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Whenever I build websites for clients the same questions about SEO always pop up. Is SEO a part of your process? How do you implement SEO? How can I get on the first page of Google? There are a lot of aspects of SEO but today I'll be giving you a step-by-step on page SEO checklist 2024 that you can add to each page of your website. Let's dive in.
Let's start from the beginning what is SEO? It stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is like the roadmap that guides your website to the top of the search results in Google, Bing or Yahoo. It's all about making your web content so appealing and helps search engines show it off to people looking for what you have to offer.
Before I talk exclusively about on page SEO I want to show you the different aspects of SEO as well
On Page SEO: This is like making your website look sharp and impressive. It involves optimizing individual pages with keywords, user-friendly content, and technical stuff like faster loading times.
Off-Page SEO: Think of this as building your website's reputation across the web. It includes activities like link-building (getting other websites to link to yours), social media engagement, and online partnerships. Think about it like having your Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In etc, all lead to your website.
Technical SEO: This is the backstage crew that ensures your website runs smoothly. It involves optimizing your site structure, improving its speed, and making it mobile-friendly. It's like the mechanics who keep your car running smoothly.
Local SEO: If you have a local business, this aspect helps you appear in local searches. It's like putting up a signboard so people in your neighborhood can find you easily. A good example of this is If you look up Juneau Graphic Designer on the Google Search Console you will see my business Z Squared Studio pop up as the first result.
Content SEO: Your website content matters a lot. Content SEO involves creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content that both your audience and search engines love. This is stuff like a podcast, blog posts, Pinterest posts; you can find all 3 pieces of content by using a search engine. You can even say this can be social media marketing
Voice Search SEO: With the rise of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, this aspect is like making your website speak the language of voice search. It involves optimizing your content for voice queries.
Video SEO: If you're into creating videos, this is about making them discoverable on platforms like YouTube. It's like making sure your videos shine on the red carpet.
Each aspect plays a unique role in boosting your website's visibility and ranking in search results. It's like having a team with different skills working together to make your website highly searchable.
Now onto on page SEO, and to be clear on page SEO is done to each page of your website, Home, About, Service, Contact, even each of your blog pages. SEO can seem overwhelming, but I've chosen 8 steps that anyone can follow to simplify the process. While there are many more aspects to on page SEO, these steps are a great starting point. It's what I do for my website and I see great traffic to my site.
Step 1. Do Keyword Research on Keyword Research Tools
First, let's go over what is a keyword. It's a specific word or phrase that you type into search engines (like Google) to find information, products, or answers to your questions. Websites and content creators use these keywords strategically to help search engines understand what their content is about, making it more likely to show up in engine results pages. Keywords are like a roadmap for people trying to find stuff on the internet. Examples of keywords: Pizza Delivery Near Me, Juneau Wedding Photographer, or Digital Marketing Ideas for Small Business.
In order to find the right keywords for your website the first step is to do keyword research, this way you can make sure that the keywords you're using isn't too crowded and that you're able to rank for them.
My favorite paid tool is Key Search, it's affordable and super worth it. They have some cool features that I love to use, my favorite is the content assistant where you can plug in your main keyword and it tells you 'related keywords' and 'must use words' that other first page content is ranking for so you can rank for those words as well. Before I write any of my blogs or outline my podcasts, I always do research first so I know if people are even interested in the topic. This way, I can create content that not only I enjoy but resonates with my audience too.
There have been multiple times when I've changed my blog/podcast topics because either the keyword competition was too saturated for me to rank for or there weren't enough people who were searching for what I was writing about which in the end doesn't make for an intentional blog post that's going to lead traffic back to my business.
There are free tools as well like Google Key Word Planner, I haven't used it but I'm sure since it's a Google tool it should get the job done. I'm not going to go fully into how I do my keyword research but here's a link to a video made by Key Search that shows you how to use the platform and what makes a good keyword. A quick overview is to use keywords people are searching for and aren't too saturated which makes it hard to rank for the first page on Google. An example of a keyword for this post on this particular blog page is 'on page SEO checklist'. For the home page of my website, I use: Juneau Graphic Designer which is super general but on pages like my logos & branding page and my website design page those keywords are Alaskan logo designer and Alaska website design. There are also a couple of secondary keywords that I use that people might be searching (example a secondary keyword for Juneau Graphic Designer might be Alaska Graphic Artist) but let's keep it simple today and leave it that. One last thing about keyword research is that Google is a great place to see what people are searching for. Next time you go on Google searching for something scroll down and you'll see a section that says "People Also Ask" and that's a great way to get keyword ideas.
Step 2. Create high-quality, informative, and engaging content that provides value to your audience.
