Growing your business's traffic and revenue will need some strategic planning, time, and resources to move your business in the right direction. One of the most effective ways to boost organic traffic for your brand is through On-Page SEO.
On-page SEO strategy has changed considerably over the years. What might have worked in 2005, may be considered obsolete or a blackhat SEO technique today. Google changes its search engine algorithms every once in a while. This is to enhance user experience while providing quality results to millions of search queries from its users.
In this post, we will show you an on-page SEO checklist that you should be applying to your on-page SEO strategy this year.
Search engines like Google and Bing use sophisticated 'spiders' or 'crawlers' that crawl the entire web for relevant links based on keywords used, but these automated bots can't shop online, email customer support, or download an ebook.
Only humans can, so make sure that you generate web content targeting your end-users. Of course, you still need to use keywords but it's crucial NOT to overdo it. Keep it naturally readable for your readers.
No matter how many times Google changes its algorithm or ranking factors, one thing that remains the same is the emphasis on quality content. Any type of digital optimisation can be effective if it has unique and high-quality content front and center.
As with any content, whether offline or online, it has to be understandable and readable for readers to be able to engage with it and take action. Again, your content should be written for visitors, not search engines.
At the heart of every on-page SEO strategy are keywords. Conducting keyword research is still an effective way to discover the best terms or phrases your prospects use when looking for answers or relevant products or services.
With these free tools, you can find new keywords to target and get search volume data so you can better plan your advertising campaigns.
This is highly recommended for small or new websites. Targeting competitive keywords will take years before you see any traction. It would be hard for you to rank for certain keywords when you're competing against well-established companies that market the same products or services.
Instead, you can focus on more targeted mid-tail or long-tail keywords, which provides greater opportunity to drive relevant traffic to your website. These keywords consist of three or more words, making them more specific to the user’s search intent.
These keywords may bring less monthly average search volume, but when users key in such keywords, your website stands a higher chance to compete against long-standing competitors and bring more relatable traffic to your website. Refer to the following screenshot for a sample:
Visitors who search using long-tail keywords are usually looking for something specific and may already have narrowed down their search.
On the other hand, broad search terms may not convert well because searchers may still be researching and may not be sure of what they want.
Using focus keywords will ensure your post is aligned with the topic.
However, it's best to 'sprinkle' your focus keyword throughout your content in different ways. You don't want to be using the exact same keywords many times. We don’t want to wear out our readers.
In Google's point of view, it will only make your content look more spammy and unnatural, which may lead to a dip in your search rankings.
Instead, you can use related or similar keywords known as latest semantic index (LSI) keywords. Let's say your focus keyword is "lsi keywords", then the LSI keywords can be any of the following:
Where to find LSI keywords?
A meta description tag is a preview snippet below your search listing that briefly describes what your page is about. It plays an important role in increasing your click-through rate for organic search results.
As best practice, make sure to include target keywords to encourage people to click your link. It's best not to go over the 156-character limit so the text will not be truncated.
Here's an example of Vodien's search listing in Google:
Considered as one of the critical on-page SEO strategies, a title tag contains the title of a web page or post. It is commonly displayed on the search engine results page (SERPs) as a preview. It provides a short and accurate description of what the content is about.
To better optimise your title tags, here are some tips:
Many people are not aware that H tags can optimise your keywords, but only when you do it strategically.
Place your focus keyword in the H1 tag. Of course, make sure it blends well with the entire phrase for it to make sense to your readers.
Distribute the rest of these keywords in ascending H1 tags, H2, H3, and so on. These tags signify descending importance for each heading, so think twice when using heading tags.
Keep in mind to only use the H1 tag ONCE — usually in the page’s title — while others can be used multiple times when needed.
Again, do not repeat your main keywords for each H tag. Rather, use its variations to reinforce the value of the content. Break up blocks of texts to make it readable for the readers.
Here is a checklist to make your URLs more SEO-friendly:
NOTE: If you are using WordPress, easily change the URL structure for your website via the "Permalinks" settings. We recommend that you go with a URL structure that both your readers and Google can understand.
Google places high value on alt texts because they provide useful information about the topic surrounding the image. In turn, this helps search engines offer the best image results based on a searcher's query.
Plus, strengthening your alt attributes will increase visibility for your website.
So, make it a habit to have alt text for every image of your content. Make sure to insert your focus keywords in the alt text of your images to allow search engine bots to easily crawl them.
Instead of uploading generic image file names like DCMIMAGE25.jpg, it's better to place a relevant filename (and insert keywords when possible!).
For example, rename it to web-hosting-tools.jpg if your image is about web hosting tools.
Again, always remember to put alt and title tags for your images to increase your on-page SEO and get your images to rank higher.
When choosing a theme for your website, make sure that it’s search engine-optimised. It should not have any coding errors, put extra load on search engine bots, and add extra loading time, among other things.
For WordPress users, there are several SEO-friendly themes you can choose from.
Also, the theme should be 'mobile-friendly' or responsive. Google places high importance on such factors and will help your website top the SERPs.
Google has made it clear that site speed is one of the important factors to consider for search rankings.
Check out this article we wrote on how Google’s Core Vitals impact your ranking.
To make online access more secure for users, Google emphasised the importance of using HTTPS over HTTP.
An HTTPS website encrypts the visitors' access to the website, so it minimises the chances of it being hacked. If you have a website that stores customers’ information or purchase information, then it's best to invest in an SSL certificate.
To give your site a much-needed SEO boost, we recommend the free SEO plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin allows you to customise your SEO title, meta description, h1 tags, and other elements to each post or page on your website.
Create a sitemap for your website. Sitemaps helps search engines navigate through all the pages listed on your website and index these pages more efficiently.
Setting up a sitemap is fairly easy. If you have a WordPress website, you can install the plugins Google XML Sitemaps or SEO by Yoast to automatically generate an XML sitemap.
Then submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools to assess whether all your pages are indexed and check if there are any errors you should fix.
Even if you have awesome products and fantastic content to boot, your chances of dominating the search results will be very slim if you don't optimise it well for both users and search engines.
Let this checklist serve as an essential guide to ensure that you can propel your business to the top of search rankings and even eclipse your competitors on the SERPs.
If you don’t have the capacity to perform SEO for your business, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a professional SEO agency to do the work for you. Doing this will give you ample time to focus on the more important matters of your business.