On-Site SEO Checklist

On Site SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about improving organic website traffic and boosts SEO rankings with Google and Bing. On Site SEO is ultimately about generating leads and converting those leads into paying customers.

Here is our On Site SEO Checklist that can help you improve your rankings:

Great SEO Rankings in Google, Bing and other the search engines involves three primary elements:

  • On-page SEO – Optimizing the content and HTML, Metadata and Site and Page Load Speeds on your website.
  • Off-page SEO – Optimizing elements beyond your website that Search Engines such as the quality and quantity of third-party website backlinks
  • Coding and Technical Factors – CSS and Javascript Minification, Schema Markup, AMP Enabling, and more.

For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the On-Site SEO checklist.

On-page Search Engine Optimization

The most obviously accessible and controllable aspects of the overall Search Engine Optimization process is the content on your website. This includes the HTML and CSS coding that make up your pages including Heading Tags, Alt Tags, Page Titles, Keyword MetaTags such as the Page Description and Page Keywords. Finally, the density of your top keywords and keyword phrases within the visible page content itself is important to your Search Engine Optimization efforts. If you spend the time and do the work to optimize these on-page Search Engine Optimization attributes you will be off and running with your overall on site SEO efforts.

Your company should have a goal to make every page on your website search engine, and mobile friendly while still delivering your optimal marketing message to prospective customers.

For Search Engine Optimization purposes, you should focus on one, or two target keywords or phrases per page. It will be difficult to rank well for more keywords than that on a single page. So, you really want to focus on those one or two primary keywords on each page..

It is also wise to get a good idea for where your site already ranks on your chosen keyword and keyword phrases if you have an existing site. If you are already on page one of Google search for your chosen keywords or keyword phrases, leave the page alone, other than occasional necessary updates.

The checklist we have compiled below will help your company in creating search-engine-friendly pages designed to rank well for your target keywords. There is no silver bullet in this checklist that, by itself, will result in great page ranking. These items shown below all work in combination with each other to maximize your overall SEO score with search engines. The major search engines, including Google and Bing, will analyze your page for many factors when determining how it ranks each page.

On-page SEO Checklist

Yoast SEO Plugin – Install the Yoast SEO Plugin (or similar SEO Plugin) on your website

Yoast is a FREE SEO Plugin that is available for the WordPress platform and a few other platforms. Yoast allows you to set a target keyword phrase for each page or post as well as defining Metatag information such as Page Title, Page Description. Yoast will also give you realtime tips on how to enhance page readability, will let you see how your post will be viewed on Social Media Platforms, and offers keyword suggestions for your pages. It also analyzes your pages and shows you ways to fix on site SEO errors or deficiencies in your page content, H1 tags, keyword density and it will enable Google and Bing compliant Sitemaps on your website. A Plugin like Yoast is an indespensible tool for On-Page SEO work.

On-Site SEO Setup

  • Analytics Tracking – Setup Analytics Tracking on your site using Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Quality Content – Make sure page is relevant, high-quality, current and at least 500 words in length.
  • H1 Tags – Include your target keyword search phrase in the page headline (H1 Tag).
  • Sub-Header Tags – Target keyword search phrase is also included in at least one sub-headline (H2 or H3 tag).
  • Keyword Density – Target keyword search phrase is incorporated 3 to 10 times within body content of your page you’re your keyword density is any higher than that your page may get penalized and downgraded as spam. Keep in mind that your visible page content has to make sense to your site visitors so overdoing keyword usage can make your content and message awkward to your visitors.
  • Page Images – Relevant images and/or graphics can help illustrate and boost the target search phrase with search engines.
  • Alt Text Image Tags – You should include Alt Text Tags for every image on every page images and those Alt Text Tags should include your target keyword phrase for that page in one or more image Alt Tag.
  • Create compelling content and include other resources on the page that invite visitors to share your link with others and post your page link on other sites or social media pages.
  • Location and Regional References: If you are optimizing for specific city, state or regional area, make sure those regional area references are included in your copy and perhaps creating a specific page area or footer where you can call out those keywords. This will help Google, Bing and other search engines regionalize your search rankings.
  • Proofread your content. Misspellings or poor grammar can cause a downgrade your rankings.
  • Include social media links, user discussions and reviews. Pages with active visitor interaction are scored higher than static pages.

