Are you sweating on each and every piece of your content to make it rank high in Google? Let me guess: sometimes it works & sometimes it just doesn’t. If I am right and you are craving to unravel the secret of perfect On-Page SEO, read this article from cover to cover.

Well, let’s keep our introduction short and get to the meat straight away. Have you already done keyword research and created a yummy content? Then it’s time to move further.

If your website is powered by WordPress, I recommend you to install free Yoast SEO plugin first of all. It will be easier for you to implement the tips below with it.

The plugin can also be used for more advanced tasks like setting canonical URLs, integrating your site with Google Search Console, and more.

You might want to take a look at the following related articles:

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Make sure to include your main keyword in page title tag and some other important places

There are some cases when pages rank without the keyword available in the title tag because links trump pretty much anything. Nevertheless, one can admit a noticeable correlation between keywords in the title tag and rankings. The tip here is to make sure that every website’s page is supplied with a unique title tag and that your main keyword is included once (there is no need to include it more times). I advise you to do the same for your meta description and H1 tags…
Make sure to include your main keyword in page title tag and some other important places
This is not critical, but you can include one meta description and H1 per page that will also contain your target keyword. Don’t try too hard. If you’re writing an article for your blog, then making the H1 tag just your post’s title is enough. Don’t jam the unnecessary keywords into it.

Get more clicks writing cosmopolitan titles that are appealing to searchers

If you want to strengthen your positions in Google and pick up some extra clicks along the way, make your title absolutely irresistible for searchers. It should lure them to click. I know that you don’t have lots of space to play around, but with a bit of understanding and creativity, you can stuff pretty much there.

What should your title be like? Try to make it captivating, attractive, and triggering emotions. You might need some ideas to know for sure what works. Browse through some of the viral sites on Facebook. The guys are serious about such matters. They track their super high click-through rates and split test all the time.

You may use a good practice of making up a list of 10-20 titles for your post and then test out the best two or three before taking a final decision.
Get more clicks writing cosmopolitan titles that are appealing to searchers
I am sure you have noticed that most of the page titles in your niche inherit the same style/format. That means if you do something different, your titles will stand out in the SERPs. And titles that stand out are likely to bring you some extra clicks.

So, what is the takeaway? If your click-through rate goes up, then chances are that your ranking will improve too!

Add ‘purchase intent’ keywords to your titles to make more sales if you are running an eCommerce site

Adding a ‘purchase intent’ keywords to your titles will give you the possibility to catch the searchers on the ‘buying’ stage. Let me explain this with an example. If someone is searching for ‘denim skirts’, they could be looking for:

  • denim skirts reviews
  • pictures of denim skirts
  • information on what denim skirts are

You never know that for sure. However, if a person is searching for ‘buy denim skirts’, it looks like he or she is more or less ready to make a purchase. All you need to do is simply add a word like ‘buy’ to your titles and catch more of these prospective buyers. Here is the format you may use for your eCommerce site:

Buy {Product Name} Online

The cool thing about everything said above is that this title can be templated. Which saves you from the hassle of writing custom titles for thousands of products.

Avoid meta tag truncation to increase CTR

You have only 512px for your title tags to play with in desktop search results. What will happen after that? They will truncate, which looks pretty sucky.
Avoid meta tag truncation to increase CTR
Meta descriptions don’t look better either. BTW, they generally truncate at around 923px.
Avoid meta tag truncation to increase CTR
But it’s not just about looking bad. Truncation has a negative impact on your CTR’s.

So, what you want to do is keep your title tags around 512px and meta descriptions around 923px (maximum) to minimize truncation in the search results.

Your meta description must sell your content

Imagine that meta descriptions are your advertisements in the search results. They don’t always show up as sometimes Google picks out text from your page that better matches the query. But when they do, your neatly-written description can snatch you some extra clicks.

Your meta description should be unique and compelling, written for every page on your site that communicates USPs/value, and entices click-throughs.

But I advise you not to call it a day after your first iteration. Optimise CTR by split testing and experimenting with different meta description formats. For instance, you might try to include the price of the product in your description if you’re running an eCommerce store. Don’t stop testing and optimizing your click-throughs.

Make your content a priority

People visit your website because of your content. So you’d better make sure that your content is accessible to the users almost instantly upon hitting your page from the search.

Minimally, make your title visible without the necessity to scroll down to it. You should also take away everything that distracts the visitor from your content. Here are some examples of things that take the user’s focus away from your content:

  • Too many ads “above the fold” are annoying and Google doesn’t like the things that annoy their users.
  • Pop-ups are great for conversions, but they are annoying. Too many of them can cause site abandonment. Make sure that any of your pop-ups are easy to close and don’t go crazy with them. Delayed and/or exit intent pop-ups maybe a good option.
  • Be cautious with interstitial ads. Google may choose to penalize your site if it displays interstitial, full-screen ads to users on mobile devices, particularly those that block users from reading content as soon as they hit your page.

Your website must look great on any types of devices

It’s just the demand of time for your website to function flawlessly across a wide range of devices, operating systems, and screen sizes. That just means to be mobile-optimized.
Your website must look great on any types of devices
Please never forget about the users with a disability. It should be accessible to them either. I advise you to make it a priority because with Google’s mobile-first index reportedly coming soon, this becomes more important than ever.

Optimize your images to get more traffic from Google images

It’s not a secret that Google image search can drive sizeable traffic to your site. This is particularly principal for the merchants running eCommerce resources.

