Our Complete On-page SEO Checklist to Boost Rankings in 2022

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Quality search engine optimization requires time, thought, and top-tier marketing ability and tools. Though it is a large investment, the consistent and sustainable value that thorough SEO cultivates will greatly outweigh the cost. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, SEO is the foundation of all digital marketing strategies. It begins with a website, it’s strengthened through keyword and consumer persona research, and it ends with long-term success in marketing and in business.

Paid advertising is likely the best way to achieve immediate results in digital marketing; however, you can only achieve more results by investing more money into campaigns. Search engine optimization enables you to gain lasting and steadily increasing reach across your target audiences.

Effective SEO is achieved through two main categories: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. There is a third category known as technical optimization, but it is not universally regarded as its own branch since it largely incorporates elements of both on-page and off-page SEO.

In this guide we will focus on on-page search engine optimization and the various factors that make up industry-leading SEO. We will discuss:

  • What is On-page SEO?
  • Why is On-page SEO important?
  • On-page SEO Checklist for 2022

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page search engine optimization is the process of optimizing both the content as well as back-end and HTML elements on your website to improve a page’s ranking for mission-critical keywords. On-page SEO consists of many factors such as meta tags (page title and description), internal linking structure, header tags (H1s, H2s, etc.), and keyword density and context.

Why Is On-Page SEO Important?

By “optimizing” the page, the content and goals of the page become clearer to search engines and users. If that is accomplished, search engines will rank your pages more favorably and then ideally, you will attract more organic traffic, which (again, ideally) leads to higher conversions.

On-Page SEO Checklist for 2022

Without further ado, here is our comprehensive checklist for high-level on-page SEO in 2022.

1. Quality page content

The most important factor in all marketing channels, especially SEO, is always content. You’ve probably heard the expression a million times “content is king”. Well, it’s such a popular, if cliche, phrase in marketing because it’s so true. Search engines continue to place higher value on the quality of content on a site as it relates to the page’s ranking. That’s because they know that consumers want only the highest quality content during their search journey. There are simply too many options for the modern consumer to have to suffer through poorly developed content. As AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities of search engines like Google have improved over recent years, they’ve been able to better understand the contents of a page in order to rank it for key terms. No longer can SEOs and copywriters simply publish keyword-heavy content with a few other clever SEO “hacks” in order to rank well for high volume terms. Improve your content and your rankings will improve with it.

2. Title tag

The title tag is a hugely important factor in on-page SEO. It’s typically the first consideration of both users and search engines regarding the value of a page. This is your first, and possibly last, chance to attract a searcher into your site. Keep your titles concise and keyword focused. Ideally, they should be 50-60 characters in length and include 2-3 keywords (or one specific, long-tail keyword). This immediately informs users and search engines what the page is about, so don’t miss your chance.

3. Meta description

Almost as important to users as the title tag (although not a ranking factor for Google), the meta description is another way to convey to a user what your page contains and how it will accomplish the goals of their search. This tag appears directly below the title tag on search engines and should be between 130-160 characters. Again, be direct, concise, and include keywords. This, along with the title tag, is essentially an advertisement displayed on a SERP, so make it compelling enough to gain the traffic and hopefully a conversion.

4. Headers

Header tags (or headings) are an HTML element that further a search engine's and user’s understanding of your page. For search engines, it should directly label an important section of content to express its purpose and composition. For users, these are helpful because it again, directly states what a section is about, which improves readability and can thus make your content more engaging.

5. CTAs

Like descriptions, CTAs likely won’t have any impact on your page’s ranking; however, they will matter a great deal towards your ability to guide a user through their search journey, and to an eventual conversion.

6. Internal linking

Clean, well-structured internal linking is a highly efficient way of improving your website’s crawlability for search engines and navigability for users. The more easily a search engine can crawl your website, the more quickly it will be indexed and ranked favorably. This is accomplished by having a logical linking pattern throughout your site and content. Avoid including irrelevant internal links in page copy because as the site is crawled, a link will send the crawler to another page that may not be necessary, which means you’ve slowed down the process for no reason. Additionally, this serves users by guiding them through your site. For instance, don’t link a “how-to” article to another random “how-to” article. Instead, include a link to a relevant product or service page so that the consumer can progress further through the marketing funnel and closer towards a conversion. Always keep internal linking simple and clean; don’t make a mess of things on the back-end or front-end if it can easily be avoided.

7. Structured data markup

You may know it as “schema” or “structured data” or another variation of these terms. Regardless, markup is an on-page element that is considered more technical. Schema is one of the most important factors involved with how search engines crawl, interpret, and rank your page; but it also enables many features of search engines such as “featured snippets”, FAQ content, People Also Ask, and many more. What these do is expand your SERP (search engine results page) presence to improve your ability to appear and appeal to consumers as they search for your keywords. The more useful information you can offer users on a SERP, the more likely they are to enter your site to find more useful information.

8. Optimized URLs

This is a frequently overlooked element of on-page SEO, but not because it isn’t an important one. A page’s URL should almost mirror the title tag. Keep It short and include keywords so that it’s easily understood by search engines. Moreover, often the URL is included in search results snippets and will thus be considered by users before entering the page. For that reason, it’s even more important to focus on conciseness and keyword targeting.

9. Page performance (Core Web Vitals)

Core Web Vitals are on-page elements belonging to the technical branch of SEO. In recent years, Google has stated that the following three technical factors hold great significance in determining a site’s performance. They are: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). We’ll dive deeper into these factors in another guide, but essentially, they measure loading speed, delays, and interactiveness of a webpage. When these factors are optimized, your site performs well and is both more appealing to users and better functioning for search engines (meaning better rankings).

10. Optimized images and media

Optimizing images, videos, and other media plays a great role in optimizing Core Web Vitals but is worth mentioning on its own. Simple things such as reducing file size and including alt-text can go a long way in improving your page’s SEO and should not be skipped in the process.

Contact Nxt Era Marketing to Boost Your SEO Rankings

All of these checklist items are crucial to the success of your SEO campaigns but the only way to be certain they’re achieved as efficiently as possible is to partner with a highly skilled and experienced digital marketing agency such as Nxt Era Marketing. We have the knowledge and tools to plan, execute, and measure the success of your SEO and organic marketing. Contact us today and schedule your free marketing consultation.

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