Dare We Reiterate, Why SEO mattersSearch engine optimisation, or SEO, is the practice of aligning your website with the practices that Google uses to rank website pages in search queries. After all, Google holds a massive 91.9% market share worldwide. It sounds simple, but there are multiple areas and opportunities in website development and content where things can go right – or horribly wrong. When SEO is approached the right way, by paying attention to Google’s best practices and new technologies, you’ll be able to connect your website more effectively with people looking for your products and services. However, if you try and use cheats, hacks, and other black hat practices whether by mistake or as part of your SEO strategy, Google can actually end up penalising your website in search results!So, you need to understand the best ways to create an SEO-friendly website – and that’s where our experts come in. We spend a lot of our day understanding what Google wants from a website, how the algorithm works to differentiate what’s important for rankings and what’s not, and how search technology is changing. And, to help you out, we’ve put together this list of WordPress website SEO best practices.
Our Experts SEO tips for WordPress Websites
- Start with sound SEO basics – WordPress has a range of built-in features to make websites more SEO friendly as well as to support development. Start by checking that your website visibility is on so it is available to search engines. Often, this is switched off during the development phase. Next, use URLs for your web pages that clearly explain what the content is about, ideally with a keyword and a location if possible. Finally, make sure your website is secure, as Google wants to promote secure sites to users. It should be HTTPS not HTTP, use a quality hosting service, secure it with a strong password, and include secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates.
- Be mobile-friendly – Mobile-friendly websites are no longer a niche offering – they’ve become essential. Mobiles have become the preferred device for accessing the internet in the UK and mobile accounts for 55% of internet traffic worldwide. Even more importantly, over 50% of smartphone users discover new companies and products on mobile searches, and the mobile retail market is set to grow to £105.28 billion from £50.36 billion by 2024. This means that your website needs to be designed using responsive design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs for viewing on devices of all sizes, for fast load times, and optimised for mobile SEO if you want to keep people on your page.
- Get to know the best SEO plugins – WordPress has thousands of additional packs of code that add different functions and features to your website, including SEO plugins. The best SEO plugins include Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, SEOPress, and ShortPixel. Depending on your SEO strategy, you can use plugins to optimise images and compress them without loss of quality, perform SEO audits, assist with keyword research, optimise content, discover search terms, support internal link-building, and much more.
- Learn how to format content – WordPress has some great features that help Google’s search algorithm understand your content and rank its relevance, including formatting tools. When posting website or blog content, titles must be formatted as H1 tags and subsection titles with H2 or H3 tags. These titles should include relevant keywords as naturally as possible, and each piece of content/page should have a title tag (the clickable title on a search engine results page), the meta description (a short description that appears below the clickable title), and a slug (a descriptive link to the content).
- Optimise images – It’s not just text content that search algorithms look at; they look at your images as well. And because algorithms can’t ‘see’ images the way we do, we have to optimise them in a particular way for the algorithm to identify them, classify it, and use it to support your search rankings. This is especially important as Google has launched a ‘Shopping’ tab at the top of search results, showing users product images with links to websites where they can buy them directly. To make this aspect of SEO work for you, your images need to be optimised with accurate product descriptions, image file names, image titles, and alt text tags. All these elements should use a keyword that someone would naturally type into Google to find that product.
- Go natural – Google is pushing to develop search technology that understands the intent of the search query rather than matching keywords directly. This focus on natural language searches is designed to make search results as accurate as possible for users. While keywords remain important, the focus should be on creating content that closely matches the natural language that searchers will use to find what you offer. It also helps avoid penalties from keyword stuffing. As a result, your content must be written, conversationally, and with an eye on quality and reader appeal. It should flow, be well-written, and have content that is appealing to your audience.