OnPage SEO Checklist – The Only One You Need!

Hey guys! In this article, I’m going to skip over all the nonsense and give you the only OnPage SEO checklist that you’ll ever need again.

No more looking to see if there’s hidden tips or tricks.

No more wondering if that’s why you’re articles aren’t ranking.

This tells you all you need to do with each article. 

OnPage SEO Checklist

What I do is I keep this list taped to my laptop and I just quickly go through it right before I’m about to publish any article. That way I can always be sure I’m not missing anything.

I’m going to go through all the items one by one and explain to you why I do them and why I think they’re important. If you just want the list itself, scroll to the bottom and copy-paste 🙂

Let’s get going!

Don’t forget to check out my other posts related to SEO for a complete package of SEO resources: 

Item Number 1 – Find your keyword

The first thing that you want to make sure that you found your key word.  I actually already wrote an article about this, specifically using the Jaaxy Keyword Research Tool.

So, first you want to make sure that you have your keyword. In fact, I recommend that you make sure you have a key word prior to having an article idea. I think the best way is to get article ideas by searching keywords.

I don’t like trying to search keywords to fit my article ideas because then I’m more likely to kind of end up with keywords that are not really that suitable. You start trying to modify your keywords and the keyword parameters to fit your idea because you’re you’re too attached to your idea. Also it’s a waste of time if you’re sitting down trying to think of all of these ideas and then it turns out that they’re not actually that great in terms of keywords.

So you really need to just start over and do your keyword research.

So I would say keyword research definitely comes first before you even start brainstorming article ideas. 

You wanna brainstorm keywords rather than articles when you’re doing the searches and that should be your new way of thinking up articles to write. Article ideas will present themselves as you find keywords.

It’s really interesting that your article ideas are probably might not necessarily going to be in line with what other people are searching. I find this fascinating, because you’d think that everyone is probably searching similar stuff within a niche so what’s interesting to you in the niche is what’s going to be interesting to others and that couldn’t be further from the truth sometimes.

It kind of goes along with or head and hand with the idea of marketing. Marketing is very strange because it actually is not predictable at all. So a good way to think about it is that what you think people want is usually not actually what people want.

The only way to find out what people want is to do the research and to do the testing. So thankfully softwares like Jaaxy collect Google’s data and the data of other search engines and compile it so it’s easy for us to do that research. There’s plenty of other softwares too, but Jaaxy is just what I use. It’s actually compiled that data in a way that’s user friendly for you so that you can figure out which words people are searching for and therefore how to find those keywords.

So basically that all is to say that the first step is definitely to find a keyword.

find your keyword

This is the word that you want to target in your article.

As you get more advanced and as you build out your website more, you can actually target more than one keyword in each article. Then each article can have a main keyword, and a bunch of different secondary keywords that you’re targeting. Then you start overlapping the keywords in various articles and that’s how you’re going to increase your rankings really quick and it’s going to get easier and easier.

But if you’re just starting, I would recommend just focus on one keyword per article for now. Generally the other keywords related to the article will actually fall into place on their own most of the time. You don’t really need to consciously think about them at the beginning.

So as I always say, you want to have a website that’s built out of 100+ articles to get started, and 90% of those articles should be based off of low competition, low hanging fruit keywords. 

And then the other 10% should be higher competition. And then when you’re looking at the higher competition, keywords, you want to optimize your ratio between competition and traffic.

I go over all of that in my Jaaxy article which is actually really useful. I would recommend you check it out, especially if you don’t have a keyword research tool or a research strategy yet.

Item Number 2 – Put it in your title

Once you have to like the second point once you have your keyword, you want to continue on with your checklist. This is where the real SEO checklist comes into play.

So you have your keyword and you have your article that you’ve written around this keyword. But now how do you make sure that article is written so that Google actually recognizes that keyword as the main keyword for your article?

Just follow this checklist that I’m going to give you and you should do this for every single article on your website. These are the key items that you need to be worried about.

