The Marketing Hive Podcast

EP 4: Your On-Page SEO Checklist

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Amy: Hi, and welcome to The Marketing Hive. A podcast helping you to navigate the world of digital marketing. We are your hosts, Amy Cook and Kate Smoothy, and today we are talking all about your go-to on page SEO checklist. We actually recently did an episode on keyword research and this definitely would be your go-to next step.

So Kate, do you wanna kick off with step 

Kate: one? Yes. So, okay. The first step, um, would be to go and listen to our keyword research episode and choose your keyword. So, no, I’m kind of joking. I’m gonna, I’ll give you something a little bit from that, but definitely make sure you already have your keyword. Make sure you are really.

Be clear and what your chosen key word is going to be for the page. Because most of the advice that we are giving you here, you need that keyword. So logically we’re gonna start at the top of the page. You need to make sure your page title includes the keyword. So as an example, I think we heavily use web design in the last one, so I will continue to do the same.

Um, let’s say I am targeting web design services for small business owners. That should be the name of my page. Yep. On that note, the page title should also be the first heading on your page. So headings are H one to H six. Your H one is the most important heading on the page, and it is usually your page title.

So when I’m talking about a page title here, I am talking about the, the actual written title on your page. So for most people, if it’s a blog post, for example, it’s the title of the blog post. If it’s a page, it’s that first main bit of text that people hit on the page. It should be your page title, and it should be a H one.


Amy: a hundred percent. And keeping on the flow of the page, The next section you want to make sure your keyword is within is the first 100 words of your like body text. So you’ve obviously got your heading, and then you’ve got your first little description to tell people more about that page. Within the first 100 words of that text, you need to make sure your keyword is within that as well.


Kate: absolutely. And just a note on this before we continue, especially when we are talking about using it within your content, like your headings and the paragraph text, body text, whatever you wanna call it. Make sure it’s organic. Do not just chuck the keyword in there. Uh, this, so this is known as keyword staffing.

People used to do it like years ago now in the SEO world, and it’s basically just dumping keywords in just so Google, like pluck it out of the content. It doesn’t work anymore. Your content needs to read super organically and make sense with the keywords. If it doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t fit, you need to rewrite that section or you need to reconsider whether or not you put your keyword there.

However, Amy and I are telling you the places that you need to put the keyword. So write the content so it fits. 

Amy: Yeah, a hundred percent. It is about making it organic, not just shoving it in because of the sake of 

Kate: it. So, yeah, absolutely. Um, so moving on from that, keeping in line with the content on your page, it really depends on the length of the content as to how many more times you include the keyword in the main paragraph or body text on your page.

So ideally you’ll use it. Three times, and that includes within the 100 words that Amy just mentioned, your first 100 words. But if you are writing a blog post and it’s like 1,500 to 2000 words, which is the recommended minimum work count for a blog post. Um, Oh, actually I’ve kind of skipped ahead a few steps, but So a minimum word count for, let’s say like a service page or a products page.

Yeah. I always used to recommend people to do 350 words. Now I like to tell people to do 500 

Amy: words. Yeah, my 

Kate: is 500. Yeah. I think it gives you enough to include the key word. Like three times and it, it feels organic. Um, and it just gives you a little bit of a boost over the people that are only going for 350 words.

So, because that was kind of like an industry standard thing of hit a minimum of 350 words, a lot of people would hit 350 words and stop. So if you are aiming for 500, you are just giving yourself that little bit of an extra boost. Yeah. , um, But yes. So obviously with a 500 word page, three times be more than enough with a blog post that’s 2000 words, it’s probably not enough.

You probably need to be aiming for more like five or six times. But again, make sure it’s organic, um, and consider the fact that the Google’s algorithm is very smart. And so as long as you are talking about that topic still, and depending on how much you. Um, like deep dive into keywords. You might also be using related keywords within that post.

And again, that will help to, um, give you that authority and to boost your page up Google. So make sure it’s organic, but make sure you’re doing at least three times. Yeah, 

Amy: uh, definitely. And just to keep on that topic, sorry, just to add to that, um, It’s making sure it’s relevant. So like you say, if you’ve got your keyword as web design, don’t then start talking about social media, for example, on that page.

Yeah. Make sure everything about that page is related around that topic of web design. So then you’re constantly telling Google that’s what that page is about as such. 

Kate: Absolutely. So as an example for me, I would maybe talk about website platforms. They’re like WebPress Shopify and that kind of thing. I wouldn’t, Yeah, I, I, I may mention seo, but.

Again, even that you could argue that they’re two separate things. And if you really, really wanna be like, you need to look at it as like the content needs to be so clear as to what it’s about, that you don’t wanna muddy the waters by including other things that aren’t quite similar enough. Yeah. Def um.

