20 SEO Tips for WordPress Website Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume/quality of traffic to your website from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The sooner (higher search ranking) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from that search engine. SEO has the ability to target a variety of search results including image search, local search, and video search and more.
When performing SEO on a WordPress post, you have a number of tools at your disposal. Although there are SEO plugins available, most of the tools required for good optimization are built directly into the core of WordPress itself. Several best SEO practices you should leverage don’t require any tools, just a little knowledge. Here are some SEO tips to follow on every website:
Google has been deeply focusing on content quality for the last few years. Any type of optimization is effective only in combination with high quality and unique content. Ideally, the on page text contains keywords that highlight the overall theme of the post. The content should be understandable and readable. Improve the keyword density. Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase occurs in the content of a web page. Generally speaking, if your keyword has a high density a search engine is more likely to see your page as being relevant. However, you need to be careful here. If you deliberately overuse the keyword in a bid to get search engines to rank you more highly, you are using a technique called ‘keyword stuffing’. This can lead to your page being ignored by search engines or, at worst, lead you to being penalized and having your whole site disappear from any search results. The final element of optimization within the content is to include alternative keywords and what are known as long tail keywords. Alternative keywords are less popular keywords that still have a lot of searches.
Exchange backlinks with other relevant websites relating to your topics and with high authority websites (websites with high page ranking). Also the link between pages within your website, but do this with caution and only if it’s relevant. Don’t link every page to each other. Internal linking has been and still is a very important way to feed search engines more relevant content on your website. It works as a virtual map of related posts on your site and makes navigation within your site easier for both users and bots.
Google also draws images in the calculation of the ranking. Google displays both text and images on its search results page, drawing on relevant images contained in the post itself, which are linked to the corresponding page. Use meaningful/subjective naming conventions for your images. Don’t forget to use the alt tag and title tag for your images, which also provide better usability and optimization for your search ranking.
The amount of time it takes your page to load for a visitor is an SEO factor. Search engines don’t want to send people to pages that are going to frustrate them, and little will frustrate a visitor more than a slow-loading page. Large images are often at least partly responsible for a slow-loading page- so reducing your images is always a smart move.
Use an understandable permalink like http://yourwebsite.com/new-york. Please note that only the first four words in a permalink are relevant. Google doesn’t care about any succeeding words in your permalinks. Long post titles shouldn’t be avoided, long URLs for your posts should. You can use a shortened version of your post title (if it’s too long) for the post permalink.
Search Engine Friendly Theme
Some themes use a lot of code to create the layout and design and produce load to the server. Google will wade through the source code to find the relevant content. The more code you have, the less content and keyword density. Fast performing themes are good for your Google ranking since the performance of a website is one of two hundred criteria that determine your ranking.
Responsive themes are best. Responsive themes result in an overall better user experience. I prefer responsive themes because I get pretty much the same layout and site experience across all my devices. You might want to switch to a responsive theme to improve user experience as well as SEO on your WordPress blog.
With WordPress and plugins like Google XML Sitemaps it is a very easy task. Google has a variety of other useful tools too, such as Website Optimizer and Webmaster Central. Providing search engines like Google links to all the pages on your site in a sitemap, preferably in the “.xml” format, helps them index your site content faster, in an easier way.
Highlight informative Title, Sub-Title, Content or Keywords
Use h1-h6 to highlight headings or subheading of an article or important sentences. Use the strong tag, too. But please don’t overdo it! A search engine will assume that, if your keyword is the central topic of your post, it will keep getting referred to throughout.
You should always use subtitles to divide up longer web content as it helps readers navigate more easily through your page. For SEO purposes, it is not necessary to have your main keyword in every subtitle. it can even be counter-productive to do so. However, your subtitles should do two things: firstly, they should accurately summarize the section of content which follows and secondly, they should be displayed as h2 headers. Do remember that search engines list titles in their results, so what you write also has to grab the attention of the user. If it doesn’t, no-one will click on it.
Unique SEO/Meta Keyword
When a person submits a search query, search engines look for web pages which contain those keywords or phrases, looking for the best match. Although keywords and phrases are not the only criteria they take into consideration, those web pages which are optimized for those keywords will usually rank higher than those that do not. Place low-competition keywords in your title efficiently to get more chance to rank high in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Like search engines assume you’ll put the keywords in the title, they also expect to see them in the opening and closing paragraph. The reason for this is that the opening paragraph is usually an introduction that tells the reader what the post is going to be about. For example, If the title is ‘10 Great Packed Lunches School Kids Will Love’ then their algorithms will search the opening paragraph for a mention packed lunches. If the keyword isn’t there, the search engines will presume that ‘packed lunches’ is not the topic you are writing about and are less likely to rank your post for that term. The same logic applies to the closing paragraph. As the last part of the post is usually a conclusion of some kind, there is an expectancy from search engines that, in summing up, you’ll make reference to the topic you are writing about – hence, the algorithms will scan for the keyword.
