Onpage SEO Checklist: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

  • James Notaris

    CPA, ESQ, Legal Editor

  • Steve Longo

    Digital Marketer

    In Brief:

  • Onpage SEO is critical for helping a site rank well in search engines like Google. 

  • Best practices should be followed to give your content a competitive edge in search. 

  • Find out how to do just that with our onpage SEO checklist for 2021 here!

Even the best-looking and most technically-solid will go nowhere without onpage SEO

Without it, your website is sure to flounder in the SERPs, something you simply can’t afford these days given the tough competition and importance of online search in peoples’ lives. But how do you go about optimizing for onpage SEO?

Fortunately, we’ve put together a complete onpage SEO checklist so you can go into 2021 with a competitive edge. Check out these techniques to boost your website and help your brand attract new traffic and leads in 2021!

What is Onpage SEO?

Onpage SEO is the process of optimizing a website directly in order to boost its position in search rankings. Examples include targeting high-value keywords in your content, using best practices for meta tags, creating quality longform content that interests and engages users, and more. 

Onpage SEO Checklist for 2021

Ready to update your onpage SEO checklist for 2021? Take a look below to give your website a boost!

Perform Keyword Research to Find the Best Keywords 

First, be sure to conduct keyword research to find the right keywords. 

While it may be tempting to pick out a general keyword to target with extremely high search volume, the chances that you’ll rank for it are probably low. Instead, focus on relevant long-tail keywords within your niche, which have less competition and usually a higher conversion rate. 

Use Best Practices for Incorporating Keywords into Your Content

After choosing a primary keyword for your content, it’s time to use best practices to improve your odds of ranking for it!

This means making sure it’s not already being targeted by another piece of content in order to avoid keyword cannibalization, while also researching about 3-5 secondary keywords to incorporate into your content and taking search intent and the sales funnel into account to best determine how to craft content around your target keyword. 

When writing, be sure to include your target keyword in your article’s title and drop it within the first and last 100 words of the content. Keep the density of the keyword about 1-3% of the content (using it one to three times per 100 words) in order to avoid keyword stuffing but also ensuring that you’ll have a fighting chance of ranking for it in search engines like Google. Including keywords into subheadings is another technique that should be done too. 

Write High-Quality, Longform Content

Keywords are a crucial part of content creation, but only one part. You need to use content and SEO copywriting best practices too in order to help your content rank high in search. 

That means striving to create high-quality content that’s as unique, original, and informative as possible. Aim for longform content of at least 750 words and make sure your content is well-researched, proofread, and edited in order to ensure that it’s as informative and polished as possible for users. 

Make Your Content User-Friendly

While it’s very important to make sure your content is high-quality and informative, make sure it’s user-friendly too!

That means cutting out the technical jargon in favor of writing that’s more accessible and easy to understand for your audience, plus breaking up your content into brief, skimmable paragraphs divided by subheaders where appropriate and using numbered or bullet point lists often. By doing this, your readers can better understand it, increasing the odds that they’ll return to your site and even become leads or customers at some point. 

A digital marketer checks Google Analytics and points to a computer screen to check onpage SEO

Optimize Your Meta Tags and URLs

Optimizing meta tags and URLs is a tried-and-true onpage SEO technique that’s essential for ranking high in the SERPs. 

To do this, front load your title tag with your target keyword followed by a secondary keyword and your brand name. It’s also a good idea to make your title tags as questions or by adding the current year to it, both of which are proven ways to increase CTR. Likewise, include your target keyword in your meta description while also making sure it’s engaging and offering a call-to-action (CTA) to prompt users to click through to your content. 

For URLs, be sure to include keywords in them while making them brief and descriptive. Avoid any unnecessary or random characters in them, which only confuse users and make it harder for them to remember the web address of your content. 

Add Optimized Images and Videos

Adding images and videos to written content pieces is another solid onpage SEO strategy. 

When doing this, don’t just pick any random image to place in your article. Instead, use relevant images placed strategically to break up your content for the user. Even more importantly, optimize the images by including your target keywords in the image’s file name and alt tag for an SEO boost. Videos can also improve the user experience and increase dwell time on your site, which in turn can boost your SEO. 

Include Both Internal and External Links 

Finally, be sure to include both internal and external links in your content. 

When most people think of links in terms of SEO, they think of link building. However, they also play a key role in onpage SEO! Be sure to include several internal links in your content to help improve user’s navigation and strengthen your internal linking structure, giving your site an SEO edge. At the same time, external links to high-quality, trustworthy websites can help establish that your own content is well-referenced and trustworthy in its own right. 

Update Your Onpage SEO Checklist Today! 

By following this onpage SEO checklist, your site will be better prepared to compete in the SERPs. In addition to optimizing your onpage SEO, be sure to make sure your website is technically-optimized and benefits from strong offsite SEO and link building to truly give it a competitive edge in 2021 and beyond!


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