “how”s, even when meaning a hyperlink to a separate useful resource.
    • Readable: info is organized, scannable through headers, reads like a human wrote it, and textual content is damaged up by photos, bullets, call-out quotes, and different visible components.
    • Adequate size: if the web page you’re optimizing is a weblog submit, intention for at the least 1,500 phrases. Hubspot recommends 2,100-2,400 phrases based mostly on the common size of its prime 50 weblog posts, but additionally mentions {that a} third of these prime posts had been lower than 1,500 phrases.
    • Free of fluff: i.e., it doesn’t use many phrases to say little. See beneath:

    on-page seo - fluff content

    121 phrases of empty-calorie robotic fluff with no dietary valuevs44 phrases of protein-packed peanut butter

    3. Keyword placement

    Now should you’re writing high quality content material like a human, the key phrase and associated LSI key phrases will happen naturally within the physique of the textual content. But there are some locations the place it is advisable deliberately place your goal key phrase. These embrace:

  • Page title: This is the title of the web page because it seems on the web page.
  • Title tag: This is the title of the web page because it seems on the SERP.
  • First 100 phrases of the web page: Make positive that is included naturally.
  • Headings: ideally in at the least two H2s on the web page.
  • Meta description: This is the abstract of your web page that seems on the SERP.
  • Image alt textual content: The textual content various of a picture.
  • Image file identify: Don’t simply save a picture as “Screenshot-1” or “chart.”
  • keyword placement checklist for on-page seo

    Click to enlarge

    If you had been confused by the above checklist, don’t fear—the remainder of this information will dive deeper into each.

    4. Images

    Images on their very own are an on-page optimization since they hold readers engaged with a web page, and time on web page components into rating. But there’s extra to photographs on a web page than meets the attention. Here is your picture optimization guidelines:

    • Optimize for velocity: Resize your photos so their width doesn’t exceed the utmost width of the web page (your website will resize them routinely, however this nonetheless requires requests to the server), and compress them to cut back file dimension with out sacrificing high quality (I exploit as a result of it’s quick, free, and has a cute panda on it.) If you may have a very giant website with plenty of photos, you might wish to look right into a content delivery network (CDN).
    • Add alt textual content: This is the textual content various of a picture. This is the way you inform Google (and the way display screen readers can inform the visually impaired) what your picture is about, and may comprise the key phrase you’re concentrating on.
    • Convey worth: Use photos for example the ideas in your web page, equivalent to with graphs, screenshots, and even your individual illustrations (how to use Canva here!) not empty graphics.
    • Don’t substitute textual content with photos: Alt textual content is just meant to be a number of phrases, so if you’re utilizing a picture to convey info related to the key phrase you’re concentrating on, ensure that info can also be written out within the physique textual content of the web page.
    • Optimize filename: The identify of the picture file you add to your web page ought to comprise the key phrase you’re concentrating on. Be positive additionally to exchange areas within the filename with dashes or underscores. Otherwise, they’ll get changed with “%20” or another jibberish that doesn’t look reliable and might impression your picture’s rating in picture outcomes.

    on-page seo - image optimization

    Here’s what alt textual content, file identify, file dimension, and dimensions seem like in WordPress.

    In the picture on the prime of this submit, I optimized for the key phrase “on-page vs off-page SEO.” My alt textual content reads “comparison of on-page vs off-page vs technical SEO,” my file identify is “technical-vs-on-page-vs-off-page-seo.png, and I’ve each compressed and resized the picture.

    5. Title

    There are two totally different titles for any given net web page on a web site:

    • Title tag: Also often called the meta title or search engine marketing title, that is the title of the web page because it seems in search outcomes. An optimum title tag is 60 characters or much less and incorporates the key phrase you’re concentrating on. Be positive to front-load the headline with the key phrase to ensure it doesn’t get minimize off on smaller screens.
    • H1 tag: This is the title of the web page that readers see when on the web page. You have extra room right here to be artistic and convey worth right here, but it surely ought to nonetheless comprise the key phrase.

