On-page SEO is vital for ranking high on Google search results. It is the process of optimizing specific pages on a website. It is not the same as on-site optimization since the latter deals with optimizing all pages on a website while on-page is all about improving one webpage at a time. The process, though, is part of on-site SEO.
On-Page SEO Checklist Guide for 2019
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex process. There are numerous factors to take into account when you want to help your individual pages to rank higher. It encompasses the elements of your website that you see – the content, keywords, and images. And it also involves optimizing the not-so-obvious elements, such as the meta tags, HTML source codes, and user indexing.
To help you succeed in on-page SEO in particular, we have compiled this checklist of essential items and white hat SEO techniques to implement on your webpages this 2019. They cover:
- Media (Images/Videos)
- Crawling & Indexing
- User Experience (Design)
- Call to Action
Below, you will learn more about the importance of each on-page SEO element. You will also learn how to optimize each factor for overall higher rankings.
Are you optimizing the right keyword or keyphrase?
This is the most important question to consider when developing an on-page SEO plan. It is important to start with keyword qualification and competitor analysis. This is a crucial step as the keyword will be integrated into other aspects of your on-page SEO effort – from optimizing images, videos, linking, and metadata.
A common mistake that website owners make is to overestimate their ability to rank on Google for specific keywords. But you need to do a ton of competitor analysis. This will help you identify potential keywords you could rank for and what key phrases your competitors use.
When doing competitor analysis, gather data about the backlinks and total linking root domain. This will provide you with a roadmap towards identifying the best keywords or keyword phrases to use in optimizing your pages.
Another important tip to keep in mind when building your on-page SEO approach is keyword cannibalization. Have you used a specific keyword on other pages of the website?
When you are targeting keywords for a specific niche, it is not uncommon to repeatedly use the same keywords. But it is important to keep tabs on these search words you target for each page. If you don’t, you could be the reason why pages won’t rank (or rank as well).
Keyword cannibalization is when you use the same keyword or keyword phrase to target multiple pages. You may target closely related keywords but never use the same exact keyword for optimizing more than one page.
Finally, consider the intent of your keyword. Use this as a guide to dictate how you should build your content on the page you are optimizing. For example, this is an example of an information keyword: “how to lose weight.” When you target an informational keyword, it should be followed by informational content on your website.
You cannot expect to showcase your product right away. It should be integrated into content that is providing information (again, that is if the intent of the keyword is being informative). For example, start by building awareness about the problem – losing weight. Provide content about weight loss and how it can be achieved. The final step of your content structure on the page should involve explaining your product or service. You must integrate your product or content as the solution.
It is all about building the customer journey. This is how you can optimize content using your target keywords to build customer trust. At the same time, you are optimizing your page for Google.
Content is the vehicle that drives your website forward, and you will be using your keywords as fuel. These two elements must work together to ensure that you can rank well.
When building content, ask yourself this question: how is your page better than your competitors?
Unique content should be the aim (more than length). Unique means that the content must offer something new and different – something that your competitors do not or have not offered yet. Needless to say, your goal must be to add value to what’s already out there.
Ranking for informational queries should be easy. But what about transactional queries? An important technique to apply for your on-page SEO is to leverage content unique to your brand. The content types include testimonials and case studies. Not only do you boost your ranking on Google but also add credibility to your brand.
While content uniqueness is the primary goal for on-page SEO optimization, length can also boost your performance on Google. In general, longer content performs better (versus average length content). To put it into perspective, content with 800 words or more perform better on Google than those with 300 to 400 words in length.
Do not fall into the trap of building longer content for the sake of it. Again, quality still comes first. Keep it well-crafted and it should offer value to the readers.
When building a long-form copy, don’t just dump long paragraphs onto your page. There is no faster way than that to put off your readers. Keep the content easy to scan – this means shorter paragraphs and a smooth flow.
A good way to break up your content is by using sub-headings. Each sub-heading should serve as a guide for your readers on what to expect for each section. Be descriptive when writing your sub-headings.
Lastly, always keep your content fresh. Once your page is done, it’s not actually done. Make sure you update it regularly.