As I said at the beginning of this post, you do not need anything extra other than this. Of course, there is always more that you can do.

There will always be more that you can do with anything online but you have to weigh whether that doing more is actually going to get you better results and I found that it doesn’t. So this is ALL I use and I don’t have time to go looking for anything else and it’s served me well. If you’re anything like me and you don’t want to be spending all day and all night on SEO, you’ll appreciate this.

There’s always a lot of controversy about what actually needs to be done in order to rank well on Google in terms of your OnPage SEO; however, I just ignore most of that stuff. If you do these things consistently on your website, you are good for OnPage SEO and you don’t need to think any more about it.

Like I said, put this checklist next to your computer and literally go through it every single time you published an article. 

keep your SEO checklist next to your computer

So you’re probably thinking, what about OffPage SEO? We will also talk about that in a different article you can check out here! 

But this is all OnPage SEO, which means this is the stuff that goes on to your actual page itself. So this is not backlinking or social media or other blogs. Nothing like that. This is all that goes on your actual page.

Okay, just wanted to clarify, so let’s keep it going!

Item number one is that your keyword should be in your title and as close to the front of the title as possible. So let’s say your keyword is “how to dress fashionably this spring”. Obviously that’s a very long tail keyword and you can make a title out of that keyword alone, which would be perfectly fine. But you can also make your title “how to dress fashionably this spring: a guide” or “how to dress fashionably this spring – a manual” or “how to dress fashionably this spring: a guide”, etc.

See how the keyword is always first?

You wouldn’t want to make your title “a guide: how to fashionably dressed this spring” because your keyword is being pushed to the back of the title. Google wants the most relevant part first or it might think that you’re actually targeting the keyword “a guide” in that last example.

So your keyword should be the first thing in your title. 

Okay, that’s number two!

Number 3 – Put it in your 1st paragraph

Now, moving onto number three. Checklist item number 3 is that you want to make sure your keyword is as close to the beginning of your article as possible.

It should 100% be in the first paragraph of your article. 

So, definitely in the first paragraph of your article and if possible, you want to make sure that it’s in the first couple lines or even in the first line. Sometimes, this can be a bit awkward because it’s literally in the title. Also with some keywords, it can sound a little awkward if you put it right the first line so you also wanna also make sure that it sounds okay. Basically, just keep in mind that you want it as close to the beginning of the article as possible while making sure that it sounds natural.

You also want it in first paragraph because you want it to show up in the description section of the template that will show up on Google. You should be using an on page SEO software/plug in on your word processor – All in One SEO for WordPress for example.

If you are not start using one right now.

They are free, they’re super easy to use and no magic involved in using them. Literally, all they do is just make your articles look good when they’re ranked on Google. So when you show up on Google, you can customize what appears on the title of your little Google snippet, what appears as the description, etc. ‘

Don’t trust Google to show people what you want them to see. Make sure they’re seeing the title you want, the description you want and also make sure Google is seeing those things too.

I use the pro version now but the free version is really all you need – especially if you’re just starting a website.

all in one SEO

And yet just use it does in solid and use it, and it makes it. It also makes school analytics and Google webmaster, and verifying petra’s and all of that kind of stuff. It makes it really easy because in the setting section, you can actually put an all of your different codes and all of that, and it makes it super, super easy.

So I would highly recommend downloading it.

Maybe I’ll write another article about itn. Just a little bit on how to set it up because it’s really, really easy. It’s just you do have to do like one or two things to set it up after you install it.

Actually. What am I saying? You don’t even have to but it’s helpful.

Anyways, going back to what I was saying.

You wanna as close to the front of your article because he want to make sure that. It’s in the description section of what comes up on Google.

Number 4 – Put it in the alt text

Alright, number four!

You want to make sure that your keyword appears in the alt test section of at least one image. 

I personally put my alt text in the featured image of the article; however, it doesn’t really matter which image you use.