It's important to not just take keywords and plug them in everywhere you need to be able to write in a way that sounds natural and you wanna create content that is high-quality and informative. This blog post is a perfect example of content, I am giving you information about SEO that you are interested in and adds value to your business. The main take away when it comes to creating high-quality content is to create for your audience and not for you. Instead of, "How I'm growing my email list" write something like, "Building a responsive email list that works for you."
A lot of people tend to think about content being short-term stuff like Instagram or Tik Tok. But unless your Instagram or Tik Tok famous the real deal is getting into long-form content, like blogs or podcasts. It sticks around longer and can be discovered for years after you create it. You can also go back and revise old blogs or update podcasts to refresh already finished content.
When you create content, remember to make it easy to read and flow smoothly. If it's not, people might not feel like reading it. It's not just about creating content to put stuff out there, which happens so much with platforms like Instagram or Tik Tok it's about creating high-quality content that people can learn from or see value in. Don't expect to whip out a blog post in 30 minutes and expect it to bring 100s of monthly visitors to your website you need to make sure that each section is clearly separated, you're straight to the point, and that your headers are highly scannable and digestible so if people don't want to read the whole blog they can at least get a gist of what the blog is about by skimming the page. You can also put in some resources that link to other pages of your website or other related blogs, if you have a blog I highly recommend doing that.
Content can also be the copy on your website. On your about page, for example, it's not just about listing facts but telling a story that resonates with your audience. Share your journey, your values, and why you do what you do. When people connect with your story, it can make a big difference in their decision to engage with your brand.
Step 3. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.
Google is all about mobile-first indexing, which means it's more interested in how your site looks and works on mobile devices. When we dive into website design, we often get carried away with making the desktop version look all fancy and functional. But having a super responsive and mobile-friendly site is crucial for SEO success.
Loads of people are browsing websites on their smartphones and if your site doesn't work well with mobile, you're missing out on a big chunk of your potential audience. Not to mention, a well-optimized mobile site keeps everyone happy and engaged, no matter what gadget they're using. That can lead to more time spent on your site, lower bounce rates, and of course a boost in your rankings on Google.
Keep in mind having a great mobile design is not only about SEO it's about giving your visitors the best experience, which can lead to more organic traffic.
Step 4. Write meta titles and descriptions for each page make sure to include the main keyword you want to rank for. This helps improve click-through rates from search results.
The Meta Title or title tag is the clickable blue link at the top of a search result in Google. It's going to be what influences someone to click on your website and should be relevant to that page.
Meta descriptions are the snippets below the blue link on search engine results that tell you what the page is about. Google might decide not to use the meta description you create (it may generate its own based on what the user is searching for) but having a well-crafted meta description can encourage users to click on your link.
Here's an example of on page SEO of a tech review website
Meta Title: Best Smartphone 2024 - Top Mobile Phones | Tech Reviews
Main keyword: Best Smartphone 2024
This meta title sums up the essence of the content, and mentions the topic (best smartphones) and the website's focus (tech reviews). Notice the line dividing the meta title? This is a design to keep a clean and structured appearance in search results.
Meta Description: Discover the best smartphones of 2024 in our expert tech reviews. Compare features, prices, and performance of top mobile phones. Stay up-to-date with the latest innovations.
This is a perfect explanation of what users can expect from the page, including the year, what the content covers, and the benefits of visiting the site. Notice that it includes the main keywords Best Smartphones of 2024.
Even though the main keywords in the meta title 'Best Smartphone 2024' and the meta description 'Best Smartphones of 2024 don't match exactly they are closely related and share the same topic. Making sure the keywords are closely related can improve the click-through rate and the overall user experience. The main focus should be on creating natural sounding copy rather than obsessing over using keywords verbatim. While exact keyword matching isn't as crucial, what truly matters is creating a clear and engaging description that entices users to click on your link.
Here's one more example of on page SEO for a Local Plumbing Service. Meta Title: Joe's Plumbing Services | Trusted Plumbers in [Your City]
Main Keywords: Plumbers in [Your City]
Notice that this meta title says: "Joe's Plumbing Services | Trusted Plumbers in [Your City]." It mentions the business name, the service offered (plumbing), and the location, which is a best practice for local businesses. Normally when you're looking for services you always type in the city you live in so always be sure to include your city in the meta title. Even in my line of work as a brand and web designer where everything is digital and you don't necessarily need to hire a designer in your town, it's still valuable to include your city's name in your meta title because that's what people are searching for. It's also easier to land customers or clients in you're city simply for the trust factor since there are so many scams out there nowadays.
Meta Description: Need a reliable plumber in [Your City]? Joe's Plumbing Services provides top-notch plumbing solutions for your home or business. Contact us for quick, affordable plumbing repairs and installations." It talks straight to what users are after, highlighting reliability, top-notch service, and budget-friendliness. It also includes a call to action to encourage users to get in touch.
