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On-Page SEO Checklist to Advance Your Strategy

By SE Ranking Team
4 January 2024

An effective on-page SEO checklist is not rocket science. It is a set of results-driven approaches you can incorporate to make your website Google and user-friendly. Although there are plenty of rumors that say SEO is dead, there are certain aspects of search engine optimization that are still very important, even on the verge of 2024.

What’s more, SEO is becoming increasingly sophisticated and can help marketers focus on different types of search intent and users’ needs, so they don’t have to narrow down their SEO tasks to stuffing website pages with keywords to outsmart search engines. 

Search engine optimization is an ecosystem with diverse page SEO factors, practices, and regulations to consider. It is literally impossible to achieve top rankings by only using winning SEO techniques on link-building or technical optimization, as every SEO aspect impacts your online visibility and is worth your time and effort.

This guide focuses on a complete SEO checklist devoted to on-page optimization. You will learn about meta titles and descriptions, page URLs and headings, image optimization, and other crucial elements that make up the following on-page SEO checklist that will help you rank higher naturally.

What Does On-Page SEO Involve?

Simply put, on-page SEO means refining your website pages to help them gain higher rankings in the search engine results pages, also known as the SERPs.

To do so, you need to pay attention to crucial elements of on-page SEO, such as:

  • Page titles and meta descriptions,
  • Page headings, 
  • Epic content and page URLs, 
  • Schema markup, 
  • Images and image Alt attributes, 
  • Internal linking,
  • Overall page experience, including mobile usability, page loading speed, and HTTPS encryption.

The main perk of on-page SEO is that your success and progress here depend only on your effort, as you can take control of the optimization strategies and workflows and instantly make changes to your website.

Where Is the Starting Point for On-Page SEO?

If you have just built your website, optimize the content and core page elements for every page. The thing is that new sites are tabula rasa to Google, which means that you need to create a robust SEO strategy and thoroughly follow your blueprint.

Pick unique keywords to target and opt for keyword ideas with high or moderate search volume and low competition, as they are the most likely to boost your rankings, especially when you are just getting started.

Don’t forget technical SEO aspects like site loading speed, links, crawling, etc. Make sure your website has no broken links, as it may dramatically affect user experience. All in all, there is no shortcut to success. SEO is a long-term investment and requires an eye for detail.

In case you need to revive an existing website, a comprehensive on-page SEO audit should be the first thing on your to-do list.

It will help you to identify issues that can harm user experience and interfere with normal website indexing and crawling. Choose a robust on-page SEO checker to conduct a thorough on-page SEO analysis and get a clear view of your strategy’s pits and pearls. It can elucidate the factors that are holding you back from higher rankings by comparing your pages with your top niche competitors.

You can also dive into SEO reporting to get a granular view of your search performance, evaluate the SEO potential of your pages, and properly pick pages for further improvement.

Best On-Page SEO Checklist to Boost Your SEO Outcomes

Below are the top elements of on-page optimization. We’ll show you why each particular component is essential and how you can refine it on your business website or blog.

  1. Revamp Page Title

What Is a Page Title?

A page title or a title tag is a fundamental SEO element that determines the topic of your page content in the search results and the web browser tab. 

Why Is Page Title Important?

Page titles define your page content to users and search engines. Optimizing your page title should be one of your main priorities to make sure users and search engine crawling bots can get a clear idea of what your page is about.

How to Optimize Page Titles?

To make your page titles SEO-friendly, you need to think about your users’ search intent and how the content of your page can solve their pain points. Then, briefly showcase this information in a concise yet informative title that also contains your target keyword. 

Remember that each title should work for one unique niche-related keyword. Avoid stuffing several pages with the same title tags, as it all will be considered duplicate content and bring absolutely no value to your search performance.

Additionally, do your best to keep your SEO titles under 60 characters. Otherwise, they will not fully show up in SERPs, which can confuse your prospects. For example, give heed to the following Google search results:

Google search results showing SEO-friendly page title tags

Source: Google Search

The top three organic search results from the screenshot above boast unique and engaging titles enhanced with the focus keyword. They also contain attention-grabbers, like a timeframe to help users click on the most recent data, a price range to meet their search intent, and proof to show the article has only verified and effective hosting solutions on a budget.

All these approaches are effective for creating unique and captivating title tags that positively affect your rankings.

  1. Enhance Meta Description

What Is a Meta Description?

