6 On-site SEO Strategies For WordPress Users

SEO Starts With A Good Website

You might think the search engines exist to help people find your website, but of course that isn’t the case. There is a lot of competition vying for the same top spot. Google cares about creating the best possible experience for its users by helping them find the information they are looking for in the most efficient manner. If they can do this more people will use Google and more will click on their paid ads. That is Googles business model and to Google it doesn’t matter which website ranks top, just the best site for each search query wins.

Google understands that your Google experience doesn’t start and end with search engine results pages (SERPs) but it continues after you have clicked on a link. Google is judged by the quality and relevance of the page you click on. So, for instance if I search for ‘Manchester United’ and I land on a site that’s not anything to do with Manchester United, then it will be Googles fault. If Google took me to ‘the greatest Machester United Blog In The World’ then I would also be disappointed. Yes, the relevancy is there but the quality is lacking because I was searching for the official ‘Manchester United’ Website. Most SEO strategies focus on relevancy.

Website Quality is Important

Google factors in several important metrics, these include:

1)Load Times

2) Bounce Rate

3) Time on Site

With these factors in mind, your first step would be building an optimized website to make sure people want to visit. Focus on these several things, great content, a good design, quick loading time, usable and everything on the site should be working. If you get these things right most of your on-site metrics will improve. This will communicate to Google that you have an excellent site, worthy of ranking at the top of the SERPs. We discuss six optimization tips that will help your WordPress site.

1.Keyword Research

Your keywords are the phrases you want to rank for. But don’t get too focused on keywords, rather write articles naturally. Find a keyword you want to rank for, but write an article with the keyword in mind but do not stuff the article with that keyword.

2. Use the keyword in the post titles

Whether you have thoroughly done your keyword research or not, you should always have a keyword in mind for each post. Not only will it help you write more coherently but it can be included in your post title and the post title communicates with search engines.

3. Permalinks

WordPress’s default permalink setting is not very handy for SEO. The default setting will give you a URL which looks like this: www.example.com/?p=123

If your post is about writing a good blog post then the following URL is far better www.example.com/writing-blog,

This URL immediately tells the search engines and the user what the article is actually about and from an SEO point of view that’s good. The WordPress permalink structure that you shouldn’t choose are default and numeric. Choose a structure with the post name in the title, post name, day and name or month and name. This will also help with time sensitive searches.

4. Optimize Images

Images are usually an underestimated component of SEO. For a start they will impact how quickly your website loads and we have already established that speed is a ranking factor. With this in mind make sure your images aren’t too big, less than 1ookb is a good target. You can reduce the file size by cropping an image down to display size and by using a form of lossless compression. Try the WP Smush.it plugin. Another good tip, is if you are using mutiple images per page then don’t use the same keyword for each alt text, otherwise you will be penalized. You can further optimize your images through the WordPress library or by clicking ‘add media’ when creating a new post/page. A images alt text is most important for image optimization, this communicates to search engines what the image is about. It makes sense to pick something related to your content or even targeted keyword. It has been debated whether the image title impacts SEO, but always try give your images a relevant name. This will improve the organisation of your media library too.

5. Internal Links

Internal links are important for any website. They move visitors around your website by pointing them towards relevant content. From an SEO perspective, internal links can help in the following ways

  • bounce rate reduces
  • internal links move visitors around your site, therefore increasing time on site.
  • internal links pass link juice around your website.
  • you can use anchor text to tell Google what the content is about, which improves ranking.

Lets look at the 4th point in a bit more detail. Your anchor text is a visible part of your hyperlink. Lets say you wanted to talk more about, ‘productivity’ then the anchor text is ‘productivity’ wherever possible use a keyword in your anchor text. Don’t go overboard with internal links, rather link when it feels natural.

Meta- Description

Below every result in the SERPs is a brief description that Google displays. This is called a meta- description tag. Meta tags are used to communicate directly with search engines and the meta description tag is no different. Although the meta description is primarily used to encourage searchers to click your link, it is also important for SEO purposes. Google uses the the meta description to better understand your content, so include relevant keywords so you can rank for them. The easiest way to add a good meta description that adheres to SEO guidelines is to use a plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast. After installing the plugin, you will see a WordPress SEO meta box that needs to be filled in. From here you can fill in your meta description, as well as your SEO title and this plugin helps with ensuring you are adhering to SEO guidelines.

Final Thoughts

 Although SEO isn’t what it used to be, SEO is certainly alive and well. As Google’s algorithms get increasingly sophisticated, it becomes harder and harder to game the system. This means the best content should, in theory, rise to the top – as it should.

Manipulate Google at your peril: even if what you’re doing is working today, there’s no guarantee you won’t be slapped with a hefty penalty tomorrow when Google figures it out.

November 24, 2016