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6 Perfectly Preventable Ways Facebook Ads Tend To Go Wrong

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6 Perfectly Preventable Ways Facebook Ads Tend To Go Wrong

Recent data shows that Facebook attracted 2.93 billion active monthly users. in Q1 2022, making it the social media platform used most around the world.

However, even though Facebook is the most popular social media platform, it doesn’t mean your ads will reach millions of people.

Nor should that be your goal, since that would expand past your budget and you’d end up targeting audiences who wouldn’t resonate with your brand.

How can you carve out an influential audience and customer base on Facebook?

Let’s take a look at some common mistakes that hurt ROI and how to avoid them, as well as some Facebook ad campaign strategy tips.

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1. Deciding Facebook Is Not Suited To My Company

Some companies may choose to write off Facebook altogether since they may think it might not be best for their brand and complicated to incorporate or manage. But this would be a mistake.

Another reason brands may disregard Facebook Ads is because they believe it’s too expensive, but with a realistic budget and smart strategy, that’s far from the truth.

If your brand is considering Facebook ads, then it’s valuable to start by breaking down what your budget for Facebook Ads would be, including taking time to understand the different campaign potentials.

There are three crucial aspects of a Facebook campaign to consider when planning, such as the daily budget option, lifetime budget, and overall campaign budget optimization.

As we stated earlier, companies may think that Facebook ads aren’t for them because they might not be compatible with company branding for both B2B and B2C companies.

But both company types are sure to reach their target audience if they take the time to cultivate a strategy and get a bit creative.

For B2B brands, companies may believe their ads won’t attract professionals because the ad would appear on social media.

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If this is a concern, then you might want to try lookalike audiences which are audiences that may be interested in your brand outside of the initial target audience.

A lookalike audience has the potential to broaden the scope of your audience and reach more businesses or individuals you didn’t initially consider.

This is a strategy to extend your reach through Facebook algorithms which have the ability to monitor multiple touchpoints as people and companies interact with Facebook.

The Facebook Lookalike Audience is the main feature that can help you connect with more people with similar qualities as your intended target audience.

This capability looks at what pages people like and interact with as well as their interests.

You can get more engagement with your content by adjusting it to answer questions they may have to engage with the audience on a topic, then creating additional supporting content to generate more engagement and traffic.

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Then, based on this engagement, you can create a lookalike audience on social media.

For B2C companies that think they are more traditional or have non-digital products, it’s still a great way to build an audience and engage with individuals who may want to purchase your product.

It also builds brand authority to have a presence they recognize when searching for your product on social media.

You can create excitement, trust, and general interest that can turn into leads and long-term customers.

Whether you want sales or traffic, Facebook ads can be an effective tool, and Facebook makes the process more accessible through its algorithms and simple ad platform.

Now, let’s dive into strategy and objectives a bit more.

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2. Having The Wrong Campaign Objective

The beginning of every strategy is setting your objective, and then you can decide the milestones and resources required to achieve it.

Facebook divides these objectives into three categories: awareness, consideration, and conversions.

If your goal is brand awareness, then you want to get people interested in your product or service through your ads and get them excited about your brand.

What makes your brand unique? What problem or problems does it solve? How can you best reach people, so they connect your product or service to your brand each time they see it?

Consideration is where you want to entice people to learn more about your brand and seek more information.

Get them intrigued to visit your website to learn more and potentially generate leads. Get people to like, comment, or message your brand to learn more.

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Conversion, of course, is getting more sales. That strong and creative copy that prompts your call to action so they make a purchase.

Your objectives can change over time, but it’s crucial to select one objective for each campaign to evaluate its effectiveness since each strategy will have different goals and milestones.

Within the three groups, there are thirteen campaign objectives:

  1. Store Traffic
  2. Reach
  3. Brand Awareness
  4. Traffic
  5. Engagement
  6. Lead Generation
  7. Video Views
  8. Messenger
  9. Catalog Sales
  10. Conversions
  11. Event Response
  12. Page Likes
  13. App Installation

It’ll be essential to evaluate and consider each one to make sure you’re making the most out of your Facebook ad strategy.

It can seem overwhelming, so testing a few different ones may be the correct route for your brand.

