This post was most recently updated on May 7th, 2023
[This article was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]
First of all, we have been talking about SEO guides for beginner bloggers. Now, I’d want to go over SEO in further detail to help your blog posts and pages get search prominence.
Let me explain SEO once more. SEO is an altogether unique and exclusive language to connect with search engines for new bloggers. SEO rhymes with quality, optimization, friendliness, credibility, authenticity, and many more words!
To push your site to the top of search results, you’ll need a comprehensive SEO strategy. You cannot concentrate solely on one aspect of search engine optimization. The three major types of SEO must be included: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO strategies.
You need to use on-page SEO to attract search engines and help them understand, recognize, and rank your content. To help you through that process, I created an on-page SEO checklist that also can improve your Domain Authority (DA). That way you never miss an opportunity to optimize your blog!
What is On-Page SEO?
It is the process of optimizing individual pages of content to earn better ranks in search and drive relevant traffic. It includes tactics that help a single page rank for a primary target keyword. They are easy and can be implemented in an instant, quite unlike their off-page.
While on-page SEO relates to optimizing a single page of content, it is also supported by other types of SEO. On-page SEO alone may not be enough to get a page to rank. You also need an off-page and technical SEO strategy to help your overall site look more attractive to search engines if you want to get a page of content to rank.
On-Page SEO checklist
You can use these On-Page SEO checklists before you publish any new posts or pages on your site. You can also use this to go back and check your work on any previously published content.
Perform Keyword Research
On-page SEO always starts with finding the best keyword for your blog post or page content. The best keyword is the phrase:
- Relevant to the main topic and should be an accurate description of your blog content.
- Regularly searched for by your target audience. The search volume for the keyword is large enough to drive traffic to your site from your ideal target market.
- Within your site’s competitive power. Your site has enough authority to rank above other sites already ranking for that keyword.
My favorite way to find the best keyword is by using Ubersuggest.
- Choose your one primary keyword (that describes the content of a blog post or webpage) and three or more related keywords (that are closely tied to a primary keyword – semantically related or variation of a primary keyword).
- Once you have your primary keyword, implement it in your blog post. Create an editorial calendar for new content and assign a target keyword to each page or post.
- Keep in mind that a primary keyword should never be implemented in more than one post on your site. If you use the same keyword for more than one content, it can cause search engines don’t know which page is more important and rank neither page. You can use a duplicate content checker to find issues like this on your site.
Write A Content By Using Primary Keywords
Decide if the keyword you choose should be a timely blog post or evergreen content (content that has a long-term value that readers can reference for years because the information will always be relevant).
Write a title that is appealing to both search engines and your target audiences. Use the primary keyword near the beginning of the headline and write a descriptive title that tells readers why the content is valuable.
Even when you write SEO content for ranking, always remember that your number one focus should be your target audience. Create high-quality content that is valuable, useful, and well-written.
But, writing high-quality content doesn’t mean you need to be excellent in grammar or make it like a college-level research paper. For non-native English speakers like me, this means using common terminology (not complex words) and writing short sentences and paragraphs.
The number of words for your content will vary depending on your content’s purpose and the depth of the topic. Best to aim for at least 600 words when possible, as more detailed posts will have a stronger probability of ranking. Basically, I always write more than 1,000 words per content, but sometimes I can write 1,500 – 2,000 words+ – it depends on the topic.
Always write original content and do not copy content that is already published on your site or published on any other site. Search engines may penalize your site or not rank your page if it has content that is copied or duplicated from other sites.
Implement Primary Keywords Throughout Your Content
Using the primary keyword throughout your content, helps search engines recognize your content. As a best practice, use the keyword two to three times per 100 words to create a 2-3% keyword density. Try to avoid going over this limit to avoid keyword stuffing issues.
Refer back to your related keyword list and include each keyword at least once in your content. Naturally, incorporate them into your content.
Help search engines identify the subheadings in your content and the main points of your content by wrapping the phrases in an H2 tag. Like the H1 tag used on your headline, this HTML code tells search engines that the content is important and related to the primary page topic.
Tie your content back to the main keyword by using the primary keyword in at least one of your subheadings. Use it in more than one subheading if it is natural and makes sense.
Try to use the target keyword near the beginning of your first paragraph and within your final paragraph to reinforce what your content is about. This will help make it clear to search engines why your content is relevant
Make Your Content Readable
Both your audiences and search engines like content that is easy to scan and understand. Go through your content and use formatting that makes it easy to quickly scan and review.
- Break content into sections with descriptive subheadings (check this post).
- Use bullet points for lists of information.
- Use bold formatting to highlight important points.
Add Relevant Links
Links help search engines connect and understand online content. Add relevant internal links to other posts on your site, and if possible, use the linked post’s target keyword as the anchor text for the link.
