There are many strategies you can use to drive traffic to your website, but if you want to achieve lasting organic growth, SEO (or search engine optimization) needs to become a top priority. While Yoast SEO can help owners of WordPress sites make key changes to their content, this tool won’t be much good if you don’t know what changes need to be made in the first place.

With that in mind, here are five essential on-site tactics you can use to improve your search rankings and attract new customers.

1. Title Tags

Each page on your website is unique, and that should be reflected in its title tag. This is the name of the page as it appears at the top of a web browser, or in Google search results. Title tags should generally be kept short, but you should try to use your brand name and a descriptive title whenever possible. For your home page, consider using your primary and/or secondary keywords, rather than something basic like “Home.”

2. Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions appear directly below a web page’s title in the search results, offering a brief explanation of what a user will find if they click on the link. These descriptions should generally be kept under 160 characters, while also incorporating a target keyword.

Whenever possible, try to highlight your unique selling proposition. Make sure each page has a unique meta description so search engines know how to cache them appropriately.

3. Photo Descriptions

Images can add much-needed visual variety to your site. But this doesn’t mean you can ignore text! Adding a descriptive caption underneath the image can increase the number of people who read content on the page.

For SEO purposes, writing a descriptive name for your photo for its alt text will improve indexing, while also offering another chance to incorporate your target keywords into your site content. Write accurate descriptions, rather than simply stuffing for keywords.

4. Optimize Page Speed

Few things will drive potential customers away like a slow-loading website. Just how important is it? Studies have found that 40 percent of internet users click away from a site if it doesn’t load in less than three seconds.

Because of this, Google places high priority on your site’s loading speed. You can improve loading times by optimizing images, linking to videos on YouTube rather than hosting them on your site, and minimizing your use of JavaScript and CSS.

5. Regular Content Updates

If your site looks exactly the same three months from now as it does today, you’ve got a problem. This doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your design every few months, though it is important to routinely re-evaluate your layout. Instead, your emphasis should be on consistently providing quality content.

With regular content updates (such as blog posts), Google will index your website more often. This gives you new opportunities to rise in the search rankings. This is especially true if you write informative, keyword-rich content that compels users to spend more time on your site. Quality content can help you become a niche authority and dramatically improve your search rankings.

Is Your Site Search Ready?

SEO isn’t a “set it and forget it” marketing tactic. As Google and other search engines continue to change what they look for, so too will your on-site optimization strategy need to adapt. By starting with these on-site essentials and continuing to make changes as needed, you can ensure that your site will deliver quality results.