Take your time to write a different meta title and description for each page, don't write one and use it for every page. It will give you duplicate content issues where you are essentially creating competition for yourself and defeats the purpose.
Step 5. Optimize your images - Compress images, use descriptive alt text, and include relevant keywords when naming image files.
Compressing an image for on-page SEO is all about making the images on your website load faster without making them look pixelated or fuzzy. You want your site to be speedy because no one has the patience for slow-loading pages. I'm sure you've come across a website or two that takes longer than three seconds to load and you just give up and move on. You don't want that to be your website!
Let's say you have a high-resolution photograph of a beautiful landscape that you want to feature on your website. This image is 5MB in size. When you upload it directly to your web page, it may cause your page to load slowly, especially for users with slower internet connections or on mobile devices. Slow-loading pages can lead to a poor user experience and potentially lower search engine rankings.
To fix this, you can compress the image which reduces the file size while retaining the image's visual quality. In this case, by compressing the image, you can reduce its size from 5MB to 500KB. This significantly improves your website's loading speed where search engines like Google are more likely to favor your website in search results because its user friendly.
There are a bunch of online tools and software apps for image compression. Look into TinyPNG, ImageOptim, and even Adobe Photoshop which is what I use.
Step 6. Add Internal links - Link to other relevant pages on your website to improve user navigation and help search engines understand the structure of your content.
Internal link building is like a roadmap for your website. It guides users to different sections and pages. You can do this with a hyperlink or a button within your own content that leads to other parts of your website. This not only helps visitors navigate your site more easily but also assists search engines in understanding your site's structure.
For example, if you have a blog post about healthy recipes and you mention "low-calorie snacks," you can insert a hyperlink to another page on your website that focuses specifically on low-calorie snack recipes. When a reader clicks on that link, they're taken to the relevant page without having to search for it. It's like connecting different rooms in a house with doors, making it easy for visitors to explore your content seamlessly.
If you look at my website www.zsquaredstudio.com (internal linking in action wink wink) for example my homepage is the perfect example of linking to other relevant pages. My homepage is pretty much a landing page for every important page on my website. The above the fold section of my website has two buttons that lead to either my logos/branding page or my website design page depending on what you're interested in and then underneath that is a small section about me with a button that leads to my about page if they want to learn more. Underneath that I have a section that talks about my logos/branding with a button that connects to my logos and branding page and so on and so forth you get the idea.
This strategic internal linking isn't just about convenient navigation; it's an invitation to explore more of the website. It elevates the user experience and, as a bonus, can positively impact search engine rankings, the longer someone stays on your website the better for SEO.
Step 7. Add External Links - Include high-quality outbound links to authoritative sources in your niche. This can boost your credibility and SEO
External links are essentially hyperlinks you place on your website that direct visitors to other reliable online sources. These links can enhance your site's credibility, provide extra useful information to your audience, and generally improve the user experience. The key is to ensure you're linking to trustworthy and relevant websites while avoiding low-quality or spammy ones. When you use them thoughtfully they can become a real asset. They're like those trusted friends who mention your business to potential clients, making you look good and well-connected. Consider them as allies that can help boost your website's search engine rankings and improve the overall quality of your content.
You're probably thinking why would I want to lead people away from my website with external links? Well, external links on your website can boost credibility, improve the user experience, enhance your site's authority and trustworthiness to search engines, and even facilitate networking. So, despite briefly leading users away, the benefits in terms of credibility, user experience, and SEO tends outweigh the downsides.
Let's say you're writing a blog post about staying healthy through exercise, and you mention the importance of a well-balanced diet. You can drop in an external link to a reliable source like Mayo Clinic's nutrition tips. This link not only boosts your post's credibility but also lets your readers dive deeper into the world of healthy eating according to a trusted authority.
Here's how it might fit into your content: "Maintaining a balanced diet alongside your workout routine is a game-changer. For more insights on nutrition, check out Mayo Clinic's nutrition guide."
By sharing a link to Mayo Clinic, you're giving your readers a helpful resource while adding an extra layer of trustworthiness to your content.
Recently I wrote a blog on how to prep for a brand photography photo shoot and in the choosing a photographer section I linked out to the website of my brand photographer Wild Iris Studios so that if people in my city are reading the blog they know who took my photos and are able to book her services. It's a win win for everyone!
Step 8. Prioritize user page experience with an intuitive site layout, clear navigation, and easy-to-read fonts. Reducing bounce rates and increasing time on site can positively impact SEO.
