SEO Checklist for Optimizing On-Page: 2017 update

September 4th, 2017

SEO- on Page- Check List

This is 2017 – and not 2005 or 2010. So, you need to stop doing on page SEO changes like you used to do 10 years back.

Don’t get it wrong. The title tags, keywords, content etc. all of that is important even today. But there’s something more that you will have to do if you want your website to stand out.

This on-page SEO checklist, therefore, will talk about how to make your web page SEO optimized and search friendly keeping 2017 updates in mind.

The SEO Checklist for On-Page Optimization

Title Tags:

Title tags when optimized are the single most dominant factor for optimizing the web page.
You will need to identify a relevant keyword for your on-page and use the keyword in the title tag, preferably towards the beginning. You may also use modifiers for the title tag so as to make it more helpful for users.

The title tag should also be within 55-60 characters and make sense.

For example – Keyword: SEO website design.

All the results have the keywords mentioned in some form (there’s even exact match) in the title tag; the tag makes sense, is compelling and is less than 60 characters. Verdict: Approved!

The Meta Description

Meta Descriptions might not directly affect ranking in SERP. But a compelling and well-written meta description with the keyword is a marketing copy for your brand and can dramatically contribute towards increasing CTRs!

Meta Descriptions might not directly affect ranking in SERP. But a compelling and well-written meta description with the keyword is a marketing copy for your brand and can dramatically contribute towards increasing CTRs!

Meta Descriptions too should be grammatically correct, conveying the message and within 140-150 characters. It usually appears as: (<meta name=”description” content=”your 150 characters text”>)

The Header <h1><h2><h3> Tags: 1 comes before 2 and 3 and 4 – so, simply put, your <h1> should be present on-page before <h2> or <h3> or <h4>.

The important part is that a page should have only one <h1> and at least one sub-header tagged as <h2>, <h3> and <h4> accordingly.

Most CMS’s like WordPress will automatically identify the page title as <h1> but if you are doing it on your own, then self-tag the title as <h1>.

The Header should come with a keyword, be grammatically correct and should be related to the content on-the-page. This will help search engines to identify the primary keyword your page is trying to rank for.

The Page Content

Many of the SEO ranking factors are incorporated into this one thing – the on-page content. This can be a web page or a blog, but the components are the same.

Content Length or Word Count

This is important and tricky. How long should your copy be? Ideally, your blog or website content should not be less than 350-500 words so that all necessary keywords and targeted phrases can be included.

Research, however, shows that longer content has better chances of ranking higher on search results. So, if your page comes with unique and quality content, and 1000+ words, it has a better scope of ranking.

There is also the problem of duplicate page content that should be avoided at any cost.

It is also a good practice to revisit old blogs and on-page content from time to time to add fresh content and update it as per current SEO guidelines. One can also try repurposing old content for best results.

Target search phrase or keyword

This requires the use of analytics, tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush for backlinks, a bit of competitor research and LSI keywords (people sometimes use the word ‘synonyms’ instead).

The idea is to use keywords that come naturally to people. The LSI keywords will help to come up with phrases that are related and most likely to be searched for.

Keyword density

For optimizing web pages for search engines, it is an accepted best practice to use targeted keyword within the first 100 words of the post, with the secondary keywords being used appropriately throughout the content.

Optimized Images and graphics

Visual content has more appeal and a long-lasting impression. The right images convey the message faster, explaining why audio-visual content is gaining on popularity.

Textual content should, therefore, be complemented with suitable images. Images should come with ALT Text containing the keyword since search engines will “read” the text in order to identify images. The text as such should be descriptive.

Image file names must also contain the keyword in order to optimize images for search engines.


 The use of multimedia might not be a direct ranking factor, but it certainly increases engagement and can reduce bounce rate. Modern websites and blogs accordingly come with more images, audios and even videos for higher audience engagement.

When it comes to content quality, “dwell time” is, therefore, a powerful indicator. Multimedia content can engage audiences. Hence, there will be lesser chances of visitors hitting the back button for such pages.

Page loading speed

Here’s a question for you? Would you be a frequent visitor at Starbucks if the barista took over 15 minutes to serve an espresso? Definitely not.

The same can be said about websites as well. Research shows that 75% page visitors are unlikely to re-visit a page if it takes more than 4 seconds to load!

Run this quick Page Speed Test to identify where your website is today. The results usually come with suggestive changes that can be fixed visiting Google Search Console. Alternatively, do look into image size, hosting platform etc.

Inbound links: Wikipedia is probably the best example of how interlinking to other pages can be done.

It is recommended that 2-3 interlinking pages be added for each page. Interlinking will improve page authority and assist search engine bots to navigate.

For Example:  WikipediaSEO keywords
Outbound links

Not including outbound links in the web page is probably the number one SEO mistake people make.
It involves linking relevant content from external sources to your page. From an SEO perspective, this practice makes it easier for Google to identify the page’s subject/topic.
You should, however, identify only highly authoritative websites for linking. Ideally, 2-4 outbound links for a 1000-1200 word page is acceptable. At present, pages with over 100 links get penalized unless it is absolutely necessary!

For example, in the blog titled: 7 Essential Tips for Small Businesses to get started with Social Media

Those were some of the specifications one has to keep in mind while working on webpage content. The SEO checklist, however, has not yet ended.

Let’s look at some of the other techniques for search engine optimization one has to keep in mind:

Social Sharing

You can’t be shy about getting yourself heard or your brand noticed. Though not typically an SEO factor for better ranking, social shares improve popularity and even traffic.

Social media presence also impacts ORM. For brands especially, social media optimization will lead to owning the first page for all brand name search.

Eg: MetricFox, a popular digital marketing agency


Shorter URLs with the keyword are preferred to longer URLs. There was a time when the folder structure for URLs was in vogue – but today, it’s the short URLs that are in.

The Sitemap

When it comes to indexing your web page, XML Sitemaps are necessary. Sitemaps inform Google crawlers about the structure of your websites and identify pages that require indexing.

You need to start by creating an XML Sitemap and then submitting it to Google Search Console. To create one, visit the Google XML Sitemap WordPress plugin.

In a nutshell, these are some of the best practice SEO techniques that you can use for your website to keep the on-page optimized. Remember, SEO and/or SEM cannot be achieved in a day and if you feel that this checklist is too much for you to adopt and implement, you can always get SEO services from a reliable vendor.


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