SEO is a big machine with lots of little moving parts—sometimes it can stress out the most seasoned of SEOs.
So how can you make sure everything works just right?
Level up your knowledge and download this free SEO audit checklist and PDF. You’ll find tips and tricks on all kinds of website issues so you’ll never lose track of what to do next.
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Overcome Your SEO Obstacles with Semrush’s Free Audit
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance your skills and knowledge, you can take a big step with a Site Audit on Semrush.
At the bottom of this page is a comprehensive SEO audit PDF and detailed ebook to guide you through all the steps of keeping your site healthy.
Plus, you can try Semrush’s free audit for your website—just type a domain in Site Audit.
Use this tool along with the Semrush audit PDF to smash through any site health obstacles like:
- Slow site speed
- Wrong redirects
- Switching to SSL
- Bad UX on mobile
- Duplicate content
- Messy site architecture
- And more SEO nightmares
Before you start smashing, read the ebook to understand the most common website issues. You’ll get advice on simple improvements to eliminate pesky website problems and start getting better online visibility.
And don’t miss our article that answers the most common question: “What is SEO?” Or just be like the Hulk and get to crushing those site issues!
What You’ll Find in the SEO Audit Checklist and PDF
The world of SEO and web technology is always changing (we’re looking at you, Google algorithm updates). Downloading this PDF can help you keep watch for problems with:
Every important page of your website has to be crawlable for search engine bots. Plus, website health includes making sure all of the pages you don’t want to be indexed are hidden from crawlers. Make your robots.txt and XML sitemap work to your benefit and not against you by ensuring that they contain no errors.
If a webpage isn’t in Google’s index, you won’t be able to find it via search. Indexability means your site content will be easy for Google’s crawlers to find and index, making it easier for people to find when searching.
Efficient organization of the content on your site is a recipe for happy visitors and crawlers. You’ll see how to create SEO-friendly URLs, how to use use a site checker to audit all of your website’s internal and external linking for mistakes and incorrect redirects.
On-page content was crowned by the SEO community a long time ago and it continues to rule to this day. It demands special care for itself and its courtiers–meta tags. You have to attend to bothersome duplicates, wonky titles, irrelevant headers, and bland descriptions that suck the SEO quality out of your pages.
“This page is taking so long to load, but I will gladly wait,” said no one ever. Unoptimized visuals, poorly coded HTML, and outdated technology will drag you away from Google’s first page if you don’t start a preemptive emphasis on speed and good code. Oh, and there’s also mobile optimization, of course.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP is a technology that can wildly increase page speed on mobile devices. With AMP, mobile users can open Google search results in an instant. AMP coding involves restrictions and specificities, and you'll have to abide by its rules. To help you set up your AMPs correctly, our Site Audit tool detects over 40 AMP-related mistakes while showing you the exact line of code where the error crept in.
Since security is as important in cyberspace as it is in the offline world, it’s no wonder that HTTPS is a ranking factor becoming more and more significant. Nowadays, it’s not only necessary for the websites that request sensitive data but for pretty much everyone. Admittedly, moving your website to HTTPS smoothly and maintaining a secured protocol is a complicated business—we’re here to help.
For those auditing international websites, SEO errors can send your multilingual website to the last SERP. Setting the correct language to appear for the right audience and making the search engines cooperate is a difficult mission where mistakes are very hard to dodge.
Check Out Our Free Website Audit Service
With the right tool and the proper techniques for performing a website audit, you can handle the daunting task of auditing your site. The Semrush Site Audit tool offers full functionality and a free crawl for 100 pages, so you can try it today.
Now go ahead and fix your website! And please tell us about your experience. Your feedback will be much appreciated as it helps us evolve.
When you need results fast, making on-page SEO optimizations is often the best place to start. Optimizing pages on your site to improve user experience and give Google a clearer idea understanding of your content can go a long way toward better ranking and traffic.
To start, focus on a small subset of pages and audit them for the most important on-page SEO factors. If you optimize for each of the essential on-page elements, your adjustments can have a drastic impact even if each individual change involves just a small tweak.
What Are the Most Important On-page SEO Elements?
1. Title Tags
The title tag appears within the search engine result below the URL but above the meta description. Title tags should be eye-catching, on-brand, and optimized for your keywords.
In theory, meta data optimizations are the most basic of tasks. But in practice, crafting title tags and meta descriptions is more of a nuanced art than a hard science.
