SEO for WordPress: Best Practices for Optimizing Your Website

Optimizing your website for search engine usage will give you an advantage over non-optimized sites and increase your chances of climbing higher in search engine results. This will help potential customers find your site, which in turn will lead to higher sales. A staggering 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products/services. These people will be more likely to click on your site as opposed to a competitor’s site that does not have search engine optimization.

WordPress is an excellent tool to use for SEO. In a number of ways, it performs as an excellent platform and makes implementing SEO techniques a lot easier, even for beginners. The right SEO service can bring a huge return on investment (ROI) and be the most cost-effective way to market your company if done right. Take the time to learn and practice effective SEO. Using it for your website will prove to be very beneficial.

SEO targets different kinds of searches including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the activity of optimizing web pages or whole sites in order to make them search engine friendly, thus getting higher positions in search results. This is important to any person or business who has a website. Search engines are how the majority of traffic is generated to a website. Google has been rated to have over 80% of the searches which happen daily. Being ranked highly in Google search results can result in a huge increase in sales and an abundance of traffic.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines’ “natural,” or unpaid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines. As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

Benefits of optimizing your website for SEO

Search engine optimization is an ever-growing marketing strategy where the goal is to increase website traffic and to ultimately further a company’s brand awareness. It is built on a global understanding of search engines and their algorithms as well as what people tend to search for. SEO incorporates what people are searching for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. The end result is a site that shines in its marketing point of view, is user-friendly and easily accessed, as well as understands the habits of their consumer. In recent years, SEO has become a significant marketing strategy for its cost-effectiveness and the general understanding that search engines are a vital resource to bringing the market towards a company. This further proves that the selling adage “location, location, location” still holds true where instead the location is the top rank of a search engine and effectively locates the prospective market.

Keyword Research

There is no point ranking high in search engine results for a phrase that nobody uses in the search engines. Ranking high for a search term can take many months of hard work. You don’t want to have to start all over again because you optimized for the wrong keywords and nobody is finding your website! Step one of ensuring targeted traffic from search engines to a website is to find out what phrases people are using in the search engines to find websites that are similar to what you are offering. This can be quite difficult to achieve without having a good knowledge of the search industry and without spending large amounts of money on keyword research. Don’t ever assume that you know what search terms are without doing some research to find out (you might be surprised!) Step two is to obtain high rankings for those search terms.

Keywords are the words and phrases that internet users type into the search box of a search engine, such as Google, to find websites that match what they are looking for. Keywords are a critical component of the search process. They are the foundation of all SEO. When a user types a keyword into a search engine, the SEBOT (search engine bot) goes off and finds the information with relevance to that keyword. SEBOTs don’t match search queries to websites, they match keywords to content within the index. Analogy: think of an index in a book. If keywords are not present on a web page, or not obvious (tucked away in code), the page will not be returned in the search results for that keyword.

Understanding the importance of keywords

– Attract relevant, qualified traffic: By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole. – Learn about your market: By learning more about your customers, and what they are searching for, you can begin to learn more about their needs and wants as a whole. – Understand which keywords convert: By understanding which keywords and terms bring visitors who convert (whether this is in the form of making a purchase, signing up to your newsletter or other actions) you can refine and improve your campaign based on this data. – Achieve a higher ROI: For all the reasons above, having an effective keyword research and selection strategy is crucial to achieving a better ROI from your SEO and SEM campaign over any other method.

In summary, the reason why keyword research and selection is fundamental can be broken down into four main points:

Keywords are words or phrases that describe a particular page on your website. Keywords are what a user types into a search engine to find information. Keywords are crucial to your WordPress website if you want to increase traffic. By identifying and targeting the right keywords through search engine optimization, you can attract more qualified traffic by ranking higher in search engines for the terms that are relevant to your business. You can also find keyword themes that have an impact across channels – for example, you could use the terms in PPC campaigns to identify high converting keywords. Finally, by analyzing and researching keywords you can learn more about your target audience as a whole. Understanding your audience is an often-overlooked aspect of keyword research but is crucial to the long-term success of your overall marketing and sales efforts.

