No matter how eye-catching, responsive, or useful your website may be, it won’t draw traffic on its own. You have to get your website in front of users, and with nearly 2 billion websites on the internet today, that isn’t going to happen naturally.
You have to spend time on Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO. WordPress is an A+ CMS that offers many free tools to help foster your website’s traffic growth.
But how do you use them?
Where do you start?
Discover these effective SEO tips for elevating your WordPress search engine visibility.
Proven Ways to Boost Your WordPress Search Engine Visibility
SEO can be broken down into on-site and off-site strategies. In this blog, we’re going to focus specifically on what you can do on-site using your WordPress CMS.
1. Make Sure Your Website’s Theme is SEO-Friendly
Whether you have a WordPress developer design a custom theme from scratch or you use a template, it’s important to go with a design that is pre-optimized for search engine ranking.
This includes mobile responsiveness. Because over half of all searches are done via mobile devices, Google has updated its algorithm to favor sites that are designed for mobile use.
This includes fast loading times and adaptive themes that scale and change to suit various mobile devices.
2. Install a Dedicated SEO Plugin
One of the great things about WordPress is the quantity and quality of plugins available for its CMS. These add-ons enable you to customize your backend with the features you need to get the most out of your website.
Some of these features include dedicated SEO plugins. These plugins are capable of everything from helping you optimize your keywords and content to creating a sitemap that will help Google better understand what your website has to offer.
One of the more popular plugins for this is Yoast SEO.
3. Optimize Your Permalink Options
Your permalink is the URL dedicated to each one of your internal posts. However, a lot of people don’t realize that there are several ways to create them. WordPress, in particular, offers quite a few settings, including:
- Plain: this simply creates a number and letter sequence to define the page
- Day and Name: this includes your post title and the date it was published in the URL
- Month and Name: This is the same as Day and Name except it includes only the month and the year instead of day, month, and year
- Numeric: This assigns your post a number within an archive
- Custom Structure: This allows you to create your own permalink as you see fit
For SEO purpose, both Day and Name and Custom Structure work best. You’ll want to include your keyword within your permalink for better SEO ranking.
4. Structure Your Content with Heading Tags
When posting content on your site, you have to pay attention not only to the quality of your written content, but also the technical aspects behind it. Everything from HTML to alt tags and meta descriptions, you have to structure your written content in a way that speaks to both readers and algorithms.
But what if you don’t know HTML?
With WordPress’s visual editor, you can easily structure your content with the right tags without having to know how it’s done. Simply use the dropdown on the editor bar and select the right heading tag for each header in your content.
Always keep your headers organized. Think of it like an outline. You start with your H1’s and move up the number scale with each sub-section. This tells Google’s algorithm what each section is about as it crawls your page’s content.
At least one of your headers should include your content’s keyword, which leads up to our next on-site SEO tip…
5. Keyword Optimize Your Page and Post Content
Keywords are the common search terms you integrate into your page content in order to help users find it online. This keyword will show up here and there throughout your page’s content, from the title and headers to your body content.
There is a specific strategy for writing keyword optimized copy. Plugins like Yoast SEO can help you audit your content if you aren’t familiar with how to do this. The goal is not to stuff your keyword into the content as much as possible, but rather to write quality content that addresses the key term.
Quality is more important than quality. You want your content to be relevant to the search term it’s adapted to while reading smoothly for your reader.
You’ll also want to hyperlink relevant internal and external links throughout your body copy. This will help boost your SEO and the credibility of your content, much like sources boost the credibility of a term paper or news article.
6. Optimize Your Images for SEO
Just like your text, you need to apply certain SEO strategies to your imagery to make it easier for Google to read and categorize. Try to use a keyword relevant to what the photo displays in the file name.
You’ll also want to adapt the size and quality of your image so that it loads quickly and is visually appealing.
Next, make sure you include an alt tag describing what the photo displays. Many people know alt tags are used for SEO, but they may not realize its true function: to describe to the visually impaired what the photo is or what it represents.
If you follow this rule and describe in a small blurb or paragraph what the photo displays and how its relevant to your content, you can meet both your SEO needs and the alt tag’s purpose.