Ultimate On-Page SEO Guidance for 2023
On-page SEO has the ability to drive a tonne of new clients and traffic to your website.
Furthermore, on-page SEO is entirely up to you since you get to choose the subject and/or objective of each page. The target audience for that page is up to you to choose. Additionally, you have a say in whatever important words and phrases you wish to concentrate on.
This has the potential to be both frightening and powerful. We’ve created this on-page SEO checklist to serve as a starting point for those who are unclear about where to begin.
What is On-Page SEO?
Why On-Page SEO is Important
On-Page SEO Elements
On-Page SEO Checklist
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO, also known as on-site SEO, is the process of improving various front-end and back-end elements of your website in order to improve its position in search results and attract more visitors. Content elements, site architecture elements, and HTML elements are all included in on-page SEO.
- On-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO are the three key variables that Google’s algorithm uses to rank your website.
- Below, we’ll go through on-page SEO components.
- Off-page SEO includes things like external links, social media sharing, and more.
- Technical SEO includes all the more technical aspects of SEO, such as structured data, site speed, and mobile compatibility, which are not covered by on-page and off-page strategies.
- Read Also- Tips On SEO Writing For Blog Posts That Rank on Google
Note: This SEO “trilogy” isn’t always divided into three clean sections; some of these SEO elements will overlap. You’ll see how and why throughout this piece.
Why is on-page SEO important?
Because it informs Google about your website and how you add value for visitors and customers, on-page SEO is crucial. It aids in the optimization of your website for both human users and search engine robots.
In order to rank and draw in new visitors, you must optimise your website for Google and other search engines in addition to designing and publishing it.
Visitors to your website can see the adjustments and modifications you make to optimise it, unlike off-page and technical SEO elements, which aren’t always apparent. This is why on-page SEO is termed “on-page” SEO.
On-page SEO is all up to you, thus it’s essential that you execute it properly. Let’s now talk about the components of on-page SEO.
On-Page SEO Elements
- High-Quality Page Content
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Image Alt-text
- Structured Markup
- Page URLs
- Internal Linking
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Site Speed
All on-page SEO elements fall into three main categories:
- Content elements
- HTML elements
- Site architecture elements
You’ll see these elements divided into sections below.
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Content elements refer to the elements within your site copy and content. In this section, we’ll focus mostly on crafting high-quality page content that benefits your visitors and tells Google that your website provides value.
1. High-Quality Page Content
The centre of on-page SEO is page content. It explains to visitors and search engines what your website and company are all about.
The process of producing high-quality content begins with selecting pertinent keywords and themes. Conduct keyword research by typing phrases into Google to see what websites and competitors’ web pages come up with. Additionally, you can use programmes like UberSuggest, AnswerthePublic, and Ahrefs.
Next, think about how the information on your website relates to visitors’ search intentions and the buyer’s journey. These will influence your keyword usage and the kinds of content you produce:
|Stage in the Buyer’s Journey||Suggested Content/Website Pages|
|Awareness||Blog posts, videos homepage|
|Consideration||Buyer’s guides, case studies about page|
|Decision||Product demos, comparison tools product or pricing pages, contact page|
Now that your on-page SEO has been audited, it’s time to produce your page content or clean it up.
Here are some guidelines for producing high-quality page content (some of them are covered in greater detail in our Checklist below):
- Incorporate short and long-tail keywords naturally.
- Add engaging and relevant visual content.
- Write for your specific buyer persona(s).
- Actively solve your audience’s problem.
- Develop content people will share and want to link to.
- Optimize for conversions with CTAs to offers and product pages.
Page content is your opportunity to communicate value to Google and your site visitors; it’s the heart of the on-page SEO process. All other on-page SEO elements stem from high-quality page content, so invest ample resources to develop and optimize it.
HTML elements refer to the elements in your source code.
Note: To see the source code for any page in your browser, click View > Developer > View Source in the top menu.
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2. Page Titles
Your website page titles (also known as title tags) are one of the most important SEO elements.
Titles describe what is on the corresponding pages to both visitors and search engines.
Make sure to include the focus keyword for each page in the title to guarantee that your site pages rank for the appropriate purpose. Put your keyword in as naturally as you can.