A meta description is another crucial element on the on-page SEO checklist. It briefly describes your page content and appears directly in SERPs. 

Why Is Meta Description Important?

Meta descriptions should be taken seriously as they help capture and encourage users to click on your website in search results. Indeed, a meta description is not a direct ranking factor. However, it is your page summary that represents your website content.

How to Optimize Meta Descriptions?

Provide a call-to-action for every meta description and ensure a neat length that doesn’t exceed 150-165 characters so that users can fully read it when finding your website pages in search results. You can add your primary keyword to the meta description or enhance it with synonyms related to your main keyword. Both options are great for boosting your SEO page score. Take a look at some great examples below.

Google search results with optimized meta descriptions

Source: Google Search

By the way, you can utilize a suitable on-page SEO checker to scan all your site pages and identify gaps in your meta descriptions and title tags. It can save you plenty of time as you don’t need to look separately for each page’s metadata.

SE Ranking on-page SEO checker showing website metadata gaps

Source: SE Ranking On-Page SEO Checker

  1. Arrange Page Headings

What Are Page Headings?

Page headings, or header tags, typically from H1 to H6, are the next essential elements to inspect with the on-page SEO checker of your choice. These special tags help to organize and structure your page content to boost its readability and improve content perception.

Why Are Page Headings Important?

Pay precise attention to the SEO reporting on page headers as they dramatically affect user experience on your pages. They also help search engines better perceive the content structure of your pages.

How to Optimize Page Headings?

It is crucial to maintain an accurate hierarchy of headings. Always start with the H1 heading and ensure it contains your primary keyword. This header helps users and search engines get a better idea of the page content.

Then consider other headings from H2 to H6, commonly to H4, and rank all the headers in order of their importance. To illustrate, look at the dos and don’ts of headings styles from a manual from the Australian government.

Page headings style manual showing winning and poor header hierarchy

Source: Australian Government Style Manual

In addition to the above, consider enhancing your H2-H6 header range with topic-related or lucrative long-tail keywords, and make sure your page header tags reinforce the main topic and search query.

  1. Strengthen Page URLs

What Are Page URLs?

The page URL is simply the web address of a particular website page. 

Why Are Page URLs Important?

User and SEO-friendly URLs impact user experience and site traffic. They provide a brief page content description, grow user trust, and make your content easily shareable all over the web.

How to Optimize Page URLs?

If you initially create evergreen page URLs, you save yourself the trouble of puzzling over a huge URL base to try to identify weak and inappropriate addresses for further redirection. To master the art of proper URL creation, opt for static and clean URLs free from numbers, capital letters, underscores, and other special symbols. 

To separate words in your page URLs, only use hyphens. Make sure to keep them short and include target keywords in each URL. To illustrate, let’s view some good and bad page URL examples:

  • Good URLs
  • Bad URLs
  1. Enhance Page Content 

What Is Page Content?

Relevant and persuasive content is the pearl of any results-driven on-page SEO checklist. In simple terms, content is the filling of a website page. Whether it is an online store, a multi page business site, or blog, content is the key to higher rankings.

Why Is Page Content Important?

Although AI content generators streamline content creation tasks and workflows, using them deprives your content of being original and user-centric. Therefore, a genuine, human-written copy that addresses users’ needs is a goldmine you should strive for.

You need to do more than enhance your content with keywords. You should strike a chord with your audience, give opinions, and provide solutions. Page content with unique and state-of-the-art experiences for people to explore and learn is essential to boost your online visibility.

How to Optimize Page Content?

The recipe for success is to create an evergreen copy that fully reveals the topic, showcases your expertise, and delivers wisdom users can utilize to crush various pain points. And the truth is that such content should be naturally enhanced with topic-related keywords, accurate page structure, and proper URL and metadata to be found and seen by your target market.

Additionally, heed content readability. This equally matters for mobile and desktop users and search engines. Therefore, check your literacy level, choose readable fonts, ensure enough room for separating the text, and maintain a neat length of paragraphs and sentences. Use well-known tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to make your content clear and readable.

Checking text readability score in Hemingway editor

Source: Hemingway Editor

  1. Improve Image Optimization

What Is Image Optimization?

No on-page SEO checklist is complete without highlighting page imagery. Images are visuals that help emphasize the text content on a webpage, and image optimization is refining your images to make them clear and valuable both for website visitors and search engines. 

