On-Page SEO: The Full Checklist for a Perfect Article [2020]

On-Page SEO helps make your site recognizable and outstanding!

The best thing about On-page SEO is that you can implement it without a great effort.

If you want to know ALL the best optimization techniques, then you came to the right place!

Let me help you create an awesome article, that will definitely start ranking.

Check out this super checklist, I use every time before I hit the button “Publish

0. Choose the Right Keyword

Before you even start creating an outstanding article you must pick up a great keyword for it.

It will lay a solid foundation for your piece of content success.

Don’t omit this process and learn how to find killer keywords for your niche.

As the right keyword is chosen, we can go on.

1. Write the Title People Can’t Help But Click!article title on-page seo

 

No one will have a chance to appreciate your great work if no one even clicks on your title tag.

The title tag is the very first(!) thing that can make you look better than your competitors.

So how can you make your Title Tag unique?

Step #1: Start it with your Keyword

target keyword beginning of the article title on-page seo

The keyword at the beginning of the article title possesses much more weight than the keyword in its end.

Step #2: Add some magnet-words that bring attention

The modifiers I personally use:

Definitive

Ultimate

Step-by-Step

Guide

Best

[The year of the publication] (eg 2019)

Want to make your website look even more compelling in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?

Let’s talk about Meta-Description

2. Create an Amazing Meta-Description to Attract Even More Visitorsmeta description on-page seo

Great Meta-Description is you Title Tag’s best friend.

If you learn how to write an attractive description of your piece of work, this skill alone will bring you more eyes than you could ever imagine.

Here are the main steps you need to follow when working on your awesome Meta-Description:

Step #1: Make sure you include your keyword in it.

The keyword that appeared in the article description is bold, it makes your site more visible in the SERP.

Step #2: Make your Meta-Description benefit-driven.

People need the exact reason WHY they should choose your content to check.

They also need to know WHAT they will get if they spend time observing your article.

Here is a great example of what I am talking about:

article meta description on the serp on-page seo

The next step in creating a perfectly-optimized webpage is an article introduction.

3. Make the SEO-Friendly URLseo url on-page seo

Optimized URLs are the major factor in Website Technical SEO.

It is quite easy to do if your site is powered by WordPress.

You can change the URL name in this section, above the article field:

wordpress article url change on-page seo

I will not reinvent the wheel here and tell you this:

Say NO to loooong URLs like this one:

[nikitashevchenko.com/category-594/subcategory-493/the-best-on-page-seo-techniques]

Say YES to short and sexy URLs:

[nikitashevchenko.com/on-page-seo-checklist]

You may change each of the article URLs manually, or create custom permalinks:

Dashboard–>Settings–>Permalinks->Post Name*

*Post Name is the type I personally use. You may feel free to pick up any type that meets your own blog needs. (Month and name, Day and name, Custom Structure and so on.)

wordpress peramlink post name option on-page seo

Note: Do not change the URL in your old posts, do it with your new ones. Also, do not change an old website URL structure unless you are an experienced webmaster and know what you do.

4. Write a Powerful Article Introductionarticle introduction on-page seo

The introduction to your article is yet another part that you should pay close attention to.

It is very important in terms of user engagement and a bounce rate that is one of the vital factors in the whole SEO world.

A greatly-written introduction will boost your dwell time and reduce the bounce rate.

dwell time increases and bounce rate decreases on-page seo

These are two HUGE factors for Google RankBrain.

Things to do:

Step #1: Include your target keyword in the first 100 words of the article

This single action helps search engines understand more what your article is all about, thus improving your ranking potential for a certain keyword.

target keyword in the beginning of the article on page seo on-page seo

Step #2: Consider putting a link to one of your previous or new articles within the first few sentences to improve the engagement.

If you get people to click on your title in the SERP, the first thing they will see is your introduction.

It is very hard to hold the attention of every single visitor and persuade them to stay on your site for a longer time(dwell time).

The simple trick you can use is putting an interlink to one of your articles to keep the reader engaged.

Not only will it help you improve dwell time on your site, but also send some link “juice” to another article.

(The higher the backlink is placed in the article, the more benefits it gives to the source it links to )

article introduction icnludes inner link on-page seo

Step #3: Make it brief and straight to the point!

This one is huge!

Visitors expect to get fast, precise and complete answers.

Imagine that you are going on vacation and looking for the best places near your hotel.