After some practice, you’ll be able to see which ones are giving you the results you’re looking for, especially if you test multiple objectives over time.

Another vital component of setting a brand’s objectives is aligning the company’s objectives with its needs.

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Correctly completing this aspect can help you optimize your budget, efforts for bidding options, and ad unit options.

Now we talked about milestones, and unfortunately, some companies wrongly measure their success simply through page likes or only consider a high click-through rate, but there’s more to it than that.

There are numerous platforms to analyze the analytics, which will get into a bit later.

3. Narrowing Down Into Too Wide (Or Too Specific) Targeted Audiences

Defining your target audience is key.

Even though you picked your objective, you still need to specify your audience, and it can be a bit tricky to make sure it’s not too large or too small.

You want to make sure your content targets audiences interested in your ad, and one of the best ways to do this is to create a customer profile of someone you would like to attract to your brand. This profile should be all-encompassing.

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While it’s good to start with age, gender, income, marital status, and education level, you want to go further into what their hobbies, values, and interests are as well.

To really connect with people, you’ll have to consider more detailed factors to create your content for your ads.

Even though you establish a customer profile, you don’t want to go too narrow and target solely based on an office type, job title, or daily budget.

On the other hand, if you go too broad, you can target people who wouldn’t be interested in your brand and spend more money retargeting.

To solve this conundrum, here are some tips for the best way to build your audience for Facebook ads.

Let’s talk about content.

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Focus on the different order for each ad, and try to tell a story through each iteration.

How will the customer journey evolve for each ad you present? And what is your intention for each ad along the way?

Then, once you’ve selected your audience and started your campaign, you can use the audience insights to better target people and redefine your reach. And, you want to observe how the audience is interacting with your page and content.

Additionally, you can layer different audience components such as their interests to reach more audiences in each ad.

It’s important to keep in mind some changes Meta is making to Facebook Ad Targeting for 2022.

These changes revolve around how brands connect with audiences based on health causes, sexual orientation, religious practices and groups, and political beliefs.

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People were concerned with data privacy, especially when it comes to ad targeting, and Meta has made changes to resolve this issue.

However, Meta may also make further changes down the line, so it’s essential to keep these shifts on your radar.

4. Using The Wrong Ad Type

There are numerous ad types you can use on Facebook. These include pictures, infographics, videos, carousels which are multiple images or a video, and product displays such as a collection.

Once you figure out your objective, audience, and the way in which you would like your customer journey to unfold, it’ll be easier to select the ad type that will work best for your campaign.

Then, over time as you measure and track engagement for different pieces of content, you’ll be able to see which types resonate best with your audience.

Make sure to check the requirements for each format type since there are different view options based on a mobile device, computer, and small pop-up ads.

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Also, it’s important to consider how your audience will view your content on each device to make sure it’s effective.

Myth: Assuming You Need To Have A Big Budget For Image/Video

You can create impactful, high-quality ads with simple tools such as Canva, which has preset templates where you can add your brand color and logo, and photos to your ads.

These types of platforms simplify ad creation and are generally cost-effective.

Additionally, you can use the carousel format to give your audience multiple stock photo images to browse through or create a compelling video.

5. Not Measuring Conversions

If you’re not monitoring your campaign or end up abandoning the ad, it’ll be hard to measure its true return on investment to better inform future campaigns.

It’s the only way to really see if your ads are working or find ways to pivot and re-strategize. Don’t let an initial campaign discourage you.

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One effective tool to monitor analytics is to use Google Analytics to track various aspects such as consumer location, content, conversions, mobile engagement, and more.

You can check out the guide to Google Analytics here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Facebook will also give you insightful analytics to see the engagement you’re receiving for each ad and how it performs compared to others throughout the weeks.

Additionally, through Facebook Business Suite, you can manage campaigns in one location for both your Facebook and Instagram posts, as well as customize or adjust your campaign.

Check out some additional simple tips for driving more conversions once you have set your benchmark, such as remarketing engagement and other capabilities and experimenting by reviewing your data and retargeting ads.

So, maybe you’ve tried some tactics, and your Facebook Ads aren’t converting. Here are some reasons why your ads may not be converting and some tips to improve.

