On-Page SEO carries far less weight than off-Page SEO in terms of getting your content ranked high in the search engines. In fact, there are many webmasters that don’t consider it at all, which is why you should. It can give you the edge over competing pages that neglect on-page SEO and is relatively easy to do. Additionally, once it’s done, it’s done and costs nothing but a little time and planning.
The best way for us to explain on-page SEO is with this 7 point checklist that explains each step in getting your pages optimized. This checklist will refer to implementing optimizations in a WordPress Blog – although the concepts are the same for any website.
Our Must-do On-Page SEO Checklist
Keyword density is the most important factor of the on-page SEO checklist, especially since recent Google algorithm updates. Keyword density refers to how many times your keywords appear in your content and is expressed as a percentage. For example, say I was optimizing this article for "on-page SEO checklist", my article was 1,000 words long and I mentioned on-page SEO checklist 20 times, my keyword density would be 2%.
I would not go above 2% anymore! Google can and will penalize you for "keyword stuffed" content. No-one really knows that magic number, but a conservative goal is 1.5-2%.
Don’t be put off by the name; WordPress makes it very simple to administer Meta Tags. There are 3 simple fields to fill in – using the Simple Meta Tags plugin.
Meta Title – Include your Keywords in here – this will be the main title your visitors see when searching in the search engines – so make it appealing and make it stand out!
Meta Description – Very important. This is a short description of your content your visitor will read in the search engines. Include your keywords and again make it appealing.
Meta Keywords – Make sure you include your keywords. This one is not so important, just reinforces to the search engines about what your page content is based on.
Meta Tags are still one of the most important parts of the this checklist, not so much for rankings, but because potential visitors are going to base their decision to visit your site or not on the title and description they see when searching for your content.
Title, URL, Content and Headings Optimizations
Some real simple, quick guidelines:
- Make sure the page title contains your keywords preferably beginning with them
- Make sure your URL contains your keywords
- Bold, Italicize and Underline your keywords on separate occasions
- Make sure you have both H2 and H3 titles in the page somewhere with your headings
Alternate Text Image Tag
A part of the on-page SEO checklist many people forget, but is very easy to do. This refers to the alternative image tag. When you insert a picture into WordPress, you have a field option called Alternate Tag Image Text. Make sure to include your keywords in here, if you have multiple images use different iterations of keywords, for example: on-page SEO checklist, checklist for SEO, on-page optimization checklist and so forth.
Get a Sitemap
This one doesn’t really apply to optimizing the page you’re working on, but will boost SEO for all your pages, so I wanted to include this in the on-page SEO checklist. The good news is, if you’re running a WordPress Blog, it is a snap to do! Like all things WordPress, there’s a plugin for that – Google XML Sitemaps
This automatically builds and keeps up to date a logical "map" of your website. It allows the search engines more efficiency in figuring out where all your pages are and leads to more of them being indexed (included) in the search engine results. Furthermore, it creates backlinks into to each of your pages (with hyperlinks that match your page title – which should contain your keywords ) – Google loves to see a site with intertwined pages!
External Links to Authority Sites
Google loves to see natural content, and natural content usually links to other content – especially authority sites. By Authority sites, I mean sites like WordPress, Yahoo, CNN and even Google itself – popular, very highly ranked pages. Try to place at least one hyperlink to an authority site.
On-Page SEO Checklist – Last but not Least…
Unique content! No On-Page SEO checklist should be complete without it. If you are plagiarizing material you will get no credit for it. The reason being is Google gives credit to only one piece of unique content – the first page it comes across and indexes. It holds this page in its indexes and if it finds highly duplicated content on another website at a future time, it will not consider that page as part of the search engine results.
Write unique, interesting, helpful material and implement all the points of this on-page SEO checklist into your posts, and you will be ahead of the pack already!