Search engine optimization is one of the most important things every website must do get success. When it comes to SEO, the journey starts from your first step means on-page SEO. So we have created a compressive on-page SEO checklist to define some actionable strategies that you can use on your site today.

Every website wants to be on the first page of the Google Search page for the targeted keyword. Moreover, the goal should be the #1 position.

For that purpose, you need to optimize your site for Google ready and the process starts from your site optimization.

The on-page SEO checklist that we are going to provide here is a list of 25 step list you need to use in every pages and post of your site.

25 Best On-Page SEO Checklist

Optimizing your content should be the number one priority when you are preparing for the uphill battle of SEO. Makes sure that every pages and post of your site should pass this On-Page SEO checklist.

1: Title Tag

The title is one of the first and foremost things Google sees on your page. This talks about what the content is all about to Google bots.

Search for any keyword in Google and you will find that most of the pages that are ranking on the first page have the keyword in the title. It’s obvious to see this.

SEO Meta Tittle
SEO Meta Tittle

Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “SEO tools” then you may build your headline like follows.

Example 1 – SEO Tools: The Complete List (Free and Paid)
Example 2 – 20 Best SEO Tools You Should Try In 2019

Both the titles are attracting and have a good structure. You can create any type of title as your choice but need to follow some rules.

You may notice that most of the pages that are ranking on the first page have the target keyword at the beginning of the title. Why?

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Keyword, in the beginning, gives more SEO strength to your page. It is not a hard and first rule to use this. Because it is not always possible to use keyword in the beginning. Try to use this whenever possible.

Title length also matters for SEO. Always try to put your heading somewhere between 40 and 60 characters. Don’t make it wider than the search engine’s viewable limit. So be creative and conclude it within the limit.

2: Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions Are the short paragraph appears under the title and link in the search result. It helps to increase your search ranking and click-through rate (CTR).

So don’t forget to add a meta description for your page. Your meta description is like a movie trailer to your page. It should match the content of the page. Make sure people feel this one interesting and visit your page to see the full story.

SEO Meta Description
SEO Meta Description

Another thing you need to consider is the length of the meta description. To say frankly there is no exact length of meta description fixed by Google. Sometime we may see quite a long paragraph or sometimes quite short.

Some SEO experts suggest that the ideal length would be 155 Characters. If the description is longer than the viewable length then it will not visible after the define characters.

Don’t forget to add your targeted keyword in the same. Google usually bolds the text that searcher searches if it is available in the paragraph.

If you don’t provide any meta description then Google will pick some text from your page to show. In this way, you can’t guaranty that which sentence Google will pick.

So it is a good practice to add a meta description to every page or post of your website.

3: URL Structure

The URL structure is also matters in SEO. Like your title tag and content, Google also considers as a factor to figure out your content.

SEO Friendly Url Structure
SEO Friendly Url Structure

I have seen some creepy URL structure like this.

Example – http://example.com/seo/backlink-a-detailed-guide-2019?post-id-834632

Sometimes ugly than this one also.

Many people also do a mistake of adding date, month, year in the URL also. This is also a bad practice also.

If your URL structure adds date and category in your URL then remove the options. This leads to a short URL and will be more meaningful.

Some SEO case studies find that sort and sweet URLs performs quite better than the long one. So you will see short URL structure in the sites that are ranking for the competitive keywords.

Create short and attracting URL that also includes your targeted keyword. This will tell users about your content and Google also loves this.

4: H1 Heading

This is one of the most overlooked things in SEO that no one talks about these days. But good SEO is now all about checking boxes. So why not add this one to our checklist also?

H1 Heading
H1 Heading

Visually this tag is the biggest text and grabs the most attention. H1 tag puts more emphasis on the text associated with this. Usually, WordPress themes add the H1 tag to the title of the page by default. To ensure this one check your site’s source code.

It is recommended to use only the H1 tag on a page for SEO.

5: Optimize images

Images play a great role in blog posts and pages and it enhances the content quality. When adding images to your pages make sure that they are optime for SEO as well.

Use small size images that load fast and gives the user a positive impact. This also leads to faster page speed and simultaneously better ranking.

Image Optimize for SEO
Image Optimize for SEO

Another good practice is to add the alt attribute to every image of your website. This shows when your image, not loads and also tells the search engine what the image is all about. This also helps in image SEO as well.

