Getting organic traffic to your WordPress website is never a one-time marketing strategy. It’s a continuous practice that should remain part of your corporate culture as long as your brand lives. And efforts to regularly adopt SEO best practices in this quest should never go wane.
If not for a need to grow your consumer base, you should follow them for the more pressing need to retain any search engine ranking previously attained. Of course, competition is quite massive. There are a thousand new websites that crop up everyday. WordPress alone, which accounts for about 32% of the internet, powers over 500 new websites daily.
But the market is just as promising, anyway. Around 93% of online experiences are made possible by a search engine. And Google alone, which prides over 92% of the search engine market, processes over 3.5 billion searches every day as of July 2019.
Let’s consider some basics before looking into SEO best practices for your WordPress website.
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a web page for an increase in the quality and quantity of its organic traffic. This is highly important in digital marketing; SEO remains one of the most effective digital marketing game plans for long-term results aside from email marketing.
SEO best practices include measures to understand the consumers’ preferences and how to maximize them for improved search engine rankings. And it’s not likely that these practices would be eliminated anytime soon, instead, SEO will continue to grow more significant. This, however, ranks all practices that could accentuate SEO as a priority among online marketers.
WordPress knowledge is important
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) or a platform that provides a means to easily structure, manage and publish websites. And a good understanding of WordPress is essential for adopting the best search engine optimization standards since it’s a tool for managing content.
However, WordPress is not a panacea for SEO. Yes, the CMS alone doesn’t increase your search engine rankings automatically. The platform only makes it easier to implement SEO on your website by allowing a tweak to the important HTML tags in search engine ranking. WordPress only takes care of the basics, which makes SEO techniques and strategies effortless.
The SEO ranking factors
Two major factors can influence all your SEO practices. They are on-page SEO; the factors you have direct control over and off-page SEO (those factors you cannot control). And both can affect your SEO positively or negatively. Any search engine optimization campaign that wants to be successful must consider these two factors.
On-page SEO factors include:
- Page loading speed
- Page layout (responsiveness and user-friendliness)
- Page organization
- Page security
- Keywords in URLs
- Keywords density
- Keywords relevance
- Content volume
- Content uniqueness
- Outbound links
- URL path and length, etc.
Off-page SEO factors include:
- Volume and quality of inbound links
- Anchor texts
- Link building frequency
8 SEO best practices for WordPress website
1. Research relevant keywords
Keywords remain a very important criterion in search engine rankings and of course, keywords offer you the primary channel to optimize content for search engines. SEO practices include proper research of the focus keywords. You are advised to analyze Google’s first page and create a list of keywords from the results. Also, you should perform an SEO audit to learn what your targeted audience wants and how they want it.
2. Write unique titles and optimize all tags
Unique titles and Meta descriptions are also important SEO strategies to observe in WordPress. Ideally, your title should not be more than 160 characters. Your Meta descriptions should be between 155 – 160 characters, according to Google’s recommendation. And your tags should include your focus keywords.
3. Optimize your website’s loading speed
Google has indicated that speed is a search engine ranking factor. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that your site is both responsive and fast. Pages that take longer to load negatively affect user experience. They are ranked lower and visitors tend to spend less time on them.
Having a good website host is a necessary step towards improving your website load speed; hosting companies with fast servers will improve your site’s loading speed. Take time to research good website hosts. Bluehost and SiteGround are some of such great hosts.
4. Optimize your images and include multimedia where applicable
This involves naming your blog post images with relevant keywords and writing a little description for each image. Many website owners rely on optimized images for improved search engine rankings due to Google’s high regard for image titles and descriptions. However, optimized images are best delivered in their smallest possible size without compromising the image quality.
You also want to include infographics, slideshows, videos, and other forms of multimedia where applicable. They indicate that you have quality and distinctive explanations about the topic. There are many benefits of having different kinds of multimedia on your content but having all optimized and carefully compressed offers even more benefits which also include less storage and fast loading time.
5. Regularly publish and update your content
Updating old content is a necessity if you want to drive more organic traffic. This is a perfect way to boost SEO as relevance is one key factor in web page ranking by search engines. The phenomenon is that your SEO ranking value begins to dip as soon as your content starts getting old. If a post you published previously was very successful, constant updates are needed to maintain and even improve SEO rankings for that post.
A successful post will generate even more organic practice when it is updated, compared to a new blog post. Also updating your content is a good way to develop page authority. Publishing and updating content is, therefore, a priority and one of the best SEO practices for generating more traffic.
6. Make proper use of hyperlinks
Backlinks are key factors for improving traffic to your website, mostly quality backlinks. Before now, pages with just backlinks ranked higher on search engine result pages, SERP. But Google now accounts for the page’s quality and how relevant they are to your visitors.
Nowadays, it’s not just about including any backlink to your website. But to include links that are relevant to your content/topic. Also, the links must come from sites with domain authority. Note that too many links are not advisable.
7. Write unique content
One of the most important WordPress SEO practices is to consistently publish amazing content. Most times, instead of focusing on how to optimize specific SEO elements on your WordPress post, it is far better to focus on user satisfaction while making the content.
Google has already made it clear. Content is king in SEO. User-focused content is the secret and what Google search bots look out for each time a search is placed on any keywords.
8. Avoid broken links
Having broken links on your website is a bad SEO practice. It doesn’t benefit anyone. Website visitors and search engine bots are sent to dead ends each time they try accessing the broken page. This reduces the trust Google has for the website which brings low ranking and increased crawl budget.
SEO best practices are focused on achieving long-term results, even though they require consistent use. Results could start rolling in after just a few weeks or possibly months, depending on the level of competition already existing in your niche and the effectiveness of your strategy.
It’s ideal to test different approaches over a long period to see which works best. This includes long-tailed keywords, keywords density, and tags, number of outbound links, etc. However, off-page SEO factors and some of the on-page SEO factors are not to be tested but firmly maintained. These include security, the inclusion of multimedia content, avoidance of broken links, etc.
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