8 easy ways to boost SEO on your WordPress website.
Last updated: 22/06/2022
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So, you’ve developed and built a website with WordPress and have been publishing content. Whether you’re a business, blog, or anything in between- you’re all going to have one thing in common. You want people to see your content. Of course you do, because what’s the point in publishing content on the internet if no one’s going to look at it? This is where SEO comes in handy. SEO (or search engine optimization) is essentially how you can improve your website to make it rank higher on search engines such as Google. By taking into account SEO, you can increase your websites visibility on search engines, which leads to a higher placement on search engines and inevitably more clicks and visits to your site.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at how your website can be optimised for SEO, and the steps you can take today to do this.
1 – SEO friendly themes and plugins.
Upon installing WordPress and the initial creation of your website, you may have been overwhelmed with an abundance of themes and plugins you can use to customise your website. Whilst this is fantastic, if you get over-excited and start installing them left, right and centre- you’ll see this will effect the speed of your WordPress site. Google isn’t a fan of slow-loading sites and will tend to rank these lower on their search pages.
In order to see what themes are best for your website, take a look at its statistics. Use sites like GTmetrix and Pingdom and run their demo pages through the tools. This will give you an idea if it will work well when applied to your website.
As far as plugins go, there are a plethora of SEO plugins you can install to give you advice on how you can improve SEO on certain aspects of your website. One of the best (and free!) plugins to use is Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO provides you with tools to help optimise your individual posts and pages. It will also watch over your site health and will give you other general maintenance tools to help improve your website. It really is worth installing Yoast SEO as it will give you much further insight as to how you can improve your website’s SEO.
2 – Keyword research
By identifying trends and popular keywords, you can then apply these to your website. To identify what keywords are trending at the minute, try using tools such as Google Trends to see what is popular among Google users. Then, you can embed these into your pages, posts, titles, meta descriptions- and anything else you like! This is one of the best ways you can rank higher on pages containing your keywords and is sure to boost your website higher up search pages.
3 – Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Before I explain how both title tags and meta descriptions can help improve SEO, allow me to explain exactly what they are for those who may be unfamiliar. The title tag of a page or post is the blue writing you see on the search engines results (as shown below). This is often the title of your post or page- hence the name. A meta description is a snippet of text that displays under a title tag and tends to be around 155 characters long. A good meta description will summarise the post or page you are about to visit, and could considered the ‘blurb’ of a page.
If you followed our advice and installed Yoast SEO, you’ll have a handy tool at your disposal for crafting the perfect title tags and meta descriptions. Yoast will give you a template containing a suitable title tag. If you want to customise it, there are variables you can add including separators and your site title.
For meta descriptions however, I’d recommend that you write your own. Yoast SEO will provide an excerpt from your post if you don’t customise it yourself. Whilst this isn’t awful, the excerpt is often random and may not best represent your post or page. You can certainly do a lot better! By writing it yourself, you’re free to improve it and make it greater. One of the best ways to do this is by including key words- especially in your first few words.
However, with both meta descriptions and title tags: don’t bombard them with key words! No one wants to read ‘optimising search engine optimisation with WordPress to make your website rank higher on Google’. A better title would be ‘8 easy ways to boost SEO on your WordPress website’. The same applies with meta descriptions: short and snappy often works better than something long-winded.
4 – Internal and external links
To help establish a sense of interconnectivity between pages on your site, internal links are key. It also indicates to Google what links can link into each other. This helps Google rank your page higher on different pages- which as I’m sure you are aware by now- is very good! With WordPress, adding internal links is easy. Simply highlight the desired text, press the link icon and then paste in the link. This small step will work wonders for your SEO.
Whilst they are not as important, it is also a great idea to include some external links to your website. The difference between an internal and external links is a matter of where the link goes. An internal link will go to a page that lies within your website. On the other hand, an external link will take you to a page that isn’t on your website. It is important to make sure that whenever you include an external link you ensure it navigates in a new window. The same goes for links as does with title tags and descriptions- don’t overuse them. An overcrowded post or page is nothing but off-putting so be sure to use them tactically.
5 – Images
Images are key for an attractive website. No one wants to read pure text. Images are not only key to attracting and keeping visitors but also keeping them engaged with your content. However, it’s important to not just copy and paste images into your post. There’s a much smarter way to do this that will help significantly improve your SEO.
A – Customise file names:
By saving an image and renaming it, you are essentially describing to Google what your image is. By having a name that well-represents the image, Google can identify and link this to searches that will help to heighten your ranking on search pages. And as always, try to include key words too!
B – Use a JPG file type:
Without a shadow of a doubt, when you rename an image you should check if the image is a JPG or not. Almost 75% of images on the internet are JPG’s. This not only gives you a more convenient way to download and upload, but also means the image will be preferred by Google.
C – Add in Alt text:
Alt text is another way to describe an image. Usually a short, descriptive phrase that reflects the images well will do the trick. Not only does alt text help aid the visually impaired who are using screen readers, it also provides another opportunity to add in some key words! So take this opportunity and use it to your advantage by adding a unique, detailed sentence in for all of your images!
D – Don’t overcrowd your page:
There are two reasons you shouldn’t go full out with images on your pages and posts. First of all, it just doesn’t look nice if you have more images than text in a post. Remember, sometimes less is more and one picture may end up saying more than five could.
The second is for loading time. One factor Google will favour when accounting for SEO is how long it takes a website to load. Most internet users expect a website to load in under 2 seconds- and an abundance of images can increase this loading time drastically.
6 – Keep your content relevant
It’s pretty simple. Relevant content will rank higher than less relevant content. More people will be searching for it, therefore there will be more opportunities for clicks and visits to your website. A good way to stay relevant is to follow trends. For example, if you run a music blog and have the choice between writing about Coachella and a classical musicians old song- which one do you think more people will be attracted to? Obviously, don’t stray away from what your website is about. There’s no use writing about how amazing your favourite artist was at Coachella and then uploading it to your gardening website. But also don’t be afraid to experiment: if you have an idea and you think it could be popular with people then go for it!
For more advice with writing an SEO optimised blog, click here.
7 – Update old content
The older a piece of content gets, the easier it slips down the search rankings list. This is a natural process where Google just wants newer, fresher and more up-to-date content at the top of their pages. If you have an article that is years old, it may be worth going back and editing it. By adding in even just a small update (perhaps an internal link to a newer post), you are going to update that section and enable it to climb back up the search results page
8 – Monitor analytics
Google Analytics is a great way to monitor statistics related to your website, but also to find out what’s trending and topical. Using Google Analytics is a great way to find out information that you can use to boost your SEO. You can find out more information here.
SEO is a key factor to take into account if you want to grow your website and reach more people. A lot of these steps are simple, easy things to implement to help improve your SEO- and if you get into the habit of doing them regularly, you’ll soon start to notice the differences they’ll make!
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