And actually one way of doing that is, so obviously we’ve talked about headings and H one s. So the other heading that you should definitely be using on the page is a H two. Ideally you’d be using, so if we’re talking about a blog post, you’d probably be using H twos and h threes. So you’ll use the H three s to organize content within the hg.

So let’s say I’m writing a blog post on, um, what’s the West, What’s the best website platform for s. So my H one would be, what’s the best website platform for seo? My H two might be comparing the best website platforms for seo, and then H three within that would be weeks. Another H three would be WordPress.

And so that way I’m letting Google know how I’m structuring the content, but also it helps the user to skim the content, find the section that they wanna read, understand exactly how you’re structuring all the content. Um, and again, it gives you a great opportunity to use your keywords. So you’ll have noticed when I was talking about this, if we are saying it’s like web design platform for SEO was my keyword.

In the example I’ve just given you, I’ve used it in my H one and my H two and then my H threes have been relevant. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And talking on headings, 

Amy: just to go on that. Cause I often see this a lot on websites, um, because it’s, I guess not understanding what they are, but. There is a reason why when you go to create your title, you get the options of H one, H two to six, for example.

That is not just to make your website look pretty by having text in a bigger section. Yeah. . So do not pair at the bottom of your site, H one or in the middle of your site because you think that bigger text looks great and it’s. Makes this call to action stand out more. Um, you should only have one heading, one on your website landing page, and that should always be at the top of your page.

Um, it is not there to look pretty. It is there to help Google know what your site’s 

Kate: about. . Absolutely. And that, and actually that that is said for headings in general, right? Like what you’re saying about don’t do it to style your text. They are there to communicate. I guess like the structure is probably the best way.

It’s the structure of your written content if you are wanting stuff to look different. Design it differently or get a web designer. Don’t use headings for their non intended use. . I just, I know what you mean though. People do it all the time. It’s crazy. I 

Amy: know. It is crazy. I so often I see like, People say, Oh, I’m gonna design it like this.

And I’m like, What heading is that? And they’re like, Oh, it’s the H on of library. It’s at the end of your page. Put 

Kate: it at the top. . I know, I know. And just touching on that before we move on, cuz we could probably talk about headings for ages only ever use one h, one h two s, h threes, whatever. That’s kind of a bit more, you can be looser with that.

Yeah. Um, one way of looking at it though is that you don’t wanna like only use H two. , if you have lots of content and lots of headings, you really do wanna be considering the structure and how you can nest content within other bits of content. Yeah. To help with that. 

Amy: Definitely. Um, cool. I guess next one, talking about like the stuff on, Cause I wanna, I’m just thinking about the front end and then obviously behind the scenes.

So talking on the front end. Um, again, obviously another thing to do would be including strong call to. . Mm-hmm. . 

Kate: Yep. And on that note, you are so. Your anchor text, which is the clickable text of a link. So if you are, so I feel like I’m, I’m literally merging like three or four things you need to include now.

So one thing that you should always try to include is at least one internal link. Yeah. So within that internal link, there’s the link itself, and then there’s the anchor text. And the anchor text is the actual, actual clickable bit of that link that should include. The keywords for the page you’re linking to.

So let’s say I’ve got, I’m doing this blog post on how does web design affect seo, and let’s say I have a blog post on best practices for technical seo. If I link that and the keyword for that blog post was, Technical SEO best practices or whatever it’s, I just said that should be in the anchor text of that internal link.

So what you are doing there is you are passing authority to that other page that is not actually, so you internal links are good for. That current page is seo, but using anchor text with the keyword for the page you are linking to is good for the other pages. Seo, I feel like I’ve probably made that sound really confusing, but basically it’s, it’s like an extra confirmation for search engines.

That’s what this content is about. And that is why you’re encouraged to internal link between all your content, and it doesn’t just apply to blog posts, it applies to your service pages and everything. Let’s say Amy has got a page on her website about social media management, and then maybe she’s also got a page about social media consulting.

If she is. They’re the two keywords that she’s using. If she’s going to link to her social media consulting page on the management page, putting, I offer social media consulting, click here and click here is the anchor text is nowhere near as effective for SEO than putting. If you want to learn more about my social media consulting pages, click here, and that whole bit of architects, Yeah.

That help, you know, And the keyword being included in the architect. A hundred percent. 

Amy: I think it’s that thing of basically if you’ve got a pay, you’ve got a page that’s got a keyword. Anything to do with that page or you know, when you’re linking to that page, should then be titled as that keyword. So often.

A good example would be your homepage. Your homepage is obviously optimized for a generalized keyword, but then within your homepage, you’re linking then to your specific services. So those specific services on that homepage should have the keyword that you’re ranking that particular page for. So then everything to do with that service is always titled as that keyword as such.

