Not too long ago, SEO was quite easy. All you had to do was publish prolifically, use lots of keywords, and take a few other steps, then you were set to go. This is no longer true.
Google, which is undoubtedly the setter of standards when it comes to all things SEO continually modifies their search engine algorithms. This is to ensure that websites that offer quality content along with great user experiences are rewarded, while sites that contain spam and low quality information are penalized. Keeping up with all of this can be difficult.
Fortunately, as a WordPress user, you have access to various plugins that can help you with SEO. In addition to this, there are also many tips and tricks that you can apply to boost your rankings as well. Here are 14 great SEO tips for WordPress users.
When it comes to SEO, one of the most important things is to have your site indexed quickly and frequently. This ensures that new content is discovered by search engine spiders. You can expedite this process by going into the general settings page and inputting a list of update services. WordPress provides a pretty decent list of these update services that you can use. These tools then inform various search engines when your WordPress is updated, causing your site to be reindexed quickly.
There are many things to take into consideration when selecting your WordPress theme. One thing that you may not have considered is SEO. Keep in mind that while a theme might be really neat looking, and have lots of bells and whistles, it may not be very fast performing. Knowing that page performance is one of the criteria that Google uses in its rankings, you might want to experiment with different themes until you find the right balance between user experience, and performance.
Keep in mind that in addition to looking at the text on your web pages, Google also looks at the images. If it finds a relevant image for a particular search, that will increase your rankings. In addition to this, Google will display that relevant image in search results. The only way for Google to know if an image is relevant to a keyword search is through the image name. For example, if you have a post that contains an image of the Prime Minister of Canada, and you name the image file Tru_image_22.jpg, that’s not going to help your SEO at all. On the other hand, if the image is named Justin-Trudeau.jpg, that will be seen by Google as being relevant for people searching for Justin Trudeau. Of course, image name is just the first step. Don’t neglect the title and alt tags for the images that you use.
If you are looking for a more “out of the box” solution for optimizing your WordPress site for SEO, you might consider downloading this extraordinarily popular plugin. Using this plugin, you can go input meta descriptions, titles, and meta keywords containing the SEO optimized keywords that you want to your content to be ranked for. This plugin also informs search engines of site updates, among its many other features. Ease of use makes this one of the best SEO plugins available to WordPress users.
When you create your permalinks, you should remember three things. Keep them short. Keep them understandable. Use keywords. Just like it does no good to use image file names that aren’t discernible to search engines, it also does no good to use permalinks that are not discernible. If you write a post about the latest Batman comic book, don’t name it
mysite.com/btmn123/. Instead, let search engines know what your content is about by using
mysite.com/batman_comic_2016/. If you have adapted some sort of naming convention that requires a series of letters or numbers to be used, add those at the end. Google only looks at the first four words anyway. Just be sure to keep the overall length of the permalink as short as possible.
If you use good judgment, you can use backlinks to boost your SEO. First, use links to connect relevant content on your website to other related posts on your website. Just remember that the emphasis is on relevant. You could get dinged if you overdo this, and if you link unrelated pages just to get the SEO benefit. You can also find other websites with similar content to yours and exchange backlinks. Even better, if you can find a website that is considered to be a high authority site, and can exchange backlinks with that website, this will really help boost your SEO.
A sitemap is a list of all of the pages on your WordPress site. This enables search engines to perform a more accurate indexing of your website, and to index your site as quickly as possible. There are various plugins that you can use to create your sitemap. Yoast is one of them. In addition to your standard XML sitemap, you can also find plugins to help you create video sitemaps, Google news sitemaps, and image sitemaps. These alternate sitemaps can help boost your rankings when people are doing news and image searches via Google.
Don’t wait for search engines to find you, and to introduce your content to the world. Create your own buzz by actively and aggressively promoting your own posts on social media. In fact, some people recommend that your spend as much as 80% time promoting content, and 20% creating content. If you more shares you can generate on social media, the more likely you will be to earn external inbound links, unique site visits, and engagement.
If you want to stay as close to the top of search engine rankings as possible, creating content that is relevant and trending is the thing to do. Fortunately, there are many tools and websites that you can use to find both trending topics, and trending keywords. First, there is Buzzsumo.com. You can visit the Buzzsumo website, and enter in topics or website URLs. If you enter in a topic, you will get a list of the most shared articles and posts on that topic. Enter in a URL and you will see the content on that URL that is generating the most buzz. AllTop.com is another great resource. This website aggregates trending stories from sports, entertainment, business, and technology media. In addition to these tools, you can also check out Twitter and Facebook for trending topics.
As far as keywords go, there are several tools that can help you find the best keywords to include in your content. These include KeywordTool.io, Google Keyword tools, and SEMRush.
As mentioned in the introduction, Google and other search engines are constantly upgrading their SEO policies and algorithms. Unfortunately, keeping up with these updates can be difficult. Google rarely if ever announces these updates, and can even be a bit squirrely about providing information even after they have updated. However, if you keep up with websites and blogs that specialize in search engine optimization, you can usually find the information you need to help you prepare your WordPress site to deal with the latest SEO upgrade.
Two great WordPress plugins for helping you manage your links are Broken Link Checker and Link Patrol. The first tool goes through your website and falls all of the broken links on your pages. Then, it gives you the ability to fix those links, repair redirects, or simply unlink without manually editing each post. Although, if you want to change your anchors and keywords, you will have to go into each post and page but at least you will know where they are. The second tool is Link Patrol. It lets you know which links are giving off link juice, and which might contain spam.
If you ignore every tip and technique on this list, save one, the one you implement should be this point. Some of the most recent updates to Google’s algorithms, and its human website evaluation policies and procedures have been put in place to ensure that only the best content gets to the top of search engine rankings. To meet these new standards, you have to focus on originality, accuracy, authority, and relevance. This is especially true if your blog or website addresses topics that fall under what is referred to as “Your Money Or Your Life” or YMYL. If you write on topics such as health and medicine, parenting, financial matters, or you collect personal or financial information from visitors, you are now held to higher set of standards.
This may seem too obvious for this list. After all, you already know that visual content boosts SEO, and you are most likely already using visual content on your website. The question is, have you modernized and maximized your use of visual content? Are you using infographics? What about videos as backgrounds? Could the images on your pages stand updating? For example, if you have photographs of yourself and your team on your website, is it time to replace those with newer versions? Are there stock images that you should replace with real images? It might be a good idea to review your current visual content and give your site a facelift.
Do you write a lot of posts about technology, apps, tools, and other topics that might be time sensitive? If so, you might consider going back and updating those posts so they remain relevant. For example, does the website you deemed most useful for content marketing strategists seeking to increase website traffic in2011 still deserve that title? Is it still around? Rework old posts to reflect current trends and changes. You can then promote them for renewed attention. If you are bounce rates are too high, because of content that is no longer relevant, this will fix that problem as well.
It would be wonderful if SEO was something that you could just do once, and never think about again. Unfortunately, it is now, and will continue to be a moving target. Fortunately there are many tools, tips, resources, and plugins that you can use to stay on top of things, and ensure that your website stays where it needs to be in search engine rankings.