The following are some excellent practices for creating page titles:
- In order to guarantee that your titles display properly, keep it short—under 60 characters, as per Google’s change. Google doesn’t specify a character restriction, but its display titles can only be 600 pixels long. Your titles won’t be truncated in search results if you keep them to 60 characters or fewer.
- Don’t overuse terms in the title. Modern search engines are smarter than ever and have been built to specifically monitor for (and penalize!) content that is unnaturally stuffed with keywords. Keyword stuffing not only makes for a spammy and tacky reading experience.
- Ensure that it pertains to the page.
- Avoid using all caps.
- The title should include your brand, for example, “The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2022.”
Headers, also known as body tags, refer to the HTML element <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, and so on.
Depending on the search intent, these tags aid in organising your material for users and assist search engines in determining which section of your information is most crucial and pertinent.
Include crucial keywords in your headers, but pick ones other than the ones used in the page title. Your h1 and h2 headers should contain your most crucial keywords.
4. Meta Descriptions
In search results, the brief page summaries that appear beneath the title are known as meta descriptions. Even though it’s not a recognised ranking factor by search engines, it can affect whether or not a user clicks on your page, making it equally crucial for on-page SEO.
Meta descriptions can also be copied over to social media when your content is shared (by using structured markup, which we talk about below), so it can encourage click-throughs from there, too.
Here’s what makes for a good meta description:
- Keep it under 160 characters, although Google has been known to allow longer meta descriptions. (Note
- Include your entire keyword or keyword phrase.
- Use a complete, compelling sentence (or two).
- Avoid alphanumeric characters like —, &, or +.
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5. Image Alt-text
The alt-text for your photographs functions like SEO. It provides information to Google and other search engines about the subject matter of your photographs, which is crucial given that Google currently displays almost as many image-based results as text-based ones.
This implies that users could be finding your website through your photographs. However, you must include alt-text in your photographs for them to do this.
The following should be considered when adding image alt-text:
- Make it descriptive and specific.
- Make it contextually relevant to the broader page content.
- Keep it shorter than 125 characters.
- Use keywords sparingly, and don’t keyword stuff.
6. Structured Markup
Structured markup, also known as structured data, is the process of “marking up” the source code of your website to help Google find and comprehend the various components of your content.
The highlighted snippets, knowledge panels, and other content elements you see when you conduct a Google search are all made possible by structured markup. Additionally, it explains why when someone shares your content on social media, your specific page information displays so neatly.
Observation: Although structured data is regarded as technical SEO, I’ve included it here because improving it improves the on-page experience for visitors.
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Site Architecture Elements
Site architecture elements refer to the elements that make up your website and site pages. How you structure your website can help Google and other search engines easily crawl the pages and page content.
7. Page URLs
Your page URLs should be simple to digest for both readers and search engines. They are also important when keeping your site hierarchy consistent as you create subpages, blog posts, and other types of internal pages.
Here are a few tips on how to write SEO-friendly URLs:
- Remove the extra, unnecessary words.
- Use only one or two keywords.
- Use HTTPS if possible, as Google now uses that as a positive ranking factor.
8. Internal Linking
The act of hyperlinking to other useful pages on your website is known as internal linking. (Notice how the phrase “internal linking” in the previous sentence refers to a different blog post? It’s an illustration.)
Internal links are crucial for on-page SEO because they direct readers to other pages on your website, retaining them there for a longer period of time and signalling to Google that your site is valuable and beneficial.
Additionally, Google has more time to crawl and index your website pages the longer visitors stay on your site. In the end, this aids Google in learning more about your website and may help it appear higher in search engine results.
9. Mobile Responsiveness
Even for desktop searches, Google started to prefer websites with quicker mobile speeds.
Relevance of mobile responsiveness.
The selection of a website hosting service, site design and theme, and content layout that is readable and usable on mobile devices is crucial. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool if you’re unsure if your site is mobile-ready.
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10. Site Speed
Your site needs to be able to load rapidly whether it is being viewed on a desktop or a mobile device. The importance of page speed is paramount when it comes to on-page SEO.
