SEO comprises two practices, on-page optimization and off-page optimization. WordPress is globally loved for its SEO friendliness, does it mean you need not make any efforts to improve your SERP ranking? With improved SEO algorithms, and Google paying extra attention to determine the black hat SEO practices, you must have a list of do’s and don’ts to improve your chances of ranking on the first page results. Here are some WordPress SEO best practices to keep in 2021.
- Go an in-depth keyword research
Keyword stuffing might have helped your website rank up a decade ago, but now the practice is a lost cause. If you do it, you might receive a penalty from google. Google is all about improving people’s browsing experience and offering them relevant content. The advancement in the SEO algorithms can easily look through the deception, and thus, you might just end up losing your rank.
Plan your keywords with Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It can help you in determining the right keywords on which you can focus on your content. Paired with Google Analytics, you can check the keywords that people are using to find your website and focus more on them.
Apart from that, long-tail keywords are important. And you must include them in your content to improve your search results. In case you find it hard to use a keyword, derive alternatives to the keyword, which are equally helpful in improving your search ranking. Tools such as UberSuggest by Niel Patel is a great way to decide on the keyword. Top SEO professionals trust UberSuggest to find related keyword ideas.
- Don’t underestimate content
You must be aware of the long-standing saying “Content is the King”, and honestly that is true, even today. Your content should be unique, valuable, relevant and very easy to read by the users. Having good content on the website is going to boost your SEO ranking, and high-quality content is the best way to do it
Add blogs on regular intervals on your site, add news, and leverage it to create new content for your users. Ensure the content is plagiarism-free, there should be no duplicity, and your content should maintain the right keyword density. These factors help Google determine whether the content is relevant to the users or not, and it should not be a clickbait for users.
While using different content types such as infographics, videos, and images, don’t forget to do SEO. Image SEO to counts when it comes to ranking in the Google Image search results and boost your chances of getting ranked.
- WordPress Themes and Plugins that are SEO-friendly
WordPress is highly adapted in the global business scenario because of its SEO friendliness. But to leverage that benefit, you must always choose WordPress Themes and Plugins that are SEO friendly. There are many available pre-built themes, that can be easily customized as per your business needs and SEO norms.
Also, there are hundreds of available themes on WordPress, but you must choose SEO-ready ones. Look for a theme that is clean and has a valid HTML. If the structure is disarray, you will find it difficult to rank up on the search engines.
Next, look for themes that use canonical URL meta tag, which is just a type of meta tag that stores your page’s top URL. A theme must also support the usage of H1, H2, H3…H6 headings, and title tags. Use themes that have integrated Open Graph Meta Tag to enhance social media sharing.
To check all these things, just click on the demo and choose “View Page Source”. If you come across a theme that doesn’t have all the things mentioned above, you can always add it later using SEO plugins.
- SEO-Friendly URLs
Are you aware of Pretty Permalinks on WordPress websites? Yes, they are SEO-friendly URLs that help you rank better on search engines. A URL should be easy to recognize and remember. And thus, you have a great advantage in SEO when using WordPress website to create SEO-friendly URLs. All you have to do is download the plugin and never have to worry about external links. Even when hiring for WordPress theme customization service, you must check the web development company must-know responsive web development.
- Responsive Website
It is not something new, and this would never get old. Your website should be mobile-friendly, period. You must keep in mind that people are getting dependent on their mobile phones, rather than laptops and desktops. It means you are being searched with a mobile phone, with a small screen and if you have not optimized it for that, people will bounce off.
Your website must take into account the way people interact with web pages using mobile phones. Not just the resizing of the pages is required but also other aspects of it. Ignore that, and you would be falling behind the website that has optimized the website for mobile phones.
- Social Media Signals
Social media is no longer a platform where you find people. People are channelizing traffic from their social media pages to earn their clients’ trust and turn them into potential customers. You can use social media to generate traffic on the website. It also gives you a great chance to build a community around your brand and products, making it easy for you to convert your lead.
Search engines are using social listening tools. It means Google and other search engines are now hearing any mention of your brand or product to determine your ranking. This powerful tool and service thus is not something that you must ignore. Retweets, pins, stumble, etc., they are very valuable for your brand. Also, social media allows you to have two-way communication with people and thus, you must ignore the possibility of getting some negativity on your page. It is okay to have some negativity going around your brand, but if it increases significantly, it will hurt your SEO, and the trust people have in your brand.
- Competitor Analysis
Your site has multiple pages, and each page is focusing on a different keyword. Enter your keyword in Google, and the first ten websites that appear are your competitors. Everyone is fighting for the first-page rank, and you must beat them with a powerful SEO strategy.
To device a plan, you can start by studying your competition. Check out its backlinks, website, the website load time and what SEO tactics they are using. Having this information can help greatly beat your competitors at their own game and improve your chances of getting ranked on the first page.
- Improving Loading Speed
It is not something new, and it would never go out of the trend. Your site must load fast. If your website is taking aeons to load, you are losing a lot of prospective visitors. It increases the bounce rate on the website and hurts your SEO ranking to a great extent. You can use the Google Page Insights Tools to gain insights and improve the page speed. If there are any design changes required in the website, you can look out online for WordPress theme customization service.
Google upgrades its search algorithms to improve the web experience for its users. With each upgrade, they are making web secure, fast and results more relevant to the users. They have versatile knowledge graph, and this helps them provide faster results to the users. Likewise, HTTPS helps in improving the security of web properties.
While HTTPS is not a major ranking signal, you never know since Google is till conducting test and would decide on making it a stronger indicator of SEO ranking. And that day might not be far too. They educate people on securing their sites using HTTPS, best practices and how to set it up.
- Local SEO
Local SEO is one of the best ways to improve your organic ranking. You must add your city/state in the title tags, headings, content, URL and alt text. Create a google my business page for your better chances of ranking. Furthermore, you can learn more about Local SEO online.
- Submit Your Site to Search Engines
Search engine spiders crawl the web looking for content to index it according to the various SEO ranking indicators. Submitting your site to search engines manually helps you improve your chances of ranking better. It also helps you reduce the chances of being labelled as spam.
To submit your site to Google, you can use the Add URL page or webmaster’s page. To submit your site to Yahoo! and Bing you all you have to do is submit your site to Bing Page Submission, and it will be indexed in Yahoo and Bing both.
- Add a sitemap
The search engines and human visitors use a sitemap to learn about the pages and categories present on your website. It is a necessary part of your website, and you must not ignore it in any case. It helps people find a way to reach on the page relevant to them. You can even link the sitemap from your 404-error page. To create a sitemap manually, you can use Google XML Sitemaps.
Also, don’t forget to submit it via Google Webmaster Tools to improve your chances of ranking high. It is highly recommended that you don’t leave it on chances that the search engine will locate the sitemap on your site on its own, especially if it is a new website.
- Get as many backlinks as you can, but from the right sites.
Backlinks from sites with high domain authority help you greatly in improving your SEO ranking. You can start publishing your content on-site with good domain authority, and this process of sharing would get you a backlink. Backlinks from a good website are a great way to improve your SEO ranking. But make sure the site you are sharing content on is good. If the site’s content is not good and offers low-quality content, it will only bring you down rather than taking you up.