The 9-Point on-Page SEO Checklist for Startups

On page seo: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains a mystery to many startups. For some reason, many assume it’s a complicated process reserved for big organizations. 

The truth is SEO is broad when it comes to exploring the online space and can be overwhelming. A better alternative would be to break it down into different sections, and explore each area at a time.

On page seo is one of those broad areas that affect optimization. Others include technical SEO, off -page SEO and local SEO.

On-page SEO helps search engines understand a website and its content to determine a visitor’s search intent.

This article looks at the various on page seo aspects that would significantly affect site ranking for startups and beginners.

Quality Content

Once upon a time, blog owners used to spin content to rank on Google. Keyword stuffing was an open secret. 

As long as the content had enough keywords thrown here and there, ranking on search engine results pages (SERP) was guaranteed. 

This is no longer the case.

In February 2011, Google made a major update famously known as the Google Panda. This update aimed to weed out low-quality websites and at the same time reward websites with superior content.

Thin content with irrelevant and little information may not cut it. Duplicate content and content offering little value to your visitors may render your site unreachable.

Creating well-researched, interesting, and unique content is the way to go. This may also reduce bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors that leave (bounce) your site without taking any action.

Always ensure the content is attractive to the reader. Remember, an average person’s attention span is 8 seconds

A clean, logical page encourages a higher time on page, reducing bounce rate. Google favors such pages.

Besides good quality, the number of blog posts matters too. 

According to research by Hubspot, sites with 16 plus blog posts per month receive 3.5 times more traffic than sites with fewer blog posts.

Keyword Research

Now that you have quality content on the website, have you thoroughly done keyword research? There is a big difference between blog content written as a hobby and content written with SERP in mind. 

Do you want to rank on SERPs? Are you looking at getting organic traffic from Google?

Sometimes, you don’t have to struggle so much looking for traffic. 

Ensuring both primary and long-tail keywords are well incorporated in your content is a battle half won.

Besides the two, the use of LSI (latent semantic keywords) keywords also comes in handy. These are semantically related keywords that assist Google in figuring out the overall page topic on a site.

Back Linking and Topic Clusters

Internal Linking

After creating awesome content, it’s now time to interlink the content both within (link juice) and without. Internal links should be contextually relevant to each other.

Topic clusters represent a group of related content covering a broad topic. This helps Google understand the overall theme of your website and the expertise. 

They also give a better user experience since visitors find related information in one place.

A pillar page is the main page that links to related pages while supporting pages refer to the pieces of related topics linked to the pillar page. The pillar page is the main page at the center of attention attached to the main keyword. It may rank for other keywords, but attention should be on the main keyword. It should satisfy readers at all stages.

Supportive pages, on the other hand, cover different subtopics in-depth. Longtail and LSI keywords should be used here.

Internal linking and Topic clusters help in SEO in various ways:

·         Helps build site authority

·         Captivates visitors at each awareness stage

·         Since the anchors have a relevant keyword, internal linking gives an extra SEO boost

·         Drive more organic traffic

·         Reduces bounce rate

·         Increases on-time on page and conversion

·         It helps bots crawl the site

·         It helps users navigate the site


External Linking

Backlinks link externally to other websites. 

They connect to the niche at large and help Google understand how your site fits into the overall niche. 

The secret is to link to authoritative sites with strong domain authority (DA). The site should be trustworthy and relevant.

Backlinks act as a vote of confidence between sites. They communicate trust and credibility, signaling the search engines that other websites trust your site.

Readable Content

Besides having quality content on a site, it’s important to ensure the text is more reader-friendly and visitors enjoy reading the content. This reduces bounce rate and can be achieved in various ways:

·         Use of high-quality images

·         Use of relevant and  high-quality videos

·         Use of special text blocks

·         Making use of bullet points

·         Increasing the amount of white space between words to avoid huge 

        text blocks

Title Tags

A title tag is a hypertext markup language (HTML) element that indicates a specific web page title. 

The title tag is what you see when a page is shared on social media. It indicates what the title is all about. 

Title tags have been touted to be the second most important On-page SEO factor after content. This is according to research done by Moz.

As a rule of thumb, ensure the title tag is not longer than 60 characters. 

Title tags should tap into the reader’s emotions without the use of outdated power words.  They work hand in hand with meta description, which appears below the tag.

Let the visitor understand what to find inside by being as descriptive as possible.

Meta Description

A meta description is a tag summarizing or describing with clarity the page contents. A meta description appears right below the title tag supplementing it. It should be around 160 characters.

This is of great benefit to the search engines and visitors as it helps advertise the content better by describing what the page is all about.

If possible, add images and special symbols to appeal to visitors. It’s also important to include the main keyword.

Image Alt Texts (Alternative Text)

An alt text is an invisible HTML attribute used to indicate alternative text where what was to be presented cannot be rendered. They are added to an image through HTML. The tag is invisible on the page but easily read on a screen reader.

If you write long-form content on your website, having images and other infographics is very crucial. 

These may also include screenshots, stock photos, and text graphics. Images are not only memorable but also help break the walls of text.

Images should be supported with alt texts in case of a slow connection. In this case, the text gets displayed in place of images. 

Alt texts also play a key role to visually impaired visitors and those with learning disabilities. These visitors use a screen reader to access information; hence no information is lost in case images can not load.

Alt-text is key in that :

·         It plays a key role in image ranking

·         It helps crawlers properly index images

·         It improves topic relevance

·         It helps crawlers get image specifics correctly

Remember to use keywords on image alt texts and also to be as accurate as possible. Minimal image size is also encouraged to avoid tampering with the site’s speed.

Header Tags

Header tags help separate topics and subtopics, and this makes content readable. 

They vary from H1 to H6 depending on how important the information is. H1 represents the title.

They help the reader skim through the content and easily determine what they are looking for in advance. 

Readers can also easily navigate the text to the specific area if there is an automatic table of contents.

Google picks H2 tags from tables of content. This is presented as a list which is among the most popular featured snippets. 

Featured snippets are quick answers displayed by search engines to the searchers’ query without getting to the page. They are displayed in form of lists, paragraphs, and tables.

Author Box

An author box displays the author’s credentials. This helps improve the EAT (expertise, authority, and trust) score. 

Google staff pays attention to the quality, site reputation, and the author’s expertise in the subject.

Authority is enhanced by having related texts on the same subject. Trust is created by having authoritative sources of information. 

Have you considered an author profile of your site? It does matter.

Final Thoughts

Unique, well researched, and informative content will help you gain loyal visitors who feel you are adding value to their lives. 

In return, they may freely share your content. Your article may even go viral. We all swear by some greats blogs, social media pages and even YouTube channels.  Don’t we? 

I bet we were referred to some of them by someone who discovered ‘a gem’. That’s the power of creating valuable content.

Now pay attention to other on-page SEO tactics highlighted above. From keyword research,  title tags,  meta description, header tags, alt texts to quality backlinks and topic clusters. Add readable content that appeals to your visitors and an author box that shows your expertise to the mix. 

You can rest assured you have put in some prerequisite effort needed to rank on SERPs. This brings organic visitors who may never have visited your site were it not for it being optimized. That way, you win on both fronts.

SEO keeps evolving. What works today may not work tomorrow, and that’s just how versatile Google is when it comes to emerging trends. The secret is to keep tabs to ensure one’s site is well optimized. 

Are you keeping track of what’s happening in the SEO world?

Bhuvnesh Bhushan

Bhuvnesh Bhushan Dohare is the founder and CEO of, which he started in 2014 with his own digital marketing skills.

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