On-page SEO activities have always been a dynamic part of performing SEO. Moreover, there are so many things to do at a given time that it becomes almost impossible to remember and do everything required. At LongTermSEO.com we understand this problem and so we have got you a complete actionable checklist for you which you can download.
As Google brings new features, new terms, new technology to its search engine ranking factors, it becomes essential to keep abreast and make changes on your content page or in its backend to qualified for better rankings on google search results. There are many essential On-page SEO activities you need to perform to stand a chance to rank your content on google search results. That’s the reason why we brought to you the ” Actionable On-page SEO Checklist” which you can download at the end of this article. So without further ado let’s dive in.
Note: These steps are to be performed after the keyword research part and before writing any content on the page, you must follow these steps to ensure optimum on-page SEO results.
Find out the Keyword’s Search intent and its search result type
Keyword intent is bar far, the most, underrated part of Search Engine Optimization. It is important to know the keyword intent of the targeted keyword. It is important to know the keyword intent to know the following
- Type of post to be designed (List post or comparison post or anything else).
- Type of content to be written.
- Type of schema data to be added.
- Type of content structure required.
How to find out the keyword’s search intent?
There are no steps to this action just type the targeted keywords on the search bar of Google and observe the following.
- Number of results appearing (as search results): This is to determine the competition
- Types of Schema data appearing for the search: This is to check the type of schema data appearing on the search result (Image schema, FAQ schema, Q&A schema, etc). This step will also determine the type of schema data to be submitted after completing the post
- Type of search engine results: See what is that the pages ranking in the top 10 of Google have in common. Are they List post or post answering questions or Comparison table post or what?
Search intent observation
1: After Searching for the search phrase “best places to visit in the united states” you observe SERP as follows
- Types of post: List posts with pictures of the places to visit
- Type of Schema/featured snippet: Trip Schema and Image schema for other travel-related searches
- Other types of Schema/featured snippet: Q&A schema or Answer featured snippet or Direct answer SERP
- Search Intent: Here, the keyword intent is to let visitors know more and more about the best places to visit in List format.
Search Intent Action
So, in the above case, for the keyword: “best places to visit in the united states” We have to make 1) a List post covering more and more of the places to visit. 2) We can place schema data for the Answer Featured snippet.
On-Page Content Optimization
The content has to be arranged in such a way that it would n0t only help google understand its context and, meaning but also make it super simple for the audience or the reader to read and digest the content.
1.Targeted keyword in H1, H2, and H3 tags
Include your targeted keyword in your Header tags mainly H1, H2, and H3. This informs Google about the primary content of your topic and enhances the User experience of the reader as they get to know the topic beforehand, the thing you want to say in big bold H1, H2, and H3 tags.
2.Targeted Keyword in Front
Always right your targeted keyword at the beginning of the Title tag. Its importance at the beginning of the title is at its highest level. Example: My targeted keyword is “Image SEO”. So I would begin my Title as follows “Image SEO: 101 tricks and tips”.
3.Target Long-tail keywords with your Main Keyword inside your title.
Trying to target long-tail keywords which has your ‘Main keyword‘ will enhance your chance to qualify to rank for other ‘search terms’ apart from the main keyword. So, try inserting, what they call a ‘modifier’ in the title. The word ‘modifier’ in SEO parlance is the word that can be added in suffix or prefix around your targeted keyword to make the sentence look more convincing and deliver greater context of the targeted keyword or phrase
Action: Here the targeted keyword is “Car reviews“, you can add modifiers such as “Expert Car Reviews, with used car checklist” or “Car Reviews – Road Tests, First Drives and Expert Reviews”
4.Insert the Target keyword in the First 100 words of the article
The first 100 to 150 words of the page appear at the top and have a high possibility of getting read by the visitors. Adding your target keyword there is a strong signal sent to google from your side indicating the topic name (through targeted keyword). Thus, Google gives more importance to the content at the top and so having your target keyword in the first 100 words of the page or article, or blog.
5.Use LSI keywords or Synonyms
Use LSI keywords or synonyms instead of frequently repeating the same keyword again and again. Right from Google’s Panda update to its Hummingbird update, Google gave many signals of penalizing the unnecessary keywords repeating in an article also known as keyword stuffing. As repetitive keyword reduces user experience and also makes difficult for google to understand the context or meaning of the article.
Example: If the article is about “car” how will google find out if it is about a car movie or a car (vehicle) or a real car or a toy car? The answer to this is is as follows.
One can use LSI keywords or Latent semantic index keywords or synonyms to help Google to understand the context of the article in a more clear way. So if the targeted keyword is “Car” and the LSI keyword is “Best Mileage Cars in India” or “Car fuel efficiency”. Here the keywords words such as milage, or fuel-efficiency are telling google that it may be an article about “Real car” and not a toy car or car movie, etc. The use of the LSI keyword is a must in your article. Spread LSI keywords topics around your root or targeted keywords.
