Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of driving organic traffic from search engines to your website. It’s a fascinating discipline where you implement certain tactics on your website to rank higher in search engines.
But search engine optimization takes time. It is not a quick fix. You need to devote at least 3-6 months to notice observable results.
In this article, we will look at top SEO tips for your WordPress website to kick-start your SEO efforts.
Let’s get started!
Choose the Right Web Host
The first thing you should do before doing any optimization work on your website is to choose a good web host.
Your web host determines the page speed of your website. You may be wondering how does it impact the page speed. To explain it simply, when a visitor types in the name of your website in a browser, they are trying to gain access to websites files stored on a server. If the server takes more time to respond, your site will be slow to load, impacting your search engine rankings in the process.
To assist you in this process, we have created a resource that will help you pick a good web host.
We recommend Bluehost. To get a special deal click here.
Pick an SEO-Friendly WordPress Theme
Picking an SEO-compatible theme is as important as choosing a good web host. WordPress comes with a default theme which we wouldn’t recommend to go with. You will find plenty of themes in WordPress that are aesthetically pleasing and have an excellent UI, but these 2 aspects shouldn’t be the deciding factors.
Make sure that the theme you’re choosing is mobile responsive and isn’t bloated with unnecessary code. To check if the theme is SEO-friendly, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights to check the page speed and run the mobile-friendly test to check the mobile responsiveness of the theme.
Perform Keyword Research
If you want to outperform your competitors and rank high in your niche, you need to invest in performing keyword research for your website.
Start by enlisting the crucial keywords that you want to rank for. Remember to think from your audience’s perspective as the keyword phrases you will come up will be relevant to your target market. Use Google Trends to get more ideas that are relevant to your geography, and you can also see the search trends for different keywords.
Similarly, you can use the following tools to get more inspiration for keyword phrases and delve a bit deeper:
You should ideally choose keywords that have low to moderate competition and medium to high search volume as your chances of ranking for that keyword go up.
Install an SEO Plugin
These plugins help you with the meta tag, meta description, meta keywords, etc. Yoast SEO also gives SEO analysis of the article for the focus keyword provided.
You can also see the preview of the SERP snippet so that you can customize the result as per your requirements.
Change Your Permalink Structure
A permalink is a hyperlink to a particular page or blog post on a website. In simpler terms, it’s the address of the individual articles and pages on your website.
To view the permalink structure of your website, go to Settings —> Permalinks on the left pane.
By default, WordPress sets the structure to /?p=123. It’d be a wasted opportunity if you don’t change the format as you don’t get to customize the link and use important keywords in it.
It is advised to change the format to either Day and name, Month and name or Post name as you can make the links search engine friendly. If you’d like to segregate posts by categories or authors, you can go for the Custom Structure.
Install an SSL Certificate
The search engine giant has made it pretty clear. If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, it is going to suffer in rankings and from the point of view of credibility as well.
Here are the steps to install an SSL certificate on your website:
- Buy an SSL certificate. You can get one for free from Let’s Encrypt
- Install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin
- Change your website address to the SSL one in the WordPress settings
- Redirect your HTTP links to HTTPS
- And you’re done!
Setup Google Search Console and Google Analytics
You need to continually monitor your website to make sure that it doesn’t have any technical glitches. To make this job easy, Google offers a free tool called Google Search Console. Previously known as Google Webmasters, this tool helps you with crawl errors, HTML improvements, search analytics, testing the sitemap and robots.txt, etc. Bing also has its product known as Bing Webmaster Tools.
Another tool that you must implement on your website is Google Analytics. The software helps you by providing an analysis of your site traffic. You can delve deep into the traffic sources, their demographic and geographic characteristics. Analytics also helps you with the top performing pages, user behavior, and track website conversions.
Follow On-Page SEO Best Practices
SEO primarily consists of two distinct categories, viz.: On-page and off-page optimization.
On-page optimization techniques consist of optimizing different aspects of your websites whereas off-page optimization techniques mostly deal with backlinks.
The first step you can take to optimize your website is to make sure that the on-page techniques are flawlessly implemented.
As covered already, keyword research lays the foundation of your SEO activities. Whenever you are working on a new piece of content, ensure that the targeted keywords are correctly placed in the title tag, URL, heading tags, alt texts, and body text.
Implement Internal Linking Strategies
Internal links point to other webpages on the same domain. They are an effective SEO tactic because you increase the average time a user spends on your website while directing the users to different content on your website, and in the process, strengthening the link architecture.
