Built a new WordPress site and already subscribed to a hosting plan? Way to go, now you can write blog posts to share your best ideas with your readers!
But wait a minute, as you may ask, ‘How do you even get readers in the first place?’ The answer to that is S-E-O, an acronym for Search Engine Optimization.
In this article, I’ll first tackle what SEO means and why it’s essential to have it. After that, I will list easy-to-follow tips for optimizing your site to rank higher on Google and other SERPs.
Without further ado, let’s start!
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization; This simply refers to the process of making sure users can find your website easily on search engine pages, say of Google or Bing.
When you search for a term, subject, or phrase on Google, many results pop up. Since you can easily see the top 4 websites on your screen without scrolling down, it’s safe to say that they have great SEO.
In fact, according to Moz, 71% of all online traffic is taken by websites on the first page. This means that if your website is on the second or third page, you’re not getting the traffic that you need.
Why is SEO essential for WordPress sites?
Whether you’re a blogger or business owner, SEO is essential to your WordPress site. Not only do you get more page views and interaction, but also more sales with your products or services.
All of the most successful websites have SEO in place. That’s why their blogs are a hit: more people are finding them and thus have more opportunity to realise that these blogs meet their unique needs in some way.
WordPress SEO: 8 best tips for 2021 & beyond
Unfortunately, a lot of articles out there on improving your SEO are difficult to understand. But they don’t have to be, which is why I will keep this simple and straightforward.
The tips I’ve listed below can be done by both rookies and experts. They are easy to follow and can go a long way to helping you rank higher with your SEO with great results over time!
Note that they are not in any particular order. So, here you go:
1) Do keyword research before writing content
Doing keyword research enables you to know which word or phrase most of your target audience types into search engines like Google. You can then use these target keywords in each page or post of your blog to get to the top of SEO rankings.
So, how do you use them? You simply look up your competitor’s website and enter their link into BuzzSumo’s input field, after which you’ll see what their most popular posts are.
After that, click on one of their high-performing posts and copy and paste its URL into Google Keyword Planner. You’ll now see which keywords that post ranks for on search engines.
2) Ensure your website’s URLs are not over-technical
An over-technical URL lowers your pages in the search rankings since it contains random letters and numbers. Here’s an example: https://www.overtechnical.com/?r=52167.
Compare that URL to an easier one like: https://simple.com/how-to-blog-effectively.
See the difference?
In the first link, we know what the main word “over-technical” means. But after that, we have no way of determining what that link contains until we visit it!
And as for the second, we absolutely know what “simple” is and know that the page will direct us to a section on how to blog effectively.
You have to change things up so that your website will be more SEO-friendly. And Google will respond accordingly by raising you on the search engine pages.
Simply log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the post whose URL you want to change. Check the right-hand side column for the Post tab.
On that tab, you’ll find a section for Permalink. Go on and edit the URL right there, using properly descriptive but concise words for the page.
Make that name simple and clear in describing what section your readers will see when they visit the link. My advice is to choose an appropriate keyword for the URL slug of each page.
3) Turn on your site visibility setting
As the name suggests, the site visibility setting makes your website discoverable on the Web. The reason you can’t find your site online may probably be that this setting is turned off.
This setting can be accessed from the WordPress sidebar > go to Settings > then Site Visibility. Make sure that the box is unticked.
4) Optimize your website’s images
While adding images can make a website more engaging, it can slow down the user experience too. So, remember not to use large pictures as much as you can.
But if you have to, there are two things you can do for your SEO:
First, you can reduce the file size in a way that won’t affect the image quality. This is possible thanks to WordPress’s compression technology.
That’s exactly what a friend and SEO specialist did on his website. At first, the images on their website were too big, which frustrated people whenever they visited the site due to slow loading times.
He said he didn’t change the pictures at all but merely reduced their sizes. This simple change was all that was needed to optimize the image and improve loading times.
Now, the second thing to do is to add a title and alt text for the pictures. By doing this, people can find your site on search engines even when using image search for the keywords you’re hitting.
This can also make your site more accessible, as alt text is beneficial to people who have vision deficiencies. They will know what your picture is about through their screen reader software.
Bookmark this resource to read later – WordPress website speed optimization guide (22 ways)
5) Link your WordPress post to your other pages or posts
Interlinking is a great way to boost your traffic and keep your audiences interested. A great SEO-friendly website has relevant links, preferably one or two, in a single post.
Of course, by relevant links, I mean that you should link your current post to other related article/s on your site that your audience may need, not just anything out of the blue.
For example, if your article is about the best monitors people can buy this year, it wouldn’t be odd if you linked to another of your articles describing the best monitor stands as well.
But it would look pretty weird if you linked to an article where you talk about the best guitars instead.
That’s internal linking, by the way, but we might as well talk about external linking here too. That’s when you link to a page outside of your website or a page outside of your website links to one of your pages.
If other websites are to put your website’s link in one of their posts, that’s good. After all, that would mean more people will end up viewing your website.
So, it’s usually a good idea to try to connect with others, comment on their blog posts often, and share some of their articles.
With all that you’ve done for them, you’ll be in a better position to ask them if they can link to your own articles or pages in one of their posts. If they say yes, then that’s more traffic heading to you—which is a huge help!
6) Use categories and tags on your site
Have you ever visited a disorganized website? For example, one that shows a ton of information on a single page or has a maze of categories that lose you in the details?
This is a no-no for your SEO and especially for your readers. Not only will they click off the page, but they may not come back to your website again.
That’s why it’s crucial to categorize your blog or website to make it easy for others to navigate it. Say for a shoe store, you can add sections like ones for About Us, History, Products, Community, and Contact Page.
Aside from categories, you can also add tags to your blog posts. For instance, if you’ve published a nice short story for others to read, you can add tags like fiction, story, thriller, bookworm, Happy Halloween, etc.
And if you think that they work exactly like hashtags, you’re correct! As a result, Google and other search engines will understand what your website is all about—which is great for SEO.
7) Install a WordPress SEO plugin
WordPress plugins can provide a lot of functions and features that can help you ace your SEO. Whether you’ve been using WordPress for a while or are just starting out, these are great tools to use.
Bear in mind, however, that plugins can affect the loading times of your website. So, it’s best to test your blog or website to ensure your audiences have a seamless experience when browsing it.
8) Obtain an SSL Certificate
With the rising number of hackers, securing your website becomes even more important every year. To do so, you have to get an SSL certificate for your WordPress site, especially if you have an online shop.
SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer. What this does is encrypt the information transferred between the user and the server on the Internet.
How do you know if a website has SSL and so is secure to browse in? Look for the padlock symbol displayed at the left of the link on the search bar of your browser.
If your website is displaying that when you visit it, you can rest easy!
And those were our key tips for enhancing your SEO on your new WordPress Site. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know and I’ll get back to you in a bit!
You can also share your own WordPress SEO tips and tricks in the comments! I’d love to hear what you do for your own blog.