The important part is that you pick an image that’s related to your keyword. Obviously, don’t just put your keyword in the alt text of an image that has nothing to do with it or isn’t directly representative of it.

For example, if your keyword is “how to dress fashionably this spring” and you have a picture of a pair of shoes that’s part of your article as a pair of shoes that you recommend. The shoes are indeed indirectly related, but a much better image would be like a complete outfit.

example of spring fashion image

Examples could be someone wearing a nice spring outfit or a collage of a spring outfit or someone walking around in a nice outfit outside with flowers in the back. These would all be some much better options.

So you don’t just want to stick the keyword in any image. Make sure it’s an image that is directly related keyword. Remember guys, the alt text is for people who cannot read.

The alt text is read outloud through softwares to these individuals so they have an idea what the pictures are showing.

Also, if you’re image ends up in Google images, it will end up there for the alt text as the keyword. So if you’re image is not really related, then it’s not going to get clicked on or rank well and you can actually get quite a bit of traffic through Google images.

Also side note, you should always have alt text for all of your images, not just for the keyword. But one of them has to contain the keyword or even more than one if you want.

Don’t put all of them with the key word though. One or two max. Actually, same goes for my previous point. In number two you don’t want to keyword stuff your article. So when I say per one keyword near the top of the article. That’s like, that’s it. We’ll talk about potentially putting another keyword near the end, but that’s it. You don’t want to be putting keywords all over your article. You don’t want to be using key words in all of your all tax

No keyword stuffing. Google does not like that. So don’t do that. 

That was number four – let’s move on to number five!

Number 5 – Put it every 1.5-2k words

OnPage SEO tip number four is potentially inserting the keyword towards the end of the article.

This depends a little bit on article length. If your article is fairly long, it can use one or even two more keywords. Don’t think too much about this, though.

Also, if you accidentally put your keyword in your article a bunch of different times because it’s a shorter keyword and you just need to use it a lot to write naturally about that topic, that’s fine.

For instance, if your keyword is “spring fashion” you might use it 5+ times even in a short article.

If you have a longer tail keyword like “how to dress fashionably in the spring”, then don’t purposely inserted more than once every 1.5-2k words because otherwise it will look like you’re keyword stuffing and Google doesn’t like that.

That was a quick one – onto number six!

Number 6 – Put in diverse links

Okay. Next, number six!

So number five is going to be related to linking. So I know I said that this is all OnPage SEO and it has nothing to do with backlinking or anything. That’s true, however you do want to make sure that your post has links.

This is important.

Even if they’re not links to your own article, you want to make sure that the post itself contains links out to other websites and articles.

add in diverse links to your blog articles

If it is an affiliates review article and you’re reviewing an affiliate product so you have affiliate links in your article, then it is an exception to this rule. You still want to have links out to other pages on your own website in affiliate articles, but not many – one or two will do just fine.

If however, it is not an affiliate review article, then you definitely want to have several links. You want to have one or two links to other pages in your website. You also want to have one or two links to authorities sites related to that article.

But again, the length of the article makes a difference here!

Is if you have an article that is let’s say a 1000 words then these are good numbers to go by. So if you have one to two links to other pages on your website, and if one to two pages to authority websites.

If you have a 2000 word article than double those numbers.

If you have a 3000 word article than triple those numbers, etc.

The longer your article is the more links you need to have. 

The reason that you’re linking to other pages on your website is that it looks good to Google.

First, because those pages seem like they’re getting more backlinks, even if they are coming from your website.

Second, all the content on your website should be related somehow so it should also therefore be interlinked to be user friendly for your visitors. For instance, If your website is about fashion, then you’re going to have an article on how to do spring. In that article you might link to another article where you talk specifically about spring shirts such as an affiliate article on three different kinds of your favorite spring shirts. There you might link to another article on winter shirts, etc.

This type of interlinking makes the website more userfriendly because you’re anticipating the interests of your visitors. Someone wants to know how to dress nicely in the spring? They might also be planning their summer wardrobe.

Next, the reason you want to link out to authority posts is because it’s good if your website is associated with them in the eyes of Google. It makes it look like you’re knowledgable in your niche, doing your research and connected with the right brands.

It looks like your making sure that you’re providing valuable content, even if that content isn’t your own. Like you’re expanding your own content with content that Google already really trusts.

This is an amazing strategy to use but you have to make sure Google really likes these sites so they have to be ranked well. Don’t choose an obscure site on page 4 or 5 of Google.

I would, however, avoid choosing top ranked articles for the keyword that you’re trying to rank that article for because then you’re providing them with banklinks and directly making them harder to compete with.

Think of these articles as “additional resources” not directly related to your topic but for additional reading material. 

All right, so that was number six. Let’s keep moving onto number seven in the checklist!

Number 7 – Remember the rule of 100+

Number 7 is abstract. It’s not really a checklist item but it’s good to keep in mind when you’re doing your article writing so I keep it in my checklist to ask myself what type of article I’m writing and where I am in my process.

You should be organizing your whole website in this way. 

I’ve talked about this concept a few times already in the last few articles that I’ve written, but I just really need to hammer this point home when you are building out a website initially. You need to make sure that the amount of articles that you’re writing are properly planned out.

For a website to be successful in my opinion, it needs to have at least a hundred blog post articles. At LEAST 100 and with everyone getting more and more into blogging these days, you’re probably looking closer to 150 now.

So, when you were planning out your website, plan it out so that you have a hundred keywords that cover all of the major topics in your niche and made sure those keywords are split up in the following way.

90% of those keywords should be very low competition or “low-hanging fruit” and 10% of those key words will be medium to high competition. Don’t go to too high because you’re just starting this website.

Once you build out these hundred articles and you start ranking, then you can start targeting the higher and higher competition keywords and build up your traffic exponentially.

Eventually you’ll get to a point where your ranking for really hard, keywords but you don’t wanna do this off the bat because then you just won’t see any results and you’ll be missing out on all the easy ones that help you build authority and momentum.

You want to try and get these 100 initial keyword articles as soon as possible so load up on that coffee. 

you need at least 100 blog posts for a website to succeed

I know it’s hard to get that much content out but it’s the hardest part of starting a blog and the sooner you get it done, the faster you’ll rank. Try and get it done in the first four months if you can or even even less. The sooner the better!

Remember that you also want to try to be consistent in the amount of articles you put out for per week. If you’re saying to yourself, I’m going to put out three to four articles per week than make sure you’re putting out three to four article per week.

You don’t want to be putting out one article one week and then five articles the next. You can be inconsistent writing but not publishing – use the WordPress scheduling feature if that makes it easier for you.

If publishing is inconsistent, Google won’t like it becuase it assumes that your audience won’t either.

Okay, onto the next thing!

After you have your 100 keywords split into low competition and medium competition, you want to make sure that you take enough time to write your medium competition.

Those are going to be the start of what we call your “pillar articles”. Usually the harder keywords are the shorter, broader ones so it usually works out because you’ll need to write more in these articles anyways and research them much better.

These articles form the foundation of your website and are also what we call “evergreen”. 

What that means is that those articles should be timeless. Of course, nothing is completely timeless but those articles should last your website a long time and should be the last things to go out of date.

So if you’re if you’re running a fashion blog, for instance, than an example of evergreen articles might be four articles that you talk about fashion essentials in the four seasons (eg. Fall Fashion Essentials, where the keyword is “Fall Fashion” which is high competition).

Those articles will not go out of date for a long time and you can update them periodically to go with the big waves of fashion trends. For the smaller, shorter trends, you can write new articles talking about that particular year’s trends.

Evergreen, pillar articles should not be trend articles. They should be things that are “always” in style during those seasons.

So basically, you are going to create your pillar articles around the key words that are harder to rank for, and they should naturally be broader more evergreen topics. 

