In this article, let’s go over an on-page SEO checklist for 2022.
If you’re new to SEO, you might be wondering what on-page SEO even is…
I mean, you might’ve just thought there was only one kind of SEO — what’s this other thing, right?
Well, on-page SEO is basically just a specific form of SEO, and it falls under the general SEO category.
Now, luckily, for you…this article is gonna show you exactly how you can do that, and more!
We’re gonna cover what on-page SEO actually is, and why it’s important.
We’ll also cover some of the specific on-page SEO tactics that’ll help you achieve amazing results.
Some of these tactics are familiar, but some of them are actually kinda new, and not many people use them.
Section #1 — What is On-Page SEO
Ok, to begin with, let’s take a look at what on-page SEO actually is, and why it’s important.
Right, so generally, when it comes to SEO, you typically have on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO typically includes stuff like links, and how you promote your website so that it’ll rank.
On-page SEO, however, focuses on all the things you do on your actual website, to achieve good rankings.
So, basically, how you optimize the pages and content, so that Google knows what your website is about.
A lot of people think on-page SEO is boring, compared to off-page, like link-building.
But, this is a shame, it’s actually super important. I have been able to grow my site chipperbirds.com where it generates tens of 1000s of visits each month.
I just wanna say here there are dozens, and dozens, of things you can potentially class as on-page SEO.
If you’re dealing with a highly-optimized website, in a competitive niche, that’s ranking well…
It’s generally a good idea to focus on every single aspect of on-page SEO.
If you’re just building out a new site,…
… and you’ve not really focused on on-page SEO just yet…
…You don’t really need to get into the weeds too much here.
That’s because, for most people, there are really only a handful of on-page factors that deserve your attention.
If you optimize these factors, it should be more than enough for you to rank well.
Section #2 — A Good User Experience
When it comes to on-page SEO, focus on providing people with a good user experience.
There are literally dozens of user experience metrics you can focus on.
But, when it comes to SEO, there are really only two you wanna really pay attention to.
Okay… So the first user experience thing you wanna focus on is page loading times.
This is really important because Google is starting to put a lot of focus into promoting websites that load quickly.
In fact, they’ve actually announced publicly that they use this as a ranking factor.
Google wants to provide people with a good user experience. If your website loads slowly, they’re gonna be frustrated and will decide to use another search engine.
Of course, good old Google doesn’t want this…
… So they’re gonna punish you if you have a slow website, that makes them look bad.
And so, how do you know if your website meets Google’s requirements when it comes to loading times?
Well, Google has a free tool called “pagespeed insights.”
You just type your URL into this tool, then you’ll get a score based on the performance of your website, and some detailed feedback on loading times.
For example, here’s what shows up when I put my desktop website through this tool.
As you can see, it scores pretty well here.
If I scroll down a little bit, I can see some suggestions on how I can make things even better.
My website is already performing well when it comes to this aspect of on-page SEO (thank god).
But, if I wanted to push my on-page optimization to the next level, I would consider acting on these things.
On the other hand, if you put your website through this tool, and in case get a bad score back, there are a few things you can do to make things better.
If the scores are really bad…
You might just wanna consider redesigning your website and using something like WordPress as your content management system.
WordPress themes are pretty well-optimized, and it’s not that hard to quickly boost your page speed so that it scores above 90.
Of course, if you’re already using WordPress, and your score is just an average, consider using a different theme.
You could also just wanna hire a developer to help you optimize your site so that it performs better.
Another thing to focus on user experience is whether your website works well on a mobile device.
Google really cares about, and it’s something they’re actively focusing on when it comes to deciding on rankings…
— Which makes sense, right?
I mean, no matter what niche you’re in, there’s a strong chance lots of your visitors are using a mobile device to find, and access your website.
If your site ignores these people, why should Google rank your site?
Google has another tool that checks if your site is mobile-friendly, and it’s got a clever, and exciting sounding name
— ready for it…
it’s called the “mobile-friendly test.”
This tool doesn’t have the most exciting name in the world, but it’s still super useful and easy to use.
You basically just put your URL in the tool, and it’ll then tell you if your website is mobile-friendly.
If your site scores poorly here, you might wanna go through the steps we mentioned above.
So, you may want to install WordPress, and then use a highly-rated mobile-friendly theme…
…Or you might just wanna reach out to a developer, and work with them so that your site can become mobile-friendly.
Ok, so those are the two key things you need to focus on when it comes to on-page SEO.
Section #3 — Security
The next thing we’re gonna focus on is the security of your website.
Now, this might sound like a big and scary topic, but there’s basically one key thing you wanna focus on here, and that’s the use of “SSL certificates.”
If you didn’t know, an SSL certificate makes it so that your website provides people with a secure “https” connection.
Even if you don’t realize it, you probably have a ton of experience with this already.
I mean, if you’re browsing a website, you’ll often see a “padlock” right next to where the URL is in your browser.
This padlock means that the website you’re using, is making use of a HTTPS connection, and this then means the traffic is encrypted.
All of which makes it difficult for hackers to steal data.
Ok, great, you need to protect your users by setting up an SSL certificate — Now how do you even do that?
Well, in most cases, your hosting company should be able to provide you with an SSL certificate.
Sometimes, you will have to pay for the certificate, but some offer it for free.
If you’re on a budget, you might wanna look for hosting companies like this, before you fully build out your site.
