When it comes to search engine optimization, there aren’t many better options to design your website than WordPress. This free, open-source content management system is unbelievably effective at improving sites’ ranks and their general user-friendliness. As opposed to other, paid options, WordPress is generally SEO-friendly right out of the box, meaning that it can save you a lot of time and effort when trying to make your site more organically visible on the web.
Of course, it is not enough to simply create a web page using WordPress to get high rankings with this particular content management system. By the time your project is finished, and the site sits comfortably at the top of the rankings, you will have had to become quite knowledgeable in terms of the software’s capabilities and intricacies, as well as the best methods of optimizing pages to get the best results.
The one thing about WordPress that draws many web designers and SEOs towards it is the seemingly bottomless pit of customization options. It is quite overwhelming at first; however, as you’ll likely find out later, it proves to be quite an advantage in terms of modifying and optimizing the site. In order to avoid the headache that comes with having to analyze and choose from thousands of different options, you can check out lists with best plugins ranked by The Web Monkey Online, or other blogs and websites that specialize in helping webmasters achieve their SEO and web design goals.
For the most part, search engine optimization in WordPress is not all that different from these practices with any other content management system. What sets WordPress apart from its competitors, though, is the multitude of ways in which you can go about optimizing your website to get the highest rank possible! Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned web developer who wants to switch to the open-source CMS, keep reading to learn more about how you can improve your site’s SEO in WordPress.
Working With Content
Content is the key aspect of search engine optimization. After all, it is the lion’s share of what Google and other search engines’ algorithms go through in order to determine your site’s quality and usefulness for other users. In other words, content is what gets you up the ranks most efficiently and effectively. Not that you should follow their examples, but many high-ranking websites are very poorly optimized in terms of navigation and user interface, but with excellent and engaging content. Don’t overlook it on your way to conquering the internet!
While WordPress won’t help you create original and fresh online content (duh!), it does provide you with tools that can ensure its readability. Tools such as the SEO Writing Assistant and other handy plugins provide you with on-the-go feedback regarding how your content is written, its structure, and even the tone! It can also provide you with SEO tips that will help you rank better. From advice related to sentence and paragraph length to additional keyword suggestions, plugins like the one mentioned above can go a long way in ensuring your website’s future success.
Another critical factor that is often overlooked when optimizing websites and individual posts is the URL. WordPress enables you to edit the site’s URL by default, which means that you can edit it to contain a keyword, which will automatically help your site pop up more often in searches. Additionally, you should always pay attention to title tags and meta descriptions, as they also play an essential role in determining your rank. When crafting titles and descriptions, you should do some serious keyword research and include as many high-ranking phrases in the text as possible.
The Technical Side
In order to achieve high SEO rankings, you should never make the mistake of overlooking the technical intricacies of your site as they are also a factor in the final evaluation done by search engines.
First of these technical issues that might bring down your score due to causing worse performance is image sizing. It might sound trivial at first, but it actually makes a big difference, as the size of an image contributes significantly to any page’s loading speed.
Optimizing images is especially important if you’ve got a lot of media content on the site.
What usually happens is the file gets uploaded in its original shape and size, but gets displayed at a much lower resolution than initially. Even though what you see is an image that should be smaller is actually a rendition of the larger file hosted on the servers. It means that even though users will see a compressed version of a certain picture, they will still have to load it as if it was the original file.
Search engine algorithms pay great attention to the performance of any website in terms of how quickly it loads. This image issue might become a larger problem if you’re heavily invested in presenