The Detailed On-Page SEO Optimization Checklist for 2021 & Beyond
Are you looking for an Advanced On-Page SEO Optimization Checklist? If yes, then at the end you will learn everything related to optimizing website for SEO.
This is a practical guide to learn complete on-page optimization techniques in 2021, the checklist is prepared for both beginner and advanced level SEO experts.
Over the last 3 Years, Google has done lots of updates related to On-Page, Backlinks, and User experience. We all have seen the positive and negative effects of Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, Fred, Pigeon, Rankbrain, and more countless other Google algorithm updates.
Reports suggest that Google does major 2 to 4 updates in a year. SEO Updates will come and go but keep Learning SEO daily.
In this new On-Page SEO 2021 Guide, you’ll learn the fundamental of:
- What is On-Page SEO?
- Complete On-Page SEO Checklist.
- On-Page SEO Audit.
- On-Page SEO Faq
Learning On-Page SEO will helps you in conducting website SEO Audit. So, Let’s learn how to optimize your existing website for SEO.
You will Learn
- What is On-Page SEO?
- Why On-Page SEO is Important?
- The Detailed On-Page Optimization Checklist for 2021
- 1. SEO Performance Tracking Checklist
- 2. Optimize your crawling & indexing
- 3. Keyword Optimization Checklist
- 4. Content Optimization Checklist
- 5. Image Optimization Checklist
- 6. On-page Video Optimization
- 7. External & Internal Linking Optimization
- 8. UI/ UX Optimization Checklist
- 9. Local SEO Optimization Checklist
- 10. Bonus On-Page Optimization Checklist
- Conclusion on On-Page SEO Checklist
What is On-Page SEO?
Do you know the basic difference between On-Page SEO, On-site SEO, and OFF Page SEO? If not let me clear you, SEO consists of On-Site, On-Page, and link building.
- On-Site SEO – Its process of whole website technical modification according to search engine guidelines. This Process includes steps likes SSL, Redirection, Fixing Duplication, User Experience, Bounce rate, Site Architecture, Speed ( Which is also useful for On-Page SEO)
- On-Page SEO – It’s a similar process to on-site SEO but focusing only on single page optimization. Here we are going to optimize a landing page with Meta title, keywords, descriptions, heading tags, image, internal links, and content. Single page optimization helps in overall website On-Site SEO improvement.
- Off-Page SEO – Off-Page SEO is also known as link building. It’s a process of acquiring links to your website’s targeted page from another domain.
Why On-Page SEO is Important?
Do you think the way you optimize your website from 2012 to 2020 is still working in 2021?
But, If I share my last 10 years of On-Page SEO experience I can say that the fundamentals remain the same, But the way to execute them has been changed.
When you ask a programmer or beginner regarding On-Page SEO then they simply tell you to add keywords in content in tags. And, that not the on-page SEO. It’s an SEO Strategy that applied for page-level optimization.
Guys, On-Page SEO contains important factors like
- Keyword placement
- Meta tags
- Heading tags
- Content writing pattern
- User experience
- Conversion on that page.
- External and Internal linking
- Video and Image
So optimizing the above points in the right way will help to get a better On-page SEO score.
The Detailed On-Page Optimization Checklist for 2021
Here is the complete on-page SEO checklist covering detailed points. If you have a new website then learn all the points and check what missing and optimize your website. Also, If you want to Learn SEO in depth then Join our SEO training course which guided through practical sessions.
1. SEO Performance Tracking Checklist
Why Performance tracking? it’s very important to understand your website user experience. Here are the most important performance tracking took that we need to setup
- Install Google Analytics: GA is a free tool by Google that helps to monitor website overall traffic. Install Google Analytics to monitor matrix like
- Website traffic sources.
- Website time Spent.
- Bounce rate.
- Conversions – Goal, Purchase, Subscriber, and more.
- Add Website in Search Console: Google Search Console is another free tool offered by Google. IT Has lots of work to do but for page-level optimization, you can track what keywords are showing impression for the page and do better optimization with title, description, heading tags, and more.
- Monitor Keyword Ranking: Monitor page-level keyword position, You can use various tools to monitor keyword position or just spend time and search in google and check at what position you are ranking. For Keyword Position monitoring use tool like
2. Optimize your crawling & indexing
For a smooth crawling and indexing check.
- Check the indexing issue. Check whether any issue with your No-index and robots.txt file.
- Noindex tag: Check the Noindex, Nofollow tag and fix it if accidentally you blocking
- Robots.txt: Check whether you are not blocking google bot for indexing.
Here is one tool that personally I use to check any crawling issue. In the Rank Slider tool ( http://tools.ranksider.com/header-checker ) Just enter the page URL and check performance. In return, if you are getting 200 status codes then everything is alright.
