In this article we are going to share our on-page SEO checklist cheat sheet. We will show you all our best practices in on-page SEO and deliver it in an easy to navigate cheat sheet.
On-page SEO is the practice of optimising website pages directly for SEO. In contrast to off-page SEO which is the practice of increasing SEO performance using off-page, outside techniques.
In general there are three types of SEO practices:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
In this article, we are going to be sharing the best practices for both On-page and Technical SEO. We are going to cover them both and exclude off-page work, we want to give you the tools on optimising variables within your control. In this article, we will show you some quick fixes, low hanging fruits you can do today to boost your ranking.
Our SEO Checklist Cheat Sheet
Key Words Optimisation
This is the foundation of good on-page SEO. You have to decide on the key-word for your website, so you can structure the website content around the keyword. Every page on your website needs a key word. One of the best tools in the industry is the Google Key Word Planner – but you need a google ads account o access it.
In selecting a keyword – you are looking for typical search lines. This are actual words normal people would enter in to the search bar. If your website is selling shoes, you might pick “beautiful shoes for sale” or “red evening shoes” or “affordable shoe store near me”. These are actual sentences that people go for.
Pro hack tip 👍🏽
A quick hack around choosing keywords, as a start. Just go to google search bar and enter the first word that you are researching, like “shoes”:
Google will suggest for you some popular key words, by auto completing your search. Pick your most relevant suggestions, and use those in the keyword tool. You want to find a key-word that has least competition, for the highest search volume.
Key Words in URL
This is a technical SEO variable, it helps google connect your url to your keywords. If you are planning to launch a shoe store online; instead of selecting a domain like “mzansi.co.za”, you want “top-shoes.co.za” or “best-shoes.com”. Include the keyword in your url as far as possible.
This already signals to Google that your website is about shoes.
Page Speed Optimisation
Page speed optimisation is a technical SEO variable, it is a full topic in itself that requires its own blog even book, there are so many things to consider. In our checklist, simply hire a specialist and make sure that the page speed results from these tools below:
. . . are both upwards of 90%. Your site should load in less than 5 seconds, ideally between 3 – 4 seconds on average.
Key words on the page
Back to on-page details, these are the main top things you want to make sure you have on each page. Let is pick “Shoes for women” as our keyword:
- Key words included in the page title (ideally at the beginning of the title). Like “The best shoes for women in South Africa”.
- Key words included multiple times on the page, in title, heading, first paragraph etc.
- The Key words included as anchor text on a link
- Key word underlined, or made bold, all-caps (to highlight it from the rest of the text)
- Exact keyword included as alt-text to at least one image on the page
- Exact keyword included as file name for at least one image on the page
DON’T over-optimise, like in the movie Black Panther where the bad guys left one guy to run a couple of steps before shooting him. As an en expert, you can leave some on-page things out, to appear more average and natural.
The technical SEO aspects, you must score 100%, but you can afford a little “calculated sloppiness” on the on-page items.
W3C HTML Validation
Put your website though this W3C html validator and give the identified checklist to your developer to fix.
Ensure your site has a Favicon, and all other apple icons.
Include a meta description for every page. You need a meta-title and description for all your web-pages. If you were writing HTML code – below is a code snippet for html meta tags you can use:
You need to include at least one inbound link and one outbound link on every page. The best way to include an inbound link, it to refer to a blog article from your own website, or your terms of service page.
Breadcrumb linking is also good, although not necessary if you have a well designed menu and only one layer of pages. If you have categories and sub-categories, then you will need a bread-crumb linking system as well.
Outbound links is links to external resources and pages, you might want to validate a fact or quote an article, then link it on your page.
Other Technical SEO Checklist Items
Some additional technical SEO checklist cheat sheet items are:
- WWW redirect – make sure you are not serving two pages, www and non-www. Clearly create a WWW redirect to be sure.
- SSL certificate, you pages and all its resources should be served under https – you will also need to force https.
- Create a sitemap.xml
- Create robots.txt
- Ensure your website is mobile responsive, ensure it loads quick on mobile and displays clearly
An insecure or hacked site can and will affect your search engine ranking. As a website owner, you must do regular security checks on your website and files to ensure you are not hosting any malicious code. Your website could be hosting malware, but still run as normal. Therefore you need to do a regular check yourself to make sure all is in order.
Submit your sitemap.xml link to Google. You will need a Google Search Console – account. Make sure when you submit the sitemap, you don’t get any errors. Ensure that Google can crawl your website.
Then you need to visit the google console areas regularly, any errors experienced by google on your site will be shown here. You should fix them promptly before they have a negative effect on your search rankings.