A Checklist for Basic On-Page Optimization Factors

There are so many things to keep in mind when it comes to basic on-page SEO optimization factors. As you create and review web pages, be sure to keep this checklist in mind. Referring to it will prevent you from making common mistakes as well as from overlooking simple things you can do to optimize your pages.

Review the Robots.txt File

This item is at the top of our list because it’s one of the most important basic on-page optimization factors. This file, which is typically located at www.domain.com/robots.txt must be reviewed to ensure that no key content is being prevented from being crawled/searched by the search engines. If you see this, “Disallow:/ directory name or page name,” consider whether that location should be easily accessible to search engines. Remove anything that you consider being core content.

Crawl Errors

Use Webmaster Tools to identify crawl errors and then resolve any issues. Most crawl errors can be easily corrected with 301 redirects. Use common sense when deciding which page you are going to redirect to.

URL Structure

Looking at URL structure needs to be one of the basic on-page optimization factors that are given top priority if your site utilizes query strings for page URLs. The best option is to use a URL structure that is friendly to search engines because it makes sense to search engines as well as to users.

Implement Canonicalization

A variety of content management systems, like Magento, allow multiple web pages to be accessed through multiple URLs. This can be tricky from the perspective of search marketing, so you should add a canonical tag that will reference one main page that Google can index and assign PageRank to. This is one of the basic on-page optimization factors that needs to be a high priority to all web administrators.

Page Speed

Use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to analyze your website’s page speed. This tool will not only tell you how quickly Google can load your website. It will also provide you with a set of recommendations as to how you can improve your page loading speed.

Multi-Device Friendliness

Technically, making your site multi-device friendly isn’t one of the true basic on-page optimization factors, but it’s still an important factor to mention here due to its importance in the area of conversion. Your website should be responsive to a wide variety of devices, which means it needs to resize to whatever device it’s being accessed on.

Title Tags

You should locate your main keyword and any variations in the page’s title tag. You should target one main keyword per page. Don’t try to fool search engines by optimizing more than one page for the same keyword. Incorporate your title tag in a manner that seems natural.

H Tags

H tags, otherwise known as heading tags, should be used strategically. You want to make sure that you’re using headings correctly without over-optimizing them. Enter your primary keyword in an H1 tag and then divide the rest of your content with subsequent H tags, starting with H2, then H3, etc. Use slight variations of the primary keyword in each tag as opposed to using the exact same primary keyword over and over.

Meta Descriptions

Although meta descriptions are no longer used as ranking signals, they’re still important in terms of on-page optimization because they’re the first contact that potential customers/subscribers have with your brand.


Gone are the days when you can stuff a keyword into some copy and get credit for it. You have to create unique, educational, and entertaining content. Write for your users, not for the search engines.

If you follow this checklist when creating and reviewing web pages, you will be in good shape in terms of search engine optimization.

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