Tools for conducting keyword research

Google AdWords Keyword Tool is the most widely used tool for conducting keyword research. It is free and very good for generating keyword ideas and getting statistical data for these keywords. It accesses the Google search statistics so you can produce keywords that are searched for using real data from Google search. What you will be looking for is the search for the keyword that is relevant to your site and has the highest statistics. This data can then be taken and used with SEO plugins such as All in One SEO or WordPress SEO to ensure maximum optimization for the most traffic. This tool unfortunately is not perfect, while accessing the best source for keyword data, it can be unreliable with data from Google’s content network. This may generate keywords that are not relevant to your site. Wordtracker is a paid but widely recommended tool for obtaining keyword data. It is a software tool with various pricing models, the cheapest starting at $69/month. It is very user-friendly and generates keywords effectively. It will provide information about the keywords such as competition, daily usage, and its effectiveness for SEO. This tool will save you a lot of time and effort in attempting to remove irrelevant keywords as you may have had to do using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool due to its reliability and accuracy.

Selecting the right keywords for your WordPress website

Once you have a list of topics, you will need to expand these topics into keywords. If you are unfamiliar with what keywords are, they are the phrases that people type into search engines to find what they are looking for. Take each of the topics listed above and make a list of related keywords. Try to think how someone might phrase their search. If in doubt, you can always check the keywords’ popularity using tools in II.2. For example: – Brake service – brake job, fix brakes, replace brake pads – Oil change – change my oil, transmission fluid, car maintenance

To select the right keywords for your website, you will need to make a list of all the topics that you would like the website to cover. For example, let’s say that we have a website about an auto repair business. Some of the topics that would be relevant to this business would be: – Brake service – Oil change – Transmission service – etc…

On-Page Optimization

The first step to optimizing any website is to have high-quality, focused content. We would advise you to start by working on a new page of content that is focused on a relatively unsaturated topic. This way, you can attract initial traffic from long-tail search terms. It is very difficult to write focused content when you have a wide audience in mind. Take WP Tavern, for example, they have recently made their content WordPress-specific as opposed to general content about web and app development. This targeted approach could mean a lot of lost traffic, but the customer will be far more likely to convert into a user or customer. Once you have the content, you can restructure and reformat the page to be more SEO-friendly. Visit the SEO Writing Assistant to help you with your optimizations.

Optimizing your website is all about making it easy to use and easy to find. Our aim with on-page optimization is to help search engines understand the content of our pages and to bring greater clarity to our content. All of the big search engines are looking at the content of the pages when they decide how to rank a site. The trick is to create content that is focused and directly relevant to the search terms. Having great content is sometimes not enough, if the content is not clear and relevant to the search, it is unlikely to be picked up and ranked over content that is concise and targeted. This is an area where a good CMS can make a huge difference, supplying a user-friendly interface which helps you to write simple and clean content that can then be easily manipulated to fit the criteria.

Optimizing meta tags and titles

In the search engine results pages, the title of your content is displayed, and your meta description. These two pieces of microdata are what can make the difference between high and low click-through rates to your content. The title is of particular importance because it’s often what catches the eye first. The All in One SEO Pack adds a new column for ‘Rating’ your titles at Posts -> All Posts, Pages -> All Pages, Category -> Categories, and so on, with inline help that explains the feature. Click the help icon for an explanation.

The first step in creating good meta tags is coming up with a vision for how you want to represent each post/page around the website. This can be perfectly summed up using the following metaphor – if you were a shopkeeper and your website was your shop, what would you inscribe on the price tag for each item in your shop to inform your customers about it? Step inside the shoes of your visitors and try to imagine what would be the most accurate and descriptive title for that post/page.

