Google’s new algorithm has made search engine more intelligent to enforce the webmaster guidelines. As Matt Cutts has stated, none must be surprised if a website that is not compliant with Google’s guidelines is penalized. The Panda, penguin and Humming Bird all limit the traditional SEO practices.
So, the game has changed and there is no longer a choice other than following ethical search engine optimization. On-page optimization is one among the two big techniques in SEO.
Here is the complete on-page checklist that meets all the Search Engine demands. No more revision when the next update rolls out
URL structure is a significant on-page factor. Each webpage has a unique URL structure. The URL should be comprehensible and simple.
Verify the following elements when you create URLs for your webpages.
- URL is simple to read and conveys the idea as to what your page is about
- URL does not contain parameters or any other symbols
- URL parts are separated with ‘-’ hyphens
- URL is less than 255 characters
Title defines what your page is about. It should be relevant to user queries and search engines as well. In most cases, the search engines choose title as display snippets on SERPs.
Verify the following elements when you create good titles for your webpages.
- Title is a brief and accurate description of the webpage topic
- Title does not exceed the optimal length – 50 to 60 characters or fits 512 pixels
- Title includes your brand and primary keyword
- Title includes location if you target your audience based on location
- Title drives user to click
Meta description gives a brief picture of your webpage content. Though it is not an important ranking factor in Google Algorithms, it is used by social networking sites as description when you share the page. It is also used by Search Engines as display snippet in SERPs.
Verify the following elements when you create good Meta descriptions for your webpages
- Meta Description conveys a clear sketch about subject matter
- Meta Description does not exceed the optimal length – 150 to 160 characters
- Meta Description includes brand, primary keywords and supporting keywords.
- Note that the keywords need not be exact match
- Meta Description includes location if you focus on location targeting
- Meta Description drives users to click
Headers are the first elements that visitors see when they land on your webpage. H1, H2, H3, H4 , H5 and H6 are collectively known as Hx tags. Often web developers apply header tags in the order of font size. But HX tags are not just section headings; they are all about conveying search engines the important content on the webpage. In this context, you can logically place the most important keyword in header text.
Verify the following elements when you create header tags for your webpages
- H1 is the primary and the most relevant header of the webpage
- H1 occurs only once per page
- H1 text is to the point and includes the most relevant keyword
- H2 is the second important heading and includes the relevant keyword
- H3 determines the third important header with relevant keyword
- H4, H5 and H6 follows the hierarchy based on the content sections and keywords
Content is King. Content play a greater role in improving search engines rankings because it is that important factor which makes your webpage relevant to the user queries. There are a lot of things to be considered when you update content in web pages
Verify the following elements when you optimise content on your webpages
- Content is plagiarism-free or is not copied from other websites
- Content is useful to the readers
- Content is relevant to your business and services
- Content contains relevant keywords as well as general keywords that is related to your business
- Content with proper headers and images will reduce the bounce rate.
Keyword density is one of the many factors that influence your website’s search engines rankings. It is defined by the frequency of the keywords in the document/total word count in the document.
Verify the following elements when you optimize keywords on your web pages
- The keyword density of the document does not exceed 2.5% or 3%
- Primary keyword or the most relevant keyword appears on the first portion of the content
- Supporting (secondary) keywords and general keywords are used rather than focusing on a single keyword.
- Primary keywords hold more density in content than the density of supporting keywords
There is an appropriate usage of branded keywords and location-based keywords in web pages that concentrate on location targeting or local services.
Over-usage of keywords in the document will cause Google to consider it as spam.
Unlike visitors, search engines have limited understanding about your webpage. Structured Data refers to information recognized by search engines. This information is used to generate rich snippets to be displayed in search results page. The refined search results can increase the click-through rate. The data formats include microdata, microformats and RFDa which you can use to mark-up HTML pages.
Verify the following elements when you mark-up your website
- All possible content is marked-up
- Marked up all mandatory properties
- Check your webpage with webmasters structured mark-up tool testing tool for errors
Anchor text is a keyword-rich hyperlink and points to other webpages. Anchor texts can contain internal links as well as links to other websites. Proper usage of anchor texts in your webpage can increase the relevancy which boosts the search engine rankings.
Verify the following elements when you optimize anchor texts on your web pages
- Anchor text contains keywords.
- Anchors texts in content are long tails keyword texts
- Outbound links are given nofollow, if desired.
Keyword stuffing or using only keyword rich texts in anchors can make search engines inspect your website’s link profile.
When you see an image, you can easily understand what the picture is all about. However, search engines are helpless. They cannot instantly recognize what the image is about.
Image-based search engines like Google Images can contribute to your website traffic. For this reason, it is advised to optimize image alt text and image file name as well.
Verify the following elements when you optimize images for your web pages
- Alt text accurately describes what the image is about
- Alt text includes the relevant keyword – do not stuff the keywords
- Set the character count of alts within 150 *
*There is no character limit set for alt. But it is better to limit the text by 150 characters. The only exceptional case I have come across is http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/how-many-words-in-alt-text-for-google-yahoo-bing/
Google Analytics and Webmasters help you to track the traffic and errors in your website.
Make sure you have added Analytics and Webmasters tracking code on all the pages of your website
A sitemap is an XML file that lists all the important pages or files in your website. It is used by the search engine crawlers as data feed.
Verify the following elements when you create XML Sitemap for your website
- List all the important pages in Sitemap
- Mention tags lastmod, changefreq and priority for the URLs
- Create a Sitemap index file if there are 50000 entries in a single sitemap file
- Store Sitemap file in root directory
- Submit Sitemap in Google Webmasters
- Create HTML sitemap for users and publish on website
Robots.txt lets you block search engines from crawling and accessing the webpages. You can block particular files, URLs, directories and even dynamic URLs using robots.txt
Verify the following elements when you create Robots.txt for your website
- Block only the required pages
- Upload the file to the root directory
- Validate robots.txt in Webmasters
You can also block the web pages using Meta tags. Pages blocked using <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”> would not be displayed in search engines results.
13.Canonicalization and redirects
If your website has duplicate versions, be it content or URL versions, Search Engines will treat it as duplicate content. The link juice will also be devalued. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to redirect all duplicates to one single page using either
301 redirect if you want to permanently move all duplicate versions to one URL so that users will access only one page.
Canonical tag if you want only one page to appear in search results, but the duplicate versions are made available to the visitors.
Page Speed and User experience are directly related. The lesser the loading time of page is, the greater the user experience will be.
For better page speed, use Google’s Page speed insights tool and improve the score to 90 – 100.
On-page optimization is an important process in Search Engine Optimization. Note that, you should also optimize your webpage for users. Google loves you only when your visitors love you.