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One reason is that your brand might not have enough audience data yet.

If this is your first campaign or you’re a newer brand, you might need to gather more analytics and comprehensive audience data to target your ads better.

You can accomplish this through Google Analytics, Microsoft Ads PPC, Facebook analytics, surveys, and questionnaires.

You may also need to take another look at your targeting parameters.

As stated earlier, going too wide or too narrow can diminish the effectiveness of your campaign.

You can improve this by redefining the three boundaries: demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.

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Additionally, if customers aren’t buying your product or service, it can be impactful to focus on Facebook lead ads.

6. Not A/B Testing

When creating a Facebook ad campaign, it’s crucial not to assume you know what will automatically appeal to your intended audience.

Try completing some A/B Testing, and you might be surprised.

For example, you can make minor changes such as switching the call to action, messaging, or image selection to see which best engages with your audience.

Make sure to use the Facebook Ad Library for comparisons with other brands as well as to see trends and longevity.

Look at competitors’ ads to see what’s working for them within their ad messaging or format to connect with your similar audience.

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Timing is also key to ensuring you’re reaching your audience at the right time.

Keep in mind the upcoming holidays that you might want to incorporate into your campaign.

Funnel mapping is also great to see where your audience is going when they go to your call to action.

When you look at the ad journey from the customer’s perspective, you can pinpoint areas for improvement.

Conclusion

When brands take the time to strategize and consider their objective, needs, audience, content type, and ad journey, Facebook ads become a more manageable option.

They are a cost-effective way to engage and grow a brand’s audience and have the potential for a great return on investment.

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When you’re just getting into social media marketing, learning from your mistakes is an excellent opportunity for growth. It offers the chance to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Then you can course-correct to better connect with and expand your audience and customer base.

Facebook ads can become an influential tool in a brand’s market strategy.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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How We Built A Strong $10 Million Agency: A Proven Framework

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How We Built A Strong $10 Million Agency: A Proven Framework

Building a successful agency can be a daunting task in today’s ever-evolving space. Do you know the secrets to succeeding with yours?

Watch this informative, on-demand webinar, where link building expert Jon Ball reveals the closely guarded secrets that have propelled Page One Power to become a highly successful $10 million agency.

You’ll learn:

  • The foundational principles on which to build your business to succeed.
  • The importance of delegation, market positioning, and staffing.
  • More proven lessons learned from 14 years of experience.

With Jon, we’ll provide you with actionable insights that you can use to take your business to the next level, using foundational principles that have contributed to Page One Power’s success.

If you’re looking to establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur or grow your agency in the constantly evolving world of SEO, this webinar is for you.

Learn the secrets of establishing a thriving agency in an increasingly competitive SEO space.

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View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

How An Enterprise Digital PR Firm Earns 100’s Of Links In 30 Days

Join us as we explore how to scale the very time-consuming and complicated process of earning links from digital PR, with proven case studies showing how you can earn hundreds of links in 30 days.

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SEO Woe or a Load of Baloney?

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SEO Woe or a Load of Baloney?

Toxic backlinks are links that some SEO tools say could hurt your website’s Google rankings. The implication is that you should disavow them to keep your site safe.

But there’s some disagreement and confusion among SEOs as to whether “toxic” links are actually a thing and what, if anything, you should do about them. 

If you believe Google’s John Mueller, they’re not: 

Yet, according to my poll, the majority (just!) of SEOs think they are: 

So… what’s the deal here? Are toxic backlinks actually a thing? Are they hurting your site? And if so, what should you be doing about them? 

Before we can answer those questions, we need to understand the terminology… 

Every website has some spammy backlinks that just don’t make sense. But that doesn’t necessarily make them manipulative or “toxic.”

For example, here are a couple of obviously spammy links to our site: 

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Example of spammy links, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of spammy links, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We didn’t build or buy either of these, so they’re not “manipulative” by definition. They’re just low-quality links we’ve attracted over time because the internet is rife with spammers. 

If you study Google’s link spam documentation carefully, you’ll see that, in theory, these aren’t the kind of spammy links they have a problem with. They warn only against the ill effects of spam links intended to manipulate rankings. 

Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages. Any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results may be considered link spam. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site. 

Here are the examples Google gives of these manipulative links: 

What Google says are manipulative linksWhat Google says are manipulative links

As for “toxic backlinks,” this is just a term made up by certain SEO tools to describe backlinks they think could hurt your rankings based on several so-called “markers.”

Key takeaway

  • Spammy links are low-quality links that every site attracts through no fault of their own. 
  • Manipulative links are links built or bought solely to improve Google rankings. 
  • Toxic links are links that certain SEO tools say could hurt your website’s rankings. 

If you asked this question before September 2016, the answer would have likely been “yes.”

So what changed? 

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Penguin 4.0.

With this algorithm update, Google switched from demoting pages to a system that tries to ignore bad links.

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. 

Since then, Google’s stance has been that you can ignore spammy backlinks. 

If you’re seeing individual links that pop up and you say, “oh this looks like a spammer dropped the link” or whatever, I would completely ignore those. […] because these spammy links happen to every website and Google’s system has seen them so many times over the years that we’re very good at just ignoring them. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

But is this true? Is Google really as good at ignoring low-level spam as we’re made to believe? 

Judging by my colleague Chris’s recent poll on LinkedIn, a good chunk of SEOs (38%) don’t think so, as they’re still disavowing them. 

Most SEOs either disavow or do nothing about spammy backlinksMost SEOs either disavow or do nothing about spammy backlinks

Does that mean they’re right to do so? Not necessarily. It just means they don’t fully trust Google that they won’t do any harm. They’re being careful. 

Personally, the person I trust most to answer this question in 2024 is Dr. Marie Haynes. I don’t think anyone’s done more research into this than her. She’s spent well over a decade working to understand Google’s search algorithms and auditing link profiles on behalf of business owners. 

Now, the interesting part of that statement (and why I actually trust her!) is the obvious conflict of interest. Until fairly recently, she made her living selling link audit and disavow file creation services—and for a pretty hefty sum at that! 

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Pricing from Marie's link audit services page in March 2023Pricing from Marie's link audit services page in March 2023
Pricing from Marie’s link audit services page in March 2023

Clearly, it would be good news for Marie if Google were still terrible at ignoring spammy backlinks because she could sell more link audits! 

Yet, these days, she no longer appears to offer such services. In fact, she’s actually been warning folks against the need to disavow low-quality, spammy backlinks for a few years. 

Here’s a quote from a 2022 blog post of hers:

While there is no harm in disavowing low quality spammy links, it likely does not help improve rankings. We believe that Google’s algorithms are already ignoring these links. […]. When we do see improvements these days after disavowing, it is always in sites where we have disavowed links that were purposely made for SEO and very little else. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

It’s clear that Marie is being cautious with her words here. But overall, her opinion after digging into this for many years seems to be that, yes, Google is now pretty good at ignoring most low-quality spammy links. 

Does that mean they’re perfect? No. But it does mean that worrying about obvious low-quality link spam is probably a waste of time for most people.

If you’re buying or building the types of links that Google class as “link spam” then, yes, they can absolutely hurt your rankings.

But before you panic about that link exchange you did with your best friend’s wife’s brother, Google is likely looking for patterns of manipulation here. In other words, manipulative link profiles rather than manipulative individual links: 

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Danny Richman, founder of Richman SEO Training, agrees: 

Here’s a bit more context from Danny: 

As for Marie Haynes, she echoes a similar sentiment in this post. She states that manual actions aside, she would only recommend a client disavow links if they have “a very large number of links that [they] feel the webspam team would consider to be ‘manipulative.’ ”

In these cases, Google often slaps the worst offenders with an unnatural links manual action. If you get one of those, that’s Google telling you, “Hey… you’re being demoted in search because we think you’ve been trying to game the system with manipulative links.” 

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But this doesn’t have to happen for manipulative links to be a problem. It’s possible for Google to algorithmically demote a site if they detect a large volume of spammy and manipulative links, at least according to John Mueller.

