2021 On-Page SEO Checklist.

We’ve compiled an exhaustive list of on-page SEO factors updated for 2021. Please keep in mind this is only a checklist, and not a full guide to on-page SEO. If you are looking for an on-page SEO guide check ours out, or buy our book on Amazon.

Keep in mind that on-page SEO is really 2-sided: the on-page that is performed on a site-wide level such as the robots.txt file and the responsiveness of your site, and the page-level on-page such as title tags and an h1 tag, for example. We’ve combined both factors here, so be sure to recognize that as you are working.

This on-page SEO checklist is useful when working with a new website audit, or auditing a page or site that you haven’t worked on recently.

Want the printable version? You can make a opy or download a Google Sheets version of our on-page SEO checklist if you’d like!

No-Index Tag Presence

  • Make sure your page isn’t no-indexed
  • could ruin your day

Title Tags

  • proper HTML
  • no more than 512 pixels or about 70 characters
  • does it make sense
  • grammar / spelling check
  • is it helpful to users?
  • contains the keyword you wish to rank for

Meta Description

  • proper HTML and no errors
  • does it make sense?
  • grammar / spelling check
  • is it helpful to users?
  • 512 pixels (x2) or about 140 characters
  • contains keyword you wish to rank for

Social Sharing Buttons

  • can increase engagement
  • might bring in some links

H Tags

  • h1 tag on every page containing target keyword
  • proper HTML
  • does it make sense?
  • grammar / spelling check
  • provides useful heading

LSI / Synonyms

  • use synonyms for keyword
  • use natural language, not robot speak

Rel=Canonical

  • can combat duplicate content
  • use only when necessary

Outbound Links

  • link to helpful websites within your niche
  • link to authoritative sites within your niche

Internal Links

  • link to helpful pages within your website
  • link to most popular pages on your website

Website Speed

  • website should load in under 2 seconds
  • sub-pages should load in under 2 seconds

XML Sitemap

  • Helps Google Crawl
  • Necessary part of any website

Schema Markup

  • Use JSON-LD
  • Use our friendly JSON-LD generator
  • Use appropriate type of markup e.g. review, car dealership, book
  • Depends on type of page

Images

  • Make sure images are helpful
  • do you own the images
  • proper size in pixels
  • proper size in file size
  • alt tags should properly describe the images

URL / permalink

  • does URL make sense
  • proper spelling and grammar
  • don’t use words like “a” or “and”
  • pretty URL’s such as http://www.example.com/my-website not http://www.example.com/p=876

Responsive

  • does page pass the mobile friendly test?
  • does website and page look good on phone, tablet, etc?
  • use Chrome dev tools to emulate devices like iPhone

Render Blocking Resources

  • make sure JS and CSS not loading before DOM
  • make sure allowed in robots.txt
  • use Chrome / Firefox dev tools

SSL / HTTPS

  • is it installed?
  • is it installed correctly?

AMP

  • is it installed?
  • is it installed correctly?
  • is it optimized?

Anchor Text

  • beware of over optimization
  • should be helpful cue
  • contains keywords if possible

Site Structure

  • plan site structure
  • pages in hierarchy? e.g. /phones/cases/iphones vs iphone-cases/iphones

Panda Risk Assessment

  • low quality content
  • grammar / spelling
  • outbound links

Advertisements

  • placement of ads above fold?
  • size of ads
  • ad load time

Robots.txt

  • block admin pages
  • allow robots to crawl important pages
  • dont block CSS or JavaScript

.htaccess

  • pretty permalinks
  • smart redirects if necessary

Modifiers in Title and Description

  • use words like “top” “best” and “2017”
  • score long tail keywords

Keyword Density

  • use target keyword in first part of article
  • not too dense

Word Count

  • studies show longer content can sometimes rank better
  • be aware of overall word count

Bounce Rate and Dwell Time

  • keep visitors on site as long as possible
  • use tricks like “similar posts”

Encourage Engagement

  • blog comments may help with ranking
  • signals like “like” “heart” and “upvote” might help

Content Freshness

  • if you update content, consider updating the date
  • don’t post content just to post it
  • Google likes fresh websites

Privacy Policy

  • a good idea to have one anyway
  • adds legitimacy to site

Main Navigation

  • Should link to most popular pages
  • internal linking opportunity
  • Only link to most important pages

Side and Bottom Navigation

  • internal linking opportunity
  • link to most popular pages

Server Optimization

  • check for 404s and other errors
  • make sure old websites not indexed / present
  • check for malware
  • security check / scanning

Evergreen Content

  • Be sure to update for accuracy
  • Link to internally from website

Hidden CSS or text?

  • look for display:none
  • white text on white background for e.g.

Blackhat On-Page SEO

  • resist temptation for easy win
  • avoid using duplicate content
  • stuffing keywords in tags
  • sneaky redirects

Google Search Console installed and verified

Google Analytics installed and working