Here are the 8 Best WordPress Image Optimizer Plugins & Best WordPress Image Compression Plugins for improve site speed.

So the key point to take here is to add small size images and always add all-tag to every image of your website.

6: Use your Keyword in The Beginning

The keyword density concept seems too old these days and the keyword stuffing also is gone. So keyword prominence is one of the new approaches now.

Google is now looking for the keyword position means where the keyword is present. The earlier it appears, Google takes it seriously and gives importance.

Use your Keyword in The Beginning
Use your Keyword in The Beginning

For example, if you are writing about “how to build backlink”, then you should use it at the beginning of the article. 

Think it this way. If you are a searcher and want to read about how to build backlink then you would definitely want to see the key phrase in the beginning. Google also thinks this way.

Rather than writing a lengthy introduction and then use the keyword, clear your topic at the beginning of the article. I am not saying that you should always stuff your keyword in the first sentence of your article.

It is recommended that include your main keyword in the first hundred words of your article.

7: Use Keyword Variation and LSI Keywords

As you know the keyword stuffing is gone, no need to maintain some keyword density of 2-5% in each article. Some famous SEO blogs are still recommending to use this keyword density although we are in 2019.

Google is very intelligent these days and you need not says the search engine that you are writing on a specific topic by repeating the same keyword again and again.

Use Keyword Variation and LSI Keywords
Use Keyword Variation and LSI Keywords

So it is a good practice to use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords and keyword variations.

So you may think that what are the LSI keywords for your main keyword? The best way to find LSI is Google itself.

Search for your main keyword in Google. Then scroll down to the bottom of the search result. You will find a list of LSI keyword. Sprinkle them in your article and it shows the quality of your article.

Another thing is you need to use the keyword variations and synonyms.

8: Write Long and Quality Content

Have you heard that content is king? Off course yes.

But there is a lot of content on the web already and how your content would be king?

The simple and straight forward answer is making a long and quality article that covers everything about that topic under the sun.

Write Long and Quality Content
Write Long and Quality Content

Before going to write on any topic do some research and find the best content that is available. Then try to figure out what you can write more than them.

After your research, write a long in-depth article that covers everything.

Study shows that longer content ranks higher in Google. Top 10 search results of Google have an average of approximately 1800 words or more.

So the point you can take here is, create long content providing value.

9: Use Keyword in Sub-Headings ( H2&H3 )

Most of the post’s title is H1 tag by default. There are other tags like H2 & and H3 exits to the structure to your webpage.

Use Keyword in Sub-Headings H2 & H3
Use Keyword in Sub-Headings H2 & H3

Use your keywords in them to improve your on-page SEO.

Again, repeating the same keyword again and again on the headings is boring. So use keyword variations and synonyms in the sub-level headings like H2 & H3.

10: Decorate Your Blog Post using Multimedia

Usually, people prefer to read text-based content on a blog post. But imagine a page full of only texts and texts from top to bottom.

This would be so boring and visitors may leave your site without reading your post. Adding various multimedia like Images, Screenshots, Infographics, Charts, and Videos will give the user more visual pleasure.

These multimedia have no direct impact on the on-page SEO but help indirectly on your page’s rankings.

These files enhance the user experience and them more likely to stay on the page for a longer time.

Now Google is paying more and more attention to the user interaction. So this leads to higher ranking as well.

11: Align your Content Types with SERP Intent

Everyone nowadays is creating content and running after building backlinks. They might miss one of the biggest ranking factors now.

Search intent is one of the most overlooked factors. Then what is search intent?

Search intent means why the person made this search. What is his/her intention and what would want to see in the search result?

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There are four types of primary search intent. Informational, navigational, transactional and commercial investigation.

The best way to find the search intent of a particular keyword is to Google it. Search for the keyword in Google and analyze the results. You will get some idea of how the contents are all about. Before creating your own content it would be very good to analyze the search intent.

It will help you to build your content that aligns to the SERP intent.

12: Increase Dwell Time

Dwell time is often confusing and seems technical.

Dwell Time is the amount of time a searcher spends after clicking on the Google search result and click the back button, return back to the SERPs.

Let’s say you search for a page and check it. After a few second you found that the content isn’t helpful. So you just click the back button and return to the search result page.

