How To Improve Your WordPress Site’s SEO
There are some people who will tell you that SEO is dead. They say content and quality have edged out search engine optimization, and you’d be better off spending your money there.
However, while it’s true that search engines have changed their algorithms to focus more on quality and user experience, which doesn’t mean search engine optimization is obsolete. In fact, in an ever more competitive online landscape, every little bit counts!
The lines between SEO, content, and general site quality have blurred a little, but there are definite, concrete, on and off-site steps you can take to rank higher.
Get Good Quality Links
SEO used to be about getting as many links as possible. The more links you had, the more important search engines thought your site was. Those days are long over, and spammy links are a quick way to get your site penalized by search engines.
But that doesn’t mean links should be completely ignored. Make sure your site is listed in relevant local directories and on services like Google My Business. A few links in industry publications don’t hurt, nor do links from industry associations and organizations you belong to.
What you do need to avoid are spammy links in article comments or on completely irrelevant sites.
Use Internal Links
While lots of junky links to and from unrelated sites won’t help you to gain credibility online, internal links can help a lot. Links tell search engine “spiders” when there’s related content on your site, which helps them to catalog and classify your site and your content.
While we’re on the topic of search engines and crawling, make sure you submit your XML sitemap to search engines and keep them up to date. Your sitemap tells search engines which pages are on your site, which helps to ensure that your pages get indexed. That, in turn, helps you to rank higher for your keywords and phrases.
Dial-In Your Keywords
Keywords for SEO have changed a lot too. Stuffing your site with keywords used to be a strategy, but with the shift to focus on quality content, that’s not likely to win you any SEO prizes.
You should still do keyword research but stick to keywords that are closely related to what you do, and don’t focus on things like keyword density too much. It’s better to use variations of your keywords that look natural in your content than to try to shoehorn as many exact match words as you can in wherever you can.
Remember – your content should be written for humans first and search engines second!
Use SEO Tools
SEO tools help to ensure that your WordPress site is optimized and they’re easy to use. If your site is built on WordPress, Yoast is one of the best and most trusted SEO plugins, and there’s a free version, so you don’t have to spend anything to use it.
Tools like Yoast also help to ensure that you are using keywords correctly. If you can, try to use relevant keywords and phrases in headings, subheadings, and links, because these will also help search engines to correctly index and catalog your site. The ultimate goal is to make sure that when someone searches online, your site comes up in the organic search results.
Content Really Is King
A very long time ago, internet marketing gurus declared content is king. Nothing has changed. In fact, as search engines and algorithms have changed to focus more on quality and the experience visitors have on websites, content has become even more important.
Quality content is the cornerstone of your SEO efforts. It’s where you will be sending all that traffic you get, and there are some golden rules:
● Dive deep. Search engines have got very smart. They can tell when content is “thin” or low on useful information. So, try to make your content as detailed and in-depth as possible.
● When in doubt, opt for longer-form pieces. Content that is less than about 500 words is unlikely to rank well. So, write and create content that is long and detailed and really answers your reader’s questions.
● Remember that content is all about your visitors. This is not a sales pitch. The content you post on your WordPress site should be valuable for the reader. So, make it interesting. Teach them something. Share your knowledge. It might not close the deal right away, but it will establish you as the go-to expert in your field.
● Break it up! Large blocks of content do not read well on screen. So, use links, headings and subheads, lists, bullets, and shorter paragraphs to keep it interesting and help people to read easier.
● Make sure you include images when relevant too, they make it a lot easier to understand and digest your content online.
● Update your content regularly. Search engines rank websites that have “fresh” content higher. You don’t have to add new blog posts or content every day, but once or twice a week is ideal.
The importance of metadata has decreased over time, but it’s still an important way to tell search engines what your pages are about. It’s also used as the description of your page in search results, so it matters to your visitors and readers too. Well-written metadata can help you to rank better and show up in more search results and entice people to find out more.