Let’s start with one of the easiest things to do, and one of the most important. Google places most importance on the first three to five words of the URL so for the best results, you should be making sure your target keywords, which will usually be the title of your post, are at the beginning of the URL.
WordPress doesn’t automatically use the title of your post in the URL, but it is easy to fix this. Go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Permalinks’ and change your permalinks to ‘Post Name’.
Keywords and descriptions allow search engines to know more about the content of your posts and pages. Keywords are important words or phrases that people are likely to search for if they are looking for the content you are publishing.
Choose your keywords carefully. Study Google search results for articles similar to yours and look for words or phrases that they have, which you don’t. Only use these words and phrases though if they are a good fit for your post too.
It is also a good idea to include your keyword in the last 50-100 words of the article. This sends a signal that the main topic of your page is about your target keyword. From the start to finish.
Alternatively, you can use a WordPress plugin such as Yoast, which will make it easy for you to choose keywords. Once you have chosen a focus keyword for your post, Yoast will show you how many times you have used the keyword in different areas of your post.
Instructions for installing the Yoast plugin can be found here.
Following on from number two, it is important that your title is also optimized for SEO. When you have decided on a keyword for your post, it is better to have this keyword right at the beginning or as close to the beginning as possible.
You may ask ‘How do I know if my Title is an SEO-friendly one?’ Well, there are several sites out there which can help you with this and to make things easier for you, I have listed some of them below:
An XML Sitemap is a way for search engines to know about all the pages that exist on a website. A WordPress XML Sitemap also tells search engines which links on your website are more important than others and how frequently you update your website. While sitemaps do not boost your search rankings, they do allow search engines to better crawl your website.
The Yoast plugin in number two above can also add XML Sitemap functionality to your website. To access your XML settings – click on Yoast SEO plugin – XML Sitemaps.
Content is extremely important. Should it be long content or short though?
Opinions vary on this, but on the whole, good quality long content, containing useful information and useful links is more likely to be shared and rank highly in searches.
Long-form content has time and time again proven to win in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Back in 2012, serpIQ published some statistics on the importance of content-length. As you can see the websites holding the top positions have a lot more content.
So, to sum up: poor quality content is always bad but good quality long content is more likely to raise your website’s profile.
We mentioned above that good content contains useful links. The key here is ‘useful’. If you have found authoritative resources you will not only benefit your reader but also send signals to Google that you are a serious website or blog, providing quality citing to established sources. Just make sure that the links that you’ve added to the post are valid and frequently check these links to ensure that the links are working so that your audience doesn’t land on a 404 Page.
Internal links will help traffic to navigate your site because they connect and organise your content. There is also the added benefit that if users are checking out other pages on your site, they will stay longer and this, in turn, will help to raise the ranking of your website.
Internal links are one way to increase time on your site, but what else can you do?
Have you heard of the concept of ‘10x content’? Basically, it is content that is 10 times better than the rest. This is the kind of content that will lift you above the competition and keep visitors on your pages.
So, how do you create this content?
Multimedia will help to keep people longer such as explainer videos, slide presentations, quizzes and audio versions of your content. Involve and engage your readers by encouraging them to leave blog comments at the end of each post and be sure to acknowledge any comments and respond to them.
Scroll down the Moz blog to watch a great in-depth analysis on how to create 10x content.
Repeat visitors are a sure indication that you are creating quality content and there are two things you can do to increase return visits to your site.
Firstly, regarding the content itself. You can create content in parts and mention at the end of the post what is coming next. If you have created an awesome part one, chances are that your readers will be back for part two.
Secondly, you can harvest emails from your readers. This is an amazing way to connect with your visitors. Invite them to sign up for free updates and you can email them whenever you have something new to share. Here are a few tips for successful email marketing. Also, Thrive Leads is a (paid) plugin which can help you to build a mailing list.
If you are not optimised for mobile, you are not getting the best from your site because it has now been shown that there are more searches from mobile than there are from desktops.
And this is from the Google Blog:
‘April 21st’s mobile-friendly update boosts mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.’
So, if you are not mobile-friendly, you are in effect, going to be penalized in Google searches. You can easily check whether your site is mobile-friendly by using Google’s mobile-friendly test.
If your site has mobile issues, there are ways you can fix this. Firstly there is the WPtouch plugin which can create a mobile version of your site, or you can just get a better WordPress theme. The best WordPress themes come already optimised for mobile.
I hope you have enjoyed reading these tips and have found them useful. Good Luck with improving your SEO. Read this guide if you need more detailed information how to improve your WordPress SEO.
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