If we see a very strong pattern [of spammy links] there, then it can happen that our algorithms say well, we really have kind of lost trust with this website and at the moment based on the bigger picture on the web, we kind of need to be more on almost a conservative side when it comes to to understanding this website’s content and ranking it in the search results. And then you can see kind of a drop in the visibility there. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

Either way, the point remains: it’s patterns of manipulation that are likely to hurt rankings. There’s very little chance that you need to worry about the odd potentially dodgy link here and there. 

While it might be tempting to use an SEO tool that finds “toxic backlinks” for you, I’d seriously urge you to reconsider. Trusting these can do more harm than good. Way more. 

Just look at this unfortunate Redditor’s reply to John Mueller: 

Someone on Reddit's traffic tanked 60% after disavowing "toxic" backlinks in one SEO toolSomeone on Reddit's traffic tanked 60% after disavowing "toxic" backlinks in one SEO tool
A 60% drop in traffic! That’s no joke! 

Even if this is an extreme case, worrying about these links likely only wastes time because, according to Marie Haynes, they’re rarely truly toxic: 

I find that the truly toxic links…the ones that could have the potential to harm your site algorithmically (although you’d have to really overdo it, as I’ll describe below), are rarely returned by an SEO tool. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUVU Marketing, seems to agree: 

So… how do you find truly toxic backlinks that are likely to be hurting your site? 

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The truth? You might not even need to look for them. If you haven’t built or bought links that Google considers link spam at any reasonable scale, chances are you’re good. 

If you’re not confident about that, do a manual backlink audit with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

The Anchors report is a good starting point if you’ve never done this. It shows you the words and phrases people use when linking to you. If they look unnatural or over-optimized (lots of exact matches of keywords you’re trying to rank for), that could be a sign you have paid or other links intended to manipulate rankings. 

Example of keyword-rich anchors, which are often a sign of paid backlinksExample of keyword-rich anchors, which are often a sign of paid backlinks

If things look fishy there, use the Backlinks report to dig deeper and check the context of those links. It’s usually quite easy to spot paid and unnatural ones. 

The Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer showing the context of the backlinkThe Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer showing the context of the backlink

Just remember that you’re looking for patterns of unnatural links, not just one or two. 

WARNING

If you’re not 100% sure what you’re looking for when doing a backlink audit, hire someone who knows what they’re doing. You need to be confident that the links are truly “toxic.”

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If you have a manual action for unnatural links or a bunch of what you believe to be truly toxic backlinks, yes. Google’s advice is to disavow them (assuming you can’t get the links removed). 

You should disavow backlinks only if: 

You have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, 

AND

The links have caused a manual action, or likely will cause a manual action, on your site. 

Marie Haynes advises the same: 

There are two situations where we will recommend to our clients a thorough link audit followed by filing a disavow: 

  1. The site has a manual action for unnatural links in GSC. 
  2. The site has a very large number of links that we feel the webspam team would consider to be “manipulative”.
Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

If you just have a bunch of spammy backlinks that most sites naturally attract or the odd paid backlink, probably not. Google probably ignores most, if not all, of these links, so disavowing them is likely a waste of time. 

While there is no harm in disavowing these links other than the time spent analyzing them, there is likely no benefit either. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

But what about negative SEO?

Being the victim of a negative SEO attack is indeed the possible exception here. This is when a competitor sends a load of spammy or toxic backlinks your way to try to get your site penalized. 

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Google remains adamant that it basically never works, but it really comes down to what you believe. 

[I’ve] looked at hundreds of supposed cases of negative SEO, but none have actually been the real reason a website was hurt. […] While it’s easier to blame negative SEO, typically the culprit of a traffic drop is something else you don’t know about–perhaps an algorithm update or an issue with their website. 

Gary IllyesGary Illyes

If you see a traffic drop after an influx of backlinks in Site Explorer, I’d say that it’s at least worth a bit more investigation. 

Site with traffic drop coinciding with an influx of backlinksSite with traffic drop coinciding with an influx of backlinks
This site experienced a traffic drop coinciding with an influx of referring domains. Maybe there’s benefit to disavowing here… and maybe it’s something else!

As Gary said above, something else could be to blame—but you never know. There’s always a chance that Google’s algorithms rule it was you who built or bought those backlinks to try to manipulate rankings and penalize you for it. 