    Your title tag and H1 tag don’t must be totally different, but it surely’s good to know you may have this feature. Regardless, a strong headline is a must for on-page SEO since it impacts whether or not users click through to your page. A strong headline:

    • Conveys value. What’s in it for the reader? “7 Yoga Poses to Try Today” doesn’t give me a reason to click. “7 Yoga Poses That Improve Sleep” on the other hand, does.
    • Doesn’t overpromise. Don’t call it an ultimate guide if it isn’t one, or change it to match other top-ranking pages for that query if it doesn’t contain that content.
    • Is descriptive. “Services” might work as a page title on your website, but on the SERP, this could mean anything. Instead, go with “Affordable Norfolk Landscaping Service Packages”
    • Is interesting.  This does not mean using caps, hyperbolic words, or exclamation points! Use power words, like “supercharge” instead of “improve.” You can refer to these 88 headline examples for ideas and guidance.

    on-page seo checklist - headline optimization

    Short, SERP-friendly title tag on the left; longer, more brand voicey H1 title on the right (and a post that delivers on its promise).

    6. Headings

    Headings are used to organize the information on your page into clear sections and subsections. These convey to readers the hierarchy of the page, but Google needs to know that too in order to understand its relevance to the keyword you’re targeting. But it can’t identify headings based on font size and weight of font like we can. Instead, Google sees in HTML.

    There are six types of heading tags. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, SquareSpace, etc., you’ll see a drop-down menu of heading tags in your editor (you can customize the sizes of these headings as well), but you can also manually apply them in the HTML code.

    on-page seo - html headings in wordpress

    • is the title of the page; you should have only one H1 per page.

    • labels the main sections of your content. A well-optimized page could have anywhere from two to 22 H2s (that’s a lotta twos right there), depending on how much content there is, but you should always have at least two that contain the keywords you’re targeting—which should be easy to do with one section in your post and the conclusion.

    • these are used to further label the different points made in each H2 section. Use these as needed, but don’t force it and don’t worry about having keywords here.

    • to

      These headings don’t really have SEO value, and if you’re chopping up your content that much, it’s probably not going to be very readable. I do sometimes use H4s but only once in a blue moon.

    on-page seo checklist - html headings

    Heading tags also enable Google to surface your page in results for more specific queries related to the page, allowing you more opportunities to appear on the first page of Google. The biggest thing to remember with headings is to make sure they’re descriptive. A reader should be able to get the gist of the page just by skimming the headings.

    7. Meta description

    The meta description is the description of your page that appears under the title on the SERP. Consider it the ad for your page, as a well-written meta description tells searchers your post will answer their query and gets them to click. Here’s your meta description checklist:

    • Keep it between 155-160 characters.
    • Include the keyword you’re targeting, and related keywords if it makes sense.
    • Make it actionable and communicate benefit. For example
      • “This post provides a list of power words and alternative versions of common words to use in your marketing materials.”
      • Write more memorable marketing copy with this list of over 350 power words and phrases—for emails, blogs, social, ads, and more!

    on-page seo checklist - meta description example

    Google won’t always use the meta description you’ve provided. It dynamically creates them from your content based on the query—which is why it’s important to have those heading tags in there. Keep in mind also that the meta description also appears in preview snippets, like the ones you see on social media.

    Get a free, fast, on-page SEO audit with our free Website Grader!

    8. URL

    Most, if not all CMSs generate an automated URL to your web page—generally the title you’ve given it or generally a string of numbers. You’ll wish to edit this URL to:

    • Contain the key phrase you’re concentrating on
    • Use dashes as a substitute of areas
    • Keep it quick. The key phrase itself will suffice in nearly all instances.

    on-page seo - URL example

    Had this URL been, would you may have trusted it sufficient to click on it?

    9. Links

    There are two forms of hyperlinks concerned in on-page search engine marketing—inside hyperlinks and exterior hyperlinks (additionally known as backlinks). We shares some nice intel on linking on this 10-step search engine marketing audit, however listed here are the fundamentals.

    External hyperlinks

    These are the hyperlinks in your web page that take customers to different domains. An on-page search engine marketing greatest observe is to hyperlink out to pages on the subject from web sites with excessive area authority. This helps Google to belief your web page extra. In his SEO techniques post, Brian Dean recommends linking out to at the least 3 high-quality domains

    Internal hyperlinks

    These are the hyperlinks in your web page that take the reader to different pages in your website. Your web page shouldn’t solely embrace inside hyperlinks, however different pages in your website ought to hyperlink to the one you’re optimizing.

    For any case with linking, the anchor textual content ought to be particular to the web page you’re linking to and comprise the key phrase it’s concentrating on. Not solely does this make for a greater consumer expertise, however the extra hyperlinks to your web page that use the key phrase because the anchor textual content, the higher your probabilities of rating.

