The Definitive On-Page SEO Checklist For 2024

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

As much as having great content, a sound technical foundation (i.e. having a mobile friendly website) and link building can get your site on the right track for SEO dominance, sometimes, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference… I’ve over a decade of experience in the SEO experience, and I understand the importance of optimizing on-page SEO elements for achieving search engine dominance. Therefore, I’ve created the ultimate On Page SEO Checklist so that you can ensure that the primary elements of your site pages are well-optimized. Quick Summary What is an On Page SEO Audit? Let’s get one thing straight, when I’m referring to “On Page SEO”, I’m not talking about optimizing content for reader retention or writing content to meet search intent – that’s for another article altogether. Instead, I’m talking about optimizing the core elements of a web page such as the page titles, headings, meta descriptions and images on your website for the primary keyword that you want to rank for. These are individual factors that can help improve your site’s ability to rank and lead to more organic traffic. For example, get your title and headings wrong, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve written the best piece of content, it’ll simply struggle to rank. Why? Because, an On Page SEO Audit also makes it easier for crawlers and human visitors to understand what the content is about without much effort. Why are On Page SEO Audits Important? An On Page SEO Audit is important because it can identify issues with your content that could hurt user engagement and confuse the crawlers. For example, unclear page titles that don’t include your primary keyword will decrease click-through rates, while also making it harder for the search engine bots to understand the purpose of your content. Poorly-optimized URLs or the lack of headings will make your pages harder to navigate for both internet users and crawlers. If there are a lot of images on your website, but they lack the alt attribute, search engines won’t know what they depict. Interlinking is another essential part of SEO that should be examined during an On Page SEO Audit. It is a way of showing Google which pages are to be considered the most valuable on your website. This can also help boost the rankings of individual pages and can make your website easier to navigate and improve user experience. I’ll go through each of these elements in the On Page SEO checklist below. On Page SEO Checklist In order to make the most of this On Page SEO checklist, I highly recommend performing keyword research for your core landing pages. Taking this step will help make the next steps much easier to do as you’ll be able to identify the target keyword (or other search terms) for your pages. Here are the SEO tools that you’ll need to complete your On Page SEO checklist: Page Title Optimization What is a Page Title? A page title (or title tag) is the HTML element that defines what the title of a web page is. Here’s the title for The Search Initiative homepage in its raw HTML form: <title>The Search Initiative – SEO Agency</title> Here’s how it appears in the search results: And here’s how it appears in a browser’s tab: Why Audit Your Page Titles? Page titles are one of the Three Kings of On Page SEO with the other two being the URL and H1 heading. I’ll go into detail about URL optimization and H1 headings later on in this article, but for now, let’s take a look at why page titles are so important. Page titles are a very important part of search engine optimization for both users and robots. The title tag of your web pages is one of the first elements that users look at when deciding whether or not to click through to a page from their search. Well-written, engaging titles are known to increase click through rate (CTR) and engagement. The main purpose of auditing your title tags is to ensure that they inform the audience (and search engines) what they can expect to find on your web page. They’re essentially a precursor for the main content on your site. Page Title Audit Checklist When auditing the page titles, you should ensure that they are: Avoid page titles like this that are over-optimized: Cheap Holidays and Cheap Trips to New York | Book Cheap Flights Today Instead, aim for page titles like this: Book Cheap Holidays & Flights to New York Today | Tripster Heading Optimization What is a Heading? Headings (aka header tags) are used to convey the hierarchy and structural outline of the content on a page to search engines and users. There are six kinds of HTML Header levels where the H1 tag is the largest and the H6 tag is the smallest. Here’s an example of a heading hierarchy <h1> This is a H1 heading </h1> <h2> This a H2 heading </h2> <h2> This a H2 heading </h2> <h3> This a H3 heading </h3> <h2> This a H2 heading </h2> Here’s what the headings would look like: Why Should You Audit Your Headings? Breaking up your content with headings makes it much easier for users to navigate through your page and find what they’re looking for. Likewise, from an On Page SEO point of view, headings provide better context for search engines as they’re able to understand the hierarchy and structure. Aside from this, they may also aid your chances of appearing in the Featured Snippets. Here’s an example for the keyword “how is vanilla extract made”. Let’s see where the featured snippet text is taken from… Importantly, notice that the heading is exactly the same as our search intent query. H1 Heading Audit Checklist When auditing the H1 headings on your site, ensure that: H2-H6 Heading Audit Checklist When auditing the remaining headings on your website (primarily H2 headings), ensure that they: Meta Description Optimization What is are Meta Descriptions? The meta descriptions summarizes the main content on your web pages is about in one or two sentences. Here’s an example: <meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description”> Why Should You Audit Your Meta Descriptions? Despite the fact that they are not a ranking factor, meta descriptions should still be given importance because Google often displays them as part of the search results. If you’re still not convinced, take it from Google, who say that they should “generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. They are like a pitch that convinces the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for”. Essentially, this means that well-written descriptions may be the deciding factor as to whether or not a user clicks through to your website or not. Moreover, if you include your primary keyword or other search terms within your descriptions, then Google will bold any words from the keyword within the search results. For example, if our target keyword is “ruby chocolate”, then you can see that Google highlights all instances of the term within the results. Meta Description Audit Checklist During the auditing process, you should ensure that your descriptions: URL Optimization What is a URL? A URL (Uniform Resource Locator), is the unique address of any resource on the Web. Why Should You Audit & Optimize Your URLs? You should audit and optimize your URLs because this is one of the things Google recommends you do in their SEO Starter Kit. The article recommends using simple, friendly URLs. This is because the URLs of your site are usually one of the first things that both users and search engines will see. URL Audit Checklist When auditing/optimizing the URLs on your site, you should ensure that they are: This not only makes it easier for users (and search engines) to understand what your post is about, but it also makes it much easier for other sites to link to you. Avoid URLs like this: They come across as unnatural, confusing, and unfriendly. A more meaningful and user-friendly URL would be: After making your URLs user-friendly, you’ll want to make them SEO-friendly too, which I’ll explain in the following points. For example, could be shortened to Instead, use hyphens (-). You want URLs like this: Instead of: Here’s what a standard optimized URL structure would look like: For example: is better than Image Optimization What is Alt Text? The Alt Text (or alt attribute/alt tag) of an image is the HTML element used to textually describe an image on the Web. Here’s an example of an alt tag: <img src=”my-image.jpg” alt=”This is an image.”> Why Should You Audit & Optimize Alt Tags? Apart from improving your website’s accessibility and enhancing the experience for visually impaired users, there are also On Page SEO benefits to auditing and optimizing the image alt attributes on your site. Search engines can’t “see” the Read More Read More

The post The Definitive On-Page SEO Checklist For 2024 first appeared on Diggity Marketing.

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