To get started with internal linking, you need to have enough content on your website. When linking internal pages, use the focus keywords in the anchor text. Anchor text is nothing but the text in a hyperlink.
One caveat with this strategy is that, don’t go overboard with internal linking. When linking internal pages, link only relevant and high content quality pages to yield the best results.
Building backlinks is an effective off-page SEO technique that helps you build your authority in your niche and the eyes of the search engine. Also known as inbound links or incoming links, backlinks are links from other domains that point to your domain. Backlinks boost organic ranking and increase referral traffic.
Start by writing quality content so that other websites will be compelled to link to your domain. Simultaneously start guest blogging on popular sites from your industry.
You can use the broken backlink technique to build more backlinks. In this technique, you keep an eye out for dead/broken links and when you find one, get in touch with the site owner to replace the dead link with your content.
Be sure that the domains you are reaching out to have good authority in your niche and do not come across as shady websites.
Use Google AMP
Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source project that enables mobile pages to load in the blink of an eye. The project is sponsored by Google along with companies such as Twitter, Baidu, Bing, Pinterest to name a few.
The AMP pages are proven to have high engagement as the pages load instantly. One caution to be taken is not to convert your whole website into AMP. The reason is, as AMP kind of shows a basic version of your website, pages such as product or service and any landing pages might not look appealing with AMP.
You can install the AMP for WP plugin to AMP-up your SEO efforts!
Fix Broken Links
Broken links on your website adversely impact the search engine rankings. They also derail the overall user experience. Isn’t it frustrating when you are waiting impatiently for a webpage to load and you’re redirected to a 404 page?
To fix broken links, go to Google Search Console and under the Crawl section, click on Crawl Errors. Click on the Not found tab to view the broken links.
An alternative to the above option is to use the Broken Link Checker plugin. However, make sure to deactivate the plugin once you check for the broken links.
Enable Website Caching
When a visitor types in your website in a browser, the request is received and processed by the server and the web page is converted into HTML before showing it to the visitor. When you enable website cache the server stores this file in its RAM. So, the next someone looks for the same webpage, the server immediately returns the static HTML file. This speeds up your website and reduces the load on the server. And as we know Google likes fast websites.
Submit Your XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap lists all the pages (URLs) on your website that allows search engines to crawl your website. Now, it’s not that your site won’t get crawled by search engines without a sitemap, but with the sitemap, you can prioritize certain pages of your website depending on the directory structure.
You can use a service like XML-Sitemaps.com to create the sitemap of your website. Alternatively, a simpler way to do this is by using plugins such as Google XML Sitemaps or Yoast SEO. Once you generate the sitemap, go to Google Search Console, click on Sitemaps in the left pane and submit the sitemap URL.
Optimize Your Images
We are visual creatures. Visual content helps us understand and comprehend the content in a better way. That’s why successful blog posts consist of images. Let’s look at how to optimize images to get better SEO results. Now, there are two aspects when it comes to optimizing the images:
- On-Page SEO Aspect: When optimizing images from the on-page SEO perspective, you should use keywords in the file name, image title and alt text to make it more search friendly
- Lossless Compression: The lossless compression part deals with reducing the file size of the images so that they don’t take much time to load. Lossless compression reduces the file size without impacting its dimensions or quality. You can use websites like TinyPNG to compress files. Plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer or Smush do the same job as well
Include Schema Markups
Schema Markup is a piece of code that lets search engines deliver better information about your content to users. Some of the examples of Schema are recipes, events, reviews, articles, etc.
Here is how Schema looks like (You can view the movie ratings and event schedule in the SERPs):
Create Remarkable Content
We intentionally kept this tip in the end because if there’s one takeaway you’d want to take away from this post should be this: Create remarkable content.
How do you create remarkable content? It’s by understanding the pain points of your readers and followers. To drive a significant amount of traffic to your website, start by focusing on long-tail conversational keywords and create long-form content.
Long-form content is proven to get more backlinks, and as we know, each backlink is counted as a vote of confidence in the eyes of the search engine.
Therefore to rank well in search engines, create content that is long-form, remarkable and timeless in nature.
If you are a beginner, it might be daunting to see so many tactics, but you don’t have to implement all of them at once. We would advise you to get started with content first and pick the ones that can be easily implemented such as installing an SSL certificate.
Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Which SEO tips are you going to implement on your website? Let us know in the comments below!