Just creating a website isn’t going to get you sales in your business, to do that you need to build traffic. The more traffic (visitors) to your site the more chance you have of converting them.
There are many ways to do this and one of the most popular ways to do this is using SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques. These are various things you can do to improve your chances of your website being seen in the search engines, such as Google. So when people type in search terms your site is more likely to show up.
In this article I’m going to walk you through Wordpress SEO, how to optimise your website, Wordpress SEO best practices and how to use Yoast SEO for your website.
10 Simple ways to boost SEO for WordPress websites
If you have a WordPress website then by actioning these 10 points you can hopefully improve your chances of your website being found in the search engines and increase your traffic.
Wordpress SEO: How to improve your Wordpress SEO….
1. Make sure you choose Wordpress SEO friendly themes
The first thought when it comes to choosing a theme for WordPress are the layout options it offers you. But there's so much more to it than that. You will need to make sure that the theme you choose is mobile and tablet responsive, loads quickly and is updated regularly, as well as being optimised for the search engines.
Avada, Astra and Divi are three of the most popular themes for WordPress that cover all of the above and can also be used with page builders such as Elementor and Divi Builder so you can easily create any layout with the added bonus of giving you a boost in Google.
2. Install a Wordpress SEO plugin
When it comes to being able to improve your SEO in WordPress, installing an SEO plugin is one of the first places to start.
Using an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO in Wordpress or Smartcrawl give you a variety of options to add keywords and meta descriptions to your post as well as making sure your content is optimised for the search engines.
Once you have entered your keyword for that page or post, SEO plugins give you recommendations on how to improve your SEO for that keyword such as changing the meta description of the page, adding image alt tags, using the keyword in headers and adding more of the keyword to your text.
I always recommend that you also use your own common sense when using these plugins as by using too many of certain keywords may make your content unreadable, which can damage your SEO rather than improve it.
3. Change permalink structure
The permalinks for a page or post is the URL you see in the address bar. So why is permalink for SEOan important thing to get right?
Using your keyword in your permalink tells the visitor (and the search engines) what your pages are about and improves your SEO for a WordPress website. But it’s also the structure of the permalink that’s really important.
If you go to your WordPress dashboard and click settings then permalinks you will see a number of different structures. The one you want to be using is post type, this is the one that will show your post/page title in the URL, others such as plain or numeric just show numbers after your website name.
4. Create a sitemap for SEO
One of the most important things to do to boost your SEO in WordPress is to create a sitemap and let the search engines actually know you are there.
If you use an SEO plugin such as Yoast or Smartcrawl there is on option on both to create a sitemap. This is a map of the pages, posts and other files on your website and how they connect with each other.
You can then use this sitemap URL to the search engines so they can crawl your site more effectively. To submit to Google we use Google Search Console, where you can sign up for free and submit your sitemap URL so that you not only tell Google your website is there live on the web but show how it is structured so Google can find all your website pages and files and what links to what so it can crawl it more easily.
5. Use header tags for SEO in your content
There are so many people I see that use headers randomly throughout their content to highlight certain parts of their text, even in paragraph text! This is no good for SEO, as there is no hierarchy or clear idea of the flow of text.
Only one H1 (or header 1) should be used on a page/post and this is for the title of the page or first headline (using a keyword in this is also great tip!). The reason we don’t use this again is because we don’t want to confuse the search engines on what the page is about.
Further headers would then use H2 or H3 within H2 sections and so forth. This gives your content structure and to highlight the most important parts of the text, as the search engines don’t see your website as you see it (visually) but as pages of code. So using headers effectively will help with how they see your pages structure.
6. Build your content around keywords
When it comes to keywords there are two common mistakes, the first being when asked to choose a keyword for a page people generally think that it’s one word and the second is using keywords so general that they will never ever rank for.
Firstly when we talk about a keyword we generally mean a keyphrase, so the more niche the better, as you are more likely to have less competitors in the search engines. The more niche your keywords Google is in the business of relevancy so building your content around your keywords will make your content really specific - which Google LOVES!
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what keywords to use so a little tip of mine is to use Google Search Console and go to Performance. That will tell you what search terms Google thinks your website is about and showing you in their listings. These can be gold for creating blog posts as you know exactly what people are typing in and looking for. It can also be good to know if you are being ranked for keywords that have nothing to do with your website, so you can then know you need to make your content more relevant.
You can also do keyword research using some great online tools for free. Read this article about the best keyword research tools for more information.
7. Make sure your site is mobile friendly
Creating a website ten years ago is completely different to creating a website today. Before you just had to worry about how it looked on a desktop, now the majority of visitors are using their mobile phones or tablets so websites need to be mobile friendly.
A lot of older sites are impossible to view on a mobile and you sometimes can’t even access all of the content on the screen. By using wordpress themes such as Divi and Astra you can ensure that your website looks good on website and on mobile or tablet, even create a completely different version if needed!
You also want to make sure you SEO is customer friendly in general, read this article about SEO strategies for a better customer experience for more information.
8. Optimise your images for SEO
One of the most common reasons of a slow loading website is images that are not optimised or are incorrectly sized. Having a slow loading website can negatively impact your rankings in the search engines so you need to make sure that your images are correctly sized for where they appear on the website and optimised. To help with this on WordPress I use a plugin called Smush. This will optimise your images and if you go to their tools you can switch on to show incorrectly sized images, which will also tell you what size they need to be.
9. Update your content regularly
Have you ever been on a website and all the information is years out of date and is no longer relevant? Remember when I said that Google is in the business of relevancy? Well having out of date content is one way for visitors to click off your website as it’s not what they were looking for.
So search engines like you to keep your content up to date. Make sure that all basic information (including contact and pricing info) is up to date and that you regularly add new content such as pages or blog posts that not only keeps Goolge happy but also your visitors!
10. Having an SSL certificate for SEO
Google has been saying for some time now that it will eventually no longer list sites in it’s rankings that don’t have an SSL security certificate. With the amount of online crimes soaring daily, having an SSL certificate helps build visitors trust. I know if I land on a website and my browser tells me it’s not secure it immediately loses my trust and I’m definitely not going to purchase from them, I’m more likely to click straight off. Which we know is a big turn off for the search engines.
Wordpress SEO, how to do it the right way!
Using these 10 SEO steps for Wordpress website you will be able to increase the traffic to your website.
If you follow these SEO Wordpress tips you should start to see an improved in the coming weeks or months.
To be able to track whether the changes you make are positively impacting your site I always suggest installing Google Analytics so that you can see how many visitors are currently coming to your website and if that improves as you make changes.
About the Author
Lisa Rees is a Website Wonder Woman, who teaches women how to create and improve their WordPress websites in a simple and fun way.
Based in South Wales she runs a group Website Success Academy and tech membership as well as doing one to one and company based training to help create and manage websites that not only look good but convert clients.
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