How to Improve Your Rankings With On-Page SEO (Checklist)

Over the years, On-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques have grown massively.

Your website needs to be appropriately optimized to rank on search engines such as; Google, Yahoo, Bing and other available search engines.

If your website doesn't get seen, that means no traffic, no leads & especially no customers.

That's is why optimizing your website is essential.

I will be going as in-depth as possible to give you a better understanding of the importance of SEO.

On-Page SEO

It's a significant factor (behind the scenes) of any website; If you are a content creator you should be up to date with the latest organic SEO Techniques and how it can have an impact on your site.

I have a fantastic SEO checklist within this article going over questions you should ask yourself.

What is On-Page SEO & What is The Difference Between SEO and SEM?

On-Page SEO (also known as Website Optimization) is a subcategory of Search Engine Marketing.

Creating a website and optimizing it will allow the search engines to find your site and let users type in the keyword that you want rankings for so they can see your site within the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

The goal of most website owners is to rank on the first page of search results (Mainly the number one spot of course).

On average, less than 10% of users advance to page 2, so being on the first-page ensures many people can see your website on a daily basis.

less than 10% of users advance to page 2

That sounds great but why is this a concern to you?

As I just said being on the first page of Google, Bing or Yahoo will allow your website to be seen hundreds if not thousands of times on a daily basis.

The best strategy is to target Google as it currently owns more than half of the market searches and has millions of users on not only a daily basis but hourly basis.

So, taking this information in tells us that number one rankings are critical.

Why does this matter?

If you start to see first-page rankings & a boost of traffic, it will offer many opportunities for you to begin testing funnels, opt-in forms, purchase buttons & more.

Doing that will give you insight into what works & what doesn't, which will increase your income exponentially.

Key Points:

  • less than 10% of users advance to page 2.
  • If you want to become an authoritative figure in your space, you must increase the number of first page rankings.

How On Page SEO Benefits You (An Example)

The NHS is the healthcare system in the UK.

However, if we take a quick look, we can see that it ranks in the first and second position for the keyword “Weight Loss” when searching Google out of 286,000,000 results.

That's not all.

That means that the NHS website has authority in the weight loss category which people see as more than a small weight loss blog.

First Page Rankings

An Example of First Page Rankings 

So ultimately the goal is to gain rankings within Google, and here is a little secret!

If you rank well in Google, then you will also rank well in the other major search engines. One important thing to remember is, On-Page SEO isn’t just a quick 5-minute job.

It can take time & effort to see results after optimizing your site (usually a few weeks to a few months); though if you have a lot of traffic already, you may see results quicker.

It all depends on the goals of your site and your chosen niche how much time you spend on it.

Many people tend to hire On-Page SEO professionals.

I have done a few jobs regarding SEO for other websites, and one of them was in the weight loss niche for a man looking to gain authority within this niche.

I and other experts, take on these tasks for people who don’t know very much or anything at all regarding SEO.

Which is fine!

However, it is straightforward to do on your own once you gain some knowledge on it.

In short, optimizing your web pages makes life easier for search engines & will also improve your rankings.

Key Point:

  • On-Page SEO isn't easy. It takes a deep understanding of your audience's intent to optimize your site for their needs.

Why On-Page SEO is Important for Your Website

I have already discussed why your blog's success rate can be determined by how well your site is optimized, but what are the other benefits to a well-optimized website?

Any business needs customers to thrive, and as I have mentioned, driving free, targeted traffic to your website can be the most significant ROI (return on investment) for your business.

The goal of your blog could to either convert your readers into leads/customers or you could create content that helps build your brand's awareness. 

Not only for these reasons, but it also has other benefits for you including:

  • Cutting costs in advertising due to increased traffic
  • Increased sales leads
  • Expanding your authority
  • Targeting Your Audience Globally
  • High quality, organic traffic
  • Brand recognition
  • Great for marketing campaigns
  • Building an online reputation

Having a website optimized for SEO can have many fantastic benefits (even against paid traffic) for your site and allow you to turn a simple website made at home into a full-blown, authority business.

Key Point:

  • First Page rankings mean more traffic, brand awareness, leads & more importantly sales.

The Difference Between Free and Paid Traffic

There are two ways of getting traffic to your website, one being SEO and the other PPC (Pay Per Click). 

The differences between them are that SEO brings free organic traffic to your website whereas traffic from PPC isn’t free and doesn’t guarantee real users.

Both are of course, part of search engine marketing which is an overall tool in content marketing.

However, one is better than the other. 

Which one do you think is best?

Well, both if done right can guarantee you the same results but gaining organic traffic via SEO is the better option. 