The rules of title tags are simple, but the strategy is complex. A widely-accepted rule is to stay under ~60 characters, but you should target 51-55 characters fo the best odds that Google won’t rewrite your title tags, and click-through rate studies suggest you should cut that character count in half. And if that weren’t enough of a challenge, the rules of SEO say to use your exact-match query, but your brand voice guidelines may require you to be playful and casual, making it difficult to work those keywords in naturally.
A great title tag is like a great tweet: it has an “it” factor. For your most important landing pages, take the extra time to make sure your title tags check these boxes:
- Uses the language of your target audience, using the exact-match keyword if possible
- Speaks to the search intent of your target audience, because some page views count more than others
- Eye-catching and on-brand, to make every impression count
- Truly descriptive of the content because an inaccurate title will destroy your bounce rate
If you are writing title tags for a client, the beauty of well-written meta data is that you’ll earn the client’s confidence that you understand their audience, product, and industry. If your client is hesitant to make a change, try these SEO A/B tests to perfect your metadata. SEO A/B testing gives you data to back your optimizations, making it easier to get your work approved quickly and implemented faster.
Of course, sometimes approval and implementation don’t go hand-in-hand—developers may be up to their necks with other tasks. In which case, “wow” the client once more with your ability to get the optimizations implemented using PageImprove for title tag and meta description optimizations.
Note: Google does not always display the title tag you specify. Sometimes they pull in another header from your page, which is why those must also be optimized.
2. Headings that Say It All
It’s not just what you say, it’s how—and where—you say it. Putting your target keyword in your heading and subheadings is a no brainer: you’ll see greater impact optimizing an H1 than if that same term is hidden in the page copy.
Just like title tags, the H1 should be crafty, compelling, and front-loaded with keywords, drawing your target audience into the main content. That said, H2s and H3s are often where the real opportunity lies, since they are more likely to be neglected, stale, and unoptimized, making them perfect targets for SEO optimization.
Often, Content Management Systems (CMS) make it impossible to optimize headings on any pages not containing long-form content, such as a blog post. In reality, any and every page can benefit from optimizing subheadings, including templatized pages like ecommerce product detail page and other standardized listings. PageImprove enables you to adjust headings and subheadings independent of the templates restricting your CMS.
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Let’s say I wanted to optimize the H1 on a product detail page. If I did so in my CMS, I’d have to change the actual product name. Now that would cause a chain reaction, messing with not just inbound links, but also orders and fulfillment. Instead, optimize the H1 with PageImprove, and the product name doesn’t have to change throughout the site—just the H1.
Same thing with subheadings. Say your product page template has a “Why We Love It” section, which cannot be edited in the site backend. With PageImprove, you can tweak this Subheading to “Why We Love [Keyword]” independent of the template. No more ifs, ands, or buts when it comes to revising headings and subheading on a templatized page.
3. Rich Content—No Matter the Length
Suffice it to say, the future of on page SEO lies in semantic search and natural language processing. That means it’s essential to make sure that your content is not just keyword-rich, but deep. Great content should answer the query, anticipate the user’s next questions, and answer those, too.
But what about content formats where text is brief by nature? Make the most of shorter content by being intentional with every word. To this end, ensure your copy is:
- Rich with terms semantically related to your target keyword (try swapping out pronouns like “it” for words that are more descriptive)
- Easy to read, for people and machines (try writing in complete sentences instead of fragments and shortening run-ons)
Apply the two simple rules above to any copy, and you may be surprised at trends you find. Product pages use fragmented sentences that are Short. Snappy. To. The. Point.
On the other hand, long-form content is often ripe with meandering run-ons, which often lose readers who are there for the meat not the fluff, and they certainly don’t make sense to crawlers, which are still growing in sophistication when it comes to natural language processing, and…
Rework the grammar so your target keywords and semantically related terms act as the clear subject of the copy.
Following the two rules above needn’t interfere with brand voice guidelines or consume implementation bandwidth, which are often on page SEO roadblocks. If your site struggles with SEO implementations like these, check out our recent guide on how to present and track implementations. And for the ultimate quick-win, update your newly optimized copy with PageImprove—even without backend access.
4. Internal Links with Optimized Anchor Text
Internal links are an easy-to-action, high-impact on-page SEO optimization. From a search perspective, we love internal links because they enable link equity to flow throughout the site, and they allow you to optimize anchor text to the destination page. And as an added bonus for your revenue and conversion metrics, they facilitate the path to purchase.