These articles need to be long! And when I say a long, I mean at least 3000 words because these are the articles that are going to sustain your website forever. You may have noticed that this is one of my pillar articles 🙂

They should be taking you three times as long to write if not more than any of the other articles on her website.

Now let’s move to the rest of your articles, the ones that are for the low hanging fruit or the low competition key words. For those other articles, if you write anywhere over a thousand words that’s okay and these should be coming out of your website very regularly until you’re over 100+ articles.

Even then, you can slow down the pace of production from 3 per week let’s say to 1 per week but you should still be producing articles on some sort of regular schedule.

Okay, let’s move on!

Number 8 – Use images, videos, inforgraphics & more!

Point number eight.

Eight is to do with media used in your article.You want to make sure that you have at least three or four media items on each article and the more diverse the media is the better.

As I say this again, this is one of those things that is proportional to the amount of words that you’ve written. If you’ve written a thousand words than 3-4 media elements is good.

If you’ve written 3k-4k words, then you need to bump that up because we want media dispersed equally throughout your content to make sure that your reader does to get bored. No one likes to just see blocks of text for pages on end.

So you want to make sure you have media near the top of the article, near the middle of the article and near the end of the article – basically all through the article.

What do I mean by media?

I mean photos, infographics, videos, etc. Anything besides text that it’s in your article. 

use a lot of photos and other media in your blog articles

These things enhance the article and people love them because as I mentioned above, people don’t like reading a bunch a text anymore. They need to see images. They need to see video representation. The more of that, the better.

If possible try and get as much video as possible but I know it can be difficult to create so your base is most likely going to be images.

You can get your images from Pixabay, or from any other stock image software.

If you want to pay for your images, that’s fine and there’s plenty of stock databases that will charge you. I personally don’t recommend it, especially if you’re just starting because you can find any images that you need on Pixabay or other free sites.

They literally have images for every single niche.

Once your website gets ranking and you get some income coming in, then you can start using more high quality images or even pay a photographer to take images for you.

So bread and butter is definitely images. 

If you can, it would be great if you had one video for every blog post but I know that’s hard. So one video may be for every two or three blog posts. You’ll quickly see that the ones that have videos will rank better.

How do you make videos for your blog posts? 

One way is what I did with my Jaaxy article where I had a video of my computer screen while I was teaching an outsourcer how to perform a task and then I wrote an article around that video.

I actually have a stock pile of videos just like that because I trained my outsourcers on so many different things. I realized as I was starting to write articles for Don’t Want A Boss that they were actually really good educational videos, and that they would make awesome articles because they teach people how to do the different things that I was doing for my business already.

If you have a mac, you can just use the QuickTime screen capture option and you can start recording! 

If you’re in a niche such as fashion, you can make a video about a different outfit or unboxing of different clothing or accessories.

If you’re doing a review article, if you buy that product than doing an unboxing video is very popular.

Now, here’s the real trick that I’m going to share with you guys.

The real trick is that if you really don’t have time to create videos, you can steal other people’s videos by embed them within your word processing software.

I use WordPress for everything and you can direclty embed videos off of YouTube into WordPress. And voila! You now have a video.

So search for a video related to your article and embed it near the end.

I know some of you will be worried about copyright but 99% of the time people like their videos getting embeded because it’s more traffic to their video. The video is also going to get more ad views, they’re going to get paid more.

I mean, they can’t really complain right?

Also there’s not a copyright issue because that video is automatically recognized as theirs if anyone were to click on it and go to Youtube. Also in Youtube you can choose to disable the embeding option, so if someone really doesn’t want their content shared, they will disable it and you won’t be able to use it.

If you’re really worried, you can write a little blurb either before or after saying “check out so and so’s videos to get an idea of what exactly I’m talking about in this article” and explicitly give credit.

Lastly, just want to mention some softwares I love using for creating text-overlaid images and infographics for my blogs:

That’s it for number eight, and we’re on to the last checklist item

Number 9 – Keep it simple

Point number nine is super simple about keeping it simple.

