Beginner’s SEO: On-page and Off-page – 2020 SEO checklist

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. SEO means optimizing your website’s elements so that search engines like Google and Bing can find your website easily.

Search engines are like a digital library where billions of websites are stored. When a user searches any query, google starts crawling the listed websites and provides the best matched and relevant results. To do this process google runs sets of instructions, known as the search algorithms.

Each search engine runs their own unique algorithms and provides the most relevant and useful results within a blink of an eye. Search engines update their algorithms periodically for better performance. No one knows about the search algorithms except Google. But Google gives information on how you can optimize your website’s content so that it can rank.

SEO is a vast topic that can’t be covered in an article. Here I’ll give you the information on what is On-page and off-page SEO.

  1. ON-page SEO
  2. Off-page SEO

On-page(on-site) SEO:

On-page SEO is also known as on-site SEO, doing it properly helps Google in crawling your website. And conclusively, chances of ranking your site will increase.

Here are some elements of the website that you need to do well for a better on-page SEO.


Keywords are the word or phrases that describe the topic of your article. For example, the keywords of this article are What is SEO, on-page, and off-page SEO. People search on google by typing some words or phrases, these are known as keywords.

To rank on Google, find out the keywords that people are searching for the most and which has low competition. To find out the keywords insight there are many free tools like Google keyword planner and Ubersuggest. These tools provide insight details of a keyword like

  • Country and area wise average monthly searches
  • Competition
  • SEO difficulty
  • Top of page bid
  • CPC
  • Other keyword ideas And more

After selecting the keywords for your topic you need to use them correctly in content so Google can find what your article is about. The best practice of using it is to include your keywords in the heading, meta description, the first paragraph of the content, and alt text of images.


The h1 tag is an HTML tag that represents a heading on a website. H1 tag helps web browsers and screen readers understand what each page is about, and how your site is organized.

There are six heading tags from <h1> to <h6>. As we move from <h1> to <h6> its importance decreases i.e. h1 is the most important tag and h6 is least important.

You can view this tag using the following steps.

  • First, Open a web page in chrome and press “ctrl+U” OR right-click and select the “view page source”.
Home page of pet life today website showing dog, cat and rabbit
  • Now press “ctrl+F” and type “<h1”, this will show you the h1 tag of a webpage.
Highlighting h1 tag in the source code of a post


Alt-text is a short form of alternative text(also known as “alt-description” and “alt-tag”). Alt-text is used to describe the images of your webpage. It helps search engines to match the search queries with relevant search results.

When the images on your web page fail to load, this alt-text is displayed in place of the image. This text helps visually impaired readers to describe what the image is about. Also, when someone is looking for images like your website then this alt text helps search engines to crawl your images.

Meta description:

The meta description is a brief description of a web page. It’s a crucial thing to do properly to improve on-page SEO. A good meta description can influence people to check out your website. Search engines like google display the meta description on the search engine result pages(SERPs) to provide a summary of a web page for their users.

Let’s see an example of how meta description looks on SERPs. The snipped information below the link and title is the meta description. When a user searches any query, google displays the meta description along with results. It helps searchers to get the idea of what information is contained on that web page.

Highlighting a random website meta description of SERP of a query

Generally, the length of a meta description is up to 155 characters. The meta description of your web page should include the keywords and summary of your content. That means what searchers will get if they click on your link, so the meta description of your page should be descriptive enough.

Title tag:

A title tag is an HTML element that defines the content of a web page. For example, assume that you want to start social media marketing and you heard about Pinterest but don’t know what it is and how it works. So you search in Google and what is Pinterest and it will show you the matched and most relevant content as in the picture below.

HTML title tag: <title>Content Title</title>

Highlighting the URL, Title and Meta description of on SERP website

As you can see, the bold blue color line shows the title of the web pages’ content. That helps searchers like you and search engines to understand the content of the web page.

Now you can understand the importance of a title. Let’s see the characteristics of a good title

Keep the length of title short max 55 characters.

Don’t use too much SEO keywords in the title

Make it relevant to the content.

Place important keywords first.

Use the words that encourage searchers to check out your web page.