Coding and Technical Factors

  • Page URL – Try to include your target keyword/search phrases in the page URL wherever feasible.
  • Title Tag – Every page should have an HTML Title (enclosed in <title> </title> tags). The title copy should be unique, include the target keyword phrase or phrases. This tag should be no longer than 60 characters or less. Google will truncate anything longer than that and might ding a site of not adhering to standard Title Tag practices.
  • Description Meta Tag – Even if the search engines don’t weigh a Description Meta Tag in ranking a page, it is very important, for marketing purposes. The a Description Meta Tag in the page <head> area is usually used by Google and Bing when they display you listing organic search results. So what is in the Description Meta Tag is vitally important because that text becomes your marketing message in organic search results. The Description Meta Tag should be no longer than 160 characters, and should include your target keyword phrase.
  • Image Alt Text Tags: Use the target phrase in image Alt Text that is associated with an image. Search engine look to see that you have Alt Text Tag information for every image that included on your site and site pages.
  • Links in Content Copy: Use links to other pages on your site, or other resources but don’t overdo it. Your links should be relevant to your page topic. Google may penalize any page containing excessive links (more than 100). We encourage relevant links but recommend no going crazy with links. A few internal links are a positive when they link similar topics. Internal links will also help search engine robots navigate and index your site.
  • Mobile: We live in a world that is increasingly going mobile when it comes to searching and finding information. It is advisable that you code your web site to be responsive and automatically adjust to the device that it is being viewed on from smart phones, to tablets to high resolution desktop computers. The trend is to make all site responsive and mobile-friendly so ask your web developer to make sure that they are building your site so that it will be accessible to mobile devices. Google is putting mobile first in its site indexing and sites that are not responsive and mobile friendly will rank lower than those that are.
  • AMP Enabled Site – AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and was introduced by Google in October of 2015. AMP is an open-source custom web development framework created to speed up the loading time of web pages on mobile devices. Google likes websites to be AMP Enabled.

Page Speed

Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to or GTMetrix to analyze any page on your site. The following are Ways to Increase Page Speed.

SEO Best Practices

Google uses page speed as one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank web pages. A slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages and this may negatively affect your site indexing. Page speed also affects user retention. Pages with a longer load times tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average on-page visitor times. Longer load times can also negatively affect visitor conversions into paying customers.

Enable Compression

Use a Gzip compression plugin on your site to reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files. Do not use Gzip on image files. Manually compress your site image files instead with an image processing program like Photoshop where you can actively use your own image compression techniques to adjust the quality and level of compression of your images.

Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

By optimizing your code, including removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters, you can dramatically increase your page speed. Also remove code comments, formatting, and unused code. Plugins built for this purpose will typically take care of this for you.

Reduce Redirects

Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. Only use redirects where you have to.

Remove Render-Blocking JavaScript

Browsers have to parse HTML before they can render a page. If your browser encounters a script while parsing page HTML, it must stop and execute the script before it can continue. Google recommends to avoid and minimize the use of Javascript that might block HTML loading and parsing.

Leverage Browser Caching

Modern browsers cache a lot of information including stylesheets, images, JavaScript files, and other site information so that when a visitor returns to your site, the browser only has to load information that is not already in the browser cache. Then can set your site “expires header” to adjust how long you want information to be cached. If your site does not change frequently, in most cases setting the expiration a frequency six months or a year is a reasonable time period.

Improve Server Response Time

A lot of things can affect your server response time such as the amount of site traffic you receive, the resources each page uses, the software your server uses, and the hosting solution you use. The optimal server response time is under 200ms. Sites that analyze page speed like GTMetrix can alert you if your server’s response time is slow.