You want to make sure that you’re not writing in long droning everlasting paragraphs.

None of that!

You want to write two to three sentences per paragraph maximum!  

I even use one sentence paragraphs (as I just did ha ha), especially when I’m trying to make a point about something. You do not want drone on with long paragraphs. No one wants to read that nowadays.

One Twitter, you can’t use more than 150 characters or something ridiculous like that. You have to make sure your paragraphs are small, easy to understand and interlaced with images were videos were infographics, okay?

That’s it for this checklist! You’re all done 🙂

Conclusion – Here’s your ultimate OnPage SEO Checklist

  1. Find your keyword
  2. Put it in your title
  3. Put it in your 1st paragraph
  4. Put it in the alt text
  5. Put it every 1.5-2k words
  6. Put in diverse links
  7. Remember the rule of 100+
  8. Use images, videos, inforgraphics & more!
  9. Keep it simple

OnPage SEO Checklist – The Only One You Need

I hope this article helped you understand what you actually need for OnPage SEO. At the end of the day, it’s really not that tough. Once you do it a few times, it will become second nature and you’ll remember it forever.

If you liked this article, feel free to bookmark it and check up on it every 6 months or so because if there is any updates to Google’s ranking strategy where you’d need to update your OnPage strategy – I’ll let you know by updating this article.

Don’t forget to check out my other posts related to SEO for a complete package of SEO resources: 

Want a STEP-BY-STEP video led training on SEO?

This is where I learned

– Martina

10 thoughts on “OnPage SEO Checklist – The Only One You Need!”

  1. Great tips for on-page SEO. That’s the exact strategy I’ve used for my website of 3 years. Each post starts with a carefully researched keywords. I don’t really worry about keyword density or whether they are in the exact order. I managed to get page 1 ranking with only just once or twice occurance of the key words.

  2. Hey Martina, nice checklist.
    I do add internal and external links to my website which I understand is great for SEO. Do you know about affiliate links? Is there a certain number of words that I can use an affiliate link for? I’ve tried Googling this but the answer seems to vary greatly. Maybe this is because Google doesn’t want this information known. Cheers

    • Hey Nigel, 

      You want less than 50% of your articles to be affiliate articles. Those are the ones with the affiliate links on them. I say 1-2 links per 1000 words and ONLY put affiliate links in your affiliate articles. You don’t want to have them on all your pages/posts. 



  3. Hey there,

    I have seen that you recommend we use the keyword in multiple places so that it is recognized by Google faster and so that the algorithms of google know what category the post is for.

    I would like to ask you to help me out here because I have now become confused.

    I was talking to a marketing expert the other day and he told me that the keyword should only be in the alt text, the title and the first paragraph.

    What are the disadvantages of following his advice?

    • Hey Dave, 

      That is exactly the advice I do give above about keywords with the caveat that if you’re writing an article over 1500 words, you should probably include your keyword a few more times (about once every 1500-2000 words or so) because you have the space to solidify the keyword without at all keyword stuffing 🙂 

      Also I do mention the All in One SEO keyword addition because that’s how you use that software but I think that’s a separate point. 

      Hope this clarifies things! 


  4. This is a really great resource on on-page SEO and you have really gone into depth with each and every point on your checklist.

    I pretty much already do everything you have listed here, but it’s good to read this and know that I’m on the right track. Still, I did learn some new things from reading your post.

    • Hey Darren, 

      Happy to hear it! Sometimes it’s also nice to have everything in one place in an easy list format too, right? 



  5. Thanks for these great tips. I have a blog for three months and some of my posts are on the second pages, but I’ve noticed that I have not used all of these tips in many of them. I will decide to change it soon and I hope for a higher position on Google. You think adding video to every post is good.

    • Hi Micheal, 

      That’s a good idea – going back and editing posts is actually a really good ranking SEO strategy in itself and I will be publishing an article on that very soon




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