When developing a website in a WordPress environment, it is essential that you equip all of your posts, pages, category pages, tag pages, etc. with unique and descriptive meta tags for title and description. By default, WordPress has no built-in system to facilitate this. Instead, each post/page uses the values ‘Site Title’ and ‘Tagline’ found in Settings -> General, which is far from an adequate solution for a website that is being actively promoted. Step in the All in One SEO Pack – this plugin provides an ideal solution and can be defined in one word: comprehensive. This section will go through everything you need to know to start creating extraordinary meta tags with the All in One SEO Pack. A new addition in version 2.3 is an exciting feature that will aid you in checking the quality of your meta tags for titles.

Creating SEO-friendly URLs

The best way to optimize your URL is to first decide what your page is about and come up with a simple, keyword-rich description. This can be a file name without extensions. You should avoid adding useless parameters and session IDs. This will only clutter your URL and make it harder to remember. If any of these parameters are used for tracking reasons, you can still avoid them with relative ease. Most content management systems such as WordPress have plugins available to help clean up these tracking URLs. Sometimes you can even set up a canonical tag to avoid any duplicate content issues the clean URL and URL with tracking parameters may cause. Some dynamic URLs are messy and hard to remember. However, if you are running an ecommerce site with many products it would be wise to add a keyword in the path. This would increase the potential for that page to rank higher. An example using a dynamic URL for an electronics site would be [Link] A static keyword rich URL would be [Link] With a little work a simple 301 redirect can safely be implemented. This tactic will prevent any broken links with websites that have already posted your page link. This is a great way to slap some PR onto a new or existing page. With PageRank and link juice being a thing of the past it still isn’t a bad idea to keep it around. You could secretly transfer the link juice from an old page to a new page that has better content. Avoid using subdomains when possible. It is possible to have a blog with great SEO benefits on a subdomain such as a WordPress blog but it can end up hurting you in the long run. Because it is considered a separate domain, your blog won’t benefit from any link juice to your main site. You’d be building up the authority of this separate domain rather than your own domain. Any subjects or resources you are providing on the subdomain may be more effective if you were to place them in a subfolder. This would consolidate all of these pages into one site and pass along any authority of these pages to the rest of your site.

Improving website speed and performance

The simplest way to increase your website’s speed is to move it to a faster server. This may mean a VPS, dedicated server, or if you have a small site, shared hosting with a reputable company. If your website is built using WordPress, installing a cache plugin can greatly help to increase your website’s load time. We would recommend either WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. Both plugins are free to install and use. WP Super Cache is a very easy and straightforward plugin with a single click to activate the cache. It has extra features for the advanced user, but many people will not need to change anything. W3 Total Cache can be a bit more complicated for the less technically minded, but it is a hugely powerful plugin with the ability to increase website speed and reduce load times from a few seconds to just a few milliseconds.

If your site is accessible, slow to load, or riddled with broken links, it will not rank highly with search engines. This is a fact. Search engines take into consideration the speed at which your site loads and the structural build of your site. If you have used a lot of JavaScript in your website’s design, chances are that spiders will find it difficult to crawl your site.

Off-Page Optimization

Off-page optimization means optimizing your website not on the page, and it is done by promoting a website to increase the number of backlinks or inbound links. Building high-quality backlinks is a key part of off-page optimization. The main goal here is to get as many quality inbound links as possible. An inbound link is considered a vote of credibility and quality given the proper context is used. The closer the content of the page with the inbound link is to the content of your page, the better the link. The search engine (SE) also looks at the text used for the link, the authority of the author of the page the link is on, and the authority of the page the link is on. Backlinks are a fundamental element used by SE to rank websites. The higher the amount of quality backlinks to a site, the higher the ranking the website will get. This will directly translate to more traffic. More traffic is always the goal because the more people visit a website, the more they will perform an action the owner of the website wants them to do. This action could be anything from reading something to purchasing a product.

