On-Page SEO Checklist 2017 You Can’t Ignore

On-Page SEO Checklist 2017 You Can’t Ignore


So you are feeling exhausted after reading various DIY posts on SEO, right? No need to get confused!

Hey! I am not saying that I’ve some kind of magic wand that will clear all your doubts. However, one thing is for sure; I’ll try my best to explain what SEO is all about. After reading this write-up, you would be able to perform On-page SEO.

For this, I am assuming that you are aware of HTML, XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you have a technical background, then it would be an added advantage.

Let’s get started…

SEO Checklist 2017

Importance of SEO

Over the years, the landscape of SEO has changed considerably, and now, it has become more like a research work. No matter whether you are an entrepreneur, a young digital marketing scholar, or a seasoned SEO professional, you can’t simply ignore its importance, right?

Take a glance at the following striking information that supports the value of SEO (Source: imFORZA):

  • 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  • Google owns around 65-70 percent of the search engine market.
  • 70 percent of links search users click on are organic.
  • Around 70-80 percent of online users ignore paid ads and value organic results.
  • 75 percent of user never scrolls past the first page of search results.

As we know, SEO comprises of various activities to make a website search engine friendly.

From another aspect, it is a procedure that helps us to make a website easy to figure out for online users and search engine robots. The activities performed in SEO helps search engines understand what each page of a website is all about and how it would be useful for online users.

Primarily, SEO is categorized into two categories:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO

On-page SEO involves optimizing web pages to rank higher in search results pages. It is what a website says to a search engine. If we talk about Off-page SEO, it is what other online sources say about a site. It includes procedures like link building, content marketing, social media optimization, and so on.

Let’s delve deeper into On-page optimization techniques.

On-Page Optimization: Beginners Guide 2017

As the name expresses itself, it is a set of techniques that is usually performed on individual pages of a website.

Now, you know what On-Page optimization is.

Okay! Here we go…

Take a glance at the following activities involved in On-page optimization.

Head Area Checklist

Title – As stated by Dr. Peter J. Meyers in “Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition,” you can use a maximum of 55 characters (including space) to create a unique title. Title tag describes the topic of a web page. So, make your web page meaningful by using your prime keyword.

Meta Description – You can use a maximum of 160 characters (including space) to write Meta description of your web page. It is also known as the summary of your web page. Add your keywords to make it relevant to your audience.

Rel Canonical Tag – It is an important HTML element. It helps webmasters preventing the issues of duplicate content by specifying the canonical version of a web page.

For example,

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.resultfirst.com/” />

Facebook Open Graph Tags – In 2010, Facebook introduced Open Graph. It is something that influences the performance of a website link(s) on Facebook. With the aid of these open graph tags, you would be able to take control of what Facebook’s crawler picks up from your page. For in-depth details of how to implement it on your site, you can refer Open Graph Meta Tags.

For example (Source),

<meta property=”og:url”content=”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/arts/international/when-great-minds-dont-think-alike.html” />

<meta property=”og:type”content=”article” />

<meta property=”og:title”content=”When Great Minds Don’t Think Alike” />

<meta property=”og:description”content=”How much does culture influence creative thinking?” />

<meta property=”og:image”content=”http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/02/19/arts/international/19iht-btnumbers19A/19iht-btnumbers19A-facebookJumbo-v2.jpg” />

Twitter Card Tags – Just like Facebook’s Open Graph Tags, Twitter card tag helps you stand out from others.

For example,

<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary” />

<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”ResultFirst is a premier Pay for Performance Seo Company having 10+ years of exp. of serving 1000+ active clients from SMEs to Fortune 500 companies. Call us @ 888-512-1890 now!” />

<meta name=”twitter:title” content=”SEO Services: Pay for Performance SEO Company – Get A Free Website Analysis Now!” />

Rel Shortcut Icon/Icon (Favicon) – It is an icon associated with a particular website.

