The is the same on-page SEO checklist I use to write every post on my blog. Most of it has nothing to do with Yoast, in fact I ignore most of Yoast’s recommendations since they put too much emphasis on keyword density and not enough on real on-page SEO factors.
Instead, I focus on finding a long-tail keyword which has low competition in Google’s search results, then creating in-depth content that is organized with a table of contents and nice graphics. I also talk about lesser-known strategies like targeting variations of a keyword, optimizing your table of contents to get in Google’s featured snippets, and making content format properly on Facebook/Twitter (using Yoast). I don’t have an infographic, but these are all actionable tips that will improve your on-page SEO, especially for WordPress.
I have gotten many requests to write this, so I hope it’s useful. Comment if you need help.
1. Find A Long-Tail Keyword
Use Google Autocomplete to find a long-tail keyword with 3+ words.
If you start Googling the keyword and it has lots of Autocomplete results below it, that keyword is probably too competitive and in most cases, you should choose one of the more specific (long-tail) phrases. The only time you should consider choosing a broad, competitive keyword is if you plan on creating in-depth content, and if your site has high domain authority.
2. Learn The Keyword’s Competition
Google the keyword and review the content in the top results.
A keyword is more competitive if:
Top results have strong content
Top results have high DA/PA in MozBar
It has high competition in Keywords Everywhere
Top results are populated with authority websites
You see lots of advertisements from Google AdWords
Top results have strong signals (links, comments, shares)
There are lots of search results (11.6 million is a lot, but I’m giving it a shot)
Tools I Use: Keywords Suggestion Tool – Google any keyword and see it’s monthly search volume, CPC (cost per click), and estimated competition. Manually researching the top results is better though.
These are synonyms (or very closely related) keywords.
Try looking at the different Autocomplete results or searching for a similar keyword. You can use the underline character _ to have Google fill-in-the-blank (a neat little trick I like to use). You can target multiple keyword variations in the post title, SEO title, and meta description
Keyword #1: on-page SEO checklist (primary)
Keyword #2: on-page SEO guide
Keyword #3: on-page SEO 2019
Keyword #4: on-page SEO process
Keyword #5: content SEO checklist
4. Create A Post
In case you didn’t know how:
Create A Post
5. Write A Keyword-Rich Headline
Qualities of a good headline:
Makes people want to read (duh)
Primary keyword is ideally in front
Keyword variations sprinkled throughout title
6. Shorten The Permalink
This emphasizes your keyword to search engines.
Shorten The Permalink
Should I Remove Stop Words?
Yoast recommends removing stop words, but this can make URLs ready funny and is NOT always good. Take a look at the examples below. If you can shorten the permalink to include your keyword and read nicely, do it. But if it butchers the URL and doesn’t make sense, don’t.
Remove Stop Words
Shorten The Permalink
7. Write The SEO Title + Meta Description
These are the forefront of your SEO and determine the post’s click-through rate. You should include your keyword (ideally in the front), target multiple keyword variations, and follow the character limits. It’s also a good idea to include a number or modifier like “2019, 2020” or “checklist, guide.”
Tips For Writing SEO Titles + Meta Descriptions
SEO title length: 600 pixels (about 58 characters)
Meta description length: 920 pixels (about 158 characters)
Do not use Yoast’s snippet variables (write them yourself!)
Primary keyword is in front, secondary keywords are sprinkled
8. Create An HTML Table Of Contents
I can’t stress how important this is.
A table of contents organizes the post, lets people jump (and link to) specific sections, and increases your chance of being awarded jump-to links and featured snippets by Google. It also encourages longer content (Brian Dean and most SEOs recommend at least 3,000+ words).
If the post has bad bounce rates and average session duration, it could be anything from slow load times to poor web design, no internal links, or lack of well-designed, original graphics. Try listing your most popular tutorials in your sidebar (see mine).
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What is onpage SEO?
Onpage SEO refers to tactics utilized on or within a page to assist it in ranking higher in the search engine. Onpage SEO includes both content and the HTML source code of a page image optimization, keyword optimization, Schema markup, and more, but not external links and other external signals.
On-Page SEO Guide: The Complete SEO Checklist For 2020
A complete step-by-step SEO checklist to help you rank in 2020. This expert-written guide will show you exactly how to do keyword research, on-page SEO, content, technical SEO and more.
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