Building high-quality backlinks

This may be easier said than done. Creating highly informative content usually takes time and requires more effort than writing regular posts. This is something I have discovered myself after 15 years of my own online marketing efforts, and something that Google Adwords/AdSense Head of Search Evangelism, Dan Thies, pointed out in his interview with me. However, with a wealth of informative content, it is much easier to capitalize in all areas of internet marketing for a long period of time. This is something to consider for anyone, knowing the massive benefits it has provided for many people in the past.

Write awesome content. If you write awesome content on your blog, then there will be people who will want to link to it. It is important to create resources within your site for your blog visitors. The more resourceful your blog is, the greater the chance of people using your blog as a resource. At this point, it is all about giving, and people will link to you if you have a resource that is worth linking to.

Earning high quality backlinks is one of the most difficult tasks in the SEO world. The methods for acquiring links have changed, but the aim of the game is still the same. This section will discuss the ways you can get high quality backlinks.

Leveraging social media for SEO

The next step is to ensure that your best on-site content is as shareable as possible. For WordPress users, the easiest way to achieve this is by using a social plugin offered by a credible plugin developer. But before you’re ready to start sharing your content, you’ll need to find out who the key influencers are within your niche, around the content you’ll be promoting. This is so you can reach out to them and build a relationship which could lead to them helping to promote your content or even a collaboration in the future. An effective way to find out who the key influencers are is to search Google for content related to yours using keywords and seeing who ranks highly and has a strong social footprint. You can also search for terms related to your content on Twitter and see who is getting a lot of engagement on said topics.

The first step to taking advantage of the SEO benefits of social media platforms is to conduct an audit of your social footprint. Look at your share of voice compared to that of your competitors. You’ll want to measure ‘Likes’ and shares on Facebook, shares on YouTube, retweets and favorites on Twitter, and +1s on Google+ and any other noteworthy analytics in the social media platforms you use. Once you’ve compared and contrasted your social footprint to that of your competitors, you can start to understand what is giving them the edge and develop a strategy to improve this.

For online businesses and especially for users of CMS platforms, leveraging social media for SEO has never been more critical. For many organizations, social media and SEO are beginning to converge, causing the lines between channels to be very blurred. For some social marketers, it’s tough to tell their social media strategy and their social strategy apart!

Guest blogging and influencer outreach for SEO

Contacting other bloggers and webmasters to manually request backlinks is a very time-consuming process. It’s much more efficient to cultivate a stable of targeted contacts and allies who you can regularly reach out to for advice, favors, and backlinks. Over time, the objective is to become friendly enough with them so that you might be able to give them a guest post on their blog, or even get them to write one for yours. This is also a criteria for people wondering how to become an SEO writer for any company – it shows initiative and networking relative to SEO content writing. Guest blogging can be highly beneficial if the article is on a relevant website, with both the website and the article having synergy. Use same niche guest posts for more or less a new spin on your original article, as long as it is somewhat ephemeral and not redundant. It would be wise to avoid doing so for articles that are the result of a highly successful info outreach campaign. High-quality evergreen content hosted on a popular site can be viable for years and can attain a high level of page rank over time. With content marketing guest post outreach, look more for providing free content with a site link or as a means to promote a very related service. This is more to form a joint venture and is not about SEO; but content promotion. Influencer Outreach can be very similar but often more delicate than guest blogging. An influencer is anyone who has authority in a particular niche and is not necessarily limited to someone with a large audience. An influencer can merely be a popular figure in a forum, an admin of a Facebook group, or someone who writes for a major site in your field. In general, the term “influencer” outreach typically refers to the act of promoting something by forming a partnership with someone more established than you, most commonly involving the exchange of payment or free goods for promotion. While Google has no official stance on this, and some groups are doing hard influencer promotion for businesses targeting organic search, this is arguably a form of PPC and may be scrutinized by Google if it becomes a prevailing method for a particular niche. The safest method is to provide something free which an influencer would honestly want to share with their audience, with no contract or agreement beyond receiving the free goods. This minimizes risk and provides the potential for natural linkage and exposure on their part.

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