You type in the question and hit “search”.

Then you see a nice title which says “The best places near [hotel name] in 2019”.

You click on it, and…

…you see a mediocre introduction about one family that runs a blog and wants to tell you about everything(!) EXCEPT what really matters!

They tell you about their:

  • Children
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Hobbies
  • Useless experience

And a bunch of other stuff that no one cares about!

It may take about a minute to find something worth reading.

So as people value their time they will hit the back button and never come again. Don’t repeat those amateurs’ mistakes!

Here is what you can do with your introduction to make it sparkle!

  1. Start talking to the reader from the very first sentence. Show them that you know what they are looking for and that you are willing to help.
  2. Make a quick promise that whatever they come for will be solved with your help.
  3. Outline a brief description of what exactly they will learn or get if they decide to proceed reading.
  4. Don’t make it too short and too long.

Here you have it! A great introduction that will not scare you readers and get them to keep scrolling the page down.

5. Include the Target Keyword in an H1 Tagh1 keyword on-page seo

If you do an On-Page SEO, make sure you create an <H1> tag with a keyword in it.

Note: Before you even start doing it, I should warn you that lots of CMSs already add <H1> Tag to your Title.

Check your page code, to make sure you have it in your Title.

Right-click on the article –> View page source.

h1 tag in article titile code sourc on-page seo

If you do, you are all set! There is no need to put an extra one.

If you don’t, then you will need to create it and include the keyword in it.

Easy!

6. Create an Epic Article!great blog content on-page seo

The Internet is full of crappy stuff that neither I nor you are willing to read.

Fortunately, there are some gems that stand out from the mediocrity and shine above the stars!

Those posts receive HUGE social appreciation, backlinks, and shares!

What makes them so different from others?

Let’s find out.

#1 They are long and informative.

It is very hard to cover some topics using less than 500 words.

Promise to yourself to create at least 1800-word article, that will cover the problem from top to bottom!

Never leave your readers confused and unsatisfied! They will go to your competitors for the answers and you will lose them for good.

on page seo content length on-page seo

#2 They are engaging

If the article is long it becomes hard for the reader to keep the attention to the same level.

How can you make sure that people will finish reading the whole article?

Copywriting knowledge will help you!

Tip #1: Don’t make your article hard to read.

Use short paragraphs, short sentences, and easy words.

It helps readers stay focused and not get bored.

Forget using some super long and difficult sentences, unless you are writing your Ph.D. thesis.

Use bullet points, short conclusions, bold words, and big fonts.

Tip #2: Use emotions and feelings.

Using emotions in the right places is the first indicator that you are a real person. It helps build an invisible connection between you and the reader.

Tip #3: Use multimedia.

The article that has no images, graphs, videos, infographics or other visual assets CANNOT be called engaging in the modern SEO and Blogging world.

You will also need to optimize them(I will tell about it later)

It is so important that you MUST include at least one visual asset in every single article you post.

I personally prefer using as many images as possible to keep readers engaged and interested. It also boosts understanding of the material.

picture superiority effect on-page seo

Why is interlinking important?

We all know how important it is to build a strong link profile.

But when it comes to inner linking it helps people check your other articles, fall in love with your work and become your raven fans:)

It also plays a huge role in search of crawling. Google spiders will be able to come to all of the darkest corners of your website and index your content.

If search engines don’t know about your content, NO ONE, except your friends will be able to see it.

Action tip: Make sure to link to a few of your articles (old and new).

Articles should be relative. See how I put an interlink on this place?

inner link in the article on-page seo

If you click on it, you will receive more in-depth information about the phrase you click on.

Simple.

Why is linking to other sites important?

This habit has numerous benefits!

  1. It shows Google that you did research before writing, which makes your article much more authoritative in the eyes of Google and people, of course.
  2. It is also a strong relevancy signal, this way search engines understand what your article is all about.
  3. Linking to some authoritative resources like Wikipedia or CNN is a ranking factor that helps elevate your site in the SERP.

Action tip: Include a couple of do-follow outbound links to niche-related, authoritative resources.

Pro Tip: Do not create too many do-follow outbound links to other resources, it may cause Page Rank leaking from the page. If you want to link to some extra resources, make sure you make the links no-follow.

One of the easiest ways that you may choose is to download a plugin called Title and Nofollow For Links.

Or RankMath.