    10. A *few* technical optimizations

    I do know, I do know, this isn’t a technical SEO checklist, but like I said earlier, the different types of SEO are interconnected. Below are some things that should already be in place, but sometimes have glitches so they’re easy troubleshooting if your page is not performing as well as you expected.

    • Mobile-friendliness: Your site as a whole should be built with responsive design—meaning it will adjust to any screen size—but sometimes, elements fall through the cracks. If you’ve embedded a video or added a table to your page, for example, double-check to make sure it’s appearing properly on mobile.
    • Crawlability: Your page can’t rank if it’s not indexed. And it can’t be indexed if it’s not crawlable. If your website shows up on the SERP, it’s indexed. But sometimes, blog posts or pages get accidentally unindexed for one reason or another. If a page is getting unexpectedly low traffic, check the back end of the page in your CMS to make sure indexing isn’t turned off. If it isn’t, you can use Search Console to troubleshoot.
    • Social share buttons: This is done at the site level, usually through a plugin, and makes it easier for others to amplify your content. Just make sure the plugin doesn’t slow down your site.
    • Page speed: Page speed is a ranking factor, and oversized images aren’t the only thing that can drag a page down. Use PageSpeed Insights to verify the velocity of your particular person web page. Both instruments will inform you what it is advisable do when you have a poor rating.

    best website graders - pagespeed insights

    11. Content freshness

    The significance of content material freshness can range relying on the question, but it surely’s vital to periodically replace any web page you wish to rank to protect its worth. I’ve a whole content material refresh guidelines right here, however for a sneak peek, listed here are some updates you may make:

    • Update or add new info.
    • Add hyperlinks to new content material and repair any damaged hyperlinks.
    • Replace outdated photos (particularly graphs and platform screenshots).
    • Check to ensure the intent of the key phrase hasn’t modified.

    Free on-page search engine marketing checkers

    As now you can see, a web page rating on the prime of Google isn’t simply effortlessly streaming alongside. There’s a variety of work that goes into it, and that is for each web page in your website. Luckily, there are on-page search engine marketing checkers that can assist you out.

    • search engine marketing instruments: Free trials from websites like Ahrefs and Semrush can run complete audits in your web site to verify for on-page, off-page, and technical search engine marketing components. These are greatest for search engine marketing specialists who know what to search for and tips on how to learn the outcomes.
    • WordPress plugins: Namely Yoast, which can present a rating and recommendations on the readability and key phrase concentrating on of your content material. Take these recommendations with a grain of salt although.
    • Website graders: These instruments are extra beginner-friendly. LOCALiQ’s Free Website Grader offers a report just like the one beneath, explaining what the outcomes imply and prioritizing motion objects for you.

    on-page seo checker - localiq's free website grader

    Use the free LOCALiQ Website Grader to get a report like this to your web site.

    On-page search engine marketing templates

    To make your life simpler, I’ve a number of templates for you.

    On-page search engine marketing guidelines template

    The first is the guidelines template which you could customise to your liking. You can print it out or make a replica of the Google Doc to make use of when publishing pages or working content material audits.

    on-page seo checklist template

    Click to enlarge | Make a copy of this Google Sheet template

    search engine marketing weblog submit templates

    I’ve created a collection of weblog submit templates that can assist you to create high quality content material optimized across the key phrase you’re concentrating on. Here’s only one instance:

    beginner's guide blog post template outline

    Go to the free weblog submit templates.

    Get extra web site visitors with on-point on-page search engine marketing

    Now are you able to see why on-page search engine marketing is that below-the-surface hustle? There is a variety of legwork that goes into it. But the extra you do it, the simpler it will get—and the extra visitors you’ll get to your web site. To recap, right here’s tips on how to do on-page search engine marketing:

  • Do your key phrase analysis and goal just one key phrase or key phrase theme per web page.
  • Write correct, organized, actionable, and in-depth content material on the focused key phrase
  • Place your key phrase within the title, headings, photos, meta description, URL, and first 100 phrases of the web page.
  • Compress and resize photos, and embrace the key phrase within the alt textual content and file identify.
  • Use a compelling title that conveys worth, front-loaded with the key phrase.
  • Use headings to convey info hierarchy, with the key phrase in at the least two H2 headings.
  • Write a benefit-focused meta description that incorporates the key phrase.
  • Include 1-3 exterior hyperlinks to high-quality websites plus inside hyperlinks.
  • Keep the URL quick, descriptive, with dashes between phrases and embrace the key phrase.
  • Check for cellular compatibility, web page velocity, and indexation.
  • Periodically replace and refresh the web page components to take care of content material freshness.