An On Page SEO Checklist is a comprehensive list of the things you need to do on your website to optimize it for search engines. This checklist helps you identify and fix any issues that may be hampering your site’s SEO performance.
On-page SEO Checklist can be a helpful resource for those who are just beginning their journey in the world of SEO or have been working with it for some time. It is also a good way to check up on your progress, and make sure that you haven’t overlooked anything.
The On-Page SEO Checklist provides an overview of the various things that need attention when it comes to optimizing your website’s content and structure for search engines. It also includes recommendations on how to make changes in order to improve your site’s performance.
Table of Contents
What is On-Page SEO and Why is it Important?
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing the content on a website to make it more search engine friendly. It includes keyword research, URL structuring, meta tags, and content optimization.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing the content on a website to make it more search engine friendly. It includes keyword research, URL structuring, meta tags, and content optimization. On-page SEO is often overlooked by many webmasters because it may not yield visible results for some time. However, this doesn’t mean that it is not important. On-page SEO can improve your website’s rankings in SERPs (search engine result pages) as well as increase your organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.
How to Make Sure Your Website Gets the Best Possible On-Page Search Rankings
On-page search rankings are a big factor in getting the best possible traffic to your website. This is why it is important to make sure that your website has the best possible on-page search rankings.
There are some things you can do to make sure you rank higher on Google. You should use keywords and phrases that have high search volume and relevant content. You should also include images, videos, and other media in your content so that people can find what they’re looking for quickly when searching.
You should also focus on creating long-tail keywords that people might not be searching for yet but will eventually use when they’re looking for something specific.
What Segments You Should Focus on When Optimizing Your Content for On-Page Search?
Optimizing your content for search is a key part of any SEO strategy. You should focus on the following segments when optimizing your content for search:
- Keyword research
- Keyword density
- Keyword placement
- Headings and subheadings
- Body copy
What are the Best On-Page Ranking Factors and How do they Work?
On-page ranking factors are the factors that search engines use to determine how well a website does in the search engine rankings. These factors include keyword density, keyword diversity, site architecture, and on-page optimization.
Organic ranking factors are the most important ranking factor for a website. They make up more than 80% of what determines the rankings and they are not just limited to keywords but also include other aspects of SEO such as site architecture and content quality.
On-page optimization techniques can be used to improve your website’s organic rankings by making it easier for users to navigate through the site and find what they need in a more efficient way.
How to use this SEO checklist
Most SEO checklists fail to communicate how SEO is an ongoing process. Instead, they list random tasks and make it sound like SEO is done and dusted once you check them off.
That’s not the case, so we’ve given each item on our checklist one of these tags:
- Do it once
- Do it periodically
- Do it each time you publish a new page
This structure means you don’t need to go through everything on this checklist today. Do the one-time tasks first, then the periodic tasks, then complete the ongoing tasks each time you publish a new page.
Let’s get to it.
Let’s start with a few SEO best practices everyone should have in the bag. These won’t directly improve rankings, but they’re important in setting yourself up to rank higher in Google.
1. Set up Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool for tracking your site’s organic search performance.
Here are a few things you can do with it:
- See the keywords you rank for
- Check ranking positions
- Find website errors
- Submit sitemaps
2. Set up Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools is essentially Bing’s equivalent of Google Search Console.
3. Set up Ahrefs Webmaster Tools
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) is a free tool that helps you improve your website’s SEO performance and get more organic search traffic.
Here are a few key features:
- Scan your site for 100+ SEO issues
- See all your backlinks
- See all the keywords you rank for
4. Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that lets you see how many people are visiting your site, where they’re coming from, and how they’re interacting with it.
5. Install an SEO plugin
If you’re using WordPress, you’ll need an SEO plugin to help you optimize things like sitemaps and meta tags.
Here are a few good options (you only need one):
6. Create and submit a sitemap
Sitemaps tell search engines where to find important content on your site so they can easily crawl and index your pages.
Here’s what the sitemap looks like for our blog:
You can usually find your sitemap at one of these URLs:
7. Create a robots.txt file
Robots.txt is a plain text file that tells search engines where they can and can’t go on your site.
It’s always good practice to have a robots.txt file, but it’s a must if you need to prevent search engines from crawling pages or sections on your site. For example, if you run an eCommerce store, you might not want them to crawl and index your cart page.
Technical SEO issues often hold a website back from ranking as high as it deserves. Here are the basic technical best practices everyone should follow.
1. Plan your website structure (new sites only)
It’s crucial that visitors and search engines can easily navigate your website. That’s why you need to create a logical site structure.
2. Make sure your site is crawlable
Google can’t properly index content that isn’t crawlable, so it’s worth checking the Coverage report in Google Search Console for any warnings or exclusions relating to robots.txt.
3. Make sure your site is indexable
Indexing and crawling are two different things. Just because search engines can crawl a page doesn’t mean they can index it. If there’s a ‘noindex’ robots meta tag or x-robots-tag on the page, indexing isn’t possible.
Google tells you about indexed URLs in the Coverage report.
4. Make sure you’re using HTTPs
HTTPS is a confirmed lightweight ranking factor.
5. Make sure your website is accessible at one domain
Visitors shouldn’t be able to access your website at multiple locations. It can lead to crawling, indexing, and security issues.
To check that everything’s in order, plug these four URLs into httpstatus.io:
If everything’s good, three of them should redirect to the fourth.
6. Make sure your site loads fast
It’s easy to see why. It’s frustrating to click on a search result and have to wait for it to load. That’s why the probability of a bounce increases as page speed decreases.
7. Fix broken pages
Broken links can negatively impact user experience and break the flow of ‘authority’ into and around your website.
To find broken links on your site, use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.
- Crawl your website with Site Audit
- Go to the Internal pages report
- Look for “404 page” errors
Keyword research is the most crucial piece of the SEO puzzle. If you don’t know what keywords people are searching for, how can you possibly optimize your content for search engines?
Follow these checklist items to get off on the right foot.
1. Find a primary keyword to target
Each page on your website should target one main primary keyword. You should do keyword research periodically to find keywords to target, but you should also make sure you’re targeting the best keyword each time you publish a new page.
How do you know which is the best keyword?
It’s the one that represents the most popular way of searching for the topic.
For example, let’s say you were writing a post about the best protein powders. There are lots of ways people could search for this, such as:
- what is the best protein powder
- best protein supplements
- best protein shakes
So which one of these keywords do you target, if any?
Luckily, there’s an easy way to figure this out. Just search for your topic in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and look at the Parent Topic. This is usually a more popular way of searching for the same thing.
2. Assess search intent
Search intent is the reason behind a searcher’s query. If your page doesn’t align with this, your chances of ranking are slim to none.
How do you assess search intent?
Look at the types and format of pages ranking in Google for your primary keyword.
For example, we can see from the URLs and titles of the top-ranking results for “marketing skills” that they’re all blog posts. As for the format, they’re mostly listicles.
3. Assess your chances of ranking in Google
Understanding the ease or difficulty of ranking for a keyword helps you to prioritize the opportunity and set realistic expectations.
For an initial rough estimate, use the Keyword Difficulty score in Keywords Explorer.
Just don’t rely on this entirely. Check the results yourself for things that may indicate a hard keyword to crack, like:
- High-quality backlinks to the top-ranking pages
- Predominantly big brands in the top 10
- High topical relevance of the top-ranking sites
4. Research what people want to know
Say that someone searches for “SEO keywords.” You can see from analyzing search intent that people are looking for a definition of the term, but what other questions do they have? And what other information should you include in your content?
Picking the right keyword is important, but all your efforts will be in vain if your content isn’t up to scratch. Follow these tips to level up your content.
1. Solve the reader’s problem
Understanding search intent is the first step of solving the reader’s problem because it tells you what kind of content they’re looking for.
Research is another important step.
But to create truly great content, you need to go further and really consider the visitor’s problem.
For example, take a query like “productivity tips.” It’s clear from assessing search intent that searchers want a listicle-style blog post. And if we research the top-ranking posts, we see common advice like “take breaks” and “put things down on paper.”
2. Write a winning intro
If you can’t convince readers that your page offers what they want within a few seconds, they’ll hit that back button faster than you can say “dwell time.”
Your best defense against this is a compelling intro.
Good introductions should do three things:
- Connect with the reader
- Build trust
- Promise a solution to the user’s problem
Remember, if visitors never get past your introduction, they never read your content. And if they never read your content, they won’t convert, share, or link to it.
Learn one way to write a winning intro here.
3. Use headings to create hierarchy
Headings like H1 and H2 help to create hierarchy and break your content into logical sections. This makes your content easier to skim and digest.
For example, the list that you’re reading right now is broken into five distinct sections.
- SEO basics checklist
- Technical SEO checklist
- Content checklist
- On-page SEO checklist
- Link building checklist
Under each of these, we have sub-sub headings for each checklist item.
Think about how much harder it would be to read this page without subheadings.
4. Break things up with images
Nobody wants to read a big wall of text. It’s overwhelming and can lead people to bounce.
Images help solve this by breaking up your copy and aiding visual comprehension.
But don’t just throw images in for the sake of it. Make an effort to find or create images that improve the reader’s experience.
For example, we often use graphs, charts, and screenshots to help illustrate our points.
Final thoughts On Page SEO Checklist
SEO is an ongoing process, and it would be impossible to include everything that’s important in one checklist. Having said that, if you tackle the checklist items above, you’ll be well on your way to higher rankings. You’ll also probably be well ahead of your competition. That’s all that matters.