When it comes down to it, you need to have SEO as a part of your marketing strategy. Without it, you won’t be able to drum up organic traffic for your business. Most companies and bloggers out there love to use WordPress to get started, as it’s known to be a simple way to get to know how to use a website. The thing is, while it’s rumored that WordPress is SEO-friendly, there is so much more that you need to do if you want to make sure that you are making the most of WordPress SEO.
At the moment, WordPress ensures that you get the code that you need that follows the best SEO practices. The idea of getting your WordPress SEO optimized may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re not all in with technology yet. The good news is that you dot have to be a tech nerd to work out how to use WordPress SEO. Once you know the basics of SEO, you’re going to be able to put this knowledge into your website. So, let’s take a look at WordPress SEO and how you can maximize it for you!
What is SEO?
You may already know that SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, but did you know that it’s used to get more traffic while ranking highly in search engines online. The good thing about SEO is that it’s not about tricking the system, it’s about ensuring that with the right code and the right keywords, search engines will be able to find your site. People are online right now searching the web for the things that you write about. With your content correctly optimized, you can appear higher in the search results, which makes more people click through to your website. That’s the goal, right?
Why You Need SEO
You need to drive traffic to your website. Without properly optimized content, you’re going to find that you get less and less traffic. Search engines are used continuously to search for information, and Google and the other search engines used specific algorithms to understand your site and others. They then rank the pages appropriately, and it’s the goal of every website to be as high up in the ranks as possible. The algorithms used aren’t perfect, either. It’s for this reason that the search engines need your help to “get” your content. Without optimizing your content, the search engine cannot rank it, which means you are nowhere on the first page and boom – no traffic for you!
Diving Into WordPress SEO
It can get pretty confusing to read about SEO, especially WordPress SEO. Here are some of the tips that will help you to get technical without getting confused about what to do next. If you are already using WordPress, this will all come together nicely for the perfectly run website.
Have You Checked Your Visibility?
There is already an option on your WordPress website to be able to hide your website from search engines. This gives you time to work on it properly before you decide to go public and show the world what you’re doing. If you’re ready, but you still can’t see your site online check that you haven’t still got yourself hidden.
Are You Using SEO Friendly URL Structures in WordPress?
A URL that is SEO-friendly has words within it that tell the world the content of the page. Something very simple and readable will tell the customer what to expect from the page when they open it up. If your URL structure just has a bunch of numbers and symbols, you’re not going to get very far as they won’t know what they’re looking for! With the right structure, you will improve where you rank and you can check this structure on your permalink page.
Did you know that you can choose between using WWW and not using WWW with your website? You can choose to have your site name right after http:// instead of a www beginning. They are considered to be two different websites by the search engines, so you need to pick one and stick to it. Your preferences are set easily on your Site Address area of WordPress.
Let’s Talk Plugins
Whether you are using SEO Framework or Yoast, an SEO plugin is a must. WordPress is excellent for plugins, and there is one for everything with WordPress. It makes it a little harder for a WordPress beginner to choose a WordPress SEO plugin when there are so many, but there are free options to enjoy, which means that you have a range to pick from. The best WordPress SEO plugin depends on what you need, but the popular choices are Yoast and SEO Framework. Both are effective, but Yoast is often the chosen program for WordPress SEO, and they’re very straightforward to set up!
What About Adding XML Sitemaps in WordPress?
Have you heard about XML sitemaps yet? Well, it’s a formatted file that has every page of your website listed. This makes it much easier for search engines to get your content to the masses. While it won’t provide your content and search rankings with a boost, it will help Google and other search engines to find the pages and rank them appropriately quickly. With Yoast, you get this done automatically.
Google Search Console
Also known as Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a set of tools that Google offers to give website owners a glance at the way that the search engine views their content. You get reports and data to show you how your pages appear, and you can see the search terms that people use, too. All of this together will help you to realise what’s working on your website and what isn’t. You should check Google Search Console once per month so you can gather the right insights.
WordPress SEO Blog Optimization
You need to do more than just activate a new WordPress SEO plugin. SEO is more than one thing; it’s an ongoing process that you need to be on top of if you want the right results. All of the best SEO plugins allow you the chance to add descriptions, keywords and titles to all of the blog posts. It also gives you a chance to preview the page to see what it looks like. You must optimize your blog posts if you want them to be seen, and that involves doing keyword research. You can’t just guess your keywords; you need to look at what people are searching for and lean your keywords towards it. You want to use real data to know what people are looking for when they land on your website.
Best Practices For WordPress SEO
There are specific rules to follow for WordPress SEO, and with the best WordPress SEO plugin, you’ll be ahead of most ranking websites in your industry. You must follow the SEO best practices below to get it right. Thankfully, these aren’t massively technical, so they’ll be nice and easy for you to follow. So, let’s take a look:
Start With Categories & Tags
One of the best things about WordPress is that you can sort your blog posts into tags and categories. When you do this, you can manage your content better and allow your users to find it, too. Categories are meant as a way to group your posts, so if your blog were a book, the categories would be your table of contents. Categories are hierarchical, which is just a posh way of saying that they can have other pages added underneath them. Tags, on the other hand, are far more specific and can be linked to every other post that is tagged the same in your blog. So, if you were posting about SEO, you’d have an SEO tag on all posts that relate to SEO.
