On-Page SEO Checklist || On Page SEO for beginners

Illustration of a key opening a door, representing the impact of on-page SEO on search rankings and website success.

On-page SEO  is a crucial aspect of search engine optimization, offering you full control over your website’s performance in search engine results. In this blog post,

we’re going to walk you through an extensive on-page SEO checklist that has consistently helped us increase our search traffic. So, if you’re ready to take your website to new heights in search rankings, keep reading.

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Understanding Search Intent

The first step in our on-page SEO checklist is understanding and aligning with search intent. Search intent refers to the reason behind a user’s search query. To decipher it, simply look at what types of pages appear on the first page of Google for your target keyword. Google favors pages that satisfy user intent, so it’s a smart move to match it closely.

For instance, if your website sells supplements, and you want to rank for the keyword “best protein powder,” a quick search reveals that top-ranking pages are blog posts that follow a list-style format. These pages categorize protein powders by type and offer descriptions, pros, and cons. To cater to user intent, you should follow a similar format.

Increasing Topical Relevance

Step two is all about increasing the topical relevance of your page. Research shows that the top-ranking page for a keyword often ranks for numerous related keywords in the top 10. To ensure your content is comprehensive, find and incorporate related subtopics.

  1. Analyze top-ranking pages: Explore these pages to identify relevant keywords and subtopics. For “best protein powder,” related keywords like “whey,” “isolate,” “concentrate,” “grams,” and “calories” can be incorporated.

  2. Use Google’s autosuggest: Type your target keyword into Google’s search bar and note the suggestions. For example, “for women,” “for men,” “weight loss,” and “weight gain” are related to protein powder.

  3. “People also ask” box: Review common questions people ask related to your topic. For example, “What is the healthiest protein powder?” and “Which whey protein is best for muscle building?”

  4. Scroll to the bottom: Check the “related searches” section for additional keywords and potential subtopics.

For more precision, consider using Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool, which reveals common keywords the top pages rank for. By following this data-driven approach, you can create content that perfectly matches your visitors’ intent.

Using Short, Descriptive URLs

Step three emphasizes the importance of using short and descriptive URLs. Research has shown a correlation between URL length and Google ranking. Keep your URLs concise by using your target keyword as the slug. For example, if your page title is “11 Best Protein Powders in 2019,” your URL should be “best-protein-powder.”

Descriptive URLs offer several benefits:

  1. Improved click-through rates: Users are more likely to click on search results that match their query, and descriptive URLs help achieve this.

  2. Keyword inclusion: Descriptive URLs often contain target keywords, which can enhance SEO.

If you’re already receiving substantial search traffic with long, non-descriptive URLs, there’s no urgent need to change them. For example, the website Medical News Today still receives significant traffic despite using numeric URL slugs.

Adding the Target Keyword

Step four involves strategically placing your target keyword in your title, meta description, and H1 tag, where appropriate. This practice has benefits:

  1. Correlation with rankings: Research suggests a small correlation between keyword placement and rankings.

  2. Improved user understanding: Using the target keyword signals to users that your page is relevant to their query.

However, avoid overstuffing keywords. Google is proficient at understanding synonyms, stop words, and connecting words. Focus on delivering valuable content that aligns with user intent.

Optimizing Images with Alt Tags

In step five, we explore a simple way to enhance on-page SEO—optimizing images with alt tags. Alt tags provide descriptive text for images and serve several purposes:

  1. Image replacement: Alt text displays when images fail to load, ensuring users still receive relevant information.

  2. Accessibility: Alt text aids users with vision impairments who rely on screen readers.

  3. Google Images: Alt text can help your images rank in Google Images, expanding your reach.

Adding alt text is straightforward. Include a brief description of the image using the alt attribute in the image code.

Adding Structured Data

Step six involves adding structured data where applicable. Structured data, such as review markup, can enhance click-through rates and make it easier for search engines to understand your content. While structured data isn’t a direct ranking factor, it can indirectly improve your rankings by ensuring relevancy.

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper simplifies the process. You can generate code for properties like article titles and authors. WordPress users can also find plugins for easy structured data implementation.

Making Content Simple and Easy to Read

In step seven, we stress the importance of creating content that is simple and easy to read. Google may consider user signals like dwell time and time on the page when determining rankings. Complex and difficult-to-understand content can deter visitors and lead to high bounce rates.

To enhance readability:

  • Avoid complex vocabulary when simpler words suffice.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs to improve readability.
  • Write in a conversational style, making content more accessible.

You can gauge readability with tools like the Hemingway Editor, aiming for a 5th to 6th-grade reading level.

Conclusion:

By following this comprehensive on-page SEO checklist, you can significantly improve your website’s search rankings and traffic. Each step contributes to a holistic approach that aligns your content with user intent, enhances accessibility, and makes your content more appealing to both users and search engines. So, get started on optimizing your on-page SEO today and watch your website climb the search engine ranks. Happy optimizing!

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