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On-Page Optimization Checklist | ClearPath Online Marketing
Search Engine Optimization

On-Page Optimization Checklist

onpage optimization checklist

Updated on May 11, 2021

There are a few optimizations that can be made to each page on your website to help improve search engine optimization. Before you can implement the on-page optimization checklist, you need to make sure you’ve done your keyword research and understand the targeted keyword for the page.

You want to choose one primary keyword. The page will end up ranking for multiple terms, but you want to start by having a primary keyword to focus on for each page. And ideally, your pages will all focus on unique topics.

Once you understand the targeted keyword and write your article, you’ll want to follow this on-page optimization checklist to fine tune your article for SEO.

Add the keyword to the title.

Confirm the keyword appears in the page title. The closer to the beginning of the title the better. The page title tag is displayed as the main title in Google search results. To make sure it isn’t truncated in the search results, keep the title under 60 characters or less than 512 pixels. To see what the title tag code looks like and how to add one in WordPress, view the guide to HTML tags for SEO.

Add a meta description.

Make sure to add a meta description to your page. And make sure it includes your targeted keyword. If you’re using WordPress, you can add this using the Yoast plugin. The meta description appears below the title in the search results. It alone doesn’t impact your rank, but if it’s persuasive it can increase the likelihood of a user clicking on the link. More clicks do have a positive impact on rank. Also, the search engine will bold the search query if it appears in the description. So add a persuasive meta description that includes the keyword you are targeting.

Add keyword to URL.

If you have control over your URL make sure it includes your keyword. To optimize the URL for SEO, you want it to be human readable (meaning no confusing codes, just plain English) and concise.

Include only one H1 tag and add the keyword.

Make sure you only have one H1 tag. This will likely be taken care of by your website theme, but if you manually assign header tags make sure only the top most prominent title uses an H1 tag. Also, confirm your keyword appears in the H1 tag (closer to the beginning is best). Use H2 and H3 tags to format any other headings and subheadings throughout the article.

Add keyword to subheadings and paragraphs.

Review your article. Locate any instances where you can add in your keyword, topic, or any keyword variants. You don’t want to include the exact phrase every single time, but add similar relevant phrases. Don’t over do it, keep it subtle and natural. Try to incorporate the keyword in a few subheadings and paragraphs.

Make sure your keyword appears in the first paragraph.

As we just discussed, you want your keyword and keyword variants to be sprinkled throughout the article in a natural way. This is especially important in the first paragraph. Make sure the keyword appears in the first paragraph of the article.

Add images with alt tags.

Add at least one image to your content. Make sure to add alt tags to any image tags. This increases the chance that your images will appear in image searches. Also, this is another opportunity to try and add your targeted keyword or a close variant as another indicator to the search engines of how your article is relevant to the topic.

Add internal links.

Internal links have many benefits. Internal links create pathways for both readers and search engines to navigate your website. They help distribute the value of one page to another page. And they can increase the time users spend on your website.

Review your article and identify any part of the content where it would benefit the reader to add a link to an existing article on your site. Then, review your existing articles to determine if there are any places in your existing content where it would be a benefit to the reader to add a link to the new article. Here is a process you can follow to add internal links to your site.

Include more than 500 words.

There isn’t a hard and fast rule to use for length. Typically marketers aim for at least 500 words, and a lot of people recommend long-form content of at least 3,000 words. The best rule to follow is to write the amount of copy that makes sense for the topic. Quality is more important than quantity. But, if your page has less than 500 words, you may want to add more content to it if you’d like it to be ranked in search engines.

The User Experience is Always the Priority

Remember, you aren’t trying to hack your article to magically appear high in the search rankings. You’re just trying to make it a little easier for the search engines to identify what the article is about. Your target audience should always be first in mind. If optimizing for perfect SEO makes the article less useful to people, then don’t do it! Optimizing for the reader first is the only way to ensure long-term success.


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About the Author

Jennifer Rogina is the Co-Founder & Lead Marketer of ClearPath Online, a DIY SEO tool for entrepreneurs to grow their own website traffic. Jennifer has been a digital marketing specialist since 2008. In that time she has focused on search engine optimization, digital analytics, and conversion optimization.

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