WordPress is the best CMS (content management system) if you’re new to blogging, internet marketing and SEO (search engine optimization).
WordPress comes ready with SEO settings out of the box, allowing you to set-up a website within 5 to 30 minutes. Most WP themes are also responsive, which means they’re mobile-ready and allows faster page loads. And with thousands of free and paid plugins to choose from, a majority of chunk aims to make your website as SEO-friendly as possible.
Whether you’ve just installed a WordPress site now or a long time ago, you should follow these 12 tips for better SEO juice:
1) Choose a SEO-optimized Theme
The theme you use has an effect on page load speeds, upload speed, compatibility of plugins, design responsiveness, and website structure. WordPress themes that were designed with SEO in mind often have social media integration and clean coding that search engines view as index-worthy.
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Responsiveness is important because it ensures your website looks the same, whether a visitor views it from a mobile phone, tablet, or PCs. And since a responsive website designed converts to better user experience, search engines tend to rank sites like these higher than non-responsive sites.
When looking for a website theme, check what SEO features it offers. These include built-in plugins, heading tag options, presence of a schema markup, and more. Whenever you install a new theme, make sure to check page load speeds if it had improved or worsen.
2) Optimize Your Multimedia Content
Images, videos, and audio cannot be distinguished by search engine bots. But if you rename the files properly (instead of keeping the default IMG456.jpg or VID123.mpg) and include a relevant title and description, there’s a chance that Google will display your images on search results pages. This is why optimizing these multimedia content is vital, yet often a forgotten step.
3) Complete the On-Page SEO Checklist
WordPress makes it easy even for newbies to edit basic settings and theme elements, most of which would help in making the site friendlier to search engines. These on-site or on-page SEO elements, such as a properly created permalink structure and sitemaps, are quick-fixes but serve a greater purpose in the long-term.
4) Make Content Longer and Reader-friendly
In the past, internet marketing experts recommend blog posts to range from 500 to 1,000 words to make search engines happy. However, with algorithms becoming more advanced, long-form content allows website owners or bloggers to communicate their topics more comprehensively and incorporate important keywords (along with their synonyms), various headings and multimedia content naturally.
Not only does longer content offer more value to your readers, it also gives search engines more reasons to crawl your website. Google doesn’t disregard short content, but the length gives your website more credibility and in turn, results to higher search engine rankings.
Of course, quality is also a major ranking factor. Your long-form content won’t hold much value if the quality of your post or page is subpar, so make sure to give plenty of helpful information to your readers with every new post. Providing long-form quality content is the only organic thing you can do that provides continuous SEO benefits, if you’re not planning an all-out online marketing campaign.
5) Use a Powerful SEO Plugin
Whether you’re new to WordPress or not, installing a powerful SEO plugin on your website makes search engine optimization a whole lot easier. Plugins like Yoast SEO are designed with plenty of SEO-specific settings and features that help websites increase search engine rankings. Many of these plugins are free, so there’s no harm in trying out a few SEO plugins until you find the best that would work for your site.
6) Consider Keywords while Creating Your Content Calendar
Keywords remain an important part of SEO, so it’s important to perform keyword research even before you begin creating your WordPress site. Simply put, keywords are words or phrases that people use to find information on search engines. When you use these keywords properly throughout your site, Google and other search engines may list your site on search results pages and lead people to your site.
When deciding on keywords, make sure you list down synonyms and phrases that are likely to be used by your readers. You can sprinkle these keywords on the title, headings, content body, permalinks, image/video filenames and more. Make sure not to overdo it to avoid getting penalized by Google.
7) Get Smart with Internal and External Linking
Links serve various purposes. The more links that come from your social media accounts and other third-party websites (also called external links), the more credible your website looks in the eyes of search engines. One way to obtain external links is to promote other websites as well, but whenever you do add a link to third-party sites, make sure it’s relevant to your post, your readers would find value on it and that the website or page is currently live.
When it comes to internal linking (or linking one of your posts to past posts), you have to show search engines how well you can connect your content. It also helps people check out other information you’ve posted in the past that they may not have seen otherwise… which is a good thing, since you’ll want your readers to stay on your site as long as possible. But you have to be careful and link only to on-site posts that are relevant and fit naturally.
8) Experiment with Keeping Readers Engaged
Aside from incorporating smart links (both internally and externally), you should also try to add plug-ins like “similar posts” to keep your readers engaged to your content. You may also try adding videos, images, infographics, charts, audio, and other types of multimedia content to break huge blocks of text and make it visually pleasing to readers.
9) Update Your Website with Quality Content Regularly
Many successful bloggers now didn’t know a thing about SEO, but they did publish posts on a regular basis and their WordPress sites increased in ranking organically. Aside from the length of posts, Google also now considers a site’s content frequency as a ranking factor.
10) Make Social Media a part of Your SEO and Content Strategy
If you want to succeed in the online world, you have to take advantage of what social media could give to your site. Creating accounts for them are easy and free of charge. Updating social media requires very minimal effort as well.
The Bottom Line
If you’ve followed these tips down to a T, but your website still loads slowly, your hosting provider may be the one at fault. Note that Google and other search engines take page load speed into account when ranking sites, so decide if you have to upgrade a hosting plan or change providers altogether.
Whether you’re blogging as a hobby or building an ecommerce site, WordPress should be your first CMS choice. Not only is WordPress easy to set up and maintain… it also provides so much SEO benefits out of the box. If you follow these 10 SEO tips for WP sites to heart, your website is on its way to receive improved search rankings.