Any person who operates a WordPress blog, porfolio, online store or just about any kind of website is looking to attract more traffic. Given that most websites depend on search engines to bring in traffic, there is every need to optimize your website for search engines and focus on your WordPress SEO. Not only should your human readers be able to reach, understand and navigate your website, but so should search engine bots bots crawling your site. Additionally, you can also fine tune your off-page SEO efforts to bring visitors to your doorstep.
A great number of factors go into making your website search engine friendly. In this post, we’ll cover the five essential ingredients for WordPress SEO that you can focus on to give your website a boost. Let’s start off!
Content is King for WordPress SEO
Have no doubts about this one – Content is king. Content market leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders.
Whatever it is that you’re promoting, when readers come to your website they’re looking for information that’s helpful to them. If they do not find it on your website, the resulting bounce rate can hurt search engine rankings (here are some helpful tips to decrease bounce rate). On the contrary, when you post relevant and appropriate content it singles you out as a reliable source of information. That way, you’ll hopefully have visitors returning to your site and spending more time engaging with your content (note: search engines count repeat visitors as a plus).
Some tips to keep in mind while creating quality content:
- Any visual representation such as photos, videos, infographics will find favor with readers.
- Pick your niche and write authoritative content for that niche.
- Search engines also scour the comments, reviews and feedback that you receive. Hence, be interactive with your readers.
- To zero in on the type of content that you should create, listen to your audience, understand their requirements and develop content around it. Take help from social media to keep track of trends and your audience’s preferences. Research your audience activities and interests on social media to get an idea of what kind of content they prefer.
- Relook existing content regularly and update old content with new links, recent information and statistics.
- Link to other content within your website. Link to lower ranked pages so that they gain visibility.
- Take help from guest bloggers and volunteer writing.
Using Keywords Properly
When creating content for your website you need to be mindful of keyword usage. Keywords are what users type into their search engine. So before you publish it’s a good idea to take some extra time to research keywords and focus on a few that are relevant to the content you are creating a well as your audience. These words help both your readers as well as search engines to understand what your content is all about. Your content will rank in the search engine results page on the basis of its relevance to the keywords used by the reader.
What matters in a search is the quality of keywords and distribution within your content. Two kinds of keywords are to be kept in mind – short tail keywords and long tail keywords. The long tail keywords are more descriptive (like “easy beginner WordPress SEO tips”) and it’s important to match them with the short tail keywords (which might just be “WordPress SEO”). Optimizing for long tail keywords can lead to better conversion rate, as these are more often used by folks with intent to purchase.
You can also use analytics in a big way to see where your audience is going with their searches and the sites they browse, and post content there to draw attention to your website. Yet another way to go about it is to check on the competition to identify the most relevant keywords. Look up social media, or use a tool like ahrefs, and follow their strategies to find out what works for them.
Once you’ve identified the optimal keywords, incorporate them into your page or post title tag, page URL, images file names, alt texts and meta description as well as within the content.
Social Media Presence
Next on our list of 5 essential strategies for sound WordPress SEO is presence on social media platforms. Today it’s hard to ignore the wide reach of social media. More likes and follows on social media can fetch you a higher rank with Google as well as give you access to a wider group of new readers or customers.
With social media, you’ll be able to target an audience that shares. While it typically is a good idea to be on a variety of platforms you can narrow your focus to a few that your target audience is most active on and post content more frequently there.
The leading social media channels are Facebook with 2.07 billion registered users, Instagram with 800 million users and Twitter with 330 million active monthly followers. Other popular channels include LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit and Pinterest. The content that you post on these channels should be in keeping with the USP of each forum such as images for Instagram, professional interests for LinkedIn.
You can tweak your social media settings to customize your posts according to your target market. This will make them more relevant to specific groups in terms of location, age, interests or gender. For example Facebook allows you to change settings to suit specific groups, Twitter has hashtags for filtering content, and LinkedIn can narrow your audience to very specific networks of persons.
Social media is a place to collect feedback, conduct surveys, get a sense of what your audience wants and post relevant and highly topical content. You need to be active on social media on a consistent basis, keep a pulse on trends and react to them quickly. It’s super important to present content in these forums in a highly engaging fashion. Also, it helps if you know the best times to post content to maximize impact, and hence scheduling of posts becomes a crucial factor in how effective they are.
Nowadays, more searches are initiated on mobile devices than ever before. Mobile also accounts for a good part of conversions. Cyber Monday 2017 hit $6.59B in US sales, with a massive $2B of that being mobile purchases (a 40% increase from 2016). So you see why it’s important part of your WordPress SEO to make sure your website is mobile friendly. Nowadays, most modern WordPress themes such as Total are already responsive and go a long way in ensuring that your website is mobile friendly. Not to forget, mobile friendliness is an official SEO ranking signal as of April 2015.
So, how do you optimize your website for mobiles? Google has put out guidelines for this very purpose. Every aspect of your website from content and fonts, to colors and logos needs to look and function perfectly on mobile devices used to access your site. You can do many big and small tweaks to achieve this including optimizing images and maximizing speed. When it comes to mobile it’s best to avoid full screen popups and opt for expandable content such as accordions, expandable boxes and hidden tabs on your mobile site.
You may also want to consider looking into Accelerated Mobile Pages that makes your pages quick to load on mobiles in Google’s search results. Many mobile users access your website by tapping on a mobile app on their home screens, and you may want to take advantage of this as well.
Another important WordPress SEO factor is location specific optimization to cater to the folks in a specific neighborhood or geographical region. Relevant, useful and accurate local search results is preferred by Google. “Near me” titled searches are increasing in popularity. These searches use geographic cues to generate location specific end-results.
The reason for this increase is not far to seek – availability of wi-fi in public spaces, spurt in wearable technology, mobile apps and easy network accessibility help to push the sales of products by shoppers who search for them while they’re near your store. You definitely need to pay attention to local SEO if you want to attract customers using mobile devices to shop.
You can make a good start by including NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on every page. This is data used by search engines in searches with local intent. If you’re located in more than one area, have a separate landing page for each locality, and include content relevant to that locality. Try and include the location in your keyword and make sure you carry the changes to social media. Be generous with Call To Action buttons (Call Now, Subscribe, Learn More, Send a Message), they are an easy way for readers to connect with your business.
One more thing you can do is to list in local directories such as CraigsList or City Search. On Google My Business you can furnish details like your business hours, phone number, and directions on Google Search and Maps, and verify it for authenticity. Thereafter, your business has a better chance of appearing in a custom panel at the top of a search results page. Facebook also operates Local Awareness adverts using which you can reach people near your business by displaying ads when they approach your location.
It’s not easy to get visitors to your site, given the information overload on the internet. But the tips in this post can help you improve your website’s SEO and increase the traffic to your website. If you need more help to boost traffic to your site, check out our post with more SEO tips.
But now over to you – do you have any tips to add? Or any questions about how else to improve your WordPress SEO? Let us know below!