Internal linking optimizations should follow two rules:
- Optimize anchor text with your target keywords or semantic terms (avoid generic calls to action like “Learn More”)
- Choose link placement wisely (links from authoritative, semantically related content will reap more benefit to your target landing page)
Internal linking optimizations are an easy-sell to most client teams, making anchor text optimizations an SEO go-to when brand guidelines are restrictive. Especially if your site has a mix of “I want to know” and “I want to buy” content, most parties can get behind the idea of adding links from Top of Funnel Content to Bottom of Funnel content.
For example, in this article, you’ll see several links to blog posts on this site and beyond. Each one features relevant, carefully-chosen anchor text.
5. On-page E-A-T Signals
If your rankings ride the waves of the latest algorithm updates, you may want to deep dive into your site’s E-A-T signals. Improving expertise and authority requires a holistic E-A-T strategy, and the subject itself is worthy of a novella. In the meantime, there are some quick on-page wins you can make when it comes to E-A-T.
Look to add high-quality external citations to informational content and long-form articles. Ensure the author is reputable and provide author bios. Remember that E-A-T signals are there for users as much as Quality Raters, so awards, testimonials, and studies can all add value for your target audience.
Admittedly, it can be tricky to quantify the benefit of E-A-T when it comes to your bottom line. After all, what does authorship have to do with revenue? Well, if your site is Your Money Your Life (YMYL), establishing beneficial purpose and demonstrating trustworthiness is important for rankings, conversion, and thus overall lead generation. Still, E-A-T optimizations still can seem a bit too “meta” for a brand that has to put time and development resources behind SEO implementations. In which case, tackle E-A-T optimizations with PageImprove. You’ll spend more time doing and less time debating.
6. Content that Answers ‘People Also Ask’ and FAQs
Back to the topic of semantic search, do some research on the SERPs you’re targeting. The first place to look is the People Also Ask (PAA) box—an interactive search result that displays a box of questions that other searchers have asked in relation to your original search. PAA functionally enables Google to increase the number of featured snippets on the SERP—which will give this SERP feature longevity.
If you can find them, target PAA that have weak answers that can be improved upon. But even if the current PAA results are totally on-point and you don’t expect to unseat the current ranking page, you should still incorporate these questions in your content. Why? This will ensure your content is thorough and robust. In other words, it all comes back to semantic search.
To optimize for PAA, start by directly asking the relevant questions in subheadings and answering in list or paragraph format as appropriate. For long form articles, you may be able to do this directly in an H2. For ecommerce pages, you may want to create a dedicated FAQ section. All you need is the ability to edit headings and copy, and you’re on your way to an enhanced search appearance. Inflexible CMS? Do it with PageImprove.
7. Descriptive Image Alt Text
Depending on the nature of your content, image optimizations can be somewhat important or truly essential for SEO. If the content is an infographic or the subject matter is visual in nature (i.e. interior designs, fashion trends), making sure your alt text is optimized falls into the “truly essential” grouping. And of course, descriptive alt text is always critical for visually impaired users.
A “truly essential” example (which pains me still) was a local landing page whose services were detailed in an image rather than good old-fashioned HTML. Getting client buy-in to rectify this was an arduous process, so adding image alt text was our only ray of hope. And with dev resources focused on overhauling the content all together, having a tool like PageImprove to add the alt text as an interim solution would have felt like a miracle.
8. Valid Schema Markup
Schema markup is a collection of code snippets that can be placed on any page of a website in order to call out specific aspects of the page in the search results. Pages with structured data tend to receive higher click-through rates than those without, as the snippets are more engaging and attractive to searchers.
Incomplete structured data may mean you’re missing out on valuable organic SERP presence. For example, with product schema, we often encounter product schema missing Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), preventing client sites from appearing in popular products panels. Or worse yet—your hard-earned star ratings won’t appear on SERPs because the aggregateRating limits aren’t fully defined. Invalid structured data got you down? Start solving schema puzzles with PageImprove.
On-Page SEO Implementation Is Key
At the end of the day, SEO recommendations are only as good as our ability to get them implemented. So, while “implementation” isn’t technically considered “On Page SEO,” it’s worth reflecting on whether past on-page SEO recommendations are collecting dust in the dev queue. If that’s the case, take SEO implementation into your own hands and jump into the low-hanging fruit on this list. Looking for a partner to help? Reach out to the team at Stella Rising.
You know that SEO (search engine optimization) is an organic way of driving traffic to a brand’s website.
What you don’t know is how to make SEO traffic generation work for your brand without draining your budget. Correction: you don’t know how to yet.
