The more visitors your website gets, the better your business will perform. Each person that arrives on a site has the potential to convert in some manner for your business which is why driving traffic to a website is so important. One method for driving traffic is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is effective for all types of websites including WordPress sites. As a digital marketing company and web developer, today we wanted to share our insights on how to achieve higher SEO rankings for your WordPress website.
The higher pages rank in search engine results is directly related to the amount of organic traffic the site will earn. Additionally, sites that rank highly appear more credible and trustworthy to consumers which is why so many businesses place a premium on SEO.
Is SEO Different on WordPress Websites?
WordPress is very popular as both a Content Management System (CMS) and blog hosting service. The CMS is open-source and available from WordPress.org while the blog hosting service is located at WordPress.com.
The Content Management System allows a site owner to manage a website using a very friendly, straightforward user interface. WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs as about one-fourth of all websites on the web are powered by them.
It is important to understand that there are differences between a WordPress site and a static HTML site. Primary, a static site has more options for design and development while a WordPress site is more fixed regarding options based on templates and plugins. There are a lot of options and ability to customize, but not nearly to the same degree as a static site.
SEO is slightly different on a WordPress site compared to a static HTML site simply because of the framework. The CMS handles page creation and interface aspects without the need for a web developer, but that also limits the ability to manually update the code to maximize SEO.
Tips for Higher SEO Rankings
These tips are specifically for WordPress sites and are in addition to rather standard SEO techniques such as keyword usage, using internal and external links, writing quality content, and keeping content updated or providing new content frequently. More in-depth articles on these topics can be found on the Lounge Lizard Blog.
Use a good hosting company – Web hosting plays an important role in SEO primarily due to site speed but also because of factors such as distance, security, and downtime. Site speed is a ranking factor for Google so using a host that can provide great speed with little or no downtime is important for ranking and the user experience. In some cases, small providers have limited servers or servers not near a business’s core customers. This increases the time for data to send and receive. Even shaving a second off the website load times is important. A site should also be utilizing HTTPS, which is also a factor to Google. Some hosts will provide the certificate for free.
Theme selection – WordPress utilizes themes for a website’s layout and appearance. Selecting a theme that is SEO friendly provides useful features to enhance SEO efforts such as providing new heading tag options. There can be vast differences between themes, and those geared towards SEO are going to be optimized in ways that allow web crawlers to more effectively review content, keywords, and metadata.
Use an SEO plugin – There are numerous great plugins available for WordPress sites. SEO plugins, such as the Yoast SEO plugin, are an easy way to add important features to a site that will improve SEO relatively painlessly. The top plugins offer customer support as well which makes them relatively plug-and-play.
Set Permalinks to Post Name – WordPress uses a default permalink structure which is non-descriptive. Why this is important is because when search engines crawl a site, the permanent URLs (permalinks) are read by the crawler. The more descriptive a link, the easier it is for content to be made sense of and categorized. By switching to Post Name, the link will reference what should be a very descriptive name of the actual post. This can be accomplished under Settings > Permalink.
Use Heading tags – When creating content, make sure to use heading tags not only to break up groups of text for readings, but also for web crawlers. People use headings to identify areas of interest. Crawlers use them to better understand what content is about along with structure. Headings are listed in the WordPress editor under a drop-down menu.
Optimize images – There are two ways to optimize images for SEO. The first is file size. Images should be compressed for faster loading speed which is important for SEO and the user experience. The second is the file name and alt text. Each image should be named using at least one related keyword and the alt text should provide a description of the picture. Again, this is to help web crawlers better identify your content and information which helps boost rankings.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that WordPress is a very powerful and popular system for website management. This article provides some very useful tips on how to achieve higher SEO rankings for your WordPress website and they should be implemented for anyone looking for additional organic traffic.