Sample Code,

<link rel=”icon” href=”http://www.resultfirst.com/wp-content/themes/casestudy/images/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />

Take a glance how it looks:

Body Checklist

Heading Tags – You should use heading tags like h1, h2, h3, and h4 to represent different sections of your web page. However, make sure you do not repeat h1, h2, or h3 tags too many times until you find it strictly mandatory. Reason (s)? It is treated as negative SEO practice. Watch what Matt Cutts says:

(Matt Cutts Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIn5qJKU8VM)

Interlinking – Content Interlinking is pretty essential. It is an intelligent way to help your visitors spend more time on your website. While linking your internal pages use keyword rich anchor text, but that should appear natural, not promotional. However, if you overuse anchor text, search engines may consider it as a bad SEO practice for which they can penalize your website.

Unique Content – The very first thing a visitor notices after arriving on a web page is content. So, make it unique and compelling. Inform your audience how the things you offer can make a difference. Highlight values! See the content checklist below:

  • Check for duplicate content (use online tool like Copyscape)
  • Never mix languages on your web page
  • Make sure spelling and grammar are correct
  • Do not hide content in anyways (see Hidden texts and links)
  • Avoid unnecessary keyword stuffing
  • Do not use unnecessary bold tags
  • Nofollow all untrusted links
  • Make your content interactive (add videos, slides, infographics, and podcasts)

Note: Read why interactive content is the future of content marketing to understand how interactive content can take your business to the next level.

Rich Snippets (Schema Markup & Structured Data) – It is an interesting way to help and instruct search engines to read and return your site’s content in SERPs. Use of rich snippets helps search engines to display your website in a meaningful way. For this, you can leverage Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper tool. Grab more details on schema markup by visiting this link.

Cookie Policy Page (If Using Cookies) – If your website uses cookies to remember information about your visitors, specify what kind of information you store on your visitor’s machine and why you do that. Leave users with an option to learn more about cookies through your cookie policy page. Additionally, give users a choice to accept or reject cookies. See how Google uses cookies. (https://youtu.be/TBR-xtJVq7E)

Contact Page – It is one of the most visited pages on a website. Believe it or not, but missing contact page can raise a question on your credibility. Therefore, create a contact page to let your visitors contact you. On you contact page, you can put an email address, phone numbers, Google map, and a contact form with clear CTA.

Take a glimpse at this illustration to get an idea of how a contact page should look like:

Social Media Buttons – Share buttons improve SEO by encouraging users to share website information that could drive a good amount of traffic on the website. However, putting too many social share buttons may confuse users. Therefore, display correct share buttons.

Image Optimization Checklist

Alt Tag Text – Search engines can’t read images. Therefore, provide ‘Alt’ text to help search engine understand the images used on your web page. It is a caption that search engines read to understand what an image is all about.

For instance,

<img class=”alignCenter shadow” src=”image.jpg” alt=”image-description” title=”image tooltip”/>

Image Title – It is a name given to an image to make users understand its context. It appears as a popup when someone takes mouse over a picture.

Compress Images – In order to make a site load faster, images used on web pages should be compressed. Various online tools like Compress JPEG, Image Optimizer, Optimizilla are available that let you compress images without losing their quality.

Store on Cloud Hosting / CDN – You can leverage CDN like CloudFlare to host your images. Doing so will speed up your website. CDNs are extremely useful when it comes to delivering requested pages and content as per the location of the visitors. It is something that makes the browsing experience better.

Search-Friendly URLs

Use SEO-friendly URLs. Avoid making URL structures like

example.com/p_id=123

or

example.com/9/18/10/SEO/On-page-seo

For making URLs search friendly, one should avoid using special characters, symbols, commas, brackets, and spaces. In addition to it, Use lowercase case letters and consistent closing slash for forming URLs structures.

For instance, an ideal URL should look like this:

www.resultfirst.com/services/seo/

Want to grab more on URLs? Read structuring URLs for higher ranking in SERPs.

Sitemap

No doubt content is fuel on which entire Internet runs. Therefore, an XML sitemap is an excellent way to make your site as the original source of your content. Further, an XML sitemap is a written instruction to search engines to crawl a site and must be included in Robots.txt file.

To create an XML sitemap, you can use XML-Sitemaps.com or the Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin (if using WordPress). Once you create a sitemap, do submit it to the search engines. For instance, you can submit your sitemap to Google through Google Search Console.

Robots.txt

Website owners instruct search engine robots to crawl a website with the help of robots exclusion protocol (REP) or Robots.txt which is a text file. In this file, you can put a restriction on the files that you do not want to be crawled. Do not forget to put a reference of your XML sitemap in the end.