It works perfectly without any settings adjustments.

Next time you want to add rel=”nofollow”, just go to the post edit field, click on the “insert link” button, then you will see a nice nofollow checkbox.

rel nofollow tag in wordpress settings on-page seo

8. Use LSI Keywords Everywhereuse lsi keywords on-page seo

LSI keywords are the variations of your target keyword. They help search engines better understand the content of your article and rank it using different words and phrases.

Finding LSI keywords is super easy!

Just type your main keyword in the Google search and scroll down the page.

lsi keywords at the bottom of google serp on-page seo

These are all the terms we are looking for! Put all of them within your article, make them look natural around the content. They should fit.

9. Optimize Images for Better Performancemultimedia optimization on-page seo

Images and other visual assets, as I said before, play a significant role in an On-Page SEO.

The more entertaining and descriptive they are, the more benefits you will get from your piece of content.

Appearance is vital in people’s eyes, but what if I tell you that it is possible to improve them for Google’s eyes?

Here is what you can do:

#1 Include your target keyword in a couple of images names.

Simply change the name of the image before uploading to your blog.

BAD: “7840background”.png

GOOD: keyword-research-process.png

wordpress media library image name on-page seo

#2 Include different LSI keywords in other images’ names

Including your target keyword in the visual asset, the name is a great idea.

However, if you have lots of images in one article it may bring you some trouble with Google.

Including the same keyword in every single image you post is considered keyword stuffing(black hat SEO).

I have good news for you!

You may avoid the problems and make good use of all the images by using different LSI keywords!

If your target keyword is On-Page SEO

then you may use these variations:

  • “Post optimization”
  • “Inner website optimization”
  • “On-Page SEO techniques”
  • “Content improving”

#3 Include your target keyword and/or LSI keywords in the image ALT Text.

Alt Text is yet another nice opportunity for you to optimize your article’s pics.

Don’t forget to include your main keyword or one of the LSI keywords in it.

wordpress settings alt image on-page seo

10. Stick Social Sharing Buttonssocial media on-page seo

Though Social Sharings help a little bit with SEO, they are a huge signal of the quality of your content.

If people share what you produce, they find your content helpful and worth mentioning.

Social proof plays a great role in the modern SEO world, so you may include a total number of shares near sharing buttons as well.

More shares = More eyeballs = More traffic

How to set up social sharing buttons in your blog?

Get Sassy Social Share plugin. It is free and fast!

All you need to do is just turn the buttons on and put them in the right place.

social sharing buttong in the article on-page seo

The best alternatives in my opinion are:

  • Sumo Share Buttons
  • Monarch Social Sharing - Elegant Themes

All of them are responsive, fast and stylish. You may try all three and choose the best one.

Now as you have chosen the right social sharing plugin, it’s time to put the buttons onto the right place, so people find it easy to share.

Where to put social sharing buttons?

A good social sharing plugin provides you with numerous options.

Here are the most popular places to park the buttons:

  • Before the article
  • After the article
  • Sidebar
  • Top menu
  • Make them float

I personally prefer the last option on the list.

You never know when the idea of sharing can strike a reader’s mind, therefore they should always need to see the buttons.

Don’t make people look for them and waste the time!

What about mobile users?

The mobile approach in even easier.

Just put stick them on the very bottom of the display!

This way people will not be distracted by floating icons(some buttons may cover up the text) and will always have a chance to share your work.

Action steps: Make your icons float in the desktop computer, and stick them to the bottom of the mobile screen.

11. Use a Fully Responsive Theme On Your Blog

website theme responsiveness on-page seo

You probably already heard that themes that are not mobile and tablet responsive look messy, if not used on a desktop computer.

Not only their appearance is not satisfying, but they can also HARM your site.

Google has been downranking the sites which don’t use responsive design since 2015.

If your site is not mobile-friendly, you are in trouble!

The easiest way to make sure that your site is mobile and tablet friendly is by using responsive design.

Almost all modern WordPress themes use responsive design, so there is not gonna be any problem for you to find the one.

I run my blog on GeneratePress.

Go with it if you want to have an Ultra-fast, Secure and Responsive theme.

Getting such a theme is one of the tips I outline in the Conversion Rate Optimization Guide. (You may learn other 39 tips by clicking on the link)

Note: Though the theme may be responsive, it still can look not very well on mobiles. You can avoid this problem by carefully checking the appearance of the theme on all devices before the purchase.

