It’s true – you can set up a WordPress site in a matter of hours, but optimizing them for SEO will require much more time. WordPress provides decent SEO support or even an advanced one to say so, especially if you consider its latest versions. Decent, however, requires still a bit of work to become excellent, since SEO efforts are not limited to the blatant keyword entering and low-quality link building. The last decade made SEO much more important than it was originally planned, and it is very likely that the evolution is going to continue.
SERP (search engine results page) rankings are where we’re supposed to get, and we should get there as fast as possible.
But let’s make one point clear first:
Whatever we do, SEO optimization takes time. There is no loophole, shortcut, corner, or back alleys to push your way sooner.
The good news, however, is that WordPress SEO’s best practices are not difficult to implement, and they are becoming more and more friendly and simpler to use.
Are you ready to discover them?
1. Responsive themes
Responsive websites are Google’s favorites when it comes to mobile devices. The better user experience is, the higher the website will rate, and the best thing about mobile responsiveness is that their same layer usually fit other devices as well.
Therefore, switching to a responsive theme is the number one priority for optimizing SEO on any WordPress blog. Our shop offers a wide range of solutions!
2. Regularly updated content
The blogs that have priority in Google’s SERPs are those where posts are regularly published and updated, an innovation that came after the Caffeine Update and turned out to be a leading practice in time-conscious searching.
For instance, posting 5 posts per week, and then nothing in the following days is worse than posting fewer articles with a consistent tempo. What search engines like the most is fresh content, and it usually has nothing to do with the topic or the respective elements. All it takes is to use original text, and you’ll soon get your edge in every SERP.
3. Putting main keywords in the first-100 keywords area
What matters the most to Google are the initial few paragraphs of your post, and the provider will examine them in order to index your page. There are two ways to benefit from this fact:
– To use the paragraphs for descriptive purposes, and let users know what the post contains. In such case, use keywords you planned to use in the entire points, as it is per point 17.
– To use them to link the post to other relevant posts.
4. Pretty permalinks
Permalink stands for the structure your URL is going to produce after the page/post has been published. WordPress usually takes care of the issue with default settings, but you should change that.
The reason is that default permalinks look messy and tell nothing about the content of the post, and the same way users are not able to guess what they’re seeing, Google will surpass the post and it won’t use it on its engine.
Luckily, using pretty permalinks is not difficult at all: you just have to choose the preferred permalink structure, ideally a fancy, user-friendly phrase that will intrigue viewers.
Still, be careful while doing it, because you can easily mess up and use the same permalink that has already been taken by another page. If you have a website that is running for a long time, changing the permalink can cause other links breaking, and will mess up its functionality before anything is actually changed.
5. Limited URL lengths
Long post titles are acceptable, but long URLs are not. That’s why URLs are often shorter versions of the title, unlike 15 words-long ones that can cause two serious problems.
It is well known that Google and similar search engines avoid long URLs, so you may be losing your good SERP position before you even have a position. What search engines would prefer are short and descriptive URLs.
Secondly, the focus of search engine is always on what the user wants or expects, and they try to examine whether a website is providing a solid user experience. Knowing that long URLs can be tricky for end users too, the engine will likely skip your long URL posts, just as the user would do.
6. Optimized imagery
You may not know this, but post images are supposed to be optimized too. In fact, optimizing them is much simpler than optimizing the post itself.
To be clearer, you should use prescribed areas to add photo details before you attach it, such as titles, captions, alt, and description.
What matters the most to you as a publisher is the Alt area, since crawling bots won’t see the photos the same way humans do. What they are looking for is your alt text, so make sure you include something genuinely relevant for the image and the post. A valid HTML will also require alt tags, so handle them carefully.
While doing it, take care of size too. Avoid too large photos, as 2,000 pixels wide ones won’t fit in the 600 pixels space you have available for the purpose. In case they are too large, resize them, or choose smaller ones instead. Remember that large photos increase loading times, so unless they are really necessary, prevent them from increasing your bounce rate.
7. Proper usage of links and anchor text
a. Linking a post to the same website
The so-called interlinking posts connect the content on your website, and you should try to use them wherever possible. Obviously, you should do that in a natural way without compromising the quality of the text, and only with the intention to send users to a page that is related and relevant to them.
Don’t just link posts to link them, because that doesn’t motivate users to visit the page you’re suggesting. The experience won’t improve that way, and the practice won’t help your SEO. See how you can improve the linking structure on your website.
b. Linking a post to a higher authority website
Outbound links are equally important as inbound ones, since choosing well-rated websites guarantees that you will provide excellent content and add value to your service, and Google will know how to appreciate this. Overall, make sure you’re choosing a high-quality platform, and avoid spammy sites that can damage your reputation.
8. The importance of anchor text
It doesn’t mean you’re making a mistake when creating keyword-targeting links, but you shouldn’t do it too often (especially not with the same set of keywords). Google examines the way you’re using your anchor text, and it scans it for potential abuses, but there is a way to turn this practice and make it work to your advantage. Before you do whatever, read more on Anchor text, and see how and why it can be used.
Finally, link relevancy matters a lot to Google, so avoid links that don’t match the content or can’t be of any use to your audience. As good as you think they are, exclude them from your posts.