20 On-Page SEO Audit Checklist Items to Improve Your Site Rankings

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SEO Audit Checklist

SEO Audit Checklist

Are you looking to bring new visitors and future customers to your site? If you haven’t been getting the traffic you want through search engine result rankings, it might be time to audit your on-page SEO.

There are a lot of different moving parts when it comes to optimizing your on-page SEO. Not only do you want to optimize elements like title tags, meta descriptions, and H tags, but you also want to show your EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) by providing information that offers real value to visitors.

Auditing a site can feel more overwhelming than just starting over from scratch and building a brand-new site. However, with our on-page SEO audit checklist, you can go through your site pages and ensure you are in the best possible position to improve your site rankings.

1. Meta Descriptions

In Google’s search results, the text that shows up below your title tag is known as the meta description.

Meta Description Example

While these don’t directly affect your rankings in Google, you can get more clicks when your meta description is well-written.

2. Title Tags

One of the most important SEO factors is your title tags. These let Google know what each of your pages is about.

Title Tag Examples

You’ll want your title tags to be unique for every page while incorporating relevant keywords. At the same time, you don’t want to over-optimize your title tags… you want them to be well-written and natural. Typically, title tags should be between 50 and 65 characters long.

3. Web Copy

It has always been important to prioritize creating page content that satisfies your users’ intent, but it’s more essential than ever with the recent Google Helpful Content Update.

When you create a new page for your site or audit your existing pages, you’ll want to make sure the copy is relevant, written for humans (and not search engines,) and provides value to your audience. Incorporating keywords is essential, but you don’t want to overdo it.

Writing Website Copy

You should shoot for at least 300 to 500 words of copy on each page with relevant keywords naturally interwoven into the text. Your copy should answer the query that led the user to your site, and each page should have its own unique content rather than duplicate content from another page on your site.

4. Header Tags

On each page, your copy and content should be broken up using header tags (h1, h2, h3). You’ll want to include your primary keyword in these tags.

Header Tag Usage

While this won’t dramatically impact your rankings on its own, it’s an integral part of a holistic on-page SEO approach.

5. External Links

Many people don’t like the idea of including external links on their site pages. After all, you finally got someone to show up and look at your website. Why would you try and send them somewhere else?

An External Link

It’s essential to try and overcome this fear, as external links are an important part of on-page SEO and another way you can provide value to your users.

That being said, you should never force external links in an unnatural way. Instead, use them where they make sense and prioritize links to high-authority sites.

6. Internal Links

Including internal links within your site pages can help Google understand the purpose of your site and what it’s all about.

An Internal Link

In addition, users and search engines alike are better able to navigate your site when you include internal links.

7. URL Structure

You might not give much thought to your URL when making a page on your site, but it’s more important than you might initially assume. Writing a short and descriptive URL can help your audience quickly understand what the page is about when it pops up in the search results.

Structure of a URL

Don’t worry; you don’t need to overthink this one. Typically, the easiest way to create a short yet descriptive URL is to use your primary keyword as the URL slug.

8. Keywords

Keywords are like most good things– use them with moderation. Back in the old days, the name of the game was keyword stuffing. As search engines have gotten smarter, though, pages with keywords forced into every other sentence are downgraded, and priority is given to sites that use keywords in a natural and helpful way.

Searching For Keywords

Here are some of the places you’ll want to incorporate your primary keyword:

  • Frontloaded in your title tag
  • Your URL
  • In the first 150 words of your copy
  • In your header tags
  • Naturally in your copy, when relevant

In your copy, you’ll want to use synonyms and LSI keywords instead of the same verbatim keyword repeatedly. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, which refers to conceptually related keywords. These similar but not precisely the same words and phrases will help the search engines build a deeper understanding of what type of content is on your page.

9. Website Structure

To help improve your site rankings, you’ll want to ensure you have dedicated pages for each core topic or keyword you want to rank for.

Structuring a Website

Search engines are hard at work to show users the most relevant web pages for their search queries, and having a well-designed site structure can help them understand that your site is the perfect result for queries related to your topic, service, product, or site.

10. Schema Markups

A form of microdata, schema markup creates an enhanced description that will show up in search results. You may have heard of these descriptions referred to as rich snippets.

Schema Markup Examples

Rich snippets are known to help make your site appear more prominently in SERPs and improve your click-through rates, even though there isn’t evidence that microdata directly impacts organic search rankings.

11. Canonicalization

Another important consideration when auditing your site is determining whether each page is only loading with one URL format. If your site is loading at both http://yourwebsite.com and http://www.yourwebsite.com, Google will consider the two seemingly identical sites as two different sites.

For this reason, you want to make sure that you can focus all of your attention and efforts on building the reputation and authority of one website in the eyes of Google.

Canonical URL Tag

If you have multiple URL versions of the same page (which isn’t unusual among e-commerce sites), you want to communicate to Google which page you want to rank. You can do this using the rel=”canonical” tag.