If you just found a bunch of so-called “toxic backlinks” in an SEO tool, probably not. Again, most of these are probably just link spam Google already ignores. 

Here’s yet another quote from Marie Haynes backing this up: 

While there is probably no harm in disavowing [links reported as toxic in SEO tools], you are not likely to see any improvement as a result. Disavowing is meant for sites trying to remove a manual action and for those who have been actively building links for the purpose of improving rankings. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

There’s also the risk that you could end up disavowing links that are actually helping you… 

Patrick showed further evidence that this can absolutely happen when he experimented with disavowing links to the Ahrefs blog. Traffic dipped, then went back up after he removed the disavow. 

The impact of disavowing links to the Ahrefs blogThe impact of disavowing links to the Ahrefs blog

Final thoughts

“Toxic backlinks” is a term made up by certain SEO tools to scare you. That’s not to say bad links can’t hurt your site. They absolutely can. But fortunately for most site owners, it’s rarely a problem worth worrying all that much about. 

Got questions? Disagree? Ping me on Twitter X.

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On-Page SEO Checklist for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

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On-Page SEO Checklist 2024

On-Page SEO Checklist 2024

Want to make your pages rank high on Google? You won’t be able to do that if you don’t know where or how to start your on-page SEO — and with each Google update, this pillar of SEO gets more and more complicated. To keep you updated with the best and most relevant practices when it comes to this aspect of your website, I have prepared an on-page SEO checklist for 2024. 

On-Page SEO Factors

On-page SEO, in simple terms, is all the ways you can optimize your website take place on your website. Tweaking certain elements of your pages can enable them to climb very quickly up the ranks when done right. These elements include essentially everything you can see on your webpage, like its title tags, headers, and images.

Webmaster’s Note: This is part two of our SEO checklist series. Part one covers our technical SEO checklist, so go back if you haven’t seen that yet. I also do deep dives into other aspects of on-page SEO in other articles, like the best content strategy for SEO, how to hack on-page factors, and ways to dominate niche keywords in your industry.

1. Identify Your Target Keyword

This is where any SEO effort should start. Identify which basic keywords you would like each page to rank for. From there, you can expand into common phrases, questions, and related words people use to find pages like yours through keyword research. 

Key Aspects of Keyword Optimization:

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  • Keyword Research: Identifying the right keywords that your target audience is searching for.
  • Keyword Placement: Sensibly incorporating keywords in titles, headings, the first paragraph, and throughout the content.
  • Searcher Intent: Catering to why someone is performing a search, whether it’s to find information, make a purchase, etc.

Effective keyword optimization allows you to create pages that best meet user intent. This boosts your chances of ranking highly for your chosen keywords. 

Using a Keyword Research Tool for On-Page SEOUsing a Keyword Research Tool for On-Page SEO

I have longer guides on the types of keywords you should look at, and another on how to do keyword research you can follow for this step.

2. High-Quality Content Creation

Quality content is the keystone of on-page SEO. It is, after all, fundamental to the selling point of Google — which is that it is the go-to place to find answers to your questions. It’s why Google pushes Helpful Content Updates every so often.

So, your content must meet Google’s standards of quality in order to make it to the top. To do that, your content must be authoritative, valuable to the reader, and deliver on the promises made by your meta tags and headings.

What Constitutes Quality Content:

  • Originality: Your content must be unique and offer fresh insights.
  • Relevancy: It should align with your target user’s intent and be updated regularly.
  • Engagement: Content must encourage users to spend time on your site and interact with your offerings.

Creating content that exceeds user expectations can dramatically bolster your SEO as it can directly affect user engagement metrics and boost the credibility of your site. 

Webmaster’s Note: Beyond making sure all new content is high-quality, however, is ensuring all of your existing content is also up to par. I’ll be covering that in part four of this series, so keep an eye out for that. 

3. URL Structure

URLs are not only a ranking factor but also enhance the user experience when structured logically. 

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Features of an Effective URL Structure:

  • Concise and Descriptive: A URL should be concise and explain your page content. No stop words.
  • Keyword Inclusion: A relevant keyword can enhance a URL’s performance.
  • Use Hyphens instead of Underscores: Conventional use dictates using hyphens to separate words.

