What is On-Page SEO? best checklist for on-page SEO

On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) is the process of optimizing web pages to rank higher in search engines for specific keywords to increase organic traffic. It involves aligning page-level elements like title tags, headings, and content as well as search intent with a specific set of keywords.

Why on-page SEO is so important?

Google is constantly evolving its search algorithm. In 2021, it ran 800,000 experiments and updated its search algorithm more than 5,000 times.

And yet, despite its constant improvements, it’s not perfect. Google still needs help understanding new content. That’s where on-page search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

Fortunately, on-page SEO strategy isn’t as hard as some folks make it out to be. The truth is, there are only a handful of ranking factors you need to be concerned with. Your biggest priority should be creating an exceptional user experience and not just over-optimizing content for bots.

So with that in mind, let’s look at specific on-page SEO best practices. You can also download our 41-point on-page SEO and copywriting checklist below.

What on-page SEO ranking factors should I optimize?

With on-page SEO, you have several different on-page ranking factors. You want to optimize all these factors. Taking the time to optimize each of these factors will improve your rankings in search results and make your website more competitive and difficult to beat.

On-page optimization factors you should focus on include:

  • URL
  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • Heading tags
  • Alt tags
  • Keywords
  • Content
  • Speed
  • Internal linking
  • Images
  • Mobile-friendliness

Examples of some on-page SEO action items include:

  • Optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions
  • Writing in-depth, quality content
  • Cleaning up your site’s code
  • Streamlining your site’s navigation
  • Speeding up your website

Keep reading to learn how to do on-page optimization for each of these on-page SEO factors.

Using multiple headers (H1 tag, H2, H3, etc.) on your pages helps with SEO in several ways. First, it makes it much easier for users to read your content. If visitors encounter a wall of text on a page, they’re much less likely to want to read it and will often abandon the page. Multiple headers help users quickly grasp the content, which improves the overall user experience (an important factor for Google). 

Second, subheadings help Google understand the contents of a page. When crafting headers, be sure to use your primary keyword in at least one or two H2 headers. If it makes sense contextually, include the primary keyword again in the H3 or other headers.

SEO copywriting

Copywriting can supercharge your on-page SEO efforts. When you invest in great content for your landing pages, users will be more engaged. It’s important to note that SEO copywriting best practices aren’t just good for search engines. They also enhance your content marketing for users.

The best bloggers are masters of SEO copywriting, and these are the techniques they use:

  • Write concise, compelling introductions. Clearly articulate the problem as well as your solution.
  • Avoid long sentences and paragraphs. However, don’t abandon paragraphs entirely or your content won’t flow properly.
  • Break up sections that are longer than 300 words with subheadings.
  • Incorporate the target SEO keyword naturally throughout the page copy.
  • Align content with search intent.
  • Always write for your readers.
  • Use “bucket brigades” to keep people moving down the page. Bucket brigades are bridge phrases that add conversational value to your copy. Think of phrases like, “here’s the thing…,” “no wonder…,” “but that’s just part of the story…,” or “as it turns out.”
  • Incorporate stories and emotions to pique readers’ interest.

How to evaluate your on-page optimization?

Now that you know about on-page SEO, you can evaluate your site’s performance. You can either use a tool to audit your site or you can look at separate pages manually, depending on your preference. If you choose to look manually, you can use these criteria as a basis for on-page optimization.

  • Are you using keywords for every page? Have these keywords been delivering visitors? If they haven’t been, why are you still using the keywords?
  • Are you linking pages on your site to each other? Could this be a way to help visitors get from one point to another with only a click or two?
  • Does your site load quickly? Or do some pages take a long time to load? If you’re having problems, find out where the issue lies. A slow-loading website is something neither human nor bot visitors enjoy!
  • Does your site have fresh content? Has it been more than one or two years? Has anything changed or is it all still relevant?

How to check a competitor’s on-page SEO

You probably don’t have to think too terribly hard to come up with your strongest competitors. Unfortunately, they’re also working hard to establish themselves in your industry, and you can be sure they’re utilizing on-page SEO just like you.

If you want to find out what you could be doing better, check out their websites and take a look at what they’re doing. While they probably have a few secrets up their sleeves, you can get tons of information by just checking out a few pages.

Checking out your competition can also show you areas to improve on your own website, strengthening your business as a whole. Begin to more fully develop your on-page SEO, and you’ll be likely to see your own site’s page rankings start to climb over the coming weeks and months.

Share this content: