As of May 2017, there were over 1.8 billion websites online. This is the competition that you face as a WordPress website owner. In simple words, this is a challenge for you to be better than everyone else.
As major search engines get more and more saturated with websites, it becomes harder to remain visible online. Gone are the days when all one had to do is launch a website, and that’d be all. You ought to arm yourself with the latest in SEO. At times, things get so thick that paid advertising becomes necessary if you are to beat the competition.
Quick Walkthrough: What’s SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is the intricate process of enhancing a website’s visibility online from the free (organic) searches on major search engines such as Google and Bing.
When one searches for an item or service on Google, the search results include paid search ads as well as free or organic listings. SEO boosts your visibility in the organic listings.
SEO is affected by an interplay of various factors. The factors could be attributed to the website itself, such as the structure, content, and speed. They could also be external factors such as social media engagement and external links leading to the site.
The factors mentioned above are analyzed by a search engine to determine a site’s value to consumers and searchers. The best websites will, for instance, have better content, more organized structure, and greater social media engagement than their counterparts. The websites are then ranked, and the best among them appear first during online searches.
Secret #1: Always Cover Your Basics
WordPress SEO is quite technical. The secret to succeeding in WordPress SEO is nevertheless relatively easy. Simply learning the basics and implementing them perfectly will result in a remarkable increase in traffic.
The first secret is, therefore, crystal clear: you don’t have to be a tech genius for you to win.
- Have your visibility settings in check: The reason for the dwindling traffic in your site could be that it is hidden from search engines. WordPress does have an option that lets you keep your site hidden from search engines. This option was designed to help you complete a website before going public with it.
If your WordPress site isn’t visible in search results, it is possible that it is unavailable to search engines. In this case, you must first check to see if the visibility of the site is okay.
The setting can be altered in the Admin Area under Settings >> Reading.
- URL structure should be SEO friendly: The words in SEO friendly URLs clearly define the contents of a web page. They must also be easy to read for both the search engines and humans. A readable URL is one that makes it easy for the user to guess what the page is all about.
It is easy to update and check the structure of the permalink of your WordPress site by going to Settings >> Permalinks. Once you’re there, select the post name option.
Note that changing the permalink for a website that’s been running for 6 months is ill-advised unless on has expert help. This is because, without proper professional redirects, the site will lose its share count on social media, resulting in lower SEO rankings
Secret #2: Choose the Best SEO Plugin
Plugins greatly optimize a WordPress site. There are thousands of plugins that have been designed to make the task of managing a WordPress website easier.
There are plugins for almost every task on WordPress. There are advantages of having different plugins for different SEO tasks. However, it is best for you to have a single ultimate SEO plugin for all your SEO needs.
The race for the best SEO plugin for WordPress is principally a two-horse race between Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. The two are excellent options each with its own merits and demerits. A head-to-head review of these two plugins can be found on wpbeginner.com.
Secret #3: Add Your Site to Google Search Console
Popularly known as the Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is offered by Google to let you see how your content is seen by the search engine, Google.
The data you get here paints a picture of how your pages appear in Google’s search results. You get to see what keywords appear in the searches people perform to find your website. It also lets you see how every page appears in Google’s search results, and how often people click on the links leading to your pages.
With this data, you can then plan a formidable content strategy. Google Search Console will alert you should anything go wrong with your content, for instance, if search crawlers can’t access it, there are some restricted resources, or part of the content is duplicated elsewhere.
Secret #4: Work on The Comments
Comments indicate the level of user engagement on your site. The more comments, the greater the engagement. Better engagement translates into increased links to your site, better traffic, and ultimately improved SEO.
Nevertheless, not all comments are usually real. Spam messages are common, and these ruin your site’s search rankings. Therefore, it is important that you have one or more tools in place to combat comment spam on your website. Akismet is one of the best tools recommended for this task.
Note that too many comments may slow down a page, thus impairing its SEO rankings. It is best that you paginate the comments.
Secret #5: Employ ‘nofollow’
Each time you link out to a website, you pass out some of your SEO score to that site. For good search rankings, you need to receive more SEO score from other sites than you are giving them. By adding a ‘nofollow’ attribute to external links, you prevent search engines from following the link thereby preventing the loss of SEO score.
Secret #6: Local SEO is a HUGE Factor
This tip is mainly for those who offer a tangible service/product to people in their direct vicinity. For many businesses, competing on a national level for keywords is not needed or even possible. One of the best ways to get noticed with little effort is by investing time and/or money in local SEO services. You can choose to either outsource this work or learn about the topic yourself to really start building on your local outreach with your SEO efforts.
While local searches may have smaller search volume, they often have great impact. People want to do business with local services and companies. As a result, these people are more likely to convert.
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Increased visibility is a must if one wishes to uphold the competitiveness of a WordPress site. Consequently, SEO is the way to go. Given that following the best SEO practices is somewhat technical, it is always best to get professional help. Doing so is guaranteed to take your website to a whole new level of success.