The only significant difference is that paid results can convert to click-throughs to your website quicker than SEO could.

I believe that both work very well, however, in the long run, SEO will outperform PPC campaigns.

PPC vs Organic Traffic

As you can see from the image above, ads are shown quite differently to organic results.

PPC campaigns will always appear as an “ad” in the middle of the page above organic traffic which is why you can expect to see more click-through rates than organic traffic because technically, it takes up the number one spot.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with PPC campaigns, they can work great, but I do feel as if having an optimized website is the best option.

Key Points:

  • SEO is the best way to potential leads.
  • PPC campaigns aren't always a good thing

How To Optimize Your Website For Search Engines

When it comes to On-Page SEO, one of the very first steps is to analyze and study your website to be sure of what needs changing.

Many sites have many errors that go unnoticed for a very long time or sometimes they don’t even get noticed at all.

The process of knowing your website can include making assessments on the look of the site, navigation, context, landing pages & general design.

Your website should reflect what you are trying to achieve, so if you are selling baseball gear, it makes no sense to have a bright pink webpage with flowers, does it?

Your content should also reflect what the topic of your website is. 

How can you use this?

Using baseball as an example if you write ten articles on baseball-related subjects but then begin to write off-topic content such as “The 10 Best Pokemon Starter Decks.”

Not only will your users get confused but Google will have a difficult time categorizing your website.

When search engines are ranking your website, they check nearly every aspect of the site such as content, title tags, header tags, keywords and phrases to correctly put them in your chosen niche category and rank your website. 

Due to this, it is essential to always maintain consistency within the text, content, and subject of your site.

Letting Google Know What Your Content is About (Keywords)

Identifying keywords directly related to your website’s content is very important. It helps Google & users understand what your content covers.

If you’re not sure which keywords are popular or even worth using, many keyword tools include free trials and affordable paid subscriptions.

A good idea to keep track of keywords you intend to use is by creating a spreadsheet and placing a keyword for absolutely everything related to your site.  

Using a Spreadsheet can include products, subjects, concepts of your website, information, and tips!

There are a whole array of keywords to choose from to perfectly fit your web page. Here's some more info from Brian Dean (Founder of BacklinkoTV) going over the topic:

Finding keywords in 2018 is all about intent. What does the user mean when they are searching for something.

Searching for "Affiliate Marketing" has a different INTENT than searching for "Affiliate Marketing Training Course."

I call the latter a buyer's intent search term (because a person who is looking for affiliate training course are much more likely to purchase a product than if they were searching for affiliate marketing).

Your goal when looking for a search term to target is to find relevant, long-tail keywords that show the intent behind a particular search.

Check Out The Competition

There’s nothing wrong with taking some inspiration from your competitors especially when they are ranking highly in search engines.

In fact, I am encouraging you to do this.

Take a look at their websites and try to gain a better understanding of what they are doing and what goals you need to set for yourself.

Remember That You're Writing for People, Not Robots

It's not a good idea to overuse keywords (Known as Keyword Stuffing).

The reason for this is because Google and other search engines can penalize you for over optimizing, making it a double-edged sword.

Remember that Google's goal is to deliver the best results to their users.

You need to learn where to place the keywords without overdoing it. You can put them in areas such as:

  • Naturally throughout your homepage.
  • In your header tags, meta tags and title tags.
  • In anchor text.
  • The URL of pages/posts.
  • Within Your Content (Where it makes sense).

Meta Tags and Title Tags

Meta tags and title tags will not change the content visibility on your website. 

Meta Title

However, they are there for the search engines and other bots that monitor search results. You should always place a title at the top of each page or post for search engines to identify the overall content of it.

Meat Descriptions

Writing accurate and descriptive meta descriptions are important as they are very often used by search engines to describe your website when found in search results.

Adding meta tags to this is just as important as it will reveal the most relevant keywords you wish to rank for to the search engine bots.

Alt Tags For Images

This one isn’t too much trouble but can help a lot; you should add alt tags to your images to make them searchable by any search engine and search engine bots.

Alt Text

If you don’t, they can’t detect your image and including a keyword or two in these descriptions may give your pictures a boost towards rankings, however, remember to keep it accurate and descriptive.

Create A Site Map

Ideally, you should already have a sitemap setup; However, if you don't, then you can read Anthony's guide on setting up a Google Search Console account.

On-Page SEO

For those who want a quick explanation, sitemaps list every URL that is on your site and allows the webmaster to include even more information about each URL provided. 

As it updates, it will keep track of how relevant the URLs are within your site and allows search engines to crawl your site better and more intelligent.

