Content creation is one of the most time consuming activities when running an online blog or business. With an on-page SEO checklist, your content will be perfectly optimized each time you press publish!
What is on page SEO?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing the content and elements within a given post or page on your website, which is different from off-page SEO.
By applying the items on this checklist, search engine algorithms will better understand the intent of the page.
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What is off page SEO?
Off-page SEO focuses on the actions taken outside of your website to improve rankings within the search engine results.
Examples of off-page SEO techniques include:
- Social Media marketing
- Guest blogging
- Brand mentions
In my opinion, it’s best to optimize the content on the page before moving onto external techniques. If your content is well-optimized with the items from the checklist, you will have a better chance of ranking without the off-page SEO techniques.
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On-page SEO Checklist
After your keyword research is done, your next task is to optimize the actual content on your page.
1. Create a great title.
Most advice will tell you that your title should include your keyword or a variation. I agree with this advice…except when it doesn’t make sense.
Remember, the algorithm favors content written for humans – not search engines.
This is the hook to bring your readers in. Make this interesting and reflective of the content within the page. An enticing title will increase click through rate and bring more traffic to your website.
2. Use an SEO-friendly URL
The URL should be short and descriptive, include your keyword(s), and should offer insight into what the user will read when they visit the page.
Avoid using conjunctions, numbers, and characters. Also, steer clear of pigeon-holing yourself with dates, unless applicable.
Not recommended: www.example.com/30-best-free-seo-tools-and-services
3. Use your keyword.
The focus keyword should be dropped within the first paragraph or 100 words.
Feel free to use semantics and synonyms as Google understands “human speak”.
Related Reading: How to Do Keyword Research.
4. Make the content readable.
Use a combination of bolded, italicized, and underlined statements to catch the reader’s eye.
Other examples include:
- Lists to break up blocks of text.
- Subheadings to break up topics.
See what I did there?
These techniques are necessarily SEO practices, but they do keep the reader around longer and increase click through rates and engagement, which brings more authority to your website.
5. Optimize images.
Use the correct image sizing and descriptions. For ADA compliance, the alt text is required so your images can be accessible to those who wish to consume your content. Additionally, if your image fails to load, this will serve as the placeholder.
Alt text is a simple description of the image. It does not have to include your keyword, but it does have to tell the reader what the image is about.
Additionally, the file name of the image also carries SEO weight. File names and alt text descriptions are all searchable through Google Images.
Consider naming your images the title of the content and number.
For example: How-to-bake-a-cake-1; How-to-bake-a-cake-2; How-to-bake-a-cake-3
And so on.
6. Optimize the meta description.
A meta description is a short paragraph placed in the HTML of the web page that serves as a summary of the content. If you are using Yoast, you already do this when you add in the description or “snippet”.
The meta description used to be the only summary Google would show beneath the search results, but now, Google pulls a short snippet based off of the keyword and the user’s search intent, which is why it’s even more important for your content to be fully optimized.
7. Link to related content.
If you have elated pages or blog content, use internal links within your post. As you publish new content, add the new link to other relevant content on your site.
You can find these by searching for site:yourdomain.com “topic”
It’s impossible to include everything of importance on one checklist, but by following these basic checks and balances, you are on the right track to optimizing your content the right way.