The success of your website is highly dependent on the success of your SEO. Use this On Page SEO Checklist to optimize your website.
In an earlier blog post this week we discussed What is On-Page SEO? Today we move from definitions to action with a On-Page SEO Checklist., but before we do let’s cover one more definition by defining “search engine optimization”.
Wikipedia defines search engine optimization as the “process of affecting the visibility of a website or page in a search engines unpaid reults”. Below is a checklist of items based on THE PERIODIC TABLE OF SEO SUCCESS FACTORS which breaks on-page SEO into three areas: Content, Architecture and HTML.
**The higher the number the more important the factor is. For negative numbers, a -3 will harm you more than a -1.
You want to make it easy for search engines to crawl the pages on your site to understand what each page is about and index it. We covered website crawlability in a previous post.
Duplicate Content (2)
Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Be sure that when you create content it is as original as possible. There will be times when you need to duplicate content (for example the definition of duplicate content is probably on 1,000’s of pages), just be sure to add your own perspective so that its a small part of your original content.
Mobile Friendly (2)
In April Google released a new algorithm that will penalize sites that are not mobile friendly. As Google states, “either your site is mobile-friendly or it is not”. The first thing you should do is head over to the Google Mobile testing tool to see if your site is considered mobile friendly. If it is, check this one off your list. If its not, time to contact your web developer or someone (like us 🙂 who specializes in building mobile friendly sites.
Speed kills in sports and in websites. How fast does your website load? To check you page load speed try Pingdom Tools Speed test. You should aim for a page load time of less than 1.5 seconds. While this is a google ranking factor, less than 10% of sites have rankings that are affected by speed. the bigger factor is the impact it has on potential visitors.
Keywords in URL’s (1)
Do your page url’s have relevant keywords in them? Each page of your site should have a focus keyword. Be sure to use the keyword in your page url.
Cloacking is simply showing one page to search engine crawlers and a different page to humans. It’s a big no-no. If you’re doing it stop. If you don’t know if you’re doing it, then you’re probably not.
Make sure you are creating Quality Content. Google does’nt directly define quality content but they do provide some general guidelines: create content for your users that is unique, informative and relevant. If you content addresses the issues and opportunities your prospects have then its likely that you are on the right track.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your content success is to do keyword research to determine the topics,words and phrases that your prospects use to answer questions and address problems and opportunities. These will be what they use when conducting their own research. Bes ure you’re speaking the same language.
Do you use the correct keywords on pages that you hope to rank for? Each page on your site should have a purpose and should be optimized for a keyword that supports that purpose. In addition you’ll want to use additional words and phrases that naturally belong in the same content.
Fresh Content (2)
Google loves fresh content. The best way to keep your site fresh is through the use of a blog. This allows you to continue adding pages to your site for search engines to index. A Hubspot study showed that companies that blog drive 55% more traffic, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than companies that do not blog.
Vertical Content (2)
Do you hae additional content on your site like images, news, local info, videos, etc. These additional pieces of content allow you to drive traffic from vertical searches in search engines.
Thin Content (-2)
Thin content isn’t about the size of the content but rather about the value to readers. If your content is original, educational and relevant than this should not be an issue. Just remember to write for the benefit of readers and not search engines.
Page Titles (3)
The title of each page is one of the most important factors. Be sure that you include your page primary keyword in the title of the page.
Page Descriptions (2)
Page descriptions are actually not a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Where they are important is that in search results this is the content users will see when deciding what links to click on. Be sure that your description includes your primary keyword written in engagin manner to give the searcher a reason to click on your link in the search results.
Structured Data (2)
Structured data helps Google better understand what you content is about. It also helps search engines better index your content. For more information visit Google’s Structured Data page. There you can learn more about the options to enhance your content and use the structured data tool to make sure you’re doing it right.
Headlines and Subheaders (1)
Like including your primary keyword in your URL’s and page titles, you want to use headlines and subheader to include your keywords. The goal should be to provide better clarification, readability and structure to the page. That in turn should help your content be more effective.
Don’t Keyword Stuff (-2)
Keyword stuffing used to be an SEO technique, but those days have long since passed. Typically you don’t want to have any keywords exceed 3-5% of total content. Google has gotten very good at discerning searchers intent, so its more important to have words and phrases that would be expected on a page relevant to your keyword.
Don’t Hide Content (-1)
Another no-no. Like cloaking there is no purpose in hiding content on a page so that it’s viewable to search engine but not visitors.
Each year the Periodic Table of SEO Succes Factors is updated, so plan on reviewing this great resource annually. Then tweak as needed to ensure that your site is optimized for search engine success.