Are you wondering how to perform the on-page SEO of your site? Or are you simply stressed about not missing out on a crucial step in the optimization of your content for search engines?
Well, you’re not alone. Each part of SEO, whether technical, on-page, or off-page, requires so much work to be done that it’s easy to forget about some steps while doing them.
But you don’t need to worry about that. Because you’ve found this ultimate on-page SEO checklist that we prepared to keep your SEO efforts on track. Let’s get started with it and see everything that’s required to be done to optimize your content for search engines.
On-Page SEO Checklist: Key Takeaway
The full on-page optimization of a website and its pages can be divided into 11 steps. Each of those steps makes a point on our checklist, and it looks like this:
|#1.||Optimize title tags|
|#2.||Optimize meta descriptions|
|#3.||Add schema markup|
|#4.||Optimize your headings|
|#5.||Audit your content|
|#6.||Optimize your images|
|#7.||Improve internal linking|
|#8.||Fix keyword cannibalization|
|#9.||Remove orphan pages|
|#10.||Update your content|
Having taken a bird’s eye view of all these pointers, now it’s time to dive deep into them and see how they can be implemented in your site. Let’s start!
#1. Optimize Title Tags
The first and most important thing about a page is its title. The title tells about the nature of page content to visitors and search engines both, so it’s essential that your page includes keywords in the title tags to make it searchable and useful for users and search engines both. You can find pages with missing or unoptimized title tags either by using tools like Semrush, Moz, or Ahrefs or by using your SEO plugin (i.e. Yoast SEO, AIO SEO, Rakmath SEO, etc.) if your website is based on WordPress.
Once you’ve found them, optimize the title tags by implementing the following steps:
- Make sure that they include the primary target keyword;
- Make sure they are concise (within 10 – 15 words max);
- Read them twice and see if they serve the searcher’s intent.
#2. Optimize Meta Descriptions
After the title, the next important part of a web page for SEO is the meta description. It shows up in search results along with the title of your page, so it’s among the first things that people see about your page. In addition to that, besides Title tags, search engines also use meta descriptions to determine the topic of a page. Therefore, it’s crucial to optimize them to boost your search rankings. An idea meta description is one that:
- Includes your primary keyword
- Is less than 150 characters long (with spacing).
Make sure that all your meta descriptions across the site match these criteria.
#3. Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is structured markup data that tells search engines more about your website and its content. It can help your website utilize the other ranking features of SERPs, such as knowledge graphs, shopping results, or featured snippets. By taking advantage of these features, you can get your website to appear on the first page of Google search results even if your site doesn’t stand a chance to appear in standard search results.
Adding schema markup data is simple and easy, especially if you have a WordPress website. There are plugins like Schema that can help you configure structured markup easily.
#4. Optimize Your Headings
The headings included in your webpage also matter a lot, as search algorithms rely on them as well to assess the nature of your content. Headings (i.e. H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.) not only make your content easier to digest by dividing it into multiple sections but also help search engines understand what your content is all about and how well it touches upon a certain topic. Therefore, you should also work on optimizing your headings for SEO.
Here’s what can be done to make your headings SEO-friendly:
- Use multiple headings (i.e. H1, H2, H3, and H4), especially if there’s a lot of content on the page;
- Include your primary and secondary keywords in the headings (not necessarily in all headings, though);
- Keep your headings concise yet clear of what’s covered in the text below them.
#5. Audit Your Content
A content audit aims to identify all the issues that may be there in your content to affect its quality and SEO. Almost all full-service SEO suites like Moz, Semrush, Ahrefs, and SimilarWeb include an in-built content audit tool for this purpose.
If you use any of these SEO suites(which you should do in order to perform the SEO of your site in a data-driven manner), you can use them to audit all the pages of your site and to receive suggestions regarding what can be done to make them more SEO-friendly.
#6. Optimize Your Images
Google’s bots can recognize the topic that a page is covering by analyzing text. However, for images, it becomes a bit tricky. For images, search engines rely on the Alt tags and other metadata contained within an image to recognize what an image is about. Therefore, it’s important to optimize your images with alt tags that contain both keyword-specific and image-specific information.