Action: LSI Keywords
The best way to find the LSI keyword is as follows
- Use Google search page result: The list appearing (below) after you enter your keyword is of LSI keywords.
2. Use the free tool: https://lsigraph.com to find out LSI keywords
Optimize Header Tags
Header Tags establish the hierarchy in your post or content, it makes it easy for the user to read the post and understand. Thus in order to create balanced content, it is important to retain hierarchy in the post.
- Insert your Targeted Keyword in the H1 tag
- Not to use more than one H1 tag on a page
Adding Meta Data
Meta Data is added as tags in the header section of individual pages/posts. Meta Data gives additional information about the page/post to google. Some of the types of Metadata are as follows.
Meta Title: Gives info about page/post title to search engines
Meta Description: Give a brief description (up to 1024 characters) about page/post to search engines
Meta Robot Tags: Gives information about Index page, No index page, archives, snippet etc.
OG tags: Open Graph tags, this controls the preview of your page/post on Facebook.
Use SEMrush or Ahref to check the metadata of your page.
Plugins such as Head Meta Data By Jeff Starr can be used to edit Meta Data
On-Page Link Optimization
On-page link plays a vital part in SEO, be it internal or external links, with proper link distribution a webmaster can make its audience gain access to the content which otherwise may remain hidden deep inside. Link optimization is also important as a naked link(without anchor text) with numbers and random letters after the domain name (example.com/fijigj3948u) may just look absurd and may prompt the viewer to think before clicking compared to the optimized link.
1.Make URL SEO friendly (use keyword in URL)
A link on the page such as this “example.com/kjenoefkn345”, with random characters after the domain name seems not trustworthy, nor creates interest in users mind to click, nor give any information about the destination. Thus, links like these hamper CTR and may affect your rank (indirectly, due to low CTR). Including targeted keywords in your link such as example.com/car-review
Please note: Even though including keywords or relevant text in the link about the destination page is an essential thing for On-page SEO, it shouldn’t be overdone. Keep your links short, use no more than 3 to 4 words in your link after the domain name. Example: example.com/top-10-car-reviews
2.Use relevant anchor text in the link
Use relevant Anchor text of the Internal link. Anchor text is the text used to cover the naked link, to make it look more appealing and informative.
For example: If the content Title is ” Long term SEO” the anchor text of the link should use the targeted keyword for the article, which is “Long term SEO”
3.Use of External links
Webmasters are skeptical about linking to an external website. The reason being the distribution of link juice or fear of driving the traffic to the external website. Although this may happen in some cases, there are more benefits of adding an external website to your content than losses one can imagine. The external link gives the user the citation and this creates trust in the minds of the reader about your content.
Thus, Google rewards external linking and thus, external linking plays an influential role in increasing your website’s ranking on Google.
Action External links
Make sure to link out to at least 5 authority sites in your article. Here the word authority is important. The authority sites of any niche are its top website that Google trusts and ranks for, on the top position. This site usually has the best and correct information about the topic.
4. Use of Internal links
Internal linking is as important as external linking. Internal links do the following work in the blog or article.
- Distributes the content
- Maintain a balance between the content
- Reduces unnecessary detailing of the article
- Brings traffic to the pages with less authority
Thus, it is also an indirect ranking factor on Google search engines
5. Action: Internal Links
It is advisable to link to 2-5 other pages on your site which should appear to have been placed naturally. While placing the anchor text make sure to follow the following guidelines.
- Not to use the same anchor text to link two different pages
- Never link the same page twice
- Keep anchor text relevant to the topic
- Place your links naturally
5. Search and Fix Broken links
Broken links are of two types 1)Internal and 2) External Broken link
External Broken links can hamper your SEO efforts badly, besides it creates a very bad user experience. Always look out for the external broken link in your content and fix them.
Use Apps such as “DrLinkCheck.com“, “Ahref” to find out and fix the broken links. There is a chrome extension “Check my Links” which does the same job.
Internal broken links create Page 404 error, this happens when your content is removed or relocated without proper redirects, then re-direct visitors to the new page using 301 redirects.
Find out internal broken links with the tool named “Screamingfrog“.
On-page Image Optimization
Images bring life to the content, as it is said, “a picture is worth a thousand words” they give more information, vivid information, moreover they help establish trust in the viewer. Thus, Google rewards adding media to a site. But there is a big problem in adding images, they take up space and increases site loading time. This affects your SEO negatively, as site loading time is a ranking factor.
Image optimization on your website can be done as follows
Reducing the image size:
- Use jpg format images.
- Resize the image before uploading. You can use a third-party website like tinypng.com
- Use plugins such as Shortpixel to reduce the size of the image at the server level.
