WordPress is one of many website platforms and content management systems that you could use to build a website. It’s not the only one, but it is by far the most popular. In fact, it’s estimated that 70% of all websites that exist today are built on WordPress.
One of the reasons for this is that WordPress SEO is a little more intuitive than some of the other options, and it’s a little easier to use a WordPress site. Which means it’s better suited to people who want to be able to add their own content or make minor changes to their website themselves.
Since we specialise in WordPress website development and WordPress SEO, we work with search engine optimisation for WordPress sites every day, and we’ve got some inside information about how it works, and the best WordPress SEO tips for any website.
How Does WordPress Work?
Before you learn about WordPress SEO, you first need to understand how the platform itself works.
WordPress is a CMS, or Content Management System. This means that you can use it to build dynamic websites that have a lot of content on them, and that includes things that change often, like your blog and other parts of the site.
In fact, it’s the most popular CMS in Australia. Therefore, if you’re running a WP website and are serious about your Australian SEO performance, you might want to read on to learn about some nuinces of WordPress SEO.
Like other CMSs, WordPress has a frontend and a backend. The frontend is what people see when they visit your website, and you can change this by using different themes, which are skins that change the way your site looks. There are free and paid themes out there, and you can also pay a designer to create a custom theme for your WordPress site.
Aside from the fact that responsiveness is important for SEO, there’s not too much to do about SEO on the frontend of your WordPress site.
The backend of your WordPress site is also known as the admin area, and this is where you do all of the technical stuff related to running a website. You can create pages and menus, upload plugins and widgets, upload new blog content and more. There is a bit of a learning curve involved in mastering WordPress, but it is one of the most user-friendly CMS options out there.
What Is WordPress SEO?
There really isn’t anything specific about WordPress SEO. Search engine optimisation works the same way no matter what system you use to build your site. However, WordPress does have some features and tools that make it easier to do the on-site part of the SEO process.
Good SEO on any site is based on a few important factors:
- Site security – search engines rank websites that have SSL installed higher than others
- A well designed and fast loading site that does not use too many resources to load a lot of code
- Optimised text content and images
- Proper use of H1 and H2 tags
- Creating high quality page titles and metadata
- Good keyword research
- Creating high quality content
- Internal and incoming links
- Website “freshness” – search engines favour sites that are regularly updated, which is one of the reasons why blogging is such a good digital marketing strategy
- Having a detailed site map
- Using a good web host that is reliable and fast
- Using tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to submit sitemaps and URLs and monitor your site and content
All these things, and more, apply equally to any site, and whether your site is built on WordPress or something else, if you don’t get all of these things right, you won’t rank as high as you could.
A good WordPress SEO company will take care of all the necessary on and off-site optimisation for your site, but it always helps to know how they do that.
How Does a WordPress SEO Company Ensure Your Site Is Optimised?
Now that you know the basics about how WordPress SEO works, let’s look at how an SEO company will ensure that you have the best WordPress SEO.
An SEO Friendly Theme
As we mentioned above, the design of your theme doesn’t matter too much in terms of WordPress SEO. At least, not in terms of the actual graphics and look of the template.
However, what does matter a lot is that your website uses a responsive theme. This means that the theme automatically resizes so that it can be used on devices like phones and tablets as well as computers. Since “Mobilegeddon” search engines like Google have been penalising sites that don’t use responsive design.
If your WordPress SEO company discovers that your current site is not built on a responsive theme, they will probably recommend that you change your theme.
Use WordPress SEO Tools
One of the reasons that WordPress SEO is a little easier than SEO on other CMSs and platforms is that there are some third-party SEO tools you can use to optimise your content.
Yoast is one of those, and it is by far the most popular WordPress SEO tool out there and has been for a very long time. There are free and paid versions available, but most websites can be adequately optimised with the free version.
Yoast uses a red, green, and amber “light” system to tell you how your content is doing. It also has easy to use fields that you can use to create a page title, metadata, descriptions, and keywords. You can keep changing and adjusting these until the “light” goes green, and then you know that your page is optimised and ready to publish.
Over the past couple of years, RankMath has evolved to be really great for WordPress SEO and is considered more flexible and even better than Yoast by many SEO professionals. It has a lot of advanced features including a Google Fast Indexing API addon that enables you to quickly push new URLs to Google to get them indexed faster.
Create Canonical Redirects
When search engines access your website, they can do so using a URL that looks like https://www.yoursite.com or https://yoursite.com. These links go to the same page, but because they are formatted differently, search engines see them as different pages. Of course, since they are the same page, the content will be the same no matter how you access them.
