In the past I had a very detailed list of essential elements when approaching on-page SEO. Getting the keyword in the right places really helped a site improve in the rankings, especially if the site had a strong backlink profile.
After Penguin and the devaluation of anchor text and on-page criteria, my on-page SEO checklist has changed. Here’s what I look for when doing On-page SEO now:
- Keywords in:
- Meta title
- Body of the page
- H1 or h2 tag ONLY if it makes sense (h1/h2 tags were devalued after Penguin)
- Page Load: faster is better
- SE friendly URL’s
- Canonical tags if there’s any kind of content duplication
- 301 redirects to content that has been moved. I still redirect site.com to www.site.com
- XML site map
- Social Search Icons
- Related Pages
- Avoid Orphan pages
By studying hundreds of sites still ranking in the search engines it is apparent to me that the elements above are the ones that matter when optimizing a site.