If you’re looking to improve your WordPress SEO, you’ve come to the right place! SEO is an essential element to ensure that your website (or blog) is seen, appears on search engine results, and generates more traffic to your pages. Although WordPress itself is designed to be SEO friendly, if you’re really serious about improving your SEO, we’ve put together a list of helpful ways to improve your WordPress SEO above and beyond the standard practices.
Credit: Hubstaff Blog – Improve WordPress SEO
Why is SEO important?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is fundamental if you’re wanting your website to be noticed; if you want to generate traffic to your personal or business website, you’re going to need an SEO strategy. Luckily, we live in a world where information is so easily accessible to us, that you don’t need to be a technical whizz to know what you’re doing.
WordPress is an incredible CMS platform that gives you access to many helpful tools and plugins, that have been developed by others, with you in mind. When you first login to your WordPress account, you’ll notice (via Settings > Reading) that your ‘Search Engine Visibility’ is checked – this means that your website won’t be found on search engine results. WordPress’s idea behind this is to ensure that your website or blog is SEO ready before publishing it to the world, however, if you want to get started and stuck in, you’ll need to uncheck that box!
- Create a sitemap
As your website or blog could potentially contain a lot of pages, you’ll need to show Google how your website is structured by creating a sitemap. A sitemap is essentially a flow chart or diagram of how your webpages link together.
Credit: Elegant Themes – Creating a WP Plugin
Don’t fret, we understand that sounds complicated, but it’s not. Thanks to WordPress, there’s a plugin called Google XML Sitemaps that’s entirely free to use on your personal or business website. The plugin will index your site and provide popular search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo with an overview of your website. With over 2 million installations, regular updates, and on-hand support, this plugin is a simple solution that does the hard work for you.
- Choose the right web hosting
If you’re creating a website or blog with WordPress, you’re going to need a web hosting company to host your website, so that it’s visible to the world. Your web host is the place where your website’s files, data, and databases are stored, so you’ll want to ensure that you choose one that can guarantee a good uptime and speed – after all, if your website isn’t even visible online, or your hosting provider has a lot of downtime, your SEO efforts will be completely invalid.
Most web hosts now provide WordPress hosting packages, meaning they are designed specifically for WordPress websites, offering greater performance, and expert support tailored for you. Although they may be a little more expensive than shared hosting plans, investing a little extra money per month to have a WordPress professional on-hand is certainly worth it.
- Make use of a blog
If you’re not already using a blog, you should definitely make use of one for your WordPress website. WordPress was initially created for bloggers, so they know what they’re doing, and a blog can easily be integrated into your website using WordPress’s helpful features.
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Having a blog that contains high-quality and relevant content could be your key to SEO success. The benefits of blogs are that they can be shared, commented on, and often provide engaging and useful information to users. You can make use of a blog regardless of your what your website offers; you just have to be a little creative. For example, if you run a restaurant business, your blog could contain your latest menu or recipe ideas, provide interesting news about your restaurant, or simply add a personal touch by getting your staff to blog for you.
Because your blog will be linked to your website, you’re gaining free backlinks without even knowing it – and if people are interested in your content, they are more likely to return and share your blog, and therefore your website, with others. In turn, this will generate more traffic for your website, and push your website higher up the search engine rankings.
- Using Heading Tags
Heading tags are listed from 1 to 6 (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6) – what on earth does that mean? I hear you say! When creating a website with WordPress, you’ll be given the option to choose which heading tags you want to use for your text (excluding paragraphs). Heading tags present text in different sizes, but here it’s not size that matters, it’s how you use your tags that will lead you onto a winner.
Firstly, think of your tags as H1 being the most important information, and H6 being the least important. The title of your website or blog should be contained within a <h1> tag – this makes a statement to your visitors that this is what they’re looking at. Titles should be interesting and captivate the user from the moment they read them; once you’ve got hold of their interest, you can use additional or sub-headings to provide further (less important) information. As well as providing a good user experience, header tags actually help with your SEO, and should be included as part of any SEO strategy.
- Optimise Images
Images are undoubtedly more exciting for your users to view, compared to text, but if they’re not optimised correctly, they could be damaging your SEO. When you upload an image to your WordPress website, you are given the option to enter a URL, title, caption, alt text, and description – make use of these fields to provide the right information about your images. If an internet user performs a search for something that contains information from your uploaded image, they’re more likely to come across your website if your image returns a search engine result.
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As well as being seen, images can increase your webpage’s load time if they are compressed correctly. Using a WordPress plugin, or image optimiser such as Tiny JPG, you can upload the images you want to use on your website, and they will be compressed to reduce their file size, not their quality. This ensures that your images still look great, but won’t take up as much space on your website, providing a faster loading time for your users, and a higher SEO score.