18 Jan The Essential On-Page SEO Checklist For 2019
It’s 2019 and, once again, things have changed where SEO is concerned.
We know, we know: Things are always changing.
The good news is that keeping abreast of all the latest changes and bringing your SEO strategy up-to-date is easy when you’ve got a checklist by your side. In this article, we take you on a rundown of what you need to do with your on-site SEO in 2019.
It’s highly likely that your keyword research will have to change a bit in 2019, as Google puts more and more weight on user intent. Essentially, behind each search query is user intent. Sometimes a user is in the mood to buy, other times they’ll be doing a bit of research.
It’s pretty easy to understand user intent simply by looking at a user query. For example, any query with “vs” in it is a research query, while a query with the word “buy” in it is a transactional query. In other words, the user is ready to make a purchase.
To up your keyword research game in 2019, you need to cover all the bases where your audience is concerned. This means diving into your analytics to uncover insights about their marketing persona.
Then, you can split your audience into different categories, including those who are ready to buy, as well as those who are at the beginning of the purchase journey. At this point, you then want to come up with different keyword strategies for each market persona, before creating your content.
With keyword research in 2019, you want to take into account every single persona that exists in your customer base, before tailoring your keywords and content specifically for each one. This means you will capture the attention of those at the bottom of the purchase journey and those at the top.
URLs are an important part of your on-site SEO. What do yours look like?
Do they look like this:
Or do they look like this:
If yours looks more like the first, you’ve got a major cleanup job on your hands.
For URLs to be effective, they need to be short, concise, clean and easy to read. This has been the case since 2008, yet so many businesses continue to overlook shorter URLs as a key on-site SEO ranking factor.
Whenever you create a new page, make sure to clean up your URLs.
An H2 tag is a subheading, and it serves two purposes. First, it gives the reader an insight into what a piece of content is all about (readers love to skim through content when they first land on a page).
Second, it gives search engines an idea of what a page is all about.
Essentially, H2 tags improve the user-friendliness of your content, boosting the user experience. Look at them like roadmaps and signposts that point site visitors and Google in the right direction.
Don’t be afraid of using numerous H2 tags on one page, but make sure they’re all concise and clearly state what a section of your page is all about in simple, direct language. Add your target keywords to a few H2 tags, too.
If your target keyword isn’t included in your title tag, you’re missing a major trick.
Search engines crawl title tags, and they’re on the lookout for keywords that will inform them what your content is about. If you include your target keyword in your title tag, Google will probably rank you for that page.
Or, at least it will rank you better.
Your title tag is limited to 60 characters, however, which doesn’t give you much room to play around with. But as best you can, you need to make your title tag as compelling as possible (so people will be convinced to click on your content), and you need to include your target keyword.
Meta descriptions are a lot like your title tags. They need to be compelling enough so that a user is convinced to click on the content, and they need to include your focus keyword.
A meta description is just a small piece of text that tells us – and Google – what your content is all about. It shouldn’t be too long (otherwise it will become truncated), and it needs to be persuasive enough so that people will arrive on your landing page. The more compelling and persuasive it is, the higher your click-through rate will be. And a higher click-through rate is good for SEO purposes.
Previously, meta descriptions were truncated at 160 characters, but Google has increased them to 320 characters, which gives you more to play with.
In-Depth, Valuable Content
In 2019, we will see Google put the onus more and more on valuable, long-form content.
Long form content performs better than short form content, primarily for the reason that it offers more value to the reader. The more value it offers, the more likely people will engage with it, share it and link out to it. This will increase its value and its position in the SERPs will soar.
Short form content that lacks depth will no longer perform as well. In 2019, a major part of your on-site SEO has to be a strong content marketing strategy that puts valuable, in-depth long-form content first.
And if the idea of writing a 2,000-word piece of content from scratch overwhelms you, try using the skyscraper technique. This is where you take a related piece of long-form content and look for ways you can make it even better.
Lastly, internal links are links that you can control (as opposed to backlinks). These are links that link out to your own content.
When you implement internal links, make sure that the anchor text is always relevant. For example, a link to a page about the basics of digital marketing might read something like “digital marketing for beginners.”
Each time you post something new, include at least one link to another piece of content on your website, but make sure that any links you use are natural and relevant.
It’s also a good idea to link out to related content. For example, if I’m writing an article about SEO, linking out to another piece of content about SEO is good practice.
- A Complete Guide to SEO: What You Need to Know in 2019 – Source: Search Engine Journal
- SEO in 2019: Improve, improve, improve – Source: Yoast
- 75 Actionable SEO Tips – Source: ahref
- 17 Insanely Actionable SEO Tips – Source: Backlinko
Now that you’ve got your on-site SEO checklist, the next step is to execute. If you’re in a position where you have to perform a massive overhaul of your site, the good news is that once you’ve ticked tasks off, maintaining on-site SEO becomes a lot easier. Just remember to change your URLs each time you make a new page, add keyword-rich and compelling meta and title tags, and always link to other pages.
Other than that, make sure to produce valuable content that your fans and Google will love.
About the author: Kas Szatylowicz is a social media manager and outreach coordinator at Nightwatch — a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog and connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter: @KasSzatylowicz