Why Is Image Optimization Important?

The point is that images matter a lot for search engine optimization and can hinder your SEO performance and rankings. They can affect page speed, accessibility, and crawling. Therefore, image optimization is vital when it comes to on-page SEO.

How to Boost Image Optimization?

Using relevant, high-resolution images in supported formats and with correct HTML elements is one of the best image SEO practices for boosting your odds of appearing for related searches in organic search results. Moreover, consider image compression as a helping hand in order to make your images load faster without slowing down your site.

Additionally, get to know image ALT text and captions, as these essentials are critical for SEO. Alternative or ALT text is necessary to showcase how the image relates to a particular part of the page content. Here is an example of a proper image ALT:

Example of proper image alt text on starbucks website

Source: Starbucks

Bear in mind that alternative text is fully indexable by search engines, though it is obscured from the users’ eyes. Meanwhile, image captions are visible to users and describe imagery within the body content.

  1. Boost Page Experience

What Is Page Experience?

Page experience is a major set of metrics that helps Google ranking systems assess URLs and arrange them according to the content and overall quality grade in the search results.

Why Is Page Experience Important?

The quality of your website’s page experience defines your search visibility and rankings. A secure connection with HTTPS data encryption, mobile usability, safe browsing, interstitial-free pages, and strict adherence to Core Web Vitals make an excellent page experience.

How to Improve Page Experience?

To polish your pages for a better page experience, ensure your site takes care of users’ data and provides a secure browsing experience. Moreover, eliminate meddling ads and pop-ups that distract users and degrade their experience on your website. Optimize your pages for mobile users and refine the navigation so that users can seamlessly explore your content and distinguish its main parts.

Additionally, pay attention to Core Web Vitals, particularly to the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), as these pillars define whether your pages are stable, interactive, and fast enough to satisfy web surfers and deliver user-centric experiences. 

Fundamental tools like PageSpeed Insights and Google Search Console can help you monitor page experience metrics on your website. 

Google Search Console dashboard showing Core Web Vitals data for mobile

Source: Google Search Console

  1. Empower Internal Linking

What Is Internal Linking?

In short, internal links are links within your website. This means you can link from one page to another to create a web of content relations and showcase more helpful information to your prospects.

Why Is Internal Linking Important?

Internal linking is beneficial from both a user and search engine perspective. Internal links heighten your website navigation, boost the contextual connection of pages, and help to increase the value of principal pages on your site. 

How to Enhance Internal Linking?

Navigational links like ones in the menu or breadcrumb chain and links to recent or related posts and useful content-rich pages make smart internal linking. For example, see the related posts section in the Swydo blog.

Swydo blog featuring related articles section for internal linking

Source: Swydo

When building internal links, the main thing to consider is the anchor text you use when linking to pages. Anchor text defines the topic of the link to Google and your target audience and therefore has a significant influence on click-through rate and link authority.

  1. Implement Schemas

What Is Schema Markup?

There is nothing better to wind up this on-page SEO checklist than schema markup. Simply put, schema markup is structured data, which serves as the backbone of your page content structure to search engine bots.

Why Is Schema Markup Important?

Proper schema markup is your best option to pave the way to rich results or snippets that pull more data from your pages, making your website look more captivating and trustworthy in search results. You can implement schema in one of three common languages: microdata, JSON-LD, and RDFa.

How to Implement Schemas?

There are 30 different types of structured data markups you can choose from to help Google better understand your pages. Whether it is an article, breadcrumb, job posting, or any other content, you can expertly represent it to Googlebot with schemas.

To enrich your pages with accurate schema markup, use Google Structured Data Markup Helper or with its exhaustive collection of schemas.

Generating structured data with Google structured data markup helper

Source: Google Structured Data Markup Helper

The Takeaway

On-page SEO is an essential aspect of optimization that dramatically affects website search performance. It covers a range of elements, including page metadata, content, keywords, page headings, URLs, internal linking, schema markup, and page experience, and requires your precise attention and effort.

A flexible approach, timely intervention, and comprehensive on-page SEO checklist will surely help you achieve high-end online visibility.

Save time and automate your on-page SEO reporting with Swydo. You can integrate multiple data sources like Google Analytics 4, Semrush, Google Sheets and Google Search Console into one report or dashboard, and set it up to run automatically for your desired time frame. Give it a try, start your free trial today!