You can create a meta description which is used by search engines to consider the relevancy of your post. It can also be displayed underneath the title in search engine results. This too should contain the keyword that your post wants to rank for. Just like the title, it should also be written to catch the attention of the reader. After looking at the title, the next area that a search engine will focus on is the meta description. A meta description is a brief description of the content of your web page and is usually presented to searchers as a ‘snippet’ underneath the title in search results.
A caching plugin is a must for any WordPress site. Caching plugins do two useful things. Firstly, they make your website faster. Secondly, they reduce the load on your web server. The goal of decreasing web page load times is to improve the user experience. Search engines also give fast sites more edge in SERPs. So, if you make your website faster, naturally it’ll be good from an SEO viewpoint.
Content Delivery Network
If your website remains slow even after optimizing the code, using a caching plugin, and a CDN, it’s time to move to a better web host with faster servers. You might contact your host and ask them why your website is performing slowly on their server, but if they fail to provide you a specific reason (such as your website hitting your VPS memory limits), you can be sure that their servers are slow. A great place to look for a new web host is WebHostingTalk. Their members are very helpful and new members get proper guidance on choosing a web host.
Block Spam Comments
New versions of WordPress do a very good job in no following links posted by users in comments. Spam comments bad for your blog as Firstly, they don’t contribute anything to the topic and annoy legit users and Secondly, if a post on cars gets a comment saying things about ‘Cheap Shoes’, search engines don’t like that. In that case, there’s a chance that the page will be flagged as spam by search engines and your site will get penalized.
Noindex to Duplication
If your blog already has a category called ‘Pussy Cats’ and you still tag a post ‘Pussy Cats’ then that might create duplicate content and duplicate titles issue. A quick solution would be to noindex (that’s telling search engines not to index a page using <meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex’ />) the less important page. You should use the rel=”canonical” tag for pages on your blog as well. It helps search engines to determine the original source URLs of content on your blog. That way, it helps eliminate duplicate content issues from WordPress sites.
Social Media Usage
While social media signals may or may not directly affect search rankings at the time of this writing, there’s no question that if you get more social media buzz, then you are increasing your chances of getting links and mentions all over the web. Of course, there are lots of different social media plugins you could use to help in this department. Most search engines including Google take help of social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ etc. to determine what reactions a web page is getting from real users. A bonus would be an increased traffic from those social networking sites for your content. Include social media buttons to your posts. Please don’t only promote yourself. Promote other posts and websites you like. People will honor your kindness and link back to you.
Fresh Frequent Posting
Google gives priority in its SERPs to blogs that feature frequently published posts. Google started preferring recently updated content, especially for time-conscious searches. If you post five times in a week and don’t post anything at all the next week, it’s even worse than posting two posts a week consistently. Search engines love newly updated content relevant content. So if you blog on global cars and say you post about all new car launches happening around the world and the respective events, and it’s not directly copied from somewhere else, Google will love that, and you’ll probably get an edge in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Robots.txt is a text file which allows a website to provide instructions to web crawling bots. Search engines like Google use these web crawlers, sometimes called web robots, to archive and categorize websites. Most bots are configured to search for a robots.txt file on the server before it reads any other file from the website. If you don’t want Googlebot to crawl and index specific directories or pages of your site, you can block them straight from your robots.txt. If a website has more than one subdomain, each subdomain must have its own robots.txt file. It is important to note that not all bots will honor a robots.txt file. Some malicious bots will even read the robots.txt file to find which files and directories they should target first. Also, even if a robots.txt file instructs bots to ignore a specific page on the site, those pages may still appear in search results if they are linked to by other pages that are crawled.
Broken Links Correction
If too many broken links are found on your site, search engines will think that the site isn’t properly maintained. It might be penalized by search engines who may think it’s an abandoned site. You can use the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin to handle broken internal and external links on your blog. This plugin can (optionally) mark broken links as ‘nofollow’ automatically so that search engines don’t get a negative impression about your site. What’s more is you can receive an email notification whenever new broken links are detected on your site and fix them up, unlink the broken links, or simply ignore them from within the plugin interface.
Authorship tag to Blogs
Statistics show that you can get as much as a 150% increase in organic traffic if you implement the rel=”author” markup on your blog. The article that I’ve linked to will also help you set up Google+ authorship on your own blog. There are two basic advantages of using Google Authorship Markup on your blog.
Nice Google+ photos make your website entries in the SERPs more interesting and promising than the rest and improve user click-through-rate (CTR).
The authorship markup helps search engines to understand that a post is written by you. In SERPs, it includes a link to your Google+ profile. Now, if you consistently write awesome content that users love to read, you’ll slowly gain reputation in the eyes of Google as a reputable and authoritative writer. This is often called Google AuthorRank. Now once you’ve gained your reputation writing quality content, it won’t matter in which site you post, your content will automatically get an edge in SERPs as long as the Google Authorship Markup is working fine.
Don’t use flash
Though Flash usage has dropped there are still thousands of websites still demonstrating their key information via Flash. It is virtually invisible to search engines. So always use WordPress instead of flash.