Page content:

The goal of writing content is to educate your audiences, get new audiences to your website, spreading brand awareness, increasing conversion, etc. Well, that’s a good strategy but you can’t engage the audiences if your article is not so useful or informative. So focus on providing quality content and write for your audiences.

The page content is what keeps your audience engaged with your website. Before writing, do some research on the topic of your article and find what queries people are searching for related to your topic. Now if you know then try to answer those queries in your article.


Have you ever noticed that some websites’ addresses start from HTTP or HTTPS? There is only a difference of letter ‘s’ but, this extra ‘s’ tells you that your connection to a website is secured or not! HTTPS denotes that your connection to that site is secure and encrypted, any data you provide is safely shared with that site. SSL stands for secure socket layer.

SSL certificate not just ensures the secured connection but it also helps in SEO. Google

URL structure:

The URL structure of your web page also matters for On-site SEO. A search engine friendly and human-readable good URL has higher chances to rank. Before publishing your content, optimize its URL. Here are examples of good and bad URLs structure.

Internal linking:

An internal link is a link that points to a different page on the same website. Internal linking means linking other pages of your site into your content. Create one or two internal links on a related page, this helps search engines to crawl your links fast.

Optimizing images:

High-resolution images make a good impression on visitors but, not all the time because of their size! Big size images increase the loading time of a web page. So, the best practice is to optimize your images before uploading them to your site.

External linking:

The external link itself says a link that belongs to some external website (a link that doesn’t belong to the same website). Linking the relevant content of a high authority website improves SEO. It is more influential than the internal link.

If you create an external link that is irrelevant to your content then it may harm your SEO score. But if you create a relevant, useful external link then it gives the reference to content and makes it more trustworthy. And ultimately this improves the on-site SEO of your website.

Mobile friendly:

Google promotes sites that are mobile responsive, cause nowadays people are using mobile devices often to find any information. And for a better experience for its users, Google ranks the mobile-friendly sites. Google index and crawl the websites which have a mobile-responsive design. In rolling out mobile-first indexing Google says,

“Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.”

The mobile-responsive design of your website also improves your users’ experience and keeps them more engaged. Grabbing opportunity is Wiseman’s standard. Make your site mobile friendly or lose your business. You can check on Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to find out if your site is mobile-friendly or not!

Site speed:

Last but not least! Google uses site speed as a signal in the search ranking algorithm (Using site speed in web search ranking). Therefore, if you’re designing your website then keep it optimized so it can load fast. And if you’ve designed your website then you can use Googles’ PageSpeed Insights to check insight into your websites.

This will tell you which elements are increasing the load time of your website so you can easily optimize them.

Off-page SEO:

Off-page SEO (aka On-site SEO) refers to activities taken outside of your website to raise its rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).


Backlinks mean a link from another website pointed to your web page. Backlinks are essential to improve off-page SEO. For example, there are two different websites: website A and website B.

Website A writes an article and finds out the content of website B is relative to its article and helpful for its user to learn more. So website A creates a link that directs to website B. Now for website B, this link is known as a backlink and for website A it’s known as an external link.

Explation of external and internal link using example of illustration of two laptops

If internal linking means voting for your own website then inbound linking means gaining votes from other websites for your website. The inbound link tells Google that your content is helpful and trustworthy. And this will raise your ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 

Domain authority:

Domain authority(DA) is a search engine ranking score defined by MOZ, that predicts the ranking of a website in SERPs. DA score ranges from 1-100, higher the score means higher the chances of ranking in SERPs.

If you create an external link that is irrelevant to your content then it may harm your SEO score. But if you create a relative, useful external link then it gives the reference to content and makes it more trustworthy. And ultimately this improves the on-site SEO of your website.

Social promotion:

Social media is a good platform to drive traffic to your website and to stay connected with your audiences socially. Whenever you publish an article share it on different social media and see how people are reacting. It helps to rank your site cause google also monitors which article is often shared on social media.

An article that has more social shares means it has some great content. This will help to rank your website in search engine results pages(SERPs).


Creating a website is the first step to build an online presence for a business. After building your website you need to market or optimize your site to rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). For that, here we’ve seen the on-page and off-page SEO checklist that will help you to boost your SEO score and drive more free traffic to your website. Learn how to promote your website after doing SEO.

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Thank you!

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