Check Page Indexing in Search Engine
Once you check that your page is crawlable by spiders/bots, it’s time to check our second step regarding page indexing.
Just take the URL and search in google and if the page results appear then your page is indexing properly if not available just check the page meta tags, robots txt file, and fix the no-index, no-follow tag.
3. Keyword Optimization Checklist
Find the right targeted keywords for the page
If you know the process of keyword research you will easily target keyword that can rank fast. to find less competitive keywords take the keywords and do competitor analysis. Check below points for checking competition
- Available competitors
- Find keywords difficult, If you have a high authority website go with Keyword difficulty above 50, or else work below 50.
- Find Keywords Search volume
- Analyse your top 20 competitors with their DA, PA, Backlinks
- Do you have the budget/time to rank for those keywords?
Once you get answers, just create a new spreadsheet and prepare your Primary keyword list and focus on the points we are going to discuss.
Fix Keyword Cannibalisation
Focus on targeting page-level unique keywords.
Page & Search Intent Relevancy
Search Intent and page relevancy is a top-level Google ranking factor. It determines your audience engagement.
- Whenever you get Google organic traffic, It’s important that users get engaged. If users bounced, Google thinks that the page is not relevant for the search term.
- There are 4 types of search intent and based on the intent we need to craft our landing page.
- Informational Query – “how to do On-Page SEO”
- Transactional Query – “Hire On-Page SEO Expert”
- Comparison Query – “Top 10 SEO expert in Surat”
- Navigational Query – “VJ SEO Marketing Company”
- Based on the search intent we need to add targeted keywords on-page content to bring search intent relevancy.
Add the primary keyword in the Page title
Adding targeted keywords in the title is still an important on-page SEO factor. Title help in determining
- Important Page-level relevancy factor.
- Appear on the search result page.
- Help in improving your click-through rate.
Is your Page title click-worthy?
If a user searches for your targeted primary keyword and if a keyword appears in the title then more chances of getting clicks. Google considers it as a relevant factor to determine relevance.
If your page shows lots of impression in SERP and still very low traffic then you need to fix by looking at
- Search Console Data – Impression vs Click.
- Search console – Check New keyword that showing an impression.
- Rewrite your page title to make it more attractive.
Add Keyword modifiers to your title tag
Adding words like Top, Best, year ( 2021) will bring users’ attention and improve CTR.
Title tag Length & Primary Keyword
Search Engine shows your title approximately 55 to 60 Characters on the search result page. It’s important that we keep our primary keyword initially and then use our copywriting techniques to make an eye-catchy title
Keyword & H1 Tag Relevancy
Keep Only Single H1 tag on a page. You can find how many h1 tags are available on the page in two different ways.
- Check your page source code
- Use tools and check for page optimization.
- Use your primary keyword in the H1 tag to make it more relevant.
Keyword & Meta description
After title & URL, Meta description is the third option that directly comes in user interaction.
Many times we have seen that Google rewrites meta description tags, but that’s due to the non-availability of your keywords in the meta description.
It’s always a best practice to add your primary keyword in the meta description tag to improve CTR and maintaining user search intent.
Landing Page URL Structure
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Having keywords on the landing page URL makes it more relevant. It also brings psychological advances to the user mindset to help in making decisions on whether to click or look for other results.
While Creating your landing page URL Focus on
- Keep it short
- Use primary keywords
- Avoid parameters, underscore
- Make it in lower case
- Use a hyphen to separate words.
Add targeted Keyword & First Paragraph
Most SEO experts suggest that write the first paragraph with primary keywords. There are the reason behind this let’s see
- It helps in maintaining User search intent.
- Google bot starts reading your content from top to bottom and after getting relevancy signal from the title, URL, Description, H1 tag the next part comes is content. This further maintains your page relevancy.
Maintain Keyword Density
It’s always an open question of how much keyword density? Many people think that repeating the same terms over and over brings over-optimization. Here is what I do while writing my content.
- I always try to make content as natural as possible and keywords are automatically adjusted.
- Once I finish my content I use a keyword density checker tool and see how many times my top 10 competitors are repeating the same words. Based on the data I adjust the content by adding synonyms.
Use of Keyword variation
It’s very important to work on closely related search terms and integrate them with your content. Using keyword variation brings content relevant and most of the time people use these terms to find the same content.
ADD LSI Keywords
LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. When a Search Engine crawler visits your page they start looking for some relevance in similar terms.
- After the Google Hummingbird Updates it has become important to create content not only focusing on the primary keyword but also adding relevant topics to that search term.
- You can easily find LSI keywords in google search pages ( Related Searches Section ), reading other question answers, forums, and more.
If you compare our existing page targeted keyword and content writing pattern then you will notice that most of the time we have used LSI keywords.
