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Every time I read something about on-page SEO, it seems like the authors are always just beating a dead horse, or at least trying to teach that dead horse about meta tags and keyword density.

Any SEO who has been around a little while knows there is much more to on-page optimization than just keywords and meta tags. There are plenty of advanced SEO strategies that improve your site, not only in the eyes of the search engines, but also from your visitors’ perspective.

Rather than drown you in another simple list of tips and charts that you’ll find most places, the folks at Backlinko decided to create an infographic, which you can see below, that you can turn to if you want to move your on-page SEO past the very basics. As a bonus, they even included the tips and charts on their page, for those of you who prefer the traditional style.

On-Page SEO Infrographic

Source: Backlinko

ChecklistThings go in and out of favor in SEO all the time, but some things seem to never change. While content creation is the new buzzword and link building is enduring a big face lift, on page optimization stands tall as a piece of tradition surviving on, much as it has for years. Of course, there have been some tweaks, but largely on page optimization remains as one of the easiest methods of site optimization to implement and understand.

On page optimization is also special in SEO in that we know fairly certainly the best ways to handle this type of optimization. Everything else may be up for some level of debate, but on page SEO can be distilled down to a simple checklist, such as the one CanuckSEO recently shared. This checklist works with any type of CMS or page editing method you want to use, all you have to do is make sure you follow through with every step, in order.

  1. Page Title – Each and every page needs a unique and informative page title, and they all need to be less than 70 characters. Okay, the 70 character limit is a guesstimate which many will question, but the point is you need to distill every page into a short and sweet title. Trying to use generic or repetitive titles won’t get anyone, including search engines, interested in what you’re offering.
  2. Keyword importance – When adding tags or keywords, try to keep them arranged left to right, or in descending importance. Search engines read tags and keywords as a hierarchy  so it is best to show them the most important first.
  3. META Descriptions – Each page also needs its own description. Search engines look for these descriptions to understand what your page is essentially about, and searchers are generally hesitant about sites without descriptions in the search engines. Let people know about the content you want them to see.
  4. H1 Headline – Every page needs a headline, just like newspapers and your old school papers. Every page only needs one, but without a title the page is just woefully incomplete.
  5. Body Text – Write your body text as you think others would like to read it, but also be sure to include your keywords. Don’t go crazy and force the keywords in the text in ways that don’t make sense, but make sure you’re keeping your message targeted and using the words you want people to search for. Moderation is definitely key here.
  6. Image SEO – This is where most people get lazy. Images without names, or strings of letters and numbers for their names, don’t have the weight that images with full titles, alt-text, and descriptions will. Keeping content organized and fully tagged is better for search engines, so don’t skimp.
  7. On Page Internal Links – Links are scrutinized by Google just as much as every other page element, if not more, so keep your on page links fully readable and relevant. Trying to pigeonhole links just to squeeze them in will only lower your relevancy overall, so keep links well focused.

Most importantly, the key to good on page SEO is consistency and organization without resorting to using the same titles or headers for every page. Search engines have been able to tell when SEOs slack with their on page SEO, so don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Keeping your pages, images, and links well organized will benefit your work as much as it will help how the search engines see you.

SEO as a whole can be split into two different categories: on-page and off-page optimization techniques. On-page optimization is focused on everything you can do to boost your rankings directly on your webpage. Off-page SEO concerns aspects that function elsewhere, like backlink management.

Some might argue that on-page optimization has been weakened by Google updates that have sought to weed out pages using methods like keyword stuffing. While this is kind of true, it does not fully discredit on-page methods.

You can still take advantage of proper keyword usage, titles, and URL management, but as Matt Cutts puts it, “there’s diminishing returns.” Christian Arno from Search Engine Journal explains what still works in on-page optimization, and while some of the old techniques have been cut down, the most effective techniques are still tried and true.

On-page optimization goes back to the very beginning of SEO. It has also changed a lot since then. In the old days, on-page SEO was mostly about keyword usage. While you can still use this aspect to create some optimization, it won’t do as much as you would like. This is because on-page SEO has been expanding.

Instead of focusing on keywords, focus on what your users want. You don’t need to repeat keywords your users may be searching for, you just need to have the answers to their questions. The keywords you do use, should be more circled around a theme than they should be trying to exactly match what your users are looking for.

Basically what I’m saying is, if you are still trying to exactly match what your users are looking for, you are as likely to be penalized as you are rewarded. However, if you have content talking about every facit of a topic, users looking for that topic will find you.

It is also important that every bit of information offered on the results page reflect your business and your brand. If the title says the article is about guitars, but the description is about amplifiers – or worse, completely off topic, like kittens – people will be confused and move on.

If you want to see how on-page optimization has gotten here, Almog Ramrajkar has an article on the evolution of the topic. What is important to note is, the old ways are not dead. They still work, but they are no longer all you can do. The few tips I offered here are just the tip of the iceberg to what on-page optimzation offers now.