12. Loading Speed

Many people don’t realize just how important loading speed is for search result rankings. How long it takes for your pages to load is something that Google takes into account when determining where you’ll rank in a search result, and it can also have a big impact on your bounce rate.

Website Loading Speed

Think about it– what do you do when you go to a site, and it takes too long to load? If you’re like most people, you head straight back to the search results page and select another result. However, people are busy and don’t like waiting, so you want to make sure you don’t give them a good reason to leave your site and go elsewhere.

13. Image Optimization

Humans are inherently visual creatures, and researchers have found that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Images on your site can help keep your visitors engaged, emphasize a point you’re making, and help make your site more memorable, to name a few benefits.

Google isn’t able to look at images the way we are, but that doesn’t mean your image selection isn’t essential when trying to improve your search rankings. This means that you’ll want to help by optimizing your filenames and image alt tags.

Optimizing an Image

Another plus is that you’ll have a better chance of ranking in image searches when you optimize your images.

To help your images help you, you should use a filename when you save the image that briefly describes it. When you’re uploading it to your page, you’ll want to also write a descriptive alt tag.

14. NAP

If your primary intent is to optimize for local search results, presenting your contact information consistently is essential. It’s generally recommended to put your full NAP (name, address, phone number) in the footer of your site so that it’s always easy to find. On top of that, you’ll want to have a prominent “contact us” page that lets your audience quickly access all of your contact info.

Online NAP Listing

It can really hurt your local rankings if your contact info isn’t consistent across the web. If you have a brick-and-mortar store or office and you want to show up on the map when users search for things relevant to your business, auditing your NAP across the web is a must.

15. Blog

One of the easiest ways to continuously and regularly add new content to your site is to have a blog. When you have a blog, you’re creating more chances for Google to find your site and list it as a relevant result for search queries.

Creating Blog Content

Having a blog does more than just help you rank higher for more keywords, though. It also can provide tremendous value to your user and help you become an authority in your niche.

16. High-Quality Page Content

Any thorough site audit should take a look at the content on your pages and clean it up when necessary.

Ways to Improve Page Content Quality

Here are some things you’ll want to look for:

  • Adding visual content that is relevant and engaging
  • Incorporating both short and long-tail keywords
  • Addressing and solving the problem that brought a user to your site
  • Optimize your pages for conversions using CTAs to product pages, offers, or other useful posts
  • Creating content that people will want to link to and share

The content on your pages isn’t just a way to rank higher on Google. This is where you can tell your site visitors that you have something of value to offer and help build awareness of your brand. While all of the other on-page SEO points are important, creating high-quality content should be the central mission of the process.

17. Sitemap

When auditing your site, you’ll want to ensure you have an XML sitemap in place.

Creating a Sitemap

Your work isn’t done yet, though– you’ll also want to submit it to the Google Search Console.

18. Social Media Integration

There are a lot of benefits to utilizing the power of social media in your digital marketing strategies, and ranking higher in search result pages is one of them.

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to set up profiles on major social media sites. You’ll likely find that some social media sites are better suited to your niche or industry, but the point is that you want to make it easy for people to share your content through social media.

Social Media Integration

Beyond setting up pages, you’ll want your social profiles to be integrated into your website, complete with “share” buttons on your pages. This is particularly important for blog pages and other content users might want to send to friends and colleagues.

19. Mobile Optimization

It’s no secret that more and more people are surfing the web using their mobile devices these days.

Mobile Website Optimization

For this reason, Google has been increasingly putting more emphasis on sites having mobile versions. In fact, they’ve switched to mobile-first indexing where available.

20. Design and Usability

One critical factor for SEO is website design and usability. Not only will it help you gain traffic and rankings, but it’s also crucial for turning that traffic into conversions.

Designing a Website

Your site should be easy to use and navigate for first-time visitors while also having a design that inspires confidence in your brand. The actions you want people to take should be clear right from the start when they visit your page, and you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any broken links or usability issues that could damage your site performance or SEO rankings.

Is It Time to Audit Your On-Page SEO?

If this sounds like a lot of work, you aren’t wrong. The days of keyword stuffing and showing up as the top result for a Google search are over– you have to put a lot of time and effort into driving traffic to your site through search engines.

Auditing On Page SEO

Don’t worry if you’re concerned that auditing your on-page SEO is going to be too much of a time commitment– we’ve got you covered.

Blue Pig Media is a full-service digital marketing company that can help you with any and all of your digital marketing and SEO needs. If you’re looking for the right team to audit your site and help improve your rankings, contact us today.

David Curtis
David Curtis
David Curtis is the founder and CEO of Blue Pig Media. With twenty years of successful execution in sales, marketing and operations, for both clients and vendors, he has a bottom line ROI driven mentality rooted in metrics driven performance across highly competitive global corporate initiatives.

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