Having a website with a great user experience is not enough to get a traffic to your website, your website needs to rank high in Search Engine Results Page (SERP), to be precise on the first two result pages of any search engine be it Google, Bing or Yahoo.
High organic rankings in SERP are achieved with the help of recognized SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques.
Yes! The main goal of SEO is to rank your website high on SERP for the keywords you expect your buyer personas to search on a particular search engine.
WordPress SEO might seem too technical for a beginner, in this blog you will learn step by step process of WordPress SEO for getting your organic rank high on SERP.
So, Let’s get started right away!
Create a readable and SEO friendly URL structure (Permalinks)
It is important to create a URL (Permalink) structure that consists of words which precisely explains the subject matter of a page and is readable by both humans and search engines.
For eg: https://neilpatel.com/blog/mobile-landing-page-optimization/
This URL clearly explains that the blog is about mobile landing page optimization.
In this URL, they have mentioned random alphanumeric characters which don’t explain what the page is all about.
Using a readable permalink always helps in improving your position on SERP.
To learn how to check and update your permalinks check the image below:
NOTE: Do not change your permalinks structure if your website has been established for 6 months or older. This could result in your website losing all your social media share count and also risk losing your existing SEO rank.
If you still want to change your URL structure then, hire a professional who can help set up appropriate redirects. But even in this case, you will lose on your social share counts.
Choosing the Best WordPress SEO Plugin
WordPress “Out of the Box” is known for being SEO friendly, they literally have a plugin for everything, a few extensions can indeed help your blog or a website to become an SEO Powerhouse.
But for a beginner, it can be a little confusing to choose the best WordPress SEO plugins amongst thousands of options. So, instead of adding numbers of Plugins, we will help you select a plugin that does it all, and is FREE.
Want your SEO to be a success, learn about the two WordPress SEO Plugins that can help you achieve that:
Yoast SEO (Free Version)
WordPress SEO by Yoast is one the most popular WordPress SEO plugin, it has a rating of 4 out of 5 with over 2000 reviews; at DigiMojo we use Yoast SEO for WordPress.
If your motto is to improve your WordPress SEO both by creating a superior content and by optimizing your website, this is the best plugin to start with.
Some of the best features of Yoast SEO, that makes WordPress SEO easy for a beginner to understand are:
- XML Sitemaps Functionality
- Keyword Optimization
- Visual Feedback
- Readability Check
- Technical WordPress SEO
Keywords are the most important when it comes to SEO, keywords are expected words/phrases used by your buyer personas to search on google. Yoast SEO helps to optimize 1 keyword for a basic model and up to 5 keywords for a premium model.
Yoast SEO also provides a visual feedback on each aspect with red, orange and green check marks and provides you with an insight on what needs to be corrected and how it can be done.
Thanks to its simple, yet detailed approach, Yoast SEO is backed with out of the box features that will never let you down.
To learn about more features in detail click on this link
All in One SEO
This is again another popular WordPress SEO Plugin, the name pretty much explains it all.
The biggest benefit of this WordPress SEO plugin is that anyone can use this without any difficulty. If you can read and input right data in the right field, then you can easily use this plugin.
In fact, for certain inputs, you need not even make any changes, especially if you are a beginner. The default inputs are usually the best as per SEO perspective. But if you do know the best practices of SEO, you can make change the formats to better suit your needs.
Best Features of All in One SEO :
- XML Sitemaps and Google Analytics support
- Automatically optimize titles for all search engines.
- Automatically generates META tags.
- Helps to avoid duplicate content, which can have a negative impact on search engine rankings.
- Ability to override any setting.
With All in One SEO, you can take as much control as you want. You can take over control once you gain experience and are comfortable to use advanced plugin features.
Add a XML sitemap in WordPress
First, what is an XML sitemap and why is it important?
It is an XML document, which contains a list of pages on your website that you want Google or other search engines to index
Search Engines such as Google frequently uses the sitemap file as a guide to the pages available on your website. But it does not necessarily index every page you list on your sitemap.
The sitemap carries information about each page on your website, which also includes information like when it was created and last modified and even its importance relevant to other pages on your website. This helps to speed up the process of indexing a page.
In case of Yoast SEO plugin, it automatically creates an XML sitemap for your page.
Add your site to Google & Bing Search Console
First, What is the Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is also known as the Webmasters Tool; explain themselves in their Meta Description as, “A set of tools that provides a free detailed report about your pages’ visibility so that you can monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google search results.”
With Google Search Console you can see the actual terms your buyer personas are using to find your website, how each page appears in the SERP, and also tells you the frequency of your pages being clicked.
This information can be then used to understand what’s working on your website and what’s not. This can help you strategize your content accordingly.
Google Search Console also alerts you when there is something wrong with your website, for example, when search crawlers are unable to access it, find restricted resources or find a duplicate content
Effectively using Categories and Tags in WordPress
WordPress allows you to sort your blog posts into Categories and Tags. This enables you to manage your content by topics and also, makes it easier for your users to access the content they are looking for.
But first, what are Categories and what makes them different from Tags?
A broad grouping of your posts can be called as, Categories.
For example, In a personal blog; categories could be Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle, Food
And, when you explain or elaborate on a particular topic or post it can be called as Tags.
For example, In fashion tags could be a long gown, dungarees, skirt, A-line dress or a skater dress. Whereas in food it could be Pizza, Pasta, Chocolate Brownie or Momos.
When you use Categories and Tags properly, users find it easier to browse through your website and so does the search engine.
Why Internal Linking is of Utmost Importance
Search Engine assigns a certain score on each page of your website, also called as Page Authority. The formula for calculating the score is kept a secret so that people don’t take advantage of it.
However, the most common signal of authority is the links.
Therefore, it is important to link to your own content from your other posts, pages or blogs.
This results in improved SEO score because this boosts page views and people end up spending more time on your website.
Optimize WordPress Comments
Comments are a prove of engaging users effectively on your website. When you have highly engaged users, it leads to more backlinks and more traffic.
But, getting a lot of comments will not result in improved SEO, especially if the comments are not genuine and many of them are a spam with bad or broken links, this will hamper or even completely ruin your search engine rank.
To make sure that the comments are genuine and not a spam, it is recommended to use Akismet, a plugin for WordPress that works effectively against comment spam.
Also, having too many comments can hamper your search engine rank because more comments will result in slow page load. In this case, it is important to design a website that can handle the pressure of comments on your server or speed, you can also, divide the comments into multiple pages.
No-Follow External Links in WordPress
Links help search engine calculate page score and help decide which pages are important.
When you link to a website, you end up passing some of your SEO score (also, called as link juice) to that particular link.
Therefore, it is important to understand that you need to get link juice from other websites (also, called as external links); more than what you are giving away.
Adding the “nofollow” attribute to external links (links to websites that you don’t own) instructs search engines not to follow those links. This helps you save link juice.
Optimize your site speed and performance
In the internet age, any average human has a very small attention span. This means that the users give you only a few seconds to engage them with your content.
And, if your website takes a longer time to load you will miss out on the opportunity to even give them a glimpse of what your content is all about because no user has the patience to wait for a website to load. Therefore, there is no way you can engage them.
Search engines like Google admit that they rank faster websites higher than slow loading websites.
Optimizing Images in WordPress SEO
As mentioned earlier humans have an attention span of a goldfish. Therefore, images are more engaging than content. Anyway, anything that you see is more engaging over the text on the same topic.
But, even though the images are attractive they slow down the page speed, it is important to be extremely careful with image size and quality.
Along with image size and quality, it is of utmost importance to optimize them and you can do that by using a descriptive title and alt tags for all your images. This helps the search engine understand what the image is all about.
WordPress allows you to add title and tags when you add images to your page.
Analytics and Google Tag Manager in WordPress
One of the foremost vital tags which you can manage in Google Tag Manager is the Google Analytics Tag. You can add Google Analytics Tracking Code and also use Google Tag Manager to create custom dimensions, events or content grouping. This means that you can track if people click on your buttons if they scroll down to an exact purpose on your page if they watch your videos and so on.
All the cool things you can do with Google Analytics events, you can now manage in Google Tag Manager. And you don’t need a developer for it!