We’ll demystify the process and help you drive relevant traffic to your website without spending a single cent all with the help of On Page SEO Checker.
How Does SEO Generate Traffic?
SEO traffic generation works by helping search engines understand what your website is all about. It makes it easier to place your site on the SERP (search engine results page) in front of an interested audience.
Larry Page (Google’s co-founder) once described the perfect search engine as “understanding exactly what you mean and giving you back exactly what you want.”
Simple, right? Not exactly.
Factors like site architecture, helpful content, and targeting the right keywords all play an important role in communicating to search engines so they can understand what your site has to offer.
Other SEO signals like site speed and a good user experience across all platforms matter to Google and should matter to you too.
But making your site as user-friendly, fresh, and helpful as you can is the way to get Google’s green light. Do this and you’re bound to attract more organic traffic.
Let’s break it down together a little more.
How to Generate Website Traffic for Free (Without Social Media)
It’s more than possible to generate site traffic for free and without social media through SEO. While SEO is a process that takes time, it can bring in a lot of long-term ROI if you’re patient.
Yes, Google has hundreds of ranking factors with multiple variations in its algorithm.
Does that mean you need to know every ranking factor to succeed? Nope!
Instead, you can focus on three parts of your online visibility to drive your target audience to your website. These three factors are:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
You can scale the search engine results pages with this in mind, with patience, and with a flexible strategy.
Including each of these three types of SEO in your digital marketing strategy can help you check off as many boxes as possible on Google’s list.
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How Can On-Page SEO Generate Traffic?
On-page SEO, in short, is the process of optimizing the pages of a website to make it user-friendly. You can probably guess a few of the elements that make up on-page SEO, like high-quality, relevant content.
But there isn’t an actual person reading over every page on your website to decide its rank.
Instead, you have to make your content easy for Google to read and understand. You can do this by using keywords in the right way throughout your content for Google to understand what you’re writing.
Part of doing this includes using relevant headers to break up your content, adding value through images, and using markup to help search engine crawlers understand your content.
Other on-page factors to optimize:
- Internal links
- Title tags
- Clean HTML
- Image size
- Mobile usability
Of course, it’s so much more than this. However, you don’t need to be Larry Page to master your site’s on-page SEO.
How Does Off-Page SEO Generate Traffic?
True to its name, off-page SEO involves any action that contributes to your website’s rank via someone else’s site.
It’s true that social media affects off-page SEO. But there are other ways you can capitalize on it—like with backlinks.
Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, said that link building can help with your overall search strategy during a Google Search Central SEO hangout in 2021. Though, he stressed that relevant, high-quality links are what really matter.
On Page SEO Checker gives you actionable ways to snag backlinks that bring the right audience to your website at the right time. We’ll revisit this a little later.
What Is Technical SEO and How Does it Generate Traffic?
Technical SEO describes the actions you’d take to improve the indexability and crawlability of your website.
Whereas on-page SEO deals more with the user-side of making a website easier to understand, technical SEO makes it easier for crawlers to understand.
You might’ve heard of the term “core web vitals.” It’s a series of tests that measures:
- Your site’s load time
- If your site visually shifts once it loads/as it loads
- How long it takes for elements to load on your website after user interaction
These metrics above along with others (i.e. page speed and site architecture) can have a big impact on your website’s technical SEO.
Search engines may place you higher in the SERP if your site health rocks. And that translates to more online visibility and traffic as a result.
What Is On Page SEO Checker?
On Page SEO Checker is one of many free tools to increase website traffic in the Semrush suite. Instead of throwing darts in the dark trying to optimize your pre-existing content at random, you can use this tool to gather solid SEO suggestions based on real-time data.
The reports from this SEO checklist tool can show you:
- On-page SEO ideas
- Semantically related words to include on your pages
- Target content length and readability
- Backlink prospects
- Ideas to improve technical SEO
Our crawlers scour the SERPs to find your top 10 competitors for targeted keywords so you learn from their strategies.
Also, On Page SEO Checker can crawl your entire website to fight against keyword cannibalization and check off items as you go along.
It’s tricky to know which aspect of SEO to start with. To help you choose, this tool suggests the priority of what you should focus on first.
The Trello integration can help your entire team stay on track and on the same page.
You can choose to look at ways to improve your organic traffic per page or per SEO idea. It’s your preference—either route can help lead to interested website visitors.