4. Content Optimization Checklist
Content plays the most important role in determining page relevance. Before you write content, it’s important to understand the search quality guidelines given by Google. Writing your page content focusing on user search intent, adding relevant topics, and adding trust signals.
Differentiate your content from competitors
When you focus on the same niche and topics as your competitors it’s very important that you create unique, informative, and problem-solving content.
It’s easy to write long content when you target informational search terms, but it’s difficult to provide unique information when you are writing for the transactional query.
Add Unique Information
Use the Testimonial of your customer to make the content unique. Show some case studies related to the results you have brought.
Make Page Design Unique & Fast Loading
Create a better design as compared to your competitors, Most of the time pages designed with transactional intent don’t have any goal completion.
Google keeps track of small goal completion activities on websites. So my advice is to check your design, add some forms, and set up some events in google analytics so google can keep a record of your goal completion.
Content Writing Quality Checklist
You will lose authority, trust when you have simple spelling and grammatical errors. To maintain quality check all the
- Grammar & Spelling Errors
Check your page-level simple grammar and spelling errors. You can use some authority tools like Grammarly, to check your mistakes.
- Long Content
Longer content better chance of ranking, that’s not true at all. No matter whether you do it in just 100 words or 1000 words. Add relevant information to bring trust and engage your readers.
- Check Content Grade Level – Lower the higher
When you write content make sure that it’s easy to digest. Your readability must be high-quality. You can use the Hemingway App to check your content grade level. Below 8 grade is known to be great content.
- Use Of Short Paragraph
Whenever possible use short paragraphs as it is easy to read. Internet users have a habit of reading well-formed content with short paragraphs.
Content Presentation Structure
- Heading Tag Structured
It’s important to structure your H1, H2, H3 heading tag logically. Use only one H1 tag on a page.
- Use of Bullet Point and Numbered List
If your targeted page has long content then use numbered list or bullet points to differentiate content. This will help users to read your full content.
Is your Content Up to Date?
Most of the marketer focuses on generating new content instead of improving existing content.
This is a very big mistake.
Just keep your old page and update new information every four months. If any major changes are done related to your content then take it seriously and optimize it instantly.
5. Image Optimization Checklist
When you are doing On-page SEO optimization make sure that you use high-quality unique images to engage your users.
Compare Image with your competitors:
When you want to rank higher compared to your competitors, it’s very important to outrank them not only by content but with images also. Here is what you can do.
- Analyze the top 10 results and make a list showing how many images used by your competitors.
- Create Unique & Engaging Images
Page-Level Unique images
The main reason for creating unique images is to solve people’s problems. Most of the time people don’t like to read long and boring content. Unique photos for a page is to keep users for a long time on a page.
When you are serious about your branding then use high-quality images that speak and attract customers. Hire professional graphic designers or photographers and shoot images that speak alone.
Website speed plays an important role in google ranking. There are 4 to 5 types of Image format available that you can use.
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group )
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics )
- Gif (Graphics Interchange Format )
- Webp (Image format Lossless/lossy compression )
- JPEG 2000 ( image compression standard and coding system.
All formats have their own pros and cons. Out of all the above formats, we mostly use the PNG format for getting high-quality images.
To get better page loading speed always use image sizes as required. Most of the time we make mistakes by adding bigger images and resizing with CSS, avoiding such common mistakes will improve on-page optimization quality.
Use of images Compression
If you have more images and not optimized properly 90% chance of slow speed. To avoid this always use image compression. There are two ways to optimize images
- Either use image compression tools like https://compressnow.com/ and add compress images before launching.
- Or setup server-level image compression.
Image File Name
Often I have seen simple mistakes done by graphic designers in image file naming. Whenever you write file name make sure
- It has a descriptive filename
- Avoid using spaces
- Always use hyphens to separate words.
Image ALT tag optimization
Alt tags play a vital role in giving image ranking. To understand images better spiders look at your ALT tag. So always write descriptive alt tags that describe your images.
6. On-page Video Optimization
If your competitors don’t have video and you are using video on the page, you will definitely get an advantage. You need to understand the basic concept of YouTube video SEO. While adding video on a page make sure it follows some on-page SEO guidelines. Here are a few of them
- When you add video make sure it’s related to your primary page focus keywords.
- Add Unique Branded Video on Page
- If you create video content will give you double benefits. With just simple modification you can add videos on youtube, social media, and create brand awareness. Add Youtube videos on the website.
- Use Responsive Video
- It’s important to use a responsive video. If you have used embedded videos from youtube it’s most probably in a responsive format, but whenever you add direct videos make sure it’s mobile-friendly and responsive.
Negative Effects of Adding Video without following Guidelines
If you have not used video as per the guidelines, instead of getting benefits you might get the negative effect in the below cases
- Not hosted on high-speed servers.
