How does it feel to have a perfect checklist that serves as the gold standard for all on-page SEO practices?
Today, I am going to share with you a complete checklist that you can use to ensure that the content on your website is 100% optimized for search.
In fact, if you do all the operations here, you will never need another checklist for your page content. This is a big promise and I am willing to keep it.
Now, just a simple disclaimer before we get started: Optimizing your content for on-page SEO isn’t the only factor involved in on-page SEO. There are other factors like crawling, indexing, internal and external links, and structured data which are important but will not be covered in this post.
Also, while I might talk a little bit about keyword placement, I won’t go over keyword optimization (another important factor in on-page SEO) entirely.
With that being said, first, let’s talk a little bit about on-page SEO.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing the pages on your website for search by search engine users. In simple terms, on-page SEO is everything you do on your website to increase its chances of getting a high ranking in search engines like Google.
On the other hand, off-page SEO is everything you do outside of your website to increase your chances of getting a high ranking. A big part of this is getting backlinks to your website.
Why is content important for on-page SEO
Content is a major part of on-page SEO because it is what your readers see when they visit your website.
If your audience likes what they see, they will stay longer, and they will keep visiting and sharing their friends. This sends signals to Google that you are providing premium content to your audience, and Google will reward you by helping you rank better.
To do on-page SEO the right way, there are some factors that you have to do right.
How is your page different from your competitors
The ranking game involves offering you better content than your competition so that readers choose you instead of them every time. To achieve this, your content cannot be the same as your competition.
Think about what you can do to make your content more unique and better than your competition. Can you add pictures? Graphs? case studies? add them.
Spend some time studying websites that rank for the same topics you write and see what you can do beyond what you’re currently doing.
Is your copy well written and edited?
The well-written copy can be scanned and easy to read.
Almost everyone scans a web page before they decide to read it. If your copy is installed with huge sets of paragraphs, most readers will get frustrated and leave without reading.
Keep your paragraphs short, and use no more than three sentences per paragraph. Scan the article yourself to check if it is easy to scan before you publish it.
Make sure your copy is well-edited and free of grammatical errors before you publish it. You can use tools like Grammarly to browse through your articles and consider paying a professional editor to correct your work.
To show how much the Google algorithm hates unedited content, the Google team lists an example of a low-quality page as a page with grammatical and punctuation errors.
Most importantly, the copy is well written for the user, not for the search engines. This means that practices such as unnecessary keyword stuffing should be avoided.
By writing content that is highly valuable to your website visitors, you will get people to notice and trust you. And they will continue to visit when they are confident that they will get good content from you every time.
Is your copy easy to understand?
There is nothing great about writing complex essays that only professors will understand.
Sure, there are a few target markets that will appreciate the challenging and advanced words, but most people on the internet are not. Most people want you to explain complex concepts to them as if they were in sixth grade.
A good way to verify that your copy is easy to understand is to use the Hemingway Editor. This editor shows you the words and sentences in your version that you have to simplify.
Is your copy interesting?
Your copy may be scannable and easy to understand, but if you don’t make it interesting, you will miss out on a lot of your readers.
Imagine that you want to explain cryptocurrency, for example. This means that you have to talk about blockchain technology, fiat currency, etc. These concepts are more boring than having to watch the paint dry.
Nobody wants to sit through it.
However, you can make these complex concepts appear easier by using stories, symmetries, and personalizing the message.
Tell readers about the money in their wallet and how the government controls this money. Tell them how cryptocurrency is not under the control of any government, i.e. decentralized.
Use examples that your readers can relate to and will make your readers more interested in reading through to the end of the copy.
When readers stay longer on your website, it helps to tell Google that people are enjoying your content, and it will help boost your search rankings. Also, interesting content gets a lot of social shares, which means you will get a lot of new readers.
Are your titles descriptive enough?
When writing the title of your copy, apart from using keywords, you should try to make it as descriptive as possible. This way, readers can see what they’re getting into before they click on it.
But headlines aren’t meant for title alone. Subheadings should also be descriptive to allow readers to flow through the article easily.
Descriptive subheadings make it easier for readers to go back to different places in the article and get the required information.
To write a descriptive title, you can use the following tips:
Brain loves structure. Using numbers is an easy way to tell the readers mind that the article is well organized and broken into parts.
- Be specific, without revealing everything
The cliffhanger title is sure to get people diving deep into the article. Your essay should tell the reader what they can gain by reading without first revealing everything.
