On-page isn’t super hard, but it’s easy to miss a few things if you don’t have a decent SOP or checklist in place.
What follows is a high level overview of all the factors we like to run through before we hit publish on a content piece.
There are quite a few points I could expand more on (looking at you, featured snippets), but will save them for future guides.
Make it short and add your target keyword (w/o over-optimising by adding the keyword multiple times)!
Only use a single H1 per page, make sure it contains (and ideally starts with) your target keyword.
Ideally starts with your target keyword, add modifiers like current year + power words to increase long-tail rankings & improve click-through rate (CTR).
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You can use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyser to craft enticing meta-titles.
Add meta-description ending in an open question/cliffhanger to make people click. Make it funny and/or enticing and/or use FOMO.
Keep in mind that Google ignores meta descriptions over 70% of the time for pages on the first page of the SERPs, so don’t panic if it doesn’t show.
Is it good enough to entice the reader to keep reading, are you leveraging your authority on the topic, incorporating humor, maybe adding some #FOMO?
Does your content actually answer the query? Are you answering any questions that are not relevant to the query (take out fluff content)?
Are you using a similar structure to the pages that are currently ranking for your target keyword (lists vs how-to vs reviews, etc)?
Use the target keyword in the first 100 words if you can. Map out all related keywords and sprinkle them in the content, leaving major secondary keywords for sub-headings.
Run the content through your favorite content optimiser like SurferSEO, Clearscope, Frase, POP, etc.
On-page optimisation tools:
Use logically nested headings based on the current ranking pages (you can either manually scrape and check the headings, or use tools like Frase that will do the job for you).
Try and use secondary keywords for the headings.
Is the content optimised for featured snippets? <- meaning, if there is a FS showing for your target keyword, are you using a similar page structure compared to the URL that currently has the FS?
If most of the traffic is coming from mobile, then make sure it looks the part on mobile devices. Same goes for the desktop version of course.
White space, short sentences and paragraphs, are links clearly links, do CTAs pop, use quote blocks, images, lists, etc… Anything to make it visually interesting!
Compress your images (eg. don’t upload 6000px wide 2.6mb photos) and don’t forget to add alt tags (ideally descriptive AND having related keywords).
Add OBL (outbound links) to back up any claims/stats you quote (w/o linking to direct competitors of course).
Add internal links to other pages where it makes sense, using targeted anchor text.
Add internal links from at least 3 other pages using targeted anchors.
To find pages to interlink from:
- Check Ahrefs or SEMrush for the pages with the most RDs, pick the most relevant ones and add links.
- Google “site:yourdomain.com target keyword” to find the pages that Google thinks are most relevant for that keyword, pick a few from the first page, add the links.
Add a custom or auto-generated table of contents.
If PAA is showing for your target keyword, scrape them (SEOMinion is a free Chrome extension that can easily do this, and a whole lot more), choose a few good ones and add them to your content as FAQs.
Have you added one? With a profile pic? Preferable at the top to show people so they know/feel there’s a human behind the content and you’re not hiding behind your brand or logo.
Add schema if needed (How-to, FAQ, review, etc). At least make sure you’ve got active Organization schema, most SEO plugins take care of this for you.
SEO plugins like Rank Math auto-generate the base schema for you + have the option to add specific schema types to sections/pages of your site as well.
Any specific disclaimers required? I’m mainly talking about affiliate disclaimers, extremely important for Amazon affiliates as not having one can get you banned.
That’s about it, it might look like a lot of factors to keep track of, but each has their place and importance when it comes to properly optimising a page.
Hope you found it helpful 🙂