Imagine that you own a bike shop in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood where you have bikes for sale and list your services. It’s safe to assume that you’d want your website to be the first thing that showed up if someone were to search “bike shop near me” on Google, right? You might have also Googled your business name and wondered how to appear at the top of a search engines results page (SERP) so that the people who are searching for bike shops in Chicago see your site and become a customer – either online or in-store. The good news is it is something you can achieve with some time and a few search engine optimization tips and tricks. Here are a few impactful WordPress SEO tips and tricks to improve your website’s ranking.
Why is SEO important?
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of increasing a website’s visibility and ranking on a search engine’s results page. But why is SEO so important? When you optimize your content for specific keywords or searches, your website and content are more likely to show up near the top of the SERP. This means that you can really get in front of the right customers. And because this is done without paying for ads the traffic is organic.
Now that you know why WordPress SEO is so important, here are some ways you can dramatically improve your WordPress website’s SEO, get more organic traffic, as well as increase your authority on search engines like Google.
1. Use SEO Plugins
There are thousands of WordPress SEO related plugins that make optimizing your website and content easier that don’t come standard with the platform. You can search the WordPress plugin library to browse what is available and what fit your SEO needs.
Not sure which one to pick? Install and set up Yoast SEO, All In One SEO Pack, and SmartCrawl Pro. These are the most used plugins to help optimize your website’s content and structure for search engines. Once you have the plugin installed, you can begin improving your SEO immediately!
2. Keywords Matter!
For the best SERP results, keywords are used in your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags to make it more relevant to search queries. That means that picking the right keywords is incredibly important. Look for keywords that fit what you are writing about in an organic and natural context. And make sure that your keyword placement in the content doesn’t feel stuffed or robotic – you’re content can be optimized and still read naturally.
3. Don’t forget to optimize images
Optimizing your website’s images and videos by including alt text and descriptive file names is another WordPress SEO strategy to utilize. Search engines like Google read Image-Alt-Text which are descriptions of your images or videos. That information is used by the search engine to determine whether or not your images match what information is being searched for by users. Alt-Text is also used by the visually impaired so making a point to include it makes your website accessible as well!
This is another place where a plug in like SEO Optimized Images can be helpful. You might already have a plug in on your site that has Image-Alt-Text functionality – just read through the list of features for current plugins to double check.
4. Have a backlink strategy
A WordPress SEO strategy is a lot of things you do on your own website, but there is an element that relies on other websites linking back to you – known as a backlink. When you build high-quality backlinks from reputable websites you can improve your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines.
5. Social media is an asset
Just because social media does not directly contribute to SEO ranking doesn’t mean you should ignore it! The links you share across social platforms increases your brand exposure and can help in other ways. You can lean into social media for extensive content distribution and give content a longer lifespan. So make sure you engage with users on social media to increase your website’s online presence and share your content where appropriate.
6. Pay attention to loading speed
Like social media, your site’s bounce rate doesn’t directly affect the organic ranking. But it does indirectly affect other ranking factors that search engines like Google care about. If you have a slow page speed, low-quality user experience, poor mobile optimization, it will impact your time-on-page metrics which is one of those non-SEO things Google cares about. Optimize your website’s loading speed by reducing the size of your images and using a caching plugin.
7. Keep mobile in mind
Piggybacking off of our previous tip, you’ll want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. In 2021, 58% of all online visits came from smartphones. Don’t isolate potential users and make sure your site is mobile friendly.
8. Sitemaps and indexing are important
Use sitemaps and robot.txt files to guide search engines through your website and improve its indexing. XML sitemaps help search engines find and evaluate, as well as rank the content on your site. There are a number of plugins that can create your sitemaps automatically.
9. Use analytics and data
Set up Google Analytics to track your website’s performance and identify areas for improvement. With Google analytics data, you’ll be able to learn a lot about your website and your audience.
10. Post regularly
Regularly update your website with fresh, high-quality content to keep it relevant and improve its ranking on search engines. Consistency is key!
11. Double check your settings
Check your settings in WordPress for optimal performance. There are some options in your settings that can hide your content from search engines. While this can be helpful when you’re building your site, it’s an easy setting to forget to turn off once your site is live.
12. Change Your Permalinks
Make sure your permalinks make sense and have a structure that is consistent. Permalines state what your content or post is to both users and search engines. You’ll want to make sure that your structure and settings make sense.
13. Use Tags and Categories
Tags and categories allow you organize your content into specific and broad groups. Not only do they help improve the overall user experience of your site but they also allow search engines to gauge and understand your website’s structure which is great for SEO. Use tags for more specific content groups and categories for broader content groupings.
14. Internally Link Your Site
Internal links should also be a component of your SEO strategy. You can link to other relevant content on your site by highlighting a word and placing a link or including a section for related reading. Internally linking gives your website authority and also shows users other information that might be relevant to them.
Improving your website’s SEO can seem daunting at first if you don’t know what to do. Start with these easy tips and you’re sure to see your SEO improve and an increase in your website visitors!