Increase Dwell Time
Increase Dwell Time

Then you click on another result and visit that page. This time you found this content is helpful and you read and spend more time here. Then you press the back button and continue your research.

Short dwell time tells Google that the content is not trusted worthy and not helpful to the user. That long Dwell Time sends a signal to Google that the content is helpful and they more likely to place it in a higher position than the lower dwell time site.

Sometimes people often confuse with Dwell Time and bounce rate is the same thing. Actually, they are a different thing. We will discuss the bounce rate later in this article.

10 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

Bing uses Dwell Time in their algorithm but what about Google?

Google never officially confirmed or denied anything related to Dwell Time. Some SEO case studies and research shows that Google also considers this as a ranking factor. Many SEO professionals consider this as an important Google ranking signal.

Write long and engaging content to keep people reading. Make your entry paragraph interesting and compelling so that it forces users to read further.

13: Internal Linking

An internal link is one of the most important rankings factors and a should have an entry for the on-page SEO checklist.

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect to pages on the same domain.

Internal Linking Optimization
Internal Linking Optimization

Internal links help Google crawlers to find, index and understand your whole site and all of the pages.

A good internal linking structure can send page authority(PageRank) to important pages.

Internal Linking Building
Internal Linking Building

The best example of internal linking is Wikipedia. You can find many internal linking on a single post.

Add 3-5 internal links to your older articles when you are writing a new one.

14: Use Outbound Links

Outbound links are also important like internal linking. Google wants you to connect the dots and make the web a better place.

Through outbound links, we connect our website to another website and then the process is repeated. In this way, we are helping Google bots to find interesting and relevant resources on the web.

Users also get a good resource to get some extra benefits and its win-win for both.

So include 2-3 outbound links to relevant authority sites on every blog post you are publishing.

15: Reduce Page Load Time

No one likes slow-loading sites and waits until the page load. Google even don’t like this.

Google has officially confirmed that page speed is one of the most important ranking signals they are considering.

Improve SEO Page Speed
Improve SEO Page Speed

According to Google, 53% of users will leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

You can check your site speed in various tools like Google PageSpeed Insight, GTmatrix, etc. 

If your site is on WordPress then you can use caching plugins to boost your page speed. Check some of the Best Caching Plugins.

Premium hosting services can also load your site fast as well. Otherwise, hire a developer and tell him to optimize your site for fast loading.

16: Decrease your Bounce Rate

Bounce rate has a remarkable effect on the site’s SEO.

A “bounce” happens when someone visits your website and leaves without visiting any other page on your site. Your bounce rate shows you how many percentages of your users who bounce off of your site without visiting any other page.

Decrease your Bounce Rate
Decrease your Bounce Rate

Head to your Google Analytics to check your bounce rate. If people are bouncing back after clicking on the search result, Google thought that your site doesn’t have quality content. So Google decreases the ranking.

Add internal links to decrease your bounce rate. In addition to that write relative articles and interlink them.

17: Use HTTPS

HTTPS is the secure version of the HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). The S stands for secure.

All information exchange between your site and the browser is encrypted using an SSL certificate.

Google also officially announce that they are using HTTPS as a ranking factor.

Use HTTPS for Better SEO
Use HTTPS for Better SEO

Now Chrome is also showing a Not secure warning if a site does not have an HTTPS connection. This looks spammy and no want to visit this type of website. It could have a big impact on the user’s trust and they put a negative feeling on your site. If it is an eCommerce site then it’s horrible.

There are some free plugins in WordPress repo that can install a free SSL certificate and gives HTTPS for free. You can use some free SSL certificate providers as well.

If you are migrating from non-HTTPS to HTTPS then you should add the HTTPS URL in Google Search Console. In addition to that redirect your old URLs to new URLs to avoid page not found an error.

18: Is Your Site Mobile Friendly

Smartphones are skyrocket now and Google changed their algorithm accordingly.

As more searches come from a mobile device nowadays, to give those vast user base a better experience, Google decided to switch and prioritize mobile results.

Improve Page Speed
Improve Page Speed

Google announced the mobile-first indexing in November 2016. That means if your site is optimized for mobile devices, then you’ll rank well on both mobile and desktop.

So you need a responsive mobile-optimized site. Luckily, all the modern themes have a responsive design that automatically optimizes according to the devices.