Also, add relevant links to high-quality sites. Links leading to other sites also add context that helps search crawlers understand your content. So also include relevant, valuable, and high-quality outbound links that lead to other pages when you mention a resource or cite a source within your blog content.
Remember, when your audience clicks a link on your content, you don’t want them to leave your site completely. So, set each outbound link to open in a ‘new window’ so that your website remains open even if the user temporarily visits another site.
Use Add Least One Image
Make the content more interesting to your audiences and show search engines that the content is valuable by adding at least one image to the page or post.
Here is the important point. Some people may often overlook image SEO. Image SEO refers to the optimization of graphics on a website to make the page more appealing to search engine crawlers.
Image SEO provides additional information about a graphic to search engines, which helps them understand the content and can lead to a boost in search rankings and visibility. It also can lead to an image appearing in Google’s image search.
As you know, in February 2018, Google removed the “view image” button in its image search results, which led more people to go to the website to view the original image. With this small change, websites started to notice an increase in traffic through image searches. Some pages saw a 37% increase in the number of site visitors.
Here are some steps on how to add SEO-friendly images to your site which I implemented on my site:
- Use high-quality images. Images will be more engaging and interesting to your audience if they are of high quality, right? If possible, create custom graphics that are unique to your content. This will help you stand out in the image search.
- If you can’t create custom graphics, you can purchase stock photos. Be sure to use images you have purchased and have a license to use to avoid copyright infringement. Luckily, Ivorymix has over 4500 styled stock photo images currently in the membership, and each month they add 100’s more, so there are always photos you can use to make your blog stand out! Join their membership now!
- Check your image’s size and ensure it’s not so large that it will slow down site loading times. Compress large files before you upload them to your site and if necessary, resize images to the intended display size.
- Before you upload the image to your website, name the file with the primary keyword. After uploading the image, also add the primary keyword to the image title. In one final place, add the primary keyword to the image alt tag for the graphic.
Use An SEO-friendly URL
Write a URL for the page or post that includes the primary keyword. Avoid adding any stop words, special characters, or unnecessary words in the permalink.
Here are my tips to write URL structures that are optimized to support SEO efforts and help pages rank and get clicks:
- Use the keyword in the URL. Include the exact keyword in the permalink portion of the URL.
- Don’t include special characters. For your reference, check the characters on this list by Perishable Press. In the example, you can see how “&” was used in the page title but not in the URL.
- Remove unnecessary words. A short SEO URL length is better than a long URL. Long URLs don’t create problems with search engines, but they do take away from user experience as shorter URLs look better and are easier to share on social media. So keep your URL length to less than 100 characters and remove words that aren’t needed.
- Remove stop words if needed. “Stop words” are common words that search engines often filter or ignore (such as “and,” “but,” “the,” etc.). You can remove stop words from URLs to shorten them.
- Avoid automated numeric labels. I have seen some new bloggers still have numeric labels as their permalink. Whenever possible, avoid these labels and only use words and phrases that readers will understand.
A well-structured URL based on keywords looks better when shared on social media, appears more professional on search engine results pages, and improves a page’s ranking abilities. So don’t always rely on the automated URLs that a site generates when you create a new page or post.
Optimized Meta Title and Meta Description
A meta title tells search engines the title of a page. It is also the title that appears on search engine results pages (SERPs). Add a meta title for your page that has fewer than 60 characters, including the primary keyword near the front of the title.
A meta description is a blurb of information that supports the meta title. It also helps search engines understand the content and is displayed on SERPs. Add a meta description that has fewer than 320 characters, including the primary keyword.
Make Sure To Have Social Sharing Links
Content is more likely to be found when it is optimized for both search and social. Include sharing buttons, and other social sharing calls to action on your content.
Check Your Work Before Publishing
Remember to assign relevant tags and categories for blog posts. Blog post tags and categories organize on-site content and help search engines understand topics. If you publish a blog post, add categories and tags that are relevant to the content.
Before you publish a post or page, always proofread the content for spelling and grammatical errors. This is an essential part of writing, as it makes sure your content is high-quality, authoritative, and worthy of being a top search result.
SEO can be difficult, but if you get to know it step by step and get this full SEO task list, I believe you can handle it. I talked with experience as I’ve been focusing on SEO for weeks. It takes a long time to get the result that you want, so you need to be patient.
You need a complete SEO guide checklist that hits all of the best practices for SEO if you want to boost your site’s overall ability to rank in search. That means adding a technical and off-page SEO checklist to your blogging schedule.
Download Your SEO Checklist
This on-page SEO checklist will help you optimize your content to search engines and improve your visibility on SERPs. But as I said before, on-page SEO alone isn’t enough to get your page to rank on Google.
Download this complete SEO checklist to get a full SEO task list of everything you need to optimize your website. It includes 35+ action items related to on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
Let me know if you have some issues with SEO by commenting below! I’d like to know as well what have you done so far to optimize your site!