This is a big problem for WordPress SEO, because search engines don’t like duplicate content, and they penalise websites that publish it. So even though you’re not doing that, your site could suffer because search engines are very literal things!
The best way around this is to create a canonical redirect, which is a fancy way of saying you choose a preferred format for your URLs. There are several ways to do this, but they all do the same thing: redirect all traffic from www addresses to non www, or vice versa, depending on your preferences. In WordPress, you can simply use a plugin that will take care of the redirects, for example, All In One Redirection.
This will not affect internet users either. They can still type either version of your page address into their search bar, and they will still arrive on your website.
Make Sure Your Site Is Visible
All websites have a file in their programming that is called robots.txt. This file uses various lines of code to tell search engine bots how you want them to interact with your site. In most cases, your site will be public and “crawlable” by search engine spiders, but sometimes, you might want to change that, like when you are still building a site.
The good news is that you don’t have to go digging around in the code of your site to make sure your site is visible for WordPress SEO purposes. You can simply go to the settings menu, and then check the reading page. Your site should be set to visible. If it is, it will be scanned and indexed by search engines, and you don’t have to do anything else.
Create and Submit an XML Sitemap
The goal of WordPress SEO (and all SEO for that matter) is for search engines to discover your content, analyse it, and decide that it is valuable to internet users. This process is called indexing, and as your website pages are indexed, they will become visible in search results, and the higher they are ranked by search engines, the higher they will appear in search results.
Search engines like Google are always scanning the internet for new pages and content, but there are billions of websites out there, so it can take some time for them to find your site and index your content.
One way that a WordPress SEO company will speed up this process is by generating an XML sitemap of your site, and then submitting that sitemap to Google via their Search Console platform.
XML is a special type of code that doesn’t mean much to humans who visit your website, but it tells Google what the structure of your site is, and where various pages are located. This, along with other things like manually submitting newly published pages, will help Google’s bots to find and index your pages faster.
Build SEO Friendly URLs
If you’ve ever been to a site that has a very long URL that has all kinds of numbers and letters in it but doesn’t really tell you what the page is about, you’ve seen SEO Unfriendly URLs in action.
These long strings of text, numbers and symbols help to “file” your content on your website, but they do nothing for your WordPress SEO. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix.
Login to your WordPress site, navigate to the settings menu, and then choose the permalinks sub menu. Choose “post name” from the list of options, and then open another page on your site. This time, the URL should simply be your site’s URL followed by a slash, and then the post name.
Since search engines “read” URLs as well as content, this makes it easier for them to categorise your pages correctly.
When optimising your website for local search visibility, you might end up creating a set of locally optimised landing pages for various locations you operate in. This is very simple in WordPress as you can easily clone an existing page with the layout that you like and adjust its contents using a WYSIWYG editor. Use the desired keywords in the SEO friendly URLs.
We at Catnapweb, for example, created optimised landing pages for some Melbourne suburbs with strong demand where we have our customers and achieve great results. These have SEO friendly titles, H1s and URLs, for example:
Utilise the Power of Reviews
For pages that contain reviews or have been reviewed, it’s advisable to include a review schema markup for such pages to tell Google about the reviews (count, average rating). This way, your page can include the ‘stars’ in search results, making it stand out from the competition.
This will inform your prospective visitors of how other people rate your products or services and can positively impact click-through rate from Google and your conversions. SEO Plugins for WordPress such as RankMath will help you include this markup in your HTML code.
Also, we recommend that you create a landing page on your website which aggregates all the reviews. Look at our SEO company reviews page as an inspiration.
Do You Need to Get the Best WordPress SEO Fast?
The internet waits for no man. While you can certainly spend more time learning all the details and ins and outs of WordPress SEO, it’ll take a while. Until you’ve mastered it all, you won’t start seeing results, and even with WordPress SEO tips like these, there are lots of tiny changes that can make a big difference.
Sometimes, the best way for companies to improve their WordPress SEO is to hire a WordPress SEO company who already know how to make WordPress sites as visible as possible. It will save you a lot of time, and since time is money, is a great way to get the best of both worlds!
Catnapweb offers specialised WordPress SEO services that include everything from full site audits to managing your sitemaps and more. We can even give you tips and instructions to create better content and show you how to ensure it is indexed quickly and ranks as high as possible.
So, whether you already have a WordPress site that you just want to improve, or you’re hoping to build a brand-new WordPress site from the ground up, let’s chat. We’re always happy to offer advice, information and custom service proposals, based on your unique website and SEO needs.
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