Anyway, if you’re paying for an SSL certificate, keep in mind that they generally expire after 12 months or so.
Because of this, you need to make sure you renew them.
If you forget about this, you might end up hurting your rankings if Google realizes that your site no longer has an SSL.
Section #4 — Optimizing Content
Okay, so the next thing we’re gonna focus on here is optimizing your content.
A lot of the time, this tends to be the main thing people focus on when it comes to on-page SEO.
But, if you ignore all the other stuff we’ve covered already…
You won’t get very far, even if you do have content that’s super-optimized.
Alright, so with that said, when optimizing your content, what do you need to be focusing on?
Well, you basically just wanna make sure your content is optimized around the topic/keyword you’re trying to target.
So, if you’re creating a piece of content that targets a certain keyword…
Make sure you include your main keyword, as well as related keywords, throughout the main body of your content.
You’ll also wanna make sure to include the main keyword, and related keywords, in the headers you have in your content.
Now, there are a few key points I just wanna mention here.
First, if you’re writing a thorough piece of content on a given topic, you might end up doing this naturally.
It’d be harder to create a detailed article, based on a specific keyword, without mentioning the main keyword, and related keywords throughout your post.
USEFUL: Here’s our link building checklist for SEO.
Of course, if this doesn’t happen naturally, you might wanna intervene and adjust your text a little here so that your keyword(s) appears in your article.
However, if you’re gonna do this, you wanna be careful of going over the top.
If you go over the top, Google might think that you’re doing some “keyword stuffing.”
That’s basically when you overuse a given keyword, to improve your odds of ranking for that keyword.
At one point, this used to work kinda well…
But now it’s just gonna get you in trouble…
And if you’re guilty of doing this, you might lose your rankings because Google really hates it.
PS, if you want a clear-cut guide on what keyword stuffing actually is, here’s a page from Google’s guidelines that cover the topic quite nicely.
With all that said, how do you make sure you optimize your content, so that it includes your main keyword or related keywords, without annoying Google?
Well, as mentioned, if you’re genuinely trying to write a good thorough article on a given topic, you might end up including your keyword, and related keywords pretty much by default.
However, if you want some direct tips, you might just wanna make sure you include your target keyword…
Once in the intro
A few times throughout the body of your text
At least once in a H2 header
At least once in the conclusion
Again, as I said, you should also include related keywords throughout your post too.
However, you don’t need to really focus on including these the same way you would for the main target keyword.
Instead, you kinda just wanna naturally pepper them throughout your content.
If you want to find related keywords, just look at some of the “suggested keywords” associated with your main keyword.
For example, suppose I own a website about sheds, and I want to write a blog post where the main keyword is “how to build a shed.”
If I look at the suggested keywords, I can see a list of other keywords based on this keyword.
If I want to find related keywords, I could also think about using some of the “auto suggestions” that appear, when I type my “main keyword” into the search bar.
For example, here are some of the autogestion that came up, based on my “how to build a shed keyword.”
As you can see, these are all pretty good suggestions.
If I’m writing a detailed, long post on this topic, it wouldn’t be too hard to include these keywords naturally throughout my content.
I just wanna say that there is the option of taking a more “clinical approach” here.
That’s because I could think about using tools to optimize my content so that it does well when it comes to on-page SEO.
One such tool I might wanna consider using here is Frase.io.
If I tell Frase the keyword I’m targeting, it’ll provide me with a quota based on how many times I should include my core keyword.
It will also provide me with related keywords, and these will have quotas too.
For example, here are some suggestions and quotas, based on my “how to build a shed” keyword.
Frase will also provide me with a list of suggested topics I should cover, when writing a post on a specific topic.
If I meet all of these requirements when producing my content, there’s a good chance I’m going to outperform the competition when it comes to having optimized content.
This is really critical when you consider how important optimized content is in relation to on-page SEO, and just SEO in general.
If you want to learn more about how Frase can help, check out this video of mine where I cover this tool in a bit more detail.
Section #5 — A Quick note on image optimization
Something I also just wanna touch on here is “image optimization.”
I think this is an important thing to mention, because some on-page SEO guides tend to forget about this.
There are basically two things you wanna focus on when it comes to image optimization.
Firstly, you wanna make sure you’re using the right “alt-tags” and “captions” for your images.
In case you didn’t know, alt-tags are basically the bit of text you see when you hover a cursor over an image.
If you use relevant alt-tags and captions, it’ll be easier for Google to figure out what a given image is about, and this will then help them figure out what your page is generally about.
This is really important because that’ll make it easier for you to rank for relevant terms in your niche.
By the way, if you’re using WordPress, it’s actually pretty easy to do this, as you can adjust alt-tags and captions, whenever you insert an image into a post.
Another thing you have to focus on here when it comes to image optimization is, actually optimizing the sizes of your images.
Earlier we touched upon the importance of pagespeed loading times.
Well, in a lot of cases, your web pages might load slowly because your image files are “too big.”
Again, if you’re using WordPress, you can easily compress your images by using a plugin such as “Smush.”
Plugins like this can compress your images, without massively hurting the quality.
Hopefully, you have a decent sense of how on-page SEO works, and how you should approach things.
If you’d like advice about on-page and off-page SEO, you can book a free consultation call with my agency at juliangoldie.com.