Kate: Yeah, absolutely. So we, we are probably making this bit sound a bit more confusing than what it is, but basically, yeah, when you are linking to it, which you should be doing between your pages, um, make sure your keywords are included. 

Amy: Cool. Um, and then I guess this one’s a bit more like structure of content.

Um, , but Google does like to see, again, it’s about customer journey and flow. And sometimes, you know, we are saying to you to get 500 words on a page, which obviously sounds like a lot. So it is about, you know, slotting it in and making it feel. As nice as possible. And a good thing you can do for that is, you know, numbered lists or bullet points or things like that.

So just to break that text up and let it flow better so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Um, so Google does like to often see different styles of content, whether it’s kind of like putting something in bold or bullet pointing a list or sec or a section such, um, it’s, that’s a good thing to do in terms of structure further for your landing.

Kate: Absolutely. And the nice thing about a bullet point list is you could like include that at the beginning of a section and then expand out on each point later on. Yeah. So it’s a nice way to up your word count, make your content easier to skim read and all of that as well. So yeah, they’re a great way of doing that.

Okay. Is there any more front end before we move behind? The only other things that I can think of that I would recommend, including on the front end, would be at least one image. Um, yeah. Then that kind of ties into the back end because you need to ensure that the image has an alt text or an alt tag that includes your keywords.

You don’t need to be, there aren’t really like hard and fast rules about this. Sometimes I will do like a list of keywords. Sometimes I will do. A sentence with the keyword included. Um, it’s not quite as strict as some other parts of SEO optimization are. The idea is just that it, it will best describe the image because the alt text slash alt tags, whatever your platform calls it, also describe the image for screen readers.

Yeah. So you might wanna consider that you need to kind of use it as both. You’re using it. Search engines know what the keyword word is, but also to help screen readers for people that obviously can’t see the image. 

Amy: Yeah, definitely. So keeping on the topic of images, cause obviously you’ve just said about adding an image to your site, landing page, and then behind the scenes making sure you add your text or all tag.

Uh, another thing that is important when it comes to your images is firstly, um, if you can resize your images, because this helps keep your site speed down. So we’ll link it in the show notes, but a tool that you can use for this is Tiny P, Is it Tiny PNG or Tiny dot png? I think it’s tiny. 

Kate: Tiny 

Amy: png. Yeah.

So that is a tool where literally you can upload your images to it and then it compresses them, but doesn’t lose the quality of the images. So that helps to keep your site speed down, which is really good for seo. And once you’ve done that process, Then make sure you name your images before you upload them to your website.

So do not then upload your image as image 2 59 jpeg. Yeah. Um, maybe it’s something relevant. Cause again, you’re giving yourself one opportunity to get found on like Google’s images, um, as well as telling Google more about what that page is about. So, you know, try and name in something relevant. Um, it could be, for example, if I was.

My, um, social media page, I’d probably call it, I dunno, Mango and Wild Social Media Management image or something like that. So it makes it more relevant than just calling it image 2 95 . 

Kate: Absolutely, Absolutely. Yeah. I absolutely hate that image. 2 4, 6 jpeg. Yeah, , you’re just like such a waste of opportunity.

Amy: I know. And it’s one of those things like once you get in the habit of doing it, then like it becomes easy. If you are sat thinking, Oh, I don’t know, then definitely delete all your images off 

Kate: your website and get ’em re-uploaded in the right 

Amy: image file names. Cause it’s definitely a missed 

Kate: opportunity.

Absolutely. And leading on from that is something that I probably don’t recommend enough, but recently I’ve been doing some competitor analysis. For a client, and I have realized that a lot of the people that are now suddenly out ranking them on Google are people that have got video on their page as well.

So video is a great way of boosting your content. Google is really all for video con as is everything at the moment, right? Yeah. Like this is why all these platforms have. Growing at the rate they are. Um, so if you can, if you have a relevant YouTube video, for example, YouTube’s probably one of the easiest ways to embed video.

Include it. If it’s a blog post, you can even find someone else’s YouTube video and include that if you think it’s gonna provide extra educational value. It doesn’t necessarily have to be yours, but if you do have YouTube videos, 100%, take the opportunity and embed them in your content as. 

Amy: Yeah, a hundred percent.

Um, cool. And then I guess it’s going on to behind the scenes really, isn’t it, of s e. 

Kate: Yeah. So, um, so I almost touched on this earlier. I was gonna talk about meta titles and page titles, and then I was like, Oh gosh, it’s gonna get so confusing to do at the same time, . 

Amy: Um, so yeah, obviously is what like, so we’ve just covered kind of like the front end of SEO in terms of everything you need to do on your landing page from the top of your land is a page all the way down, and I think you should be including in that.