Internal Links Are A Must
Did you know that search engines assign pages a score? The common signal for that is in internal linking. Linking your content from other posts and pages to other newer blog posts is a smart plan! Where you can, link, link, link!
Think About Comments
Comments can be a strong indication of user engagement on your website. Engaged users mean more links back to your site, more traffic, and improved SEO. Of course, you need to make sure that your comments aren’t spam-bot comments. Keep vigilant about these comments and delete the ones that appear and look incorrect or untrue. Tools like Akismet can handle comment spam and give you the tools that you need to ensure that your comments are checked carefully for spam. Blogs should attract genuine comments, and if you engage your audience correctly, this will be the results. You want enough comments to be relevant but not too many that you have your search engine rankings affected. Make sure that your website can handle the comments that pop on.
NoFollow WordPress Links
It would help if you had links to help the search engines to choose which pages are essential. When you choose to link to an external website, you are passing some of your SEO scores from your site to that link. We’ll call this “link juice.” If you want good search rankings, you have to ensure that you are getting more of that juice than you give to others. This is where the NoFollow attribute comes in. If you have NoFollow links to sites that you don’t own, you will instruct the search engines not to follow those links. This saves you from running out of link juice!
Short Or Long?
WordPress displays and then links to your posts from other pages, but by default, it will show the full article content on these pages. These include category archives, tags archives, home pages and author pages. Your site’s SEO is affected as search engines can find it hard to duplicate the content. The full articles also slow down your load times. When you show the full articles everywhere, your page views can be affected. You want users subscribing to your pages via your RSS feed, but if this happens, they can read the full article post on your page in their feed reader, and they don’t have to visit your page to do it. This has an adverse effect on your page views. The best way that you can do this is to show summaries – shorter excerpts – instead of the full article. It doesn’t take much to do this, and you can find it in the instructions on your WordPress settings!
WordPress SEO Speed & Security
You need to do more than the basic SEO practices if possible. You can follow all of the tips above, and if your site is still slow and insecure, you need to do better. Your search engine rankings are going to take a hit if your site gets taken apart by a hacker. You need to keep your site secure, and you need to do it while preventing it from losing search engine traffic. Slow performance can do that pretty quickly. Here are some of the ways that you can maximize your speed and security:
There is plenty of research to show that in the current digital age, we humans have zero patience to pay attention to anything. We need to have our WordPress websites optimized to improve usability. Without it, web users will give you their twenty seconds of focus and then they will leave your website. As a website owner, it’s in your interest to ensure that your content is engaging and you don’t want to waste time making your visitors wait for your site to load finally. Google ranks faster websites far higher than the ones that are far too slow. You may need to improve the speed of your website, and when you do, you can boost your performance and adjust how many users stay on your website.
We love an image, a GIF, even a video. In your WordPress SEO, you need to think about image placement and usage. They’re more engaging than text, but they do take time to load and fill your website. If you don’t explore the image quality properly, you will find that your images slow your site right down. Optimizing your images to load faster is a must. You can also optimize your images for the search engine by using the accurate descriptions in the titles. Alt tags can also help, as these help your search engines to understand exactly what your image is about. Users that are visually impaired will also benefit from these alt tags. They will be able to use screen readers to describe the image to them, and they will be able to enjoy the website in the same way.
WordPress allows you to add the alt tags and title tags as you need to when you choose an image to upload. There are handy gallery plugins to use if you have a lot of images to use.
WordPress Site Safety
Did you know that Google blacklists around 20,000 websites every single week? These websites are then hidden from all search engine results. Google also blacklists over double that number as phishing sites. You want your WordPress site to have good rankings, and this would mean that the security of your website is vital. You cannot spend a load of time on SEO only to have a hacker come in and steal everything from you by hacking it all.
This means that the security of your WordPress site is crucial for good rankings. You don’t want all your hard work on SEO to go to waste if a hacker compromises your site. It’s not hard to keep your website safe, though, whether you use an external firewall or you go directly to using things like Sucuri to prevent attacks to your WordPress website. Other things that you can do include starting to use SSL/HTTPS certificates on your website. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it’s an encryption technology that connects the user browser and the server. This allows for better security to the WordPress site. If your WordPress site is adequately secured with SSL, you’ll see a padlock at the corner of the address bar on the site. This makes you much more trustworthy, and people will be able to access the site. It’s necessary to protect data and payment information for site visitors, so it’s a must for your website.
You want your website to have credibility and SSL certificates are going to help you to get there much faster. You can cover up to $10,000 of security as a minimum. The maximum heads upwards to $1.75 million in security. It’s vital that you secure your site, and even more critical that your customers can see it’s secure. WordPress SEO is built with many different thigs, and all of the tulips on this article will get you started!