A lot of people think that SEO is crazy complicated where you plug in magic formulas in the right places but having great web design is not only a great investment it will help your SEO. When folks enjoy navigating your website and find your content a breeze to read, they tend to stick around longer. This means they're less likely to bounce back or 'pogo-stick' back to search results quickly. It tells Google your stuff is both valuable and matches what people are looking for. That's the ticket to higher rankings, more clicks, and overall better SEO.
In the fast-paced world of the internet, nailing on page SEO for 2024 is a must for your online presence. These on page SEO tricks are going to be the secret sauce for impressing both search engines and the people who visit your site. Here is the on page SEO checklist
Step 1. Do Keyword Research: Start with keyword research to identify the right keywords to target. Use tools like Key Search or Google Keyword Planner to find keywords that are not too saturated and match what your audience is searching for.
Step 2. Create High-Quality Content: Write content that is not only optimized with keywords but also high-quality, informative, and engaging. Long-form content, like blogs or podcasts, often performs better in the long run.
Step 3. Mobile-Friendly Website: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as Google prioritizes mobile-first indexing. A responsive design keeps users engaged and can lead to better SEO results.
Step 4. Write Meta Titles and Descriptions: Craft meta titles and descriptions for each page, ensuring they include the main keyword you want to rank for. This helps improve click-through rates from search results.
Step 5. Optimize Your Images: Compress images to improve loading times without sacrificing quality. Use descriptive alt text and include relevant keywords in image file names.
Step 6. Add Internal Links: Include internal links to relevant pages on your website to improve user navigation and help search engines understand your site's structure.
Step 7. Add External Links: Include high-quality outbound links to authoritative sources in your niche to boost your credibility and overall content quality.
Step 8. Prioritize User Experience: Create a website with an intuitive layout, clear navigation, and easy-to-read fonts. A better user experience reduces bounce rates and increases time spent on your site, which positively impacts SEO.
The bottom line is that on-page SEO isn't just about pleasing Google. It's about making sure your audience gets the good stuff: content that's awesome, easy to find, and simple to navigate. When your website is user-friendly, and your content is high quality, it keeps people hanging around longer, which is great for everyone. Your bounce rates drop and people interact more with your content.
These steps are like the foundation for SEO success. They boost your site's rankings, help you get more clicks, and generally make your online game strong. It's a mix of tech-savvy, crafting great content, and a sprinkle of user-focused design. Your website becomes THE go-to place where people find what they need easily and enjoy the ride.
That's all I have for you today. Talk to you later and happy designing.
Here's a full example of on page SEO
**Step 1. Do Keyword Research:**
Let's say you run a website about healthy living, and you want to create a page about home workouts. Using a tool like Key Search, you discover that "effective home workouts" is a keyword with a good search volume and manageable competition. You decide to target this keyword.
**Step 2. Create High-Quality Content:**
For your "Effective Home Workouts" blog page, you create a comprehensive guide. You include details on different exercises, workout plans, and nutritional tips. The content is not only optimized with the target keyword, but it also provides valuable information to your audience, promoting long-term engagement.
**Step 3. Mobile-Friendly Website:**
You ensure your entire website, including the "Effective Home Workouts" page, is responsive and mobile-friendly. This means that visitors can easily access your content on various devices, from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets. Google appreciates this approach, leading to improved SEO results.
**Step 4. Write Meta Titles and Descriptions:**
Creating compelling meta titles and descriptions with shared keywords enhances SEO. For the "Effective Home Workouts" page, your meta title becomes "Effective Home Workouts: Get Fit Anywhere." The meta description provides a concise summary, such as "Explore our effective home workouts to get fit anywhere, anytime. Discover a variety of routines and stay in shape effortlessly with effective home workouts."
**Step 5. Optimize Your Images:**
To enhance the page's loading speed, you compress images showcasing various workout routines. For a picture demonstrating push-ups, you use the alt text "Effective Home Workouts - Push-Up Exercise." You also name the image file itself "effective-home-workouts-push-ups.jpg."
**Step 6. Add Internal Links:**
Within the "Effective Home Workouts" content, you strategically include links to other relevant pages on your website. For instance, when discussing the benefits of yoga, you link to your "Yoga for Beginners" blog page. These internal links make it easy for users to explore related content.
**Step 7. Add External Links:**
You make your content more credible by adding an outbound link to a reputable source like the Mayo Clinic's fitness recommendations. While discussing nutrition, you insert a link with anchor text like "Mayo Clinic's Nutrition Tips" to provide further value to your audience.
**Step 8. Prioritize User Experience:**
Your entire website is designed for an optimal user experience. The "Effective Home Workouts" page has a clean layout with easy navigation and uses legible fonts. Users can quickly find the information they need, which reduces bounce rates and keeps them engaged, ultimately boosting your SEO ranking.