In your Robots.txt, if you use “User-agent: *” and “Disallow: /,” it means you are telling robots not to visit any page on your website.

Broken Links / Redirections

One of the most important activities of On-page SEO is checking for broken links and redirects. Broken links should not exist on your website, for this, you can use Online Broken Link Checker tool. Broken links may take your visitor to a 404 error page that may ruin user experience of your website. Therefore, make sure no broken links exists on your site. Further, add a custom 404 error page with a message. Show up that 404 page if visitors make invalid requests. However, don’t forget to place other useful links, sitemap, or search box to your website.

Use 301 redirects if you want to move your website to a new location permanently. If you are moving your site temporarily, you can use 302 redirects. Nevertheless, make sure all pages of your site return 200 success codes.

See, how to change page URLs with 301 redirects.

HTTPS / SSL Certificate

As we know, Google considers it as a positive ranking signal. An HTTPS provides three layers of protection to a website:

  • Encryption – While exchanging data online, it keeps data secure from eavesdroppers.
  • Data Integrity – It protects data to be modified or corrupted during transfer whether intentionally or otherwise.
  • Authentication – It builds trust and protects against man-in-the-middle attacks.

Therefore, to get its advantage, implement it on your website.

Tools Used in On-Page SEO Checklist

Keyword Tools

Website Speed Tools

Mobile-Friendliness Tools

Schema Markup / Structured Data Tools

Auditing Tools

How to Start: A Practical Approach

  1. The First and Foremost: Perform an SEO Audit of Your Website

A technical audit is a thorough look of a website that helps to identify flaws that are preventing the website from ranking.

Issues you observe in a Technical Audit are:

  • Crawling and indexing
  • Site navigation
  • Site Loading Time
  • Naming conventions
  • Directory structures
  • Redirections
  • Duplicate content
  • Dynamic URLs
  1. Perform Keyword Research
  2. Optimize Keywords on Targeted Pages

Naturally, keywords can be optimized at five places on a web page. Check out where:

  • Title
  • Meta Description
  • Headings Tags and Website Content
  • Images Titles and Alt Text
  • URL
  1. Optimize Images
  2. Check Redirects
  3. Perform Website Traffic Analytics by Google Analytics

Things Need To Learn To Avoid Search Penalties

Read Google Webmaster Guidelines

Afraid of penalties? Want Google to love your website? Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines!

However, why are we giving Google this much importance? With a market share of 67.49 percent, it is one of the most popular search engines in the world.

Do Not Hide Any Text / Links

Avoid hiding any text or links because it is a bad (black hat) SEO practice that can cause search engine penalty. Don’t forget, if you are smart, then search engines are smarter.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to the repetition of a word or phrase over and over again on your website. There was the time when it worked, but today, search engines have been developed precisely to identify it. Over stuffing makes your site spammy and cause penalties from search engines. So, avoid it!

Ensure Proper Redirections

A redirection is usually implemented with JavaScript. Check your site’s code to ensure proper redirections. Learn more about sneaky redirects, cloaking, and 301 redirects to avoid search penalties.

Focus On Relevancy

It is something that can not only turn things in your favor but also make your distinct from others. You’re your audience to make your website valuable for them. Don’t try to deceive your visitors and search engines. Otherwise, it can cause penalties from search engines.

Improve UX to Retain Users

Make your site offer exceptional UX. For a website, UI and content matters, but, UX is something that gives your visitors a reason to revisit your site. Thus, while optimizing your website, make sure your site adheres to search engine guidelines to avoid search penalties. Think about users first. Put yourself in their shoes to view a website from their perspective.

Closing Point

In this article, we have discussed

  • Importance of SEO
  • On-Page Optimization: Beginners Guide 2017
  • Tools Used in On-Page SEO Checklist
  • How to Start: A Practical Approach
  • Things Need To Learn To Avoid Search Penalties

Follow the points explained above to rule digital in the year 2017.

  • Felix Kopinski

    Most Important: Check your 301-Redirects properly

  • Alan

    Abhyudaya, you could also mention another SEO tool called ScanBacklinks. It does a great job at delivering a comprehensive on-page report, emphasizing those elements that can be optimized: https://scanbacklinks.com/seo-report