How to Find SEO Ideas with On Page SEO Checker
Look no further than the On Page SEO Checker to find enough SEO ideas to keep you busy for weeks. You can see all these suggestions from the Optimization Ideas tab.
This type of SEO idea lets you know if you’re optimizing for the right keyword for a targeted landing page.
For instance, imagine you’re optimizing a specific webpage for the term “google ads.” Said page ranks for the 101st position for the term.
Cue plot twist:
On Page SEO Checker crawls your site and finds that you have another page that ranks for position 55. It makes more sense to optimize the page that ranks for the 55th position because it has a better chance of moving up than the other.
The Strategy Ideas section of the Optimization Ideas report also makes you aware of any keyword cannibalization issues.
As a quick reminder, keyword cannibalization is when multiple pages of your website are targeting the same keyword. It leads to a fight between your content over who gets the better position for the targeted keyword. And here Google is the referee (aka not you).
SERP Features Ideas
SERP features are enhanced search results to help searchers easily find the answers they’re looking for. You probably recognize featured snippets.
These coveted spots take up a decent chunk of web real estate and can take the first position on the SERP without needing to rank for the first result.
The SERP Features Ideas section can help you figure out the best way to snag these spots based on the data of your top 10-ranking rivals'.
This section can also give you a heads up on opportunities where you can add a bit of markup to your page to increase the chances of earning a reviews SERP feature.
Google’s algorithm is quite clever and can better understand your content if you include terms related to your targeted keywords. These related phrases are called semantically related keywords.
To help you craft your semantic strategy, On Page SEO Checker has a Semantic Ideas section that compares your content to that of your top 10 rivals. It looks at the top results for your targeted keyword and then looks for the semantically related keywords in your competitors' content.
Clicking on “See detailed analysis” will show you how many times your rivals used these related terms along with how many times you’ve used them on a targeted page.
Weave these into your targeted page and you could be looking at more organic traffic.
User Experience Ideas
User experience (UX) has become increasingly important to Google. It makes sense: if a website is difficult to use, Google won’t want to promote it.
The User Experience Ideas section under the Optimization Ideas tab checks for three metrics:
- Page load time (which should be 3 seconds or less)
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on the webpage
These tests aren’t wild guesses. You can get accurate SEO suggestions because On Page SEO Checker has a Google Analytics integration. If our crawlers see a page with a long page load time or high bounce rate, it’ll suggest that you optimize these pages to improve the user experience.
Most of this tool’s suggestions deal with on-page optimization.
But why stop there?
The Backlinks Ideas section looks at your content competitors based on the targeted keyword and landing page.
Then, it tracks down your rivals’ existing backlinks—referring domains that very well might give you a link with the right outreach strategy and content.
Clicking on “See detailed analysis” reveals which referring domains link to your top 10 competitors. It also shows you which ones already link to your targeted landing page.
Technical SEO Ideas
You can craft the most informative content, but no one will be able to find it if Google’s crawlers can’t access it.
If you've already run Site Audit, the Technical SEO Ideas section can show you issues it found that could prevent Google from accessing your pages. Fixing them could help people find the content you worked hard on and turn them into viable leads.
The Content Ideas section offers the following on-page checks:
- Keyword stuffing
- Using your target keyword in the right places (like H1, meta title, etc.)
- If your content is long enough in comparison to your rivals’
- If Google decided to change your meta tags from what you wrote
- Whether or not a webpage could benefit from including a video
These are all pretty easy SEO ideas that can have a major impact on your website’s SERP position. That said, it can be a long to-do list, which the On Page SEO Checker is happy to keep track of.
Just like some of the other sections, Content Ideas also compares the targeted landing page to its top rivals and tells you where you can improve your content.
You can get a detailed view of the breakdown by clicking the “See detailed analysis” link. It’ll lead you to a report with more data.
Final Thoughts on Generating Organic Traffic with SEO
You might have landed on this blog without a single SEO idea. Now, you should have a long list of them. Knocking off each suggestion brings you closer to the top of the SERP and closer to the eyes of your future audience.
Best of all, SEO can be great ROI, especially if you’re up for doing it yourself.
You can use On Page SEO Checker to help with your supply of on-page, off-page, and technical SEO ideas. It’ll keep track of your accomplishments and the results of your effort.
With a free Semrush account, you’ll be able to gather ideas for up to 10 different keywords. If you’ll need more ideas, consider signing up for a 7-day free trial of an expanded subscription.
Put in the work with these suggestions to see how much traffic SEO can bring your site without using social media or burning through your budget.