WordPress SEO: How to Effectively Boost Your Search Rank

09.26.2019 1 comment

Whether your goal is to entertain and inform your readers, sell your products and services, or sell your work, at the end of the day, you want as many eyeballs as possible on your website.

The more visitors you’ll be getting, the easier it will be to build your audience. But where do you even start?

There are several tactics on how you can drive traffic to your site, and ‒ according to this website ‒ search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective ways to do that.

It’s made up of various techniques and strategies that will help your page rank higher on search results. This boosts your site’s visibility, pushing it to take off. What’s more than that, there are plenty of ways on how you can improve the rank of your WordPress website.

In this post, we’ll give you a walkthrough of the WordPress SEO techniques you can start using.

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Choose a good web hosting provider

The first step that you need to take is to ensure that your site is loading fast. Why? Because speed is one of Google’s most crucial ranking factors.

So, let’s say, if your site is not loading fast enough (more than 1.5 seconds), you can contact your host and ask them why your site is loading slow. If they don’t give you a specific reason as to why is that, then it’s likely because their servers are loading slow in the first place.

The hosting provider that you choose affects the downtime of your site, as well as the physical distance between your visitors and the servers. Keep in mind that both of these are ranking factors.

So, if you don’t have a website yet, then you have to pick a reliable host. One that has a reputation for an excellent performance.

Even if you have a site already, you might consider switching hosts if you’re existing hosting provider doesn’t meet your needs.

Do keyword research

One way or another, you’ve probably encountered the concept of keywords.

Keywords are made up of short phrases that describe the topic of your content. For instance, you might pick a keyword “travel hacks” for a blog post that shares simple and easy travel tips for beginners.

When you do this, you’re predicting that a lot of users are typing this phrase on search engines when looking for a specific kind of post.

When you pick a keyword for every page or post and using it in various places ‒ like the title, heading, and the content itself ‒ it’s one way that you’re communicating the topic on search engines, and boost your chances that it will show up on the relevant search results.

But of course, you have to be smart when using keywords. For instance, it’s best that you stay away from “keyword stuffing” or forcing your keywords on various places in your content that would come off as spammy or unnatural to your readers.

Here are ways on how you can do keyword research:

  • Craft the type of content that your target audience is searching for.
  • Have a better understanding of the needs of your target market.
  • Track and measure your performance.
  • Generate valuable traffic.
  • Use various tools like SEMrush, KWFinder, and Google Keyword Planner that would help you with keyword research.
  • You should also use a tool that would track how well your site is ranking for your target keywords.

Change the default permalink

The URLs that are found on your site pages and posts are called permalinks. These are what most people use in their address bars whenever they want to access your site and see a relevant page. It’s also used by other search engines and websites to link to your site.

WordPress has default permalink settings that let you customize it depending on your needs and convenience. Usually, you can this under Settings > Permalinks.

A best practice is to change the default setting with post name, such as /%postname%/, because it will be easier for users to remember it, and it’s also easy for search engines to index it.

Pick an SEO-friendly theme

Your theme is another vital choice that you have to make for your WordPress site. It will determine the layout of your site as well as its appearance, generates new functionality, and significantly plays a role with SEO.

For instance, your theme significantly affects the speed of your site. The way your theme is developed is also crucial because having a clean code will give you a better chance to rank for SERPs.

So, when choosing a theme for your site, choose one with SEO in mind. Make sure that you pick themes that are search engine friendly.

You might also look for themes that are specifically designed to boost your SEO, as the new heading tag options.

Use Google Analytics

One of the most well-known analytics tools that were developed by Google is Google Analytics.

What’s great about it is that it’s free to use, and you can easily track your site’s traffic. It keeps you updated with your traffic source, the various attributes that would help you reach your target audience, as well as your site visitor’s behavior.

This tool also helps you perform a variety of things, such as locating that 404 error page, examining closely the behavior of your visitors, finding the source of your traffic, fighting off referral spam, and a whole lot more.

Install a WordPress SEO plugin

Plugins are small pieces of add-on software that you can install in your WordPress site. It can add various features and improve your website’s functionality.

There’s almost any plug-in that would do just about anything, such as helping your website rank higher on search engines. These plug-ins will provide you with small, targeted features like creating a Sitemap.

To maximize your results, you can go for a more extensive plug-in for your site like Yoast SEO, which hosts a variety of optimization-focused features for your site.

Always use heading tags

A sitemap’s function is to let search engine crawlers see how well your site is organized. But the problem with it is that it doesn’t help them understand your site’s content.

That’s why you have to make use of heading tags. Heading tags are formatting options wherein you can place on section headings within posts or pages.

On your WordPress editor, you can view these settings, which are usually listed as Heading 1, Heading 2, and so on.

Using headings on your content helps you accomplish two things. First, it breaks your text easily, making it much easier to read. Second, most search engine crawlers pay a lot of attention to headings because it helps them understand how your content is organized as well as what it’s all about.

So when crafting pages and posts, don’t forget to utilize the platform’s heading options consistently.

Add alt text to all images

Google image search is responsible for approximately 10.1% of Google’s total search traffic. Putting alt text on images is a rather simple way on how to take advantage of that search traffic.

Aside from that Google utilizes alt text to know what the topic of the page is all about, also helping you with your search rankings on non-image search.

Delete thin content

Thin content is any page on your site that is 300 words long and doesn’t give much value to your readers. The reason why you should improve on or delete thin content is that it doesn’t give you any benefit.

Let’s put it this way. Think of your website as a garden, and what waters them is the traffic you get from your SEO efforts. So, ideally, you want those water to be going to the right places.

So, if you have a lot of dead weight pages on your site, then what you’re doing is that you’re just watering dead plants. Over time, this causes poor user experience, which causes you to rank lower on search engines.

Be in-depth with your content as much as possible. Some call this the “skyscraper technique” wherein you’re improving your previous content by making it better and more comprehensive in the long run.

Also, long-form content adds more value to readers, boost your site’s credibility, and encourages more people to spend more time on your site.

Set unrelated links as nofollow

Google advised that you should set your unrelated links as nofollow. This usually includes the paid ads with links that directly lead to an advertiser’s site.

Ideally, you should nofollow links (like the link to the RSS feed) that are neither relevant to search engines nor related to the sites where they’re posted on.

Final Thoughts

SEO is made up of a wide range of strategies and techniques. So, understandably, others find it a bit intimidating.

Fortunately, you don’t have to become an SEO expert if you want your website to rank higher on search results. In your WordPress site, all you need to do is to pick the right host, choose an SEO-friendly theme, and use the right plug-ins.

Also, by implementing these strategies, you’re well on your way to boosting your site’s visibility and traffic.

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