Images and videos are two of the most common types of media used for on-page SEO. They are a vital component of your page because they provide visual stimulation. The use of media like photos or videos also makes your copy more engaging.
Always use unique images – if possible, custom graphics. That will be part of your branding effort and a worthwhile investment. If you can, it would be best to hire a graphic designer or a professional photographer. In addition to using unique images, choose high-quality ones, too. When they are professionally done, that can also enhance the professional look of your page.
The main problem when you use high-quality images is that the file size is also higher. It can pose problems for your users as it will take longer for the page to load. Images are the main culprit for slow-loading pages, after all. You can prevent this issue by compressing the images on your website.
When optimizing your images, use descriptive file names or keyword-driven ones. This will help your image’s search performance on Google. Do not forget to use ALT tags on your images as well.
Aside from pictures, video content should be given much attention when you are optimizing your web pages. In fact, adding a video to your page is encouraged by SEO experts. It is highly recommended that you incorporate one on your page, even if your competitors don’t.
Like the images you use, make sure your video content is branded. The content of your video must align with your long-term SEO strategy. Invest in a high-quality video with good quality content, too. It must be engaging and informative at the same time.
When adding a video to your page, make sure it is responsive. What this means is that the video must be easily viewed regardless of the device used to access your page. It is also important to choose your video platform wisely. Right now, Youtube is king when it comes to video content. It would be a smart idea to use this platform.
Links are the foundation of your search engine optimization. When doing on-page SEO, it is a must to do internal linking. It is a great SEO technique to boost your website authority. Integrating internal links is a foolproof technique to build website traffic as you are directing your readers to other pages within your website. In terms of the overall SEO perspective, internal links can improve the indexing and crawling factor of your website (not just the individual pages).
One of the techniques you need to learn when linking for on-page SEO is first link priority. The first link priority refers to the fact that Google will often count the first appearance of a link or anchor text on the page. Therefore, it would not make sense to stuff your page with links to the same page. The first occurrence should be enough to be optimized on Google.
An important reminder when adding internal links is to make sure each link points to a relevant page. The page you’re linking to must add value to the subject. Otherwise, it will appear unnatural and forced, which could end up hurting your SEO efforts.
And just as internal links are vital, external links can boost your on-page SEO, too. Linking to authority websites can be good, but be careful not to overdo it.
Crawling & Indexing
Is Google properly crawling through your page?
All of your efforts are for naught if Google spiders are unable to crawl your page. When this happens, you need to check if you have “NoIndex” tags on your website. It also makes sense to check your robots.txt file. There are plenty of tools you can use to check if Google is crawling through your web page/s.
After making sure that Google spiders can crawl through your page, the next step is to check if it is indexed. You should also use tools to check the crawl depth of your website. This is typical when you have too many pages on your site (such is the case with e-commerce websites). Most of the pages are “too deep” that they are hard for Google to crawl through.
Ideally, the main pages that you are trying to get ranked for should be no more than three clicks deep. This means that from your home page, you should not perform more than three clicks to reach the page you are trying to rank.
User Experience (Design)
How long does it take for your webpage to load? Did you know that it only takes users 3 seconds to decide if they should move on? Three seconds is such a short amount of time to make sure that you get to keep traffic on your website.
Page responsiveness is a crucial element to look into when designing with user experience in mind. In particular, it should be mobile-friendly (most users now browse on their mobile devices). There is no debate on whether you need to have a mobile version of your website – you should.
The installation of an SSL security certificate is another priority for your UX design. This will give confidence to your users that their information is secured when they browse your pages. Securing your site can also boost your SEO performance.
Call to Action
Does your page have a clear call-to-action (CTA)?
One of the recent changes to Google’s algorithm is to put value on goal completions. This is when a website visitor takes action on the page.
The CTA you use should be aligned properly with the target keyword and intent. If you are optimizing a product page, the goal is to drive sales. But if you have an informational keyword phrase, social shares or comments can be your CTA.
With that said, it is important that you add share buttons on your page. This will make it easier for your users to share the content on other parts of the internet (mostly social media). If you have done your job at making the content valuable and informative, it will be easier to compel your website visitors to share the page.
The right time to start your on-page optimization is now. Implement the advice above and drive your website towards success this 2019 and beyond.