On-Page SEO Checklist for New and Existing Content

This on-page SEO checklist was developed to provide a basic organic search engine optimization framework for new website content. Please utilize the below checklist as the basis for creating SEO-friendly website pages and blog posts.

7-Point On-Page SEO Checklist

1. Title Links AKA Meta Titles and Page Titles

Title links, also known as page titles and meta titles, are typically not visible on the page or post itself and can usually be found in the web browser title bar or tab. They are often used by search engines as the title of the result snippet and play a significant role in search engine rankings.

Google Search Result Title Link Example

On-Page SEO Checklist Title Link Example

Make sure title links are both relevant and related to the actual content on the page or post. Keep in mind that title links between 50 and 60 characters long prevent search engines from shortening or cutting off the title.

Title Links Tips:

  • Keep below 60 characters to avoid truncation
  • Relevant and related to page content
  • Leftmost words/phrases are weighted heaviest by search engines
  • Must be unique to other title links and on-page headings
  • Be careful not to create title links that compete internally with other content

Related: How Google generates titles for search results

2. Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are also not visible on the page or post and will most likely be used in search engine result snippets. Although meta descriptions are no longer used by Google as a ranking signal they affect search result click-through ratios.

Google Search Result Meta Description Example

SEO Checklist Meta Description Example

Meta Description Tips:

  • Keep below 160 characters
  • Word/phrase use not important/weighted (ignored by search engines), focus writing on intent – getting the user to click

Related: Best practices for creating quality meta descriptions

3. Headings

Make use of short, easy-to-digest text headings within the body content. Stick to using only one H1 and few H2 class headings. Multiple H3, H4 and so on can be used. Order is important, meaning H1 before H2.

While there is no official heading character limit, most SEOs and developers stick to 70 characters or less primarily due to formatting (taking up a large amount of screen space due to large font size). It is definitely possible to exceed 70 characters if headings are formatted to display in a smaller font.

Heading Structure Example

Heading Structure Example

Heading Tips:

  • Use structured heading tags (with only one H1/up to 70 characters)
  • Ensure the page title and H1 are unique (no duplicates)
  • Google generally assigns the majority of ranking signal weight to the first few words of the H1 and H2 – which are great locations to seed your target keyphrases
  • Always test heading formatting on both desktop and mobile devices

Related: Headings style documentation

4. Images

When including images, always fill in the associated title and ALT description fields with text that is both relevant and related to the content where the image is displayed.

Image Tips:

  • Add ALT text to all images above the fold (up to 100 characters)

Related: Image ALT text best practices

5. Internal Linking

Include links to key landing pages when relevant. Also, consider linking back to the new page or post from other relevant and related website content. Internal linking plays a key role in on-site SEO. As such, it is advisable to have internal links reviewed by SEO resources that adhere to an overall linking strategy.

Internal Linking Tips:

  • Avoid excessive internal linking unless it makes sense (like a listing of products), anywhere from 1-5 based on the size of the post is a good range
  • Always adhere to an overall SEO strategy prior to building new links to avoid internally competing content AKA content cannibalization

6. External Linking

Don’t be afraid to link to other resources on the web, especially when it makes sense. Google tends to favor pages and posts with outbound links to external websites that are in alignment with the content focus of the originating link.

As there is no hard and fast rule, the ideal number of external links depends on the amount of content, number of internal links and context (like including a list that contains relevant external links would be valid). Too many links (internal and external) can confuse search engine crawlers and run the risk of diluting content authority.

The best approach with external linking is to be measured. Consider something like utilizing 2-4 internal/external links per section/idea/topic. Think of these links as if you are providing Google with supporting evidence for your content and remember to only use them when it makes sense.

External Linking Tips:

  • Consider adding the “nofollow” link attribute to external links located above the fold (ATF)
  • Always open external links in a new tab

7. Videos

Include video content if relevant and available.

Video Tips:

  • Embed structured data video markup using JSON (preferred by Google)
  • Posting on YouTube and embedding the same video on a post or page is a way to maximize organic search visibility

General On-Page SEO Checklist Tips

  • In terms of overall word count, 500 words should be considered the minimum
  • Write rich, easy to digest, short sentences with paragraphs containing 2-3 sentences
  • Focus on creating intent-based content that incorporates key elements of both SEO and CRO to drive clicks and conversions
  • Check that all content passes Google page experience testing
  • Adhere to a consistent posting schedule – this teaches search engine crawlers how frequently the website is updated (and when to return). If you post weekly, make sure new posts go live at the same time/day every week.

Just the Beginning

Our on-page SEO checklist is a basic guide designed to assist with optimizing website page and post content to improve organic search engine visibility. It is one of the many building blocks of an effective overall SEO strategy.

About Us

Jtree is a Portland SEO and Boise SEO company that has provided organizations throughout the US with consulting and service since 2009.

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On-Page SEO Checklist

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