On-page SEO is one of the only things you have full control of in SEO.
And today, I’m going to take you through an on-page SEO checklist that we use to grow our search traffic consistently
Ahrfs, the SEO tool that helps you increase your search traffic Research your competitors and dominate your niche.
Now, if you’re new to on-page SEO, it’s basically the practice of ‘optimizing’ web pages to help them rank higher in search engines. And while on-page work likely won’t be enough to rank for competitive terms, it’s a foundation to higher Google rankings and more traffic for your site. With that said, let’s get to the checklist.
The first step: understands and match search intent.
Search intent basically means the reason behind a searcher’s query. For example, if someone searches for “buy headphones,” they likely want to see category pages from eCommerce stores. And you don’t have to guess what search intent is. Since Google gives preference to pages that their users are happy with, just search for your target keyword and analyze the types of pages that show on the first page.
After all, user happiness essentially means satisfying search intent. So let’s say you had a website where you sell supplements and you want to create a page targeting the keyword “best protein powder.”
If you look at the search results, you can tell right away from the titles that they’re all blog posts that follow a list-styled format. So for this scenario, I wouldn’t advise creating a product or category page targeting this keyword because if you’re not matching the intent, you probably won’t rank.
Now, while it’s easy to stop here and start writing, I highly recommend actually visiting these pages to get a better understanding of what they’ve included in their posts. For example, if you look at this post, you’ll see that they’re primarily focusing on categorizing protein powders by type.
Best grass-fed whey protein powder. Best tasting protein powder.
They then go on to give you a description of that specific product and end it off by breaking down the pros and cons. And if you look at another one of the top 3 results, you’ll also see that the focus is on types before brands.
Analyzing the top results is like looking through the lens of Google. Their job is to return the most relevant results for any given query. Take note of search intent and make sure your page matches it.
Step 2: Increase the topical relevance of your page
We ran a study and found that on average, the #1 ranking page for a target keyword ranks for nearly a thousand other relevant keywords in the Top 10. So what you’ll want to do is find related subtopics to ensure your piece is thorough. And there are a few ways you can find these related subtopics.
First, analyze the top-ranking pages and look for relevant keywords. So this time, you’ll see related keywords like “whey,” “isolate,” “concentrate,” “grams,” and “calories.”
Second, use Google’s autosuggest.
Just type in your target keyword, and you’ll see a few suggestions like “for women,” “for men,” “weight loss,” “weight gain,” “smoothies,” and “bulking,” which are all related to protein powder.
Just make sure that these are in fact related subtopics and not standalone topics of their own. To do that, Google the suggested keyword and if the results are completely different to the results for your main target keyword, chances are you should target the keyword with its own page.
Step3: Use the People also ask box to find points worth covering.
Here, you’ll see common questions people are asking like “what is the healthiest protein powder,” and “which whey protein is best for muscle building?” Finally, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page to see additional keywords and potential subtopics for your post.
Now, the downside to these methods is that you’re kind of guessing. So a better way to do this is to use the Ahrefs Content Gap tool, which is going to show us common keywords that the top pages rank for in Google.
And to me, this is much more valuable since you’re essentially looking at the exact keywords Google has ranked a single page for.
So why wouldn’t your page be able to rank for those same keywords?
So I’m in the Content Gap tool and you’ll see that I’ve pasted in a few of the top-ranking pages for the query “best protein powder” in the top section. And I’ve left the bottom section blank.
What we’re asking the tool to do here is show common keywords that any of these pages rank for where at least one of them ranks in the Top 10. And this is to ensure that our results are relevant since keywords in position 50 probably won’t be very helpful.
So let’s run the search. And now you can see data that shows you which subtopics you should cover. To narrow our list down even further, let’s change the number of intersections, where all 3 pages need to rank in the Top 100.
And we’re down to around 140 relevant keywords to skim through. So you should talk about whey protein, you’ll also see that “for women” is a recurring theme here. And people are also specifically looking for vanilla protein powder.
Now, that you have a data-driven outline, you should be able to write your post and create content that perfectly matches the intent of your future visitors. Let’s move on to step 3, which is to use short and descriptive URLs.
In our study on various on-page ranking factors, we found a clear correlation between the number. The characters in the URL and the ranking position of a page in Google.
“11 Best Protein Powders in 2019.” If you are using WordPress, it will automatically create the URL of your post. And also replace your post with the desh.
Now you can see that it should be as big as the Permalink, it is bigger than that. Now you can say that according to a normal rule of thumb, you should use your main keyword as the URL. Taking the main keyword as the URL, we will now take its URL as “best protein powder” as it is short and easy to understand. Now you have to take care of it
Now you tell us what you have to keep in mind, first of all, you have to take the users to the search results on which the keywords they search are found. After this, you can now easily understand Permalink to help make your page cement as a result of that.