12. Make Your Website Lightning Fast!wordpress website speed basics on-page seo

I will not exaggerate if I say that speed is VITAL to your website.

A slow website will negatively affect your sales, conversions, and user experience.

Slow speed will bring you nothing but problems:

  1. Unsatisfied visitors
  2. Low rankings
  3. Profit loss

and so on, and so forth…

Fast website, on the other hand, will increase your rankings and make visitors enjoy surfing your web property.

In fact, Google LOVE fast websites, so should you.

First and foremost I suggest to measure your site speed using these nice tools:

  • Pingdom page speed
  • Gtmetrix
  • Google Pagespeed Insights

They will give you a score to your site performance and show where to start your speed optimization.

No matter what the result is, 90% of the speed problems can be solved simply using the tips I outline below.

Here are some steps if you want your website to beat Usain Bolt:

Tip #1: Reduce images’ size

Lots of images on your website may be overweight.

If the width of your web-page is 400 px, there is no point to use 1500×1000 px image size. (Unless you want it to be extra sharp)

Use an appropriate minimum size for YOUR theme.

If you use a premium theme(which you should), the theme support team about standard image sizes, take note so as not to forget.

You may also reduce the size of the file using these plugins:

  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • WP Smush

They both perform really well and can help improve your site speed significantly.

Wanna know what I do for reducing an image’s size?

I use Photoshop and strongly believe that nothing beats it in terms of reducing the size of an image.

One of its awesome features is “Save for web”

That’s how you do it:

photoshop save for the web feature on-page seo

It helps reduce the image size DRAMATICALLY without a big quality loss.

Totally worth its money!

Tip #2: Cache plugins are must-have!

There are numerous of cache plugins on the market if you want to choose the best ones, here is a short list:

  • WP Super Cache
  • Wp-Rocket
  • W3 Total Cache

1. The first plugin is the most popular cache plugin in the world.

It is very helpful and easy to use.

Price: Freemium

2. The second one is yet another powerful plugin, lots of bloggers find it very helpful.

Price: 39$ for the cheapest plan

3. The last plugin on the list is my personal choice – W3 Total Cache. (If the blog is not hosted with SiteGround)

This plugin is super powerful and helps me increase my website’s speed significantly.

If you are a WordPress beginner it is gonna be tough for you to adjust the right settings for the plugin, so you may find this guide very informative.

It also works great with CDNs.

Price: Freemium

Tip #3: Connect your site to CDN

CDN or Content Delivery Network is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers.

The goal is to distribute service spatially relative to end-users in order to provide high-level performance.

In other words, if your site’s hosting provider is located in Australia, it’s gonna take a longer time for US users to load the page.

BUT! If you use CDN, it will store a copy of your site in the data center, which is based in the US and the response time will decrease significantly.

In fact, huge CDN companies have their centers based all around the world!

So it no longer matters from where people will access your site.cdn working principle on-page seo

 

Nowadays there are two undisputed leaders in the market today:

StackPath and Cloudflare.

I personally enjoy using CloudFlare, it has a nice FREE plan and SSL that goes along with it, 2 in 1!

It also works just fantastic with W3 Total Cache, which I have mentioned earlier.

Pro Tip: All of the tips above are SUPER helpful if you want to achieve great speed. Yet there is one single thing, that some bloggers forget. Choose a fast reputable hosting provider! It all starts with good hosting, the ROI of investing some extra $ in it cannot be exaggerated.

Try SiteGround web hosting provider and see your website speed goes off the charts!

Bonus Tips: TOC and Comments

Table of Contents (TOC)

The table of contents helps break down the content into small digestible chunks of information.

It makes the reading process way easier for your blog visitors.

It will result in higher rankings and positive UX.

Use coding skills or one of these plugins:

• Table of Contents Plus
• Easy Table of Contents

Comments

Comments under the blog posts are a strong sign of content quality.

What is even more important for On-Page SEO is that it allows you to increase time on the page spent by users who tend to read them.

Longer Dwell Time = Higher Rankings

Actionable Tips:

• Write helpful, thought-provoking material
• Encourage readers to leave comments anytime possible
• Include a call to action

Now as you followed the steps above, your SEO score should skyrocket!


Do you use any other tricks that help you optimize your articles?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn, and follow me on Quora I share some useful stuff there 😉

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