Check for Core Web Vitals errors
Check for FID and FCP errors on Webmaster Console which may be due to image size or resolution etc. Check your page speed and reason for the delay at Google page speed insights, Core Web vitals will be considered important in the future so it’s better to prepare for it in advance.
Use Alt-text in images
Use the keyword in Alt-text of the image(But don’t stuff keywords randomly). Make alt-text more detailed and relevant to the content.
Add Image description
Fill in the description of the image, this helps google identify your image relevancy and so it increases the chances of ranking for Google Image searches.
Optimize Image URL
Try Optimizing Image URL by removing unwanted numbers and characters. Folder structure appearing on the image URL can also be changed using c-panel.
This type of SEO has to mainly has to deal with the technical side of the page
This activity is essential to make sure that your website can be easily crawlable by search engine bots. Crawling lets search engine knows about the content and starts recognizing it. It is important to be noted that having your webpage crawl lets your content indexed on Google and eventually rank for the qualifying keywords or search terms, does not necessarily mean your page was or will be indexed for sure. Google determines at the crawling stage on whether or not to show your page in the search engine result.
Practically, it may appear that your website pages are being crawled, but it has been noticed that at times the search engine bots fail to crawl all pages. Thus, crawling checkup becomes an essential part of our first on-page SEO activity “Crawling Checkup”.
The process of crawling checkup is as follows.
1. Log in to Google search console>Google Webmaster Tools → Select your site, → click on “Crawl” → Click on “Crawl Errors”
2. Check your robot.txt file and .htaccess file to see if any URL or file folder is blocked.
As mentioned previously, Google may crawl all pages but may not index all. As an SEO expert, it is your job to index as many pages on the website as possible. So this step of Indexing Checkup enables us to know the page which has already been index, which has not been indexed, or if there is an indexing error which we need to solve.
Your page may be crawled but not indexed. Some essential factors contributing to Indexing problems are as follows.
1.Expired product page: Expired or out-of-stock products. Check your inventory to solve this.
2. Duplicate content: To avoid SERP duplication Google may crawl your page, but may not index it
3.301 Redirect: the destination URL is placed into the “Crawled”.Since the redirecting URL is the one indexed (301 redirects) sees the destination URL as a “duplicate” .
4. Private-facing content: This happens when Google Crawlers reaches for example the client data or any confidential data that it shouldn’t be publishing on the search results at the first.
Steps to check Google indexing is as follows
- Under Coverage > Indexing > Indexing allowed? the report should show that noindex is preventing indexing.
Confirm that the noindex tag still exists in the live version
- Clicking Test live URL
- Under Availability > Indexing > Indexing allowed?
see if the noindex directive is still detected. If no index is no longer present, you can click Request Indexing to ask Google to try again to index the page.
Reference: (reference: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7474347?hl=en)
We often ignore, after submitting the sitemap on Google Web console but a sitemap can fix as well as create crawling or indexing problems. If the page is not present on the site map, nor connected internally by a page that has already been crawled, then the chances are that it may not get crawled or indexed at all. As Google has no way to reach the page.
So check for site map’s page links (if any page link is missing), accessibility, if opening properly, if submitted to search console properly etc.
Mobile Friendliness test
Google has already started mobile-first indexing. This essentially means that whatever is been crawled on the mobile page, that only will be considered as primary content and that will only be indexed. Information, Features, buttons absent on the mobile version of the page will be ignored from the SEO perspective or Ranking perspective. Therefore it becomes absolutely necessary to test for the mobile-friendliness of your website page/content.
Google has its own tool for testing mobile-friendliness, please follow the link below to visit and check.
When keeping a different version for mobile and desktop, one should remember that the content of the desktop and mobile site should not be very different. The design and size aspect can change but the content, information, message inside both versions should be the same.
Canonical tags are used to inform the search engine about similar content on different pages. Canonical tags are used to point out to Google about your preferred or favorite page to rank for that one particular topic. It tells the search engine, that among the pages with similar content, the webmaster wants one particular page to rank (in SERP) for that very keyword/search term.
If there are several pages covering a similar topic, you can inform Google (by using Canonical tags) to combine the link equity of all these pages and pass it on to this one preferred page. There are several plugins in WordPress available to put these canonical tags. If you have Yoast Plugin Installed on WordPress then, in its advance section they have a column to insert the canonical tag. You can refer the image below.
Add Schema Data
Schema data helps users understand your content more deeply. Schema data makes your SEPR (search engine page result) look richer and thus increases your CTR. Not only that, Q&A schema helps your customer to interact with you, review rating schema helps your customer to know the review of the products and services, etc. Overall, the schema data helps in boosting customer experience and thereby improving the CTR and thereby improving the rankings.
Use Merkle Schema Data tool to generate schema data and submit it.
The above mentioned are most of the things an SEO expert is expected to carry out to optimize for On-page SEO for better ranking.