I was browsing around Quora SEO questions, and came across this question:
What are the core onpage and offpage fundamentals of SEO?
There were a lot of great answers. However all more or less reiterated the same checklist:
“Title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, structured data, internal linking…etc.”
They aren’t wrong. All of these are on-page fundamentals. However I was surprised to find the lack of explanation on how you come up all your title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, page content…etc.
The critical first step is proper keyword research. My answer on Quora:
“Regarding On-Page, everyone here is more or less saying the same thing (titles, heading tags, structured data, internal linking..etc), which are all important. But what seems to be less emphasized, and the most important first step is proper keyword research. This should be your first priority in tackling on-page fundamentals. Your keyword research will be the roadmap for all your pages’ content and how Google dictates the thematic relevance of your site.
For keyword research I start by using Google Adwords’ keyword tool. Don’t worry if you can’t see exact search volumes. Our goal is to parse out the various iterations of how people are searching for your service/products.
Type in your product/service in the “keyword ideas” input. Adwords will spit out a whole list of Adgroup ideas, with individual keywords nested under each. Download this list into Google Sheets. Color code each Adgroup idea to represent different “topics”.
From this list you can then decipher which keywords have relatively higher search volume as well as suggested bid which let us see which keywords may be more valuable than others. I highlight suggested bids that are over a certain amount so I can easily see which are more valuable than others.
I use this method to develop what Keywords to use for my page titles, headings, categories, page copy, blog post ideas…etc. The entire site really.
Coupling this process by researching competitor sites and documenting the types of pages’ Google is ranking is another great way to surface how you should be structuring pages and writing your content.
In summary, take the time to see what keywords competitors are going after, how many keywords are our competitors pages ranking for? See what’s actually being searched for, this is the foundation for any SEO campaign, and should never be overlooked.