Google is primarily concerned about the user experience. Google is aware that visitors are less likely to stick around if your website loads slowly or erratically. Additionally, site speed might affect ROI and conversions.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool at any moment to check the speed of your website. Visit 5 Easy Ways to Help Reduce Your Website’s Page Loading Speed if your website is loading slowly.
Note: Although site speed and mobile responsiveness are considered technical SEO, I’ve included them here because improving them improves users’ on-page experiences.
Now that you understand the different on-page SEO elements, let’s talk through the steps of auditing and improving your on-page SEO.
On-Page SEO Checklist
- Crawl your website.
- Conduct an SEO audit and define your site architecture.
- Update URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions.
- Make sure your keyword is in your URL.
- Include your keyword throughout your page.
- Track keywords and topics for each page.
- Don’t keyword stuff.
- Establish value propositions for each page.
- Define your target audience.
- Plan new page titles.
- Add new meta descriptions.
- Review and edit page content as needed.
- Incorporate visual content.
- Optimize your visual content.
- Add internal links.
- Add external links.
- Optimize for conversions.
If you’ve been in search of a solution for organizing and tracking the various on-page SEO elements, you’re in luck. The marketing team released an updated version of our On-Page SEO Template, an Excel document that allows you to coordinate pages and keywords — and track changes — all in one place.
In this section, we’ll be using this template as a guide as we walk you through a checklist for your on-page SEO management, step by step. Download the template now and follow along.
Note: The fictional website “http://www.quantify.ly” will be used as an example throughout this post. It’s simply meant to help you imagine how your own website will fit into the template.
1. Crawl your website.
Get an overview of all of your website pages that search engines have indexed. For customers, our Page Performance tool (under Reports) will allow you to do this. If you’re not using it, you can try using a free tool like Xenu’s link crawler.
After crawling your site and exporting the results into an Excel (or .csv) file, there will be three key columns of data that you should focus on:
- The web address (a.k.a. URL)
- The page title
- The page meta description
Copy and paste these three columns into your template.
The URL should be pasted into column B, the page title into column C, and the description into column E.
2. Conduct an SEO audit and define your site architecture.
Now that you have a basic index of your site in the template, you’ll want to organize and prioritize your web pages. Start by defining where within your site architecture your existing pages currently sit.
Do this in column A. Note whether a page is your homepage (ideally you’ll only have one of those), a page in your primary (or secondary) navigation menu, an internal page, and so on.
3. Update URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions.
Review your current URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions to see if they need updating.
(This is the beauty of using a template to organize your SEO: You get a broad overview of the type of content you have on your website.)
Notice how column D and column F automatically calculate the length of each element. The recommended length for page titles is anything under 60 characters. (And, actually, a quick and easy optimization project is to update all page titles that are longer than 60 characters.)
The recommended length for page meta descriptions is 155-160 characters. This is the perfect length to ensure none of the description is cut off by the ellipses. Make sure you’re not too repetitive with keywords in this space. Writing a good meta description isn’t tough, but it deserves just as much consideration as the page content itself.
(Note: For some sites, you may also have to update the URLs, but that’s not always the case and thus was not included as part of this optimization template.)
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4. Make sure your keyword is in your URL.
As we mentioned above, add your keyword to your URL. For example, imagine you own a hot yoga studio called ADYoga. You have a web page that includes videos of your classes. The keyword for this page is “hot yoga online classes” — so, you’d want to include that keyword in your URL. The URL for this web page may look like this: www.ADyoga.com/hot-yoga-online-classes.
5. Include your keyword throughout your web page.
In addition to your URL, you’ll want to add your keyword throughout your web page(s). This includes your title and headers. Sprinkle your keyword throughout your content as well where it fits naturally.
6. Track keywords and topics for each page.
Think of your target keyword as the designated topic for a particular page. If you’re using the template, In column O, define just one topic per page.
By doing this, you’ll be able to go more in-depth and provide more detailed information about that topic. This also means that you are only optimizing for one keyword per page, meaning you have a greater chance to rank for that keyword.
There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule. Your homepage is a classic example. The goal of your homepage is to explain what your entire website is about, and thus you’ll need a few keywords to do that. Another exception is overview pages like services and product pages, which outline what all of your products and services may be.