Second, easy-to-understand Permalink includes the target keywords you set. And we can say that people always use Permalink as an anchor text when linking to a page, so it can be helpful. Now, if you already have a small and easily understood permalink, then you will not have any problem.
Now if you are getting good traffic on your post and how you can change it For example, consider that about 52 million searches are being made per month on a movie’s website. And now we see the report on the page of Upper, which we see with the most prominent visitors,
Now here you will see that the visitor on those pages is coming very much even if you are separated from your Permalink. Now let us show you how to add your main keyword in your title, meta description, and H1 tag.
Now if you have already understood all this, then now let me explain to you two new reasons.
Step 4: Your main keyword has been added to the title tag, information and H1 tag of your post.
For example, when we looked at the 1.5M keyword and knew, we came to the conclusion that there was a small correlation between post ranking. Also included was the planning of right-matching keywords. And at the same time, we saw that it came to the users quickly For example, suppose you want to find an article about a washing machine.
So you go to Google and search for washing machines. Now that you have searched for washing machines, you will find that at the top of the google, the quantities matching the keywords that you have searched appear. And at the same time, you may see other exact match keywords.
Now you can see for example that you will not be able to create a title like this because the keywords for the keywords you have taken are very few. You can use the same words for your title and add words. Google is smart enough to know all these.
Just you have to see what you have to do a search
step 5: Super low-hanging way to improve your on-page SEO.
And that’s to optimize your images with alt tags. Image alt tags allow you to provide descriptive texts for images on your page. Here’s what the code for a typical image looks like. And when you add the alt attribute, you would basically describe the image by adding alt=”your description.”
Now, there are a few reasons why this is important to do. First, when your image fails to load on your page, the alt text will appear as a replacement to the image. Second, 8.1 million Americans have vision impairment. And oftentimes, they may rely on a screen reader.
Alt text can help provide a more rich experience for your users. And third, alt text can help you rank your images in Google images. John Mueller confirms this by saying: “Alt text is extremely helpful for Google Images — if you want your images to rank there.”
Looking at our Google Search Console data, you’ll see that in the past 3 months we’ve had around 4 million impressions from our images alone, which led to over 5,000 clicks to our pages.
Bottom line: it doesn’t take much effort to add a few words and describe your images, which could lead to big returns.
step 6: Add structured data where it makes sense.
And I’m sure you’ve seen search results with things like star ratings. This is the result of review structured data, which can have a positive impact on your click-through rates.
But using this isn’t just about increasing visibility in Google search since not all schema types create additional details in the SERP. It’s about making it easier for search engines to understand what your pages are about.
So while it isn’t a direct ranking factor, it may still help you rank higher in Google. Here’s what John Mueller had to say: “There’s no generic ranking boost for structured data usage.
However, all structured data can make it easier to understand what the page is about, (Targeting for the right target and perhaps improving ranking). ” You can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to quickly generate your own code. So for this article, I’ll select the title of the article and set the property as the name. And then I’ll do the same thing for the Author property.
Once you’re all done, click the Create HTML button and a piece of JSON code will pop up, which you can then add to your page as instructed here. Or if you’re a WordPress user, there are plugins out there that make adding markup super-easy. Feel free to check out our video on our WordPress SEO plugins set up, which covers a codeless structured data plugin.
step 7: Make sure your content is simple and easy to read.
Creating clear and concise content can help search engines piece together what your content is all about. But what’s even more important in my opinion, is making it simple and easy to read for real people.
It’s believed that Google looks at user signals like dwell time and time on page to influence rankings. So if your content is complicated and difficult to understand, your visitors will be heading straight for the Back button, which is never a good thing.
Here are a few tips to improve readability. Avoid big words if you don’t have to use them. For example, don’t say “proximity” when you can say “near.” Use short sentences and paragraphs. This can simplify the read for users as big walls of text can be intimidating.
Finally, as a general rule of thumb, write as you speak. In fact, everything that you’ve watched in this video is scripted. And if you’ve made it this far, it’s because it was easier to digest.
Had I written the script in an academic tone, you would have probably been gone a while ago. To benchmark readability, you can use a free tool called Hemingway editor. Just paste your content in there and you’ll get a readability score.
I suggest aiming for around a 5th to 6th-grade level. For the most part, this is the on-page SEO checklist we use at Ahrefs, and it works tremendously well. Now, if there’s anything I’ve missed that you find to work particularly well, let me know in the comments. And if you enjoyed this video, make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away, put your best foot forward for each step, and I’ll see you in the next tutorial.
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