Check out this example: “Most website owners think Google only ranks new content. Here’s the truth.”
The title doesn’t say whether a belief is wrong or true, but it does make the reader challenge their beliefs for a second and anticipate yours.
Also, you want to be specific enough to give them a reason to read your work. Use words like “Tips”, “tricks”, “lessons”, “mistakes”, “facts”, “reasons”, “secrets”, etc.
For example, look at the title:
“6 Secrets of Copywriting that took me from $0 to $1 million in 18 months as a beginner.”
This tells the reader that they are about to get exclusive secrets that have worked their magic for you. This is a good rationale to have them click and read the article content.
difference And the difference It means the same thing, but “difference” More commonly used and understood by website readers. If you fill your headlines with words that are hard to understand, most people won’t bother reading.
Remember that more people will read your title than the entire article, so you want to make it as tempting as possible so that more people stop reading it.
It’s kind of like a big warning sign in a zoo or factory. It might be the only thing that will catch your audience’s attention.
Use any trick possible to make your address as easy to understand as possible. Make it fun too, so they don’t forget about it.
Lots of people will share an article after just reading the title, so write it as often as you can, and give them something to share!
Is your copy up-to-date?
If your website is full of QDR (Queries Worth a Fresh) articles, you’ll want to keep it up to date. QDRs are queries that change over time, such as “best Mac laptops” or news articles.
These types of articles should be updated regularly to keep up with the latest trends.
There are other types of content that are evergreen and do not need regular updating. In fact, updating these types of content will not affect your SEO directly.
However, it can affect your SEO indirectly. When you add “Updated at 20xx” at the top of the copy, visitors see that your copy was recently updated.
In this way, they trust the information more and stay for a long time. This helps lower the bounce rate and sends a good signal to Google and other search engines.
Do you use keyword variations, synonyms, and LSIs in your copy?
Aside from using keywords in your copy, you should also try to use other variations that work well with it.
A good tool for finding different keyword variations is “Reply to the Audience”.
Let’s say your keyword is “B2B Marketing”.
Enter the keyword in the search bar and the tool will bring up dozens of related questions and inquiries. You can use these questions and inquiries as subheadings to enhance your copy.
In this example, there are 322 different questions and suggestions that can serve as variations of your keyword.
You can take some of these different words, use them as subtitles in your transcript, or put them into different sentences in your transcript.
You should also use synonyms of keyword phrases or search queries when writing your copy.
This helps provide more variety to your copy and your readers are likely to stay more consistent. Think about it: if you keep using the same words in your copy, your audience will get bored of their minds and get tired of your copy.
Using synonyms in your transcript also helps with research. Sometimes your audience won’t search Google with the exact words in your keyword.
For example, if your keyword is “shoe stores in Cairo,” part of your audience could search for “shoe stores in Ohio.” By using the synonym of “shops” in the copy, you increase the chances of the exact keyword being matched to your audience.
Finally, it is useful to use LSI keywords in your copy that are similar to your keyword.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, which are keywords that help Google to deeply understand the copy on any given web page.
For example, if your keyword is “fitness,” then words like “gym,” “exercise,” etc. are LSI related words that help Google understand that the page is about fitness. They are not direct synonyms, but they help bring more quality to your copy.
You can find LSI keywords using one of the many LSI keyword generators available online, or using Google’s autocomplete feature.
Is your copy well arranged?
Your copy can contain all the values in the world, but if they are not arranged logically, you will lose your readers at first.
Your copy should contain an introduction, a body (which can be divided into sections), and a conclusion. Addresses should flow logically from one to the other.
For example, in this article, we select On-Page SEO first before moving on to explain why content is important for on-page SEO. Then we include all the important factors of on-page SEO content.
Imagine how stupid it would be if you started the article with the factors first, and then moved on to explaining on-page SEO.
Make sure your article is logically structured or else it won’t make any sense. Also, if your article is long, put an interactive table of content at the top. An interactive table of content can be clicked, so when the reader clicks on it, they will be taken to the section they want.
Finally, use bullets and numbered lists as necessary to break down the points and show several examples.
The great thing about content optimization for On-Page SEO is that it doesn’t cost much to get it done. By making a few tweaks here and there to a well-written article, you can have a well-optimized piece of content for SEO.
However, if you do not have a well-written essay, you should hire a professional writer and editor to help with that.
Finally, remember that it is crucial that you write for your audience and not just for search engines. Evergreen content is content that readers find full of value, and you can’t get by writing to please Google bots.