A clear URL helps users and search engines make sense of the page’s content before they even reach it.

Here’s an example of a bad URL slug. 

Example of Bad URL StructureExample of Bad URL Structure

And here’s an example of a good, optimized one.

Example of Good URL StructureExample of Good URL Structure

4. Title Tag and Headings

I find that certain practices for these two elements give the most benefit to a page’s SEO. 

Best Practices for Title Tag and Heading Optimization:

  • Use a Keyword-First Approach: Place keywords first in your title tag, as uninterrupted by stop-words as possible.
  • Keep it Simple: Title tags should be concise to ensure the entire tag is displayed on the SERPs.
  • Same Keyword, Different Phrasing: Use the same keyword in your title tag and heading 1. However, use different phrasing or wording for each. 
  • Insert Related Keywords: Do this for your heading 2, 3, and so on, where it makes sense.
  • Avoid Duplicates: Use different title tags and headings for every unique page.

4. Meta Tags Enhancement

Meta tags, such as the meta description, serve as a brief pitch to users on search engine results pages. Other meta tags, like your image alt text and links, provide important context to both the user and crawlbot.

Tips for Enhanced Meta Tags:

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  • Compelling Copy: Write title tags and meta descriptions that accurately summarize the page content and entice clicks.
  • Keyword Usage: Try to insert target keywords and/or related keywords effectively in your meta descriptions, and within the limit.
  • Uniqueness: Each page should have unique meta tags. 
  • Be Descriptive: Your image alt text should not only include a related keyword but should also adequately describe what is seen on the image. 
  • Add internal and external links: Semantic search means Google can use the links in your pages to gain a better understanding of its content. Always add relevant internal links, and only include external links from trusted websites. 
  • Use Noindex Robots Meta Tag: Add this to prevent any pages with thin content, or pages with little value and no intent from appearing in the SERPs.
  • Use rel=”canonical” Link Tag: Use this for any duplicate pages you have on your website. Doing this can help you control which version of the page gets indexed and ranks for your targeted keywords. 
  • Set your Open Graph Meta Tags: This will let you optimize how your pages look when they’re shared on social media.
  • Set your Viewport Meta Tag: This configures how your pages are scaled and displayed on different devices and platforms, which is important for user experience (more on that later). 

To get the most out of your SEO, don’t neglect this part of your on-page SEO checklist. The small tweaks here can add up to the big picture. 

Well-crafted meta tags have the potential to increase click-through rates, boost your visibility on organic search and image search, enhance user experience, and also distribute link equity throughout your pages. All these contribute to how well your page ranks. 

5. Internal Linking

Internal linking spreads link equity throughout your site and can help search engines discover new pages. Always link back to pillar content, or other high-value content on your website. 

Benefits of Strategic Internal Linking:

  • Navigation: They guide users through other relevant pages on your website.
  • Page Authority: Anchor text can help to convey what the linked-to page is about, which can aid in ranking for those terms.
  • User Time on Site: Providing relevant links can keep users engaged on your site for longer periods.

Good internal linking can significantly increase your engagement rates and contribute to building a robust site architecture. I have a separate post on how to build topical authority through internal linking you can check out.

6. User Experience (UX)

User experience affects on-page SEO because search engines favor websites that provide a positive user experience.

UX Factors to Consider in Your Website Design:

  • Mobile-Friendliness: The site must perform well across all devices — but especially on mobile-view, as most users use Google through their phones.
  • Ease of Use: The site should be navigable and logical in its layout. Navigation bars and other menus should be intuitive and prioritize the most important pages of your website.
  • Page Speed: Pages should load quickly to reduce bounce rates. Follow this guide to site speed optimization for this point.

As UX becomes an even more important ranking factor, I find it is necessary to add to this on-page SEO checklist. Sites that deliver a high-quality user experience will dominate search engine results pages.

Key Takeaway

Mastering this pillar of SEO is crucial for achieving high rankings on Google, and staying updated with evolving best practices is essential. But with every update, what works best changes. 

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My 2024 on-page SEO checklist provides basically the most up-to-date practices for the elements on your website. Follow it, and you should be able to boost your website’s authority, credibility, and long-term SEO performance.

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