7. Don’t keyword stuff.
We just covered many examples in which keywords are both helpful and necessary for SEO purposes. However, one mistake many first-timers make when improving their on-page SEO is “keyword stuff”.
Keyword stuffing can be detrimental to your website and web page’s SEO and it can feel spammy to readers/ visitors.
8. Establish value propositions for each page.
A very important next step, which is often overlooked, is establishing a value proposition for each page of your website. Each page should have a goal aside from just ranking for a particular term.
If you’re using the template, you’ll do this in column G.
9. Define your target audience.
Define your target audience — do you have a single buyer persona or multiple personas? Keep this persona in mind as you optimize your site’s pages. (Remember, you are optimizing for humans, too — not just search engine robots.)
In column H of our template, you’ll have the opportunity to define your page’s target audience.
10. Plan new page titles.
Now that you’ve documented your existing page titles and have established value propositions and target audiences for each of your pages, write new page titles (if necessary) to reflect your findings.
You can do this in column K of the template — and double-check each title length in column L.
People usually follow the formula of “Keyword Phrase | Context.” The goal of the page title is to lay out the purpose of the page without being redundant. You should also keep the additional recommendations we made above related to titles.
11. Add new meta descriptions.
As we covered above, meta descriptions should be a short, declarative sentence that incorporates the same keyword as your page’s title.
It should not reflect the content verbatim as it appears on the page. Get as close as you can to the 150-character limit to maximize space and tell visitors as much as possible about your page.
If you need to create new meta descriptions, do so in column M of the template.
12. Review and edit page content as needed.
Good copy needs to be thorough, clear, and provide solutions … so, be compelling! Write for your target audience and about how you can help them. Compelling content is also error-free, so double-check your spelling and grammar.
Aim to have at least 500 words per page, and format content to make it easier to read and digest with the use of headers and subheaders.
Columns P through R can be used to keep track of changes that you’ve made to your content or to note where changes need to be implemented.
13. Incorporate visual content.
Content can be more than just text, so consider what kind of visual content you can incorporate into each page (if it adds value and serves a purpose, of course). Columns S and T allow you to note which visual elements need to be added. When adding an image to a page, be sure to include a descriptive file name and image alt-text.
14. Optimize your visual content.
We talked earlier about image alt text. You’ll want to optimize your visual content this way — and be sure to include your keyword in your image alt text. It’ll help with the page’s SEO as well as offer the potential to rank in image search (e.g. on a search engine image results page or image carousel).
15. Add internal links.
As mentioned earlier, incorporating links throughout your pages is a must, but it’s often something that’s easily overlooked.
Make sure that your anchor text includes more than just your keywords. The goal isn’t to stuff in as many keywords as possible, but to make it easy for people to navigate your site.
Use columns U through W to plan for these elements if you don’t already have them, or to document how you’ll improve them.
16. Include external links.
It may seem counterintuitive to include external links throughout your page considering we just covered multiple reasons why internal linking is so important for on-page SEO. However, external links are also important.
By externally linking, to credible and trustworthy sites, Google will know your page is also credible and trustworthy. Not only does Google want to know your site is well-referenced, but your visitors do, too.
17. Optimize for conversions.
If you’re also not optimizing your site to increase the number of leads, subscribers, and/or customers you’re attracting … you’re doing it wrong.
Remember that each page of your website presents a conversion opportunity. That means every page of your website should include at least one call-to-action (CTA), though many pages may have multiple CTAs.
Columns X through AF allow you to plan for conversions.
Be sure that your site has a mix of CTAs for different stages of the flywheel.
(Note: The On-Page SEO Template refers to the stages of the buying funnel — top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. If you are a customer, you can even use Smart Content to display these specific CTAs only to people in a specific part of the funnel.)
Also, as you add, edit, or update CTAs, be sure to note conversion rate changes in columns Z, AC, and AF.
Put Your On-Page SEO to Work
Once you finalize your SEO plans, implement these changes on your website or pass them along to someone to implement them for you. This will take time to complete, so aim to work on 5 to 10 pages per week.
Remember: SEO is not a one-and-done deal. It’s something you should continually improve upon. You should treat this On-Page SEO Template as a living, breathing document that will help guide your SEO strategy for months (or years) to come.
Read Also- 5 key reasons why LOCAL SEO is important
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