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Your Ultimate On-Page SEO Checklist for 2024

On-page-seo
SEO can seem like a very challenging topic to tackle. There are so many terms thrown around and often when you look up information online you end up running into conflicting advice. For this reason I decided to make a checklist of the most important elements that you should keep in mind when optimizing your web pages for SEO.

1. Keyword Research

Although this is technically a step you should take before you start optimizing your pages, I thought it would be helpful to give you a short rundown of how to choose your keywords. After all, if you try optimizing your pages for keywords that won’t drive your site any traffic, then what would be the point of all your hard work? 

 

There are plenty of paid and free tools that you can work with to find the right keywords for your web pages, like ahrefs keyword generator or AnswerThePublic, to name a few, but how do you use them? Well, each tool is a little different, but they all provide you with similar metrics.

Here are the main four to look for when narrowing down your choices:

  • Search Volume: Search volume tells you how many times a specific keyword is being searched on a monthly basis. As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t go after a keyword with less than 300 monthly searches.

  • Search Intent: Matching the searcher’s intent is probably the most important thing you should do. If, for example, you type your keyword into google and all the results are blog posts and you’re trying to sell a product, then chances are that you won’t be able to rank high for it, so make sure that you’re creating content that matches what’s already out there for your desired keyword.

  • Keyword Difficulty: Another thing you should check before choosing a keyword is that you can actually compete for it. The number and authority of websites already ranking for the keyword play a crucial role, as does the quality of the content being produced, as well as the search volume and various other details. Most keyword tools have already simplified it into one simple metric though (often titled KD), so instead of weighing these things yourself you can simply take into account the difficulty level that was assigned to your keyword by the tool you’re using. 

  • Website Authority: This one can seem a bit daunting to beginners, but remember – we all have to start somewhere. To keep things simple, it’ll be difficult for you to compete against websites with a higher authority rating than you, so you should try looking for keywords that are targeted by websites with a similar authority rating to yours. Sometimes that will mean that you might have to find keywords that are a little bit more niche, so that you have a chance to compete.

 

Useful fact: Long-tail keywords, which are more specific and typically longer phrases, account for over 70% of all search traffic. While they may have lower search volumes individually, collectively, they can drive substantial traffic and often have lower competition, making them valuable targets for your SEO strategy.

2. High-Quality Content

All of the hard work you put into choosing a keyword that’s perfect for your content won’t mean much if you don’t offer searchers high quality content, but sometimes ‘high quality’ can be a little too vague.

Here are a few things to guide you along the way:

  • Format: Let’s say that you found out that your keyword is mostly being used in blogs – what is the most common format of those blogs? Is it a ‘How to’ type of content? Is it an opinion piece? A listicle? Make sure that you create your content to fit in with the rest of the competing web pages.

  • Choose an Angle: Give your visitors something useful that they couldn’t or didn’t find anywhere else. That could be an interesting statistic, a cool visualization, or maybe a case study. 

  • Look at the content your competitors are creating: There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other web pages, in fact – that can be a very good way to decide what you want to include and exclude from your own content. Ask yourself: What are the things that are being done right that I can replicate in my own content? What are some things that others are doing that might actually turn away visitors? 

3. User Experience & User Interface

UX/UI are often overlooked when it comes to SEO, but they’re vital to ensuring that your website visitors have an intuitive experience. Pages that confuse or annoy visitors are not likely to lead them closer to buying your product, leaving their contact information, or anything else that you might want them to do. 

 

UX & UI are of course, a whole subject in and of their own, but I’ve gathered a few tips that you can still apply in your pages even if you don’t know much about the subject:

  • Visual Hierarchy: A page with no clear visual hierarchy can leave visitors frustrated and likely to click off the page. We need to help them find what they are looking for, and that means structuring our content in a way that makes sense. That can be done both with scale and with placement. For example, a title should be bigger than the rest of the text, and a testimonials section should probably come after the product and not before it. Of course there are always outliers, but in most cases sticking to what’s already been done before helps our visitors navigate through our pages with the least amount of trouble.

  • Contrast: This one is really simple and can be boiled down to one sentence: don’t put light text on a light background, and don’t put dark text on a dark background.

  • Use a Grid: Working with a grid can help you stay consistent throughout your site. If your site is WordPress-based it’s actually very easy to do, as you can set up the breakpoints for various resolutions on a global level once and then forget about it.

  • Typography: Opt for readability over elaborate fonts. I know I made the mistake of choosing swirly, fancy fonts when I started out because I thought they looked pretty and unique, but believe me – it’s better to have your visitors actually be able to read the content you’re producing.

4. Technical Optimization

There are a few useful, technical things you could do to help your content rank high:

  • Naming your images properly and adding descriptive alt text.

  • Using H1, H2 and H3 tags correctly to help google understand the structure of your page and the hierarchy within it.

  • Adding meta tags and meta descriptions.

  • Using a logical URL structure. For example, a food blog might use a URL that looks like this:
    www.foodie.com/blog/best-dinner-recipes

    or it might use a URL that looks something like this:
    www.foodie.com/blog/20394

    the latter of which doesn’t tell the visitor anything about the content of the page.

  • Internally link to pages on your website that are relevant to the content you’re creating.

  • Make sure your page is responsive on various resolutions. According to a report from Hitwise, over 60% of all online searches now come from mobile devices. 

  • Optimize page load by compressing images, minifying code and using caching techniques. 

  • Use your keyword in your URL and headings if and when it comes naturally. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t stuff it into every section of text though, that will make your content awkward to read through.

In a Nutshell

SEO is a massive topic with plenty of areas to dive into, but my personal advice to you if you want to get good at it is to just start. Experiment with different strategies. Keep trying and testing until your hard work starts getting results – and when it does, make sure to analyze those results so you can hopefully replicate them in the future.

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