Use a Content Distribution Network

Content distribution networks (CDNs) are networks of servers that are used to distribute the load of delivering content. CDN’s basically make copies of your site and store and disperse them geographically across many data centers so that users have faster and more reliable access no matter where they are accessing your site’s information. Many hosting providers have CDN partners where you can enable a CDN for your site.

Optimize Images

Be sure to compress your site images to make sure they are no larger than they have to be. Don’t use files with a higher resolution than is necessary for your site application. Also, make sure you save files in a compressed format such as PNG files (better for graphics with fewer than 16 colors) or JPEGs (better for photographs).

Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of running a successful on site SEO program for your company. Selecting the right keywords that are accessible, target your core target market demographic and which produce the optimal site traffic can make or break the success of your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with your SEO program, but it will also tell you a lot about your customers and how they find goods and services in general.

It’s not always about just getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right visitors that will convert into business for your company. The importance of keyword research and intelligence cannot be overemphasized. With the right keyword research and methodology you can correctly predict shifts in customer demand, respond to changes in the market, and tailor your corporate strategy produce the products, services, and content that your target customer demographic is actively seeking.

Initially, you should make a list of target keywords that you perceive your customers will be using in searches to find your business. Then type in those keywords into Google and Bing search engines to see what sites are ranking highly for those keywords in your local area. Understanding which websites already rank for your target keywords will give you valuable insight into the competition and will also give you an idea of how hard it might be to rank for that specific keyword term.

There are many online Keyword research sites that can help you and show you the traffic volume for specific keyword terms. Sometimes it’s not always the best strategy to go after the highest volume keyword terms because the effort and cost to achieve a high keyword ranking might be much greater. Thus, being a big fish in a small pond might produce better overall results relative to the cost and effort than being a smaller fish in a bigger pond in terms of selecting your optimal target keywords and in achieving a high page rank for a specific keyword term.

Long-Tail Keywords – Sometimes A Better Value & Strategy

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase. They’re a little bit counter-intuitive, at first, but they can be hugely valuable if you know how to use them.

Long-tail Keyword Example: If you are a company that sells collectible used cars, the chances are that your pages are never going to appear near the top of an organic search results for “used cars” because there’s too much competition. But if you specialize in, say, Classic Collectible Corvettes in the Dallas Texas area, then a keyword phrase like “Classic C3 Corvettes Dallas Texas” are going to reliably find those consumers looking for exactly that product in your specific geographic area.

Managing long-tail keywords is simply a process of narrowing the focus of your SEO program to target a more specific target demographic and customers who are already out there, actively shopping for what you specifically provide.
Obviously, you’re going to draw less traffic with a long-tail keyword than you would with a more common one, but the traffic you do draw will be more focused, more committed, and more likely to purchase from you.

Long-tail keywords are valuable for businesses who want their content to rank in organic Google and Bing searches, but they are even more valuable for advertisers running paid search marketing campaigns. When you bid on long-tailed keywords, the cost per click is invariably lower, since there’s less competition. Less Competition = Lower Cost.

Top Keyword Research Tools in 2019

Website SEO activities can pay big dividends in achieving top rankings for your target keyword and long-tail keyword ranking activities. Follow the checklist above and you will have a great chance of getting your site ranked at the top of Google and Bing for your target keywords and keyword phrases.

Let 380webdesigns.com help you with your SEO program and help get you to the top of the SEO rankings for your target keywords. Give us a call at 972-546-3740 or email us at info@380webdesigns.com.

380 Web Designs is a WordPress Website Design, WooCommerce Development, and SEO Agency. Our designers and developers have years of experience building elegant and responsive WordPress websites. We also specialize in creating WooCommerce solutions for new or established eCommerce companies here in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas area and across the U.S and internationally. We are based in Frisco, Texas.