In the last few years, Google has been on a mission to make sure that only high quality and relevant content finds its way to the top of its search result pages. To achieve this, they have continuously tweaked their algorithm to weed out sites that try to game the system. If you have a WordPress site, there are no SEO shortcuts, you must take the straight and narrow.
The following 8 tips will help you get your WordPress SEO right.
1. Only use SEO friendly themes and plugins
There are thousands of WordPress themes and plugins. Interestingly, most people rarely think about SEO when choosing a theme or plugin. A good theme and plugin has clean code. You may not know what clean code is if you are a beginner. So if unsure, ask around in WordPress forums or post in blog comments. Also, avoid using too many plugins because they tend to make your site sluggish which is bad for SEO.
- Must Read: Top WordPress Plugins for Developers
2. Don’t use the default link structure
The default link structure that comes with WordPress is not good for SEO. It looks something like this www.yoursite.com/?p=123. You need to change this to www.yoursite.com/postname or www.yoursite.com/year/month/postname. This is possible in the Permalinks section of WordPress settings.
3. Create high quality content
The two decade old adage, content is king, remains true. High quality content is the single greatest SEO tactic you can implement on your website. Good content brings people to your site, great content keeps them coming back for more. Repeat visitors and a low bounce rate are good for SEO. To search engines, this is a clear indicator that your site is high quality and therefore deserves a higher ranking. High quality content must conform to three rules; it must be unique, be helpful and shareable.
4. Optimize your images
Images add eye candy to your site. You are encouraged to use relevant images to add value to your content. However, if the images are too large, they make your site bulky and slow. Page speed is now a ranking factor so you must ensure your images aren’t affecting your SEO. You need a compromise between image quality and size. There are several plugins that help you adjust your images to the most optimum size. Alternatively, optimize your images with a free tool such a Gimp before uploading.
- Must Read: 5 Secrets for Image Optimization
5. Caching and content delivery networks (CDN)
Caching is also another way to speed up your site. Caching static pages and images ensures your site loads faster. WordPress has a number of free caching plugins. Big sites should also use content delivery networks. These distributed servers maintain a copy of the site’s static pages in strategic sites around the world. Thus, when a browser requests a page, the server that is nearest the user sends the page to the browser considerably cutting down on page loading time.
Most of WordPress hosting service providers nowadays offer or even include a CDN in their hosting plans which makes this step quite easy to achieve.
6. Avoid keyword stuffing
You should focus on a one keyword per post but avoid keyword stuffing. Write naturally for human beings without paying too much regard to the keyword. You can then edit the post at the end to ensure the keyword is contained in your title, first paragraph, URL and image alt tags. But, by all means do not try to force the keyword unnaturally into the article.
7. Interlink and outbound links
Add value to your posts by linking to related content on your site. Also, link to authoritative sites but avoid linking to sites that have dodgy reputations as this can hurt SEO.
8. Use an SEO Plugin
There are many other important things that you can do to improve WordPress SEO. Thankfully, most of the other issues can be accomplished by using a WordPress SEO plugin. There are many free plugins that allow you to quickly fix SEO on individual posts and pages before you publish. Try them out and see which one works best for you.
There are a bunch of other WordPress SEO tips and tactics but these are the most basic. Fix these and your site will leapfrog 95% of sites on the Internet. But, the main takeaway from this article is this, create content that’s unique, helpful and shareable. Write for humans not bots. And, remember, it’s a straight and narrow path. Don’t believe any snake oil salesmen promising to get you to the SEO promised land with some quick formula they have discovered. Also, keep yourself up-to-date with the latest SEO trends by subscribing to SEO blogs.