Web Content Revisions 

You should always revise your content to make sure that it's relevant to your target keyword and isn't slowly going off track.

Some of your older blogs may not contain any of the best organic SEO techniques, especially if you are new to the world of sites.

Take a look through the content and double check, if it has your keywords and what you want to rank for, if not you, should change it to make it more relevant.

Creating Long-Form Content

Creating content is a big part of keeping any users drawn to your website interested and will lead to higher search engine rankings.

As a general rule of thumb, each piece of content should be at least 500 words long.

However, content that is 1,500 - 2,500 words rank better on search engines.

An easy way to write longer forms of content is to use a Content Pattern.

Neil Patel also uses a pattern in his content. Here is a video of him explaining this in more detail.

Now, I’m not saying you need to be posting content every day but posting content even just once or twice a week can not only provide more ranking keywords but will keep users returning to your website for more.

If you keep drawing in a decent amount of traffic, this shows search engines that your site is a good fit for their users and will boost your rank for that.

Getting Others to Link to Your Content (Backlinks)

Getting other people to link back to your content can be a slightly more laborious task to accomplish, but if you can get different websites to link back to your site.

That is a massive boost to your SEO.

There are a few ways to do it including guest posts & featured content.

Moz has gone into detail on this subject so you can check them out to learn a little more about the importance of backlinks.

Base Traffic Reports

These will be used to determine how much traffic your website gains, where users are located, the activity taking place, what pages are the most popular and also how your pages/site is ranking.

You should monitor your website for at least 2-3 months before concluding how well your site is doing.

Doing this is critical when it comes to On-Page SEO because it will be used to monitor activity which will allow you to optimize SEO performance.

Continual Optimization 

Sadly, SEO isn’t a walk in the park; their algorithms are always changing whether we like it or not.

To keep your website on top, you need to make sure that you have optimized your page for that keyword and it is regularly updated.

Due to that, it's recommended that you continually optimize your site to save your rankings and keep up with the algorithms.

Bugs, Page Speed, and Performance

Matt Cutts (Former Head of Google's Webspam Team) explained that Google now uses site speed as one of their 200 signals for determining your SERP rank. 

If your site loads too slow, the performance of the website as well, for lack of a better word, terrible and has many bugs, then users will leave very quickly.

Losing traffic has a significant impact on your website as it shows search engines that people are leaving and don’t want to be on your site which results in lower search engine rankings.

On-Page SEO

Example of A Site Performance Tool

On-page SEO checklist (Things to Ask Yourself):

  • Is Your Content High-Quality and Engaging?
  • Did You Add Your Target Keyword to These Places (Headline, Description, Heading Tag (H2)?
  • How Many Times Have You Mentioned Your Keyword? (Make Sure You Don't Over Do It)
  • Do You Have Multimedia? (Images, Videos, Audio, etc.)
  • Have I Optimized My Images? (Added My Target Keyword into My Image's Alt Tag)
  • Have I Done Internal Linking? (Linked to Other Pieces of Content On Your Website)
  • Have I Linked Out to Reputable Resources?
  • Is My Target Keyword Within The URL?
  • What About LSI Keywords, Did I Use Those?
  • How Readable is The Article?
  • Where Are My Social Sharing Buttons? (Are They Easily Accessible)
  • Is My Site Mobile Friendly? (According to Smart Insights, People Use Mobile More Than Desktops in The Top 10 Countries)

What to Take Away

On-Page SEO is an essential part of how your website ranks on search engines and gets seen by users to drive traffic to your site.

Having an optimized website is crucial to the success of your site.

Many people invest hundreds if not thousands into websites to try and turn a profit or convert it into a business but it won’t work without traffic and that’s where On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEO comes in.

It takes some hard work, research, and dedication if you want to optimize it on your own.

However, you could always hire an expert.

Either way, it is very crucial to continually make sure you optimize everything you can to score those number one rankings on Google!

What do you think about On-Page SEO?

Is there anything we missed? Feel free to comment down below and start a discussion with us.

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  • Dave says:

    Hello there,

    I have been struggling with my website for a good deal of time now, and you have made me realize the areas where I was going wrong.

    One question I would love to get help with is, do you recommend adding the tags for every post so that the search engines know under what terms to index the posts for? Is it wise?

    • Editorial Team says:

      Tags are good, so I do recommend using them but not for search engine purposes. When I use tags, I usually have the intention of helping the readers out by linking all posts with similar tags together. Shane Melaugh (owner of Thrive Themes) has made a video dedicated to Tags & Categories, so please watch this and make your decision from there.