Images optimized that way can bring a lot of traffic to your site through Google Image search, so you should definitely take this step. If you use an SEO plugin, it can help you with this task, or else you can rely on all-in-one SEO suites like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz to do this.
Pro-tip: You can also use file names based on primary or secondary keywords of a page to further improve the SEO-friendliness of images.
#7. Improve Internal Linking
Internal links help make your pages more discoverable to readers and also make it easier for search engines to crawl your website and analyze your content. Therefore, no surprise that search algorithms love internal linking. You should try linking to as many relevant pages as possible in your content across the website.
There are plugins that can help you do this easily on a WordPress site, but even if your site is not based on WordPress, you can easily find the relevant pages by performing a Google search with the “site:” operator.
#8. Fix Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is a situation when multiple pages on your site target the same SEO keywords. That makes your pages compete against each other for rankings, which is obviously not a good situation as each of them could have brought more traffic by ranking separately.
That’s why tools like Semrush, Moz, and Ahrefs all include functionality to detect keyword cannibalization. If you use any of these SEO suites, you can use them to find keyword cannibalization on your site and then change the content and metadata of those pages manually to target other relevant keywords.
#9. Remove Orphan Pages
Orphan pages are the pages that exist on your website but don’t have any link pointing to them across the site. In short, they can’t be accessed until someone has a direct link to them. Google and other search engines do not like such pages because their algorithms use links as the criteria to determine the authority of any page.
Now, if a page doesn’t have any link on its own website, then obviously, it becomes of little-to-no authority for them. In addition to that, it’s also possible that such pages don’t get crawled and indexed at all.
Therefore, you should try to remove orphan pages from your site. You can do that by performing a site audit with the help of tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush. If you don’t have these premium tools, you can do that using Screaming Frog SEO Spider too, which is a free tool.
Once the pages have been found, you should either link to them through some of your relevant pages or you should delete them permanently.
#10. Update Your Content
Finally, it’s important to ensure that all your pages include up-to-date information and content. Google loves pages that are updated periodically with fresh information, and its algorithms are also capable of identifying the topics that require more frequent updates (i.e. news and trending topics). So it’s important that you keep your pages up-to-date in order to maintain your search rankings and, in some cases, even to get ahead of your competitors.
#11. URL Optimization
Here are a few key things to know about URL optimization as part of on-page SEO:
- Use descriptive, keyword-rich URLs – The URL itself should be descriptive and include important keywords related to that page’s content. For example, “demandsage.com/services/digital-marketing” is better than “demandsage.com/page32”.
- Make URLs short and simple – Avoid overly long, complex URLs. Stick to lowercase letters, hyphens instead of underscores, etc.
- Remove stop words – Words like “a,” “an,” and “the” don’t add value to URLs. For example, “demandsage.com/services/digital-marketing” instead of “demandsage.com/services/the-digital-marketing.”
- Use 301 redirects for changed URLs – If you change or update a URL structure, use 301 redirects to pass link equity from the old URL to the new one.
- Avoid duplicate content across URLs – Each URL should lead to unique, original content. Don’t have slight variations of the same content available on multiple URLs.
- Make URLs static, not dynamic – Dynamic URLs that keep changing are harder for search engines to crawl. Use static URLs whenever possible.
- Remove file extensions – Don’t use .html, .php, etc., at the end of URLs. For example, “demandsage.com/services/digital-marketing” instead of “demandsage.com/services/digital-marketing.html.”
Conclusion: On-Page SEO Checklist (2023)
SEO of any website requires a lot of work to be done. However, if broken down into multiple segments, all of these tasks can be performed without overwhelming yourself. That’s why we organized all these SEO tasks into multiple checklists, such as the technical SEO checklist and this on-page SEO checklist. We also have a detailed 30-point SEO checklist that covers every single step that’s required for the SEO of any site. Bookmark all these checklists, as they can serve as crucial resources to keep your teams on track. And also, don’t forget to share them on your social media handles so others can also benefit from them.