Step-by-Step On-Page SEO Checklist for Organic Traffic in 2021

by | Jan 1, 2021

You’ve already put work into great content. How are you getting your website pages and posts in front of people?

You want visitors flowing into your site, but to get them there, they have to be able to find you. By optimizing on-site SEO, you can increase those new leads and grow your company with organic traffic.

This guide for on-site page SEO factors can help you do just that.

Table of contents:

1. What is On-Site SEO and Why Should You Care?

2. Your Helpful On-Site SEO Tips Guide

3. Improve your On-Site SEO for Better Performance and Higher Traffic

What is On-Site SEO and Why Should You Care?

Google, Bing and other top search engines with high search volume have announced components and practices that are important for higher search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is determined by algorithms with robots (or SEO spiders) that crawl your site to determine topic and value.

With algorithms changing 500-600 times a day, there is a lot they don’t tell you about SEO best practices. The goal for the search engine is to rank answers that are most relevant and valuable to their users first. If searchers struggle to get results that are helpful, they might start using a different search engine.

Ultimately, many of these important on-site SEO practices are going to be beneficial to your site and searchers too.

On-site SEO is just optimizing the posts and pages on your website. It will include making changes to the visible content and back-end web structure.

So, how are you strategically improving your content to get in front of your customers?

Your Helpful On-Site SEO Tips Guide

Whenever you are creating new pages, writing new blog posts or updating the old stuff after an SEO audit, you can turn to this trusty on-site SEO guideline. We’ve boiled down a lot of important tips to give you a step-by-step list to boost your SEO and improve conversion rates. Improving your content is absolutely worth your time and effort when it starts bringing in new leads and earning more shares.

1. Cover the Point in the First Paragraph

You should present the main point of the page briefly in the first paragraph for two reasons:

On one hand, you want to assure your reader that you are asking the right questions and covering the right topics in your page. They clicked on that page or article for a reason, so assure them you are going to align your message with their expectations. You provide a better user experience when they don’t have to dig to determine value. The other reason you want to include that paragraph, is for the sake of Google. The first paragraph is typically looked at hardest for search engine rankings.

Don’t take a long time to get to the point. State it in your first paragraph and then use the rest of your content space to support that claim and improve dwell time.

  • If you are creating a landing page for sales, make sure the service or product is clearly listed at the top
  • If you are creating a blog post answering a question, answer it briefly in the beginning section
  • If you are writing about an event or telling a story, start with an overview

You might feel like you are giving away some of your content, but you aren’t. You are assuring your reader that what they want to know is just below. Lead them down the page by first letting them know you are on board with their needs.

Upgrow Landing Page Example: OpenSky

2. Add Inbound and Outbound Resource Links

If Google sees your web page as a dead end, it will not rank well. Instead, use inbound links to strategically take your users to various parts of your site. Use outbound links to point visitors to helpful resources (ones that aren’t competitors). It might seem counterproductive to send visitors off your page, but it is actually

  • Use anchor text to link your internal resources within your content. These aren’t CTAs, but they are optional rabbit trails your visitor can take if they want to learn more about that topic.
  • Use resourceful links from authorities in your industry to help SEO crawlers understand your content purpose and the value you are presenting. You can use “open a new tab” (or window) links if you want to ensure they don’t completely leave your page (your site will still be open in the original tab).

3. Use Images (And Include Alt Tag Descriptions)

Images help break up long blocks of copy and keep your readers from bouncing off the page. However, too many large images is a problem if your site loads slowly. A general rule of thumb is to use compressed images that are under 200k in size. You can add alt tags descriptions to help your images get listed in image search and increase the keywords the search robots (or SEO spiders) can see.

Here are some image best practices to improve your SEO.

If you are saving the picture yourself, you should save for the web at 72dpi and limit the width to 800px for faster page load time. This size would look very pixilated for print, but it looks good on a screen, loads faster, and is easier to store. Thumbnails can be even smaller, which is important for product pages or galleries that could get sluggish with a ton of images.

The alt text is also used for the hearing impaired and describes the image. You can increase SEO by naming your image file names with appropriate keywords and then using the alt tag to describe the image. If you use a picture of hands typing on the computer for a SaaS page, don’t just use “hands typing on the computer” for the alt tag. You could use something more like “searching for top SaaS accounting software products.”

  • Focus more on what will matter to the user and less on what matters to your company: don’t just throw a bunch of keywords on there.
  • Be specific, not generic: “hands typing on a computer” is too generic and not designed to attract anyone in particular.
  • Get to the point: alt tag descriptions should stay under 125 characters.
  • Jump into the description: don’t lead with unnecessary words, like “picture of…”
  • Be sparing with keywords: only use your keyword on the image that best represents your post or page and use a wide variety of words on the different images you include.

4. Use Headers with Keywords

Your H1 tag or title tag should be your title and you should already have that front-loaded with a keyword. Within the copy itself, you should use keywords in your H2 and even H3 subheadings to improve SEO. As the search engine spiders crawl your site, they will skim headers and page titles as part of their check to see what the overarching message is about.

Not only will these headers help prove to the search engine that your content is answering the question, but it will help your visitor scan the content before settling in to read the details.

Google says that content creators should always use headers sparingly and avoid using them where they don’t fit. You should never put text into a header that won’t help with structure and your formatting (size/font/color) should remain the same for each header and not vary erratically.

5. Use Keyword Variants

Don’t force a specific primary keyword and make it read strangely in your text. If you are trying to create content optimized for the search engines, you will need to work on quality content that is original, in-depth and reads naturally. That means you will have defined keywords, but you will want to do keyword research to find variants, long-tail keywords and related keywords. So, for this checklist to cover more keywords, we might include variations of “on-page SEO” like:

  • “What is on page SEO”
  • “On page optimization”
  • “SEO factors”
  • “Optimizing a piece of content”
  • “Improve search engine optimization”
  • “Building organic traffic”

Get the picture? These are all variations or related to an underlying primary keyword, but offer different ways the user (in this case—you) might type the query into the search engine. If every single instance only used the term “on-page SEO,” it would read very unnaturally.