And then additionally to that, behind the scenes is, um, I guess it’s like. They kind of class, it’s like technical seo, but it’s the thing that shows on Google. So what you have is what they call SEO titles and meta descriptions. And basically this is the thing you see on Google when you search something.

So you type in Google web design, and then you obviously get the. Like a tied one, a little bit description, which is then what makes you click through to that person’s website. That is what you need to do behind the scenes of your website to make sure that, then again, you are making sure that the right thing is showing up when someone is searching for that and your keywords are within that.

But there are obviously. I guess rules, um, to what you need to do. So starting with SEO titles, they recommend, um, 60 characters. Um, so. Don’t make it any more than that. And again, make sure that your keyword is within that. So if we’re talking about web design, it could be that, for example, Kate, it could be that she does web digitals, web design service for small businesses or something like that, but it’s making sure that keyword is within that, um, 

Kate: SEO title.

And then with the description, it’s a similar thing. Make sure the keyword is included. Um, so the meta descriptions, I find this really strange because I have always known to keep it to within 160 characters, but Shopify lets you have something crazy like 300 and something, and I don’t really know why they suggest that, because I can only assume it’s because of featured.


Amy: I was gonna say, I don’t know, but I know with like Squarespace and stuff, they always have way more than what it says as well. Yeah. But I always stick to the rule, to be honest. Not gonna lie going off topic, but word pressure would be my go to. Um, yeah, like, I can’t think what it’s called now. Um, 

Kate: Platform.

Platform. That’s 

Amy: it. I went completely back then. Um, so I would always go with what their recommendation is. You know, they’re the leading platform and such. So if they’re saying that 160 is the, the way I would stick to 160 on all other platforms, um, So, yeah, 160 is the length for that. Making sure again, you include your keywords and like anything, making sure they actually flows within the tech.

So don’t just hit web design here tomorrow. Something or other, you know, make sure it flows and actually is placed within that 160 characters, um, where it feels natural. One rule they do say in terms of your SEO titles and meta descriptions is the closer it is to the front of that. Character count, the better opportunities you’ve got.

But it’s not gonna, you’re not gonna suddenly not rank if that keyword word is in the, the end of that description or title. So do like, don’t overthink it, just make sure it flows. Um, one thing to note though, as a bit of a side note. With the 

Kate: meta descriptions is they say 

Amy: 160 characters, but they, you will often, sometimes if you are on a WordPress website, you might find that you see.

as you start writing that description in, it starts to go like Aval red when you start going over 140 characters. And the reason for that is because of, um, sharing it on social media. So for when you kind of like, you know, copy and paste your URL onto like a Facebook group or something like that, that only shows 140 characters.

So that’s why they recommend saying to. Hundred 40. Cuz then it means your full description’s gonna be seen when sharing it on social media. But if you can’t fit what you need to say in the hundred 40 characters, you’re better off keeping it to the hundred 60. Cuz at the end of the day you’re doing it to rank on Google, 

Kate: not to share on social.

Absolutely. Yeah, I agree. And I think it’s more of a warning, isn’t it? It’s just like a careful, if you’re saying anything mega important, it might not show everywhere. Um, but for optimization purposes, obvious. It’s fine. Um, okay, so I think we are almost. At the end, one thing that I have just remembered that I forgot to mention was as well as in as using internal links, you should also use external links.

So aim to, Okay, don’t do this to the detriment of your own website and your own customer journey. So as an example, on my website, I do not include external links on most of my service pages. However, I know that that will have an impact on their s. So what I try and do to get round this is as an example, I’m a web designer.

I think we’ve all probably bloody gathered that at this point the amount that we’re using web design in this one, Amy, we are gonna have to make sure we plug some of your services in the next one. Um, but, okay. Just as an example, so I work on WordPress and Shopify websites. So a way I get around this on my web design page is I say that I work with WordPress and Shopify and I link to their websites because it’s a really logical link.

I’m not losing anything by linking to them. It’s, if anything, giving people a bit more information is probably actually exactly what that rule is intended for. To be honest. However, when it comes to my SEO services pages, I don’t have something similar that I can link to. So I don’t, because I don’t wanna send traffic away unnecessarily.

Um, but on my blog posts, I always make sure I include an external link, whether that is. Service provider that I’m mentioning, or another really helpful article or what have you, it means a lot to Google that you are offering as much information as possible, and sometimes that is with external links and you do, you do get extra brownie points with them for it.

And so it is worth doing if you can, but not to the detriment of your own customer journey. 

Amy: Cool. I think that rounds our, our SEO checklist. Any questions or anything you’re not short on, do reach out. We will link everything we’ve discussed in the show to help you guys further. Um, but we hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast episode and we will continue doing some more on seo.