SEO optimization gets a lot of lip service, and with good reason: great visibility in organic searches can mean big wins for your client. No two ways about it: “If a website’s primary role is to get your client noticed, then it needs to be optimized. ”
One of the reasons WordPress is the number one blogging platform world-wide is its tremendous flexibility for blogs and other types of websites. But whether your website’s primary function is a blog, a business, or a personal brand site simply featuring a blog, you need to do some blog optimization.
These are some of the quickest and best ways you can optimize your WordPress blog to get better search results and set your website up for long-term success:
1. Get the Yoast SEO plugin
There’s a reason Yoast’s SEO plugin is one of the most frequently installed (and referenced) plugins. It makes it tremendously easy to optimize the content on every page of your WordPress site, plus using it is fairly straightforward. You’re given a slot to plug in the main keyword for the page, and then you get feedback about how often the keyword is used, the strength of its placement, etc. There are also fields where you can input the title and page description that appears when the page pops up in search descriptions, as well as a few other options.
This plugin is updated fairly regularly, with more robust features being added to optimize your website’s pages more deeply and effectively. It’s really a top-notch plugin and it does a lot to help you get your website content optimized well.
You specifically want to make sure you’ve got your keyword in your page title, URL, and meta description.
2. Get your permalink structure right
There are different schools of thought about the permalink structure to your blog, but generally speaking (very generally) the frontrunner is to have your permalinks look something like: domain.com/page-title. There are a few other options in the General page of your dashboard settings, but this isn’t the post for a deep dive into the pros and cons of other permalink setups. Just remember to keep any individual words in your URLs hyphenated so they can be indexed by the search engines (which is the entire point of this exercise).
3. Get rid of duplicate content
Some sites are set up to duplicate their content, so that domain.com/site and www.domain.com/site are registered as separate but identical content. The issue here is that Google tends to penalize duplicate content.
To make sure this isn’t happening with your site, check your general settings tab and make sure that the site address and WordPress address are the same. If you find that you’ve got duplicates, pick which structure you want to keep and set up 301 redirects for the duplicate content to roll toward the URL you’re keeping.
While you’re in the duplicate content weeds, you might want to consider incorporating canonical tags in your most important pages, so that they’ll appear in search results first.
4. Use <h1> tags strategically
Search engines use <h1> tags to decide what the important stuff is on any given page. Every page needs to have an <h1> tag to tell the search engine what to do, and ideally just one. You can wrap key elements of the page (like a phone number or a keyword-containing header) in <h1> tags if that’s the most important thing. Otherwise, you want to find a way to incorporate your keyword.
5. Set up some internal links
Internal links make it easier for search engines to access the content on your site, making it easier to index and therefore more likely to pop up in a search. If you can find natural ways to include links on any given page to other pages within the same site, you’ll strengthen your search results. The key to this is making sure these links contain relevant information and that the anchor text is natural.
6. Optimize the image alt description
When you upload an image to the WordPress media library, one of the fields you can update is the alt description. It’s blank by default, but take a moment to update that field to include something with your keyword in it. This will help give a little more SEO juice to the keyword for the page.
7. Check your site load speed
The faster your site loads, the more traffic you’ll get. There are a couple of things you can do to increase site load speed, but they basically boil down to taking advantage of caching and making sure your hosting provider is solid.
There’s no end to what you can do to optimize your site, but these are some things you can implement easily and maintain with very little effort, moving forward. Quick, dirty, and no black hats required.
What’s your one can’t-miss optimization tactic?