- For beginners, I suggest embed Youtube videos on your website.
- Do proper video optimization with title tag, descriptions, and tags
- Use Eye-Catching video thumbnail.
Whenever you do page-level optimization put some extra effort into giving internal and external links. Your internal linking structure decides the future of other pages.
Anchor text of Internal Links
Your internal link anchor text must be keyword related, but make sure it’s not randomly stuffed on-page. Whenever you get a chance to share more information related to that topic just link it.
Look at your competitor’s anchor text linking pattern and be smart to take only quality suggestions. Do not blindly copy.
First Link Priority
Do you know what it is? Whenever you do multiple internal links on a page, Google considers only the first one. So always consider putting the most important link in first place.
Page-Level Breadcrumb Setup
Breadcrumb is useful when you have a deep level structure. I mean, when you are using categories and subcategories. But before using it, understand the first link value.
Always link to pages to share more relevant information, avoid link stuffing. While linking keep your user in mind.
Fix Redirect Chain
When you have an old website and redesigned or installed an SSL certificate, chances of redirect chain. The best way is to set up a proper 301 redirection and fix the redirect chain if any available.
Give Links to an external trusted website or high-quality content if you lack some information. This will help your readers to get more clarity on your topics.
Use of Nofollow Tag on External Links
When you give links to a third-party website know the purpose if it’s promoted one always uses the no-follow tag. Below is the type of links you must add Nofollow tag.
- Any affiliate links.
- Any sponsored post
- Paid Links
Open External Links in New Window
Whenever you link to another website, open it in a new window. This is because your primary focus is to keep users on your website. If you lose your visitor in a short time, your page-level trust metrics will not improve.
Check your page’s internal and external links and if you found any broken links fix them immediately.
Link Styling and Colors
Put some effort into UX to style your links and body text. Use different colors and add underline to all links.
8. UI/ UX Optimization Checklist
User experience is one of the key factors in determining your page ranking on Google. After putting hard work into content, videos, Image, linking, structuring but your user experience is poor you will not get the ranking you are thinking about. You need to focus on the below page-level user experience factor.
Page Speed – Under 3 Seconds
Check your individual page speed in Gtmetrix and Google page speed insight. If your speed is less than 3 seconds everything is alright else you need to work on speed improvement.
- Upgrade to better web hosting
- Use CDN
- Use Browser and server-side caching.
- If you are using WordPress use a fast loading theme like generate press.
If you have designed your website with the mobile-first concept then you don’t need to worry about mobile-friendliness.
To check whether google thinks your website is mobile-friendly or not just visit this mobile-friendly testing tool and check how your website is available to google.
Use of Https
The Internet is all about security and fraud, after Google’s official announcement of using SSL certificate as ranking signals, almost all websites transferred from HTTP to HTTPS. Check whether you are using HTTPS, If not Just order one SSL certificate.
Use of Proper Font Sizes
Font size plays an important role in engaging users. If your font size is too small or too large, users will leave your website soon without further reading. For mobile devices, it’s advisable to use a large font compared to a desktop.
Fix Aggressive Ads Placement
If you are a blogger or using ads on websites then it’s important for you to control aggressive ads. Showing too many ads will distract users and they will leave your website.
Place the ads in such a way that users and website owners both get benefits.
9. Local SEO Optimization Checklist
NAP [ Name Address Phone]
Whenever you use an address for link building purposes or adding in local directories make sure that your internet address should always be consistent.
If you are planning for doing local SEO to rank on Google my business listing then make sure that your address is visible in the body or footer of the page.
Here are some best practices that you need to work on below points.
Your Local Address
Add address consistently on all your pages ideally before closing the body tag. There are two types of situations when you have multiple locations.
Multiple Location: IF you operate from multiple locations then do not add address sitewide, Instead create separate pages for each location and add the relevant address on-page.
Single Location: You can add your address in the footer or sidebar as it’s just one so it will not create issues.
Adding Structured Data to address
Always add structured data to your address. You can use schema markup to do this.
10. Bonus On-Page Optimization Checklist
Add Author Bio
Always add author bio on pages where required specifically on a blog post, article, or press release. Also, make sure that you create a unique author bio page with more detailed information.
Add Social Share
Implement social sharing on your page. This will not only bring additional social traffic but also help you to gain trust.
Setup Goal Completion
Add small conversion tracking on each page and once you start getting conversions your trust in google eyes will increase.
Conclusion on On-Page SEO Checklist
Use these proven on-Page SEO techniques and create a page that satisfies users and Google.
I have put hard efforts on preparing advanced on-page SEO checklist that will help you forever. If you want to learn all the points in depth join our SEO training program, where we teach from beginning.