Test your website whether it is mobile-optimize or not. You can use Google’s Mobile-friendly test tool.

19: Use The Table of Content

Table of content gives a hustle free way to navigate inside a page. It also has some SEO impact as well.

Table of the content does two things. First, it increases user experience (good for RankBrain) a secondly help increase the chance of getting a featured snippet or search result.

Use Table Of Content
Use Table Of Content

A featured snippet is considered as the position zero of Google and grabs the most clicks. This snippet style representation is usually generated because of the table of content.

Table of content also responsible for generating sublinks in the search result just below the meta description.

You can’t guaranty that if you have TOC then your site will be definitely on position zero. It’s up to Google.

There are several WordPress plugins available to enable this feature in your site. Otherwise, you can create this using HTML as well.

20: Add Schema Markup

Have you ever saw a Google search result that includes star ratings? This type of additional information in the search result is called a rich snippet. The code used to instruct the search engine to find that piece of information is called schema markup.

Google uses it for better understanding your content and adds something called rich snippets.

Add Schema Markup
Add Schema Markup

Adding schema markup gives eye-catching rich results. Rich snippets help your site more visible in the search result.

Star rating isn’t the only rich snippets you’ll see. There are various schema markups are present. For example, you can see a recipe search result with the star rating, a number of reviews, calories in the recipe, upvotes, and the amount of time it takes to complete the dish.

According to your post, you can design your schema markup to show in the organic search result.

You can easily add the schema markup in your site using WordPress plugin like Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets.

21: Create an SEO Title to Maximize CTR

You have put huge effort to rank your page in the first page of Google. Then its time to drive people through the link on the search result.

If people are occasionally clicking on your page Google search result then Google think that you are not fit that keyword. So Google will down your page in the ranking.

In reverse, if people are clicking on the lower result frequently Google increases the ranking.

You can check your site’s CTR Google Search Console.

So it is a good practice to optimize your title of the page. Put the words or phrases that grab searcher attention.

Some SEO plugin allows you to add a second title or SEO title. This can be completely different than the page title. This can help you to maximize the CTR.

22: Optimize Clicks to Content

Usually, the home page is more authoritative than any other pages on your website. It means the home page has most PageRank to pass other pages.

The closer a page is to the home page the better it will get PageRank flow and more change of rank higher in Google.

So try to reduce the number of clicks to that page from the home page. If it takes more than 3 clicks to reach there then you are missing a lot of critical page rank.

To make it nearer, famous SEOs suggests adding the important pages in the sidebar. This way it is easily reachable and just one click away.

23: Uses of Dofollow and Nofollow Links

Dofollow links pass link juice to the linking page and nofollow links don’t pass any link juice.

By default, all the outbound links are dofollow in nature. You don’t need to instruct Google that it is a dofollow link.

If you want to make a link no follow then add the nofollow link attribute.

<a href=”http://www.google.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>

If you are doing affiliate marketing on your blog then you will have a regular requirement of Nofollow links. Add Nofollow attribute for affiliate links on your blog posts.

24: Audit Broken Links

Broken links mean the links that don’t work. Some of the reasons may be the website is no longer available, the web page was moved permanently or the URL structure was changed.

If you click on a broken link then you would see a 404-page error or a message showing the page is not found (or something like that).

Broken links create a bad user experience. Google also hate it.

You will find broken links rarely on the top-ranking pages for the competitive keywords.

So it’s a good SEO practice to regularly audit your external link profile. Make sure that you aren’t sending visitors (or search engine bots) down a dead-end street.

You might think about how to check for outbound broken links?

The easiest way to do this is through an extension. Use Check My Links free Chrome extension.

Once you got any broken link then replace the link and fix the issue.

25: Use social sharing buttons

Use social sharing buttons on your website so that users can easily share your content in various social media platforms.

Use social sharing buttons
Use social sharing buttons

Sharing content can get more eyeballs and drive more traffic to your website.

So your social sharing buttons should prominently be displayed on blog posts.

Conclusion

So this the on-page SEO checklist every site should follow. Follow the above tips for better on page SEO. Follow these steps in every post you are publishing. This will help you to get better ranking.

Author

A tech geek and SEO enthusiastic finding balance between both. I have worked with more than 20 blogs. You will find me exploring the web and reading posts on Medium. Glad you asked!

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