The point is that most of the people start their research not with a regular Google search, but by browsing through Google images.
Optimize your images to get more traffic from Google images
Here you will face a little problem. Google is getting smarter, but she is not clever enough to figure out what’s in your images. Tell her what’s there. What you want to do is add descriptive alt text, which is similar to captions, to all your images and reap extra traffic from Google image search.

You can also use descriptive filenames to give Google an indication of what’s in an image.

Here is a good and a bad example of the above said:

  • Good: <img src=“photo-of-a-denim-skirt.jpg” alt=“photo of a denim skirt” />
  • Bad: <img src=“1550111.jpg” alt”” />

You will also want to make sure that your images are compressed and optimised and download quickly because this is one of the ranking factors not only in Google Images but regular search as well. You can simplify the process using a WordPress Imagify plugin. It will automatically compress your images as you upload them. You can also use their bulk optimization tool to compress the existing images by nearly 50%, which is a huge saving.

Short, descriptive URLs will fit your content better

Why should you use descriptive URLs for your content pages if your CMS allows it, of course?

  • First of all, they look better;
  • Secondly, there might be a slight SEO benefit to using your keywords in your URL; and
  • Thirdly, naked anchor links will include your target keywords.

Minimize Boilerplate Text to Keep Google Panda Happy

“Boilerplate” text are big blocks of text that repeat on many pages on your site. This isn’t really too much of a problem if you have tons of other content on the page. But it may become an issue for your eCommerce site. I’ll explain you why.

Sometimes product pages include only about 50 unique words describing the product. Then come another 500 words about delivery terms and so on, that are repeated verbatim on every page. This makes Google think that if there’s only 10% of unique content on all these pages, they probably offer little or no value. That means that Panda is going to smush you.

Don’t forget to include your address in your site’s layout if you are targeting local SEO

This rule is applicable to every site: your contact details should be easy to find. But it becomes even more critical if your business is targeting local search. I would recommend adding your physical address and contact details to the footer of every page.
Don’t forget to include your address in your site’s layout if you are targeting local SEO
This way you’re simultaneously reinforcing your location to Google and sending trust signals to the prospectives.

Don’t jam-pack the keywords, opt for a cool, branded domain name instead

SEO benefit of having your keyword in your domain name is very doubtful today.
Don’t jam-pack the keywords, opt for a cool, branded domain name instead
So you’d better go for a cool, branded domain rather than something like this: Putting the SEO value aside, it just looks better.

Implement Google’s recommendations to improve your site’s loading speed

Everybody knows that page loading speed is a ranking factor. Provided that all other factors are equal, a faster loading page will outrank a slower one.

When we, at Ahrefs, studied page load speed as part of our on-page SEO study, we found the correlation between load speed and rankings was small, but there was a correlation.
Implement Google’s recommendations to improve your site’s loading speed
To optimize your page loading speed, you need to test the current loading speed of your website. I advise you to use Google PageSpeed Insights for the purpose.

Pagespeed Insights will give you a bunch of recommendations, which you can implement where practical. Pingdom and Google Analytics are two alternative tools for checking current loading speed.

Install a caching plugin for your WordPress site

A good caching plugin can work wonders for your site’s speed. To tell you the truth, WordPress is pretty heavy on database calls without a caching plugin. When you are having a good traffic day and want things to be super fast, this quickly slows down your site to a crawl.

What does a caching plugin do? It serves static HTML versions of your pages to visitors. Those pages load in an instant, which means that your server can deal with much higher volumes of traffic. Need my advice on which plugin to choose? I recommend using WP Rocket.

It is not free, but definitely the best one out there.

Set up accelerated mobile pages (AMP)

What is AMP? Accelerated mobile pages are stripped down versions of web pages. They load lightning fast on mobile.

Why should you care about setting up the one? It’s likely that Google will give higher ranking to AMP ready pages in the future, as they have already started marking accelerated pages in search. Do you see the AMP flag in the news results below?
Set up accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
You can use the free plugin to set up AMP easily if your site is powered by WordPress.

Set up rich snippets/structured data to increase CTR

Organic search is extremely competitive nowadays. As you understand, it’s utterly important to do everything you can to make your listings stand out and win some extra clicks.

Rich snippets are descriptive HTML tags. They help search engines to better comprehend the contents of a web page. But the coolest thing is that they will show up in the search results for certain queries, which can help to lift up CTR.

Fish out high ranking keywords with CTR that is below average and boost their traffic

Do you also consider the search analytics report the most useful one available in Google Search Console? You can find quick wins with its help and also use the report for finding keywords that have below average CTR for their ranking position. You need to order the report by position and look for keywords ranking in the top 5 spots with low click-through rate.

As soon as you find them, try to split test different title and meta description variations to raise your click-throughs and pick up some extra search traffic.

Get great traffic boost just updating your content regularly

How often do you update your old/archive content? I advise you to keep it fresh, relevant and “rank-worthy”. You may check out this case study to find out how simply updating old content can lead to a big boost in search traffic.
Get great traffic boost just updating your content regularly.

Over to you

Seems like you’ve got all the necessary words for your high Google ranking spell. So, it’s high time to try it out. Have you got any cool on-page SEO tips to share and add to the list?

Leave me a comment with them right below.

About the Author: Helga Moreno is a passionate content creator and marketer at Ahrefs bold enough to believe that if there’s a book that she wants to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then she must write it herself.
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