On page SEO check list. I probably don’t need to tell you that on-page SEO is HUGE. Sure, backlinks are still Google’s #1 ranking signal. But to actually rank for your target keywords, your on-page SEO needs to be on point. Here’s a checklist that you can use to make sure every page on your site is optimized.
Front-Load Your Title Tag
Google puts more weight on words found in the beginning of your title tag. You can see this in action by searching for competitive keywords in Google
As you can see, most pages that rank for competitive keywords strategically place their keywords in beginning of their title tag. For example, let’s say you wanted to rank for the keyword “weight loss tips” and you had two headlines to choose from:
Headline #1: Weight Loss Tips: 10 Strategies for Shedding Pounds Or
Headline #2: How to Drop 10 Pounds With These Weight Loss Tips
Google would see the first headline as MORE about the topic of “weight loss tips” than the
second one. Why? Because the keyword is in the beginning of the title tag. So you’d want to go with headline #1.
What to do: Include your target keyword in the beginning of your title tag.
Search Engine Optimization -Friendly Urls
I see a lot of people creating 50+ character URLs, like this: http://www.google.org/GOOGLEORG/Conditions/More/ConsumerHealthCare/A-Guide-to-Understanding-Clinical-Trials_UCM_426055_Article.jsp. (That’s an actual URL) Even if your URLs aren’t as long as this one, it might be a good time to revisit your URL structure.
Why does your URL matter for SEO?
Just like your title tag and content, Google uses your URL as a clue to help them figure out the
topic of your page. And the easier you make that process for them, the more confident they’ll be about ranking your page for your target keyword.
How can you make it easy for them?
Create short and sweet URLs that include your target keyword. If you have a date or category in your URL structure (like: http://example.com/category/ 2014/5/12/title-of-your-post), consider cutting out the category and date from future posts. After a lot of testing I’ve found that super-short, keyword-rich URLs make a small but significant
difference in rankings.
What to do : Use short and sweet URLs that include your target keyword.
Use Multimedia In Blog Posts
Adding multimedia – like images, screenshots, lists and videos – doesn’t have a direct effect on your page’s rankings. But I included it here because it boosts user-interaction signals that Google is paying more and more attention to (more on that later). Multimedia also increases the perceived value of your content. Higher perceived value=more links=higher rankings.
What to do : Include at least 1 multimedia type (video, audio, images and lists) in every blog post that you publish.
Use Outbound Links
Google wants to see you as an active member of the web. If you rarely link out to other resources – or nofollow all of your outbound links it looks like you’re hoarding PageRank for yourself.
What to do : Include at least 2 outbound links to related authority sites (popular blogs, news sites and .edu and .gov resources) in every piece of content that you publish.
include your keyword in the beginning of your post
Keyword prominence is the new keyword density. In other words, Google pays close attention to WHERE a keyword appears on your page. The earlier it appears, Google’s thinking goes, the more important it must be. Think about it like this:
Let’s say you were writing an article about office furniture. Wouldn’t it be weird if you used the words “office furniture” for the first time… in the last sentence of the article? Well it’s the same idea. It looks weird NOT to mention your keyword early in your article.
What to do: Include your target keyword in the first 100 words of your article.
wrap your target keyword (or a synonym) in an h1 tag
Your H1 tag is like your page’s subheadline. Most blog platforms (like WordPress) automatically wrap your blog post title in an H1 tag. However, certain themes override this setting and cause your page to have no H1 tag at all.
You can easily check this on your site by looking at your page’s source code and searching for
your article’s title. If it’s in an H1 like this, you’re set:
What to do: Make sure your keyword or synonym is in an H1 tag.
Nail Loading Speed
This is HUGE. Page Speed is one of the few ranking signals that Google has publicly confirmed. It’s that important. You can easily evaluate and improve your site’s loading speed using Google’s own PageSpeed Insights tool.
What to do: Use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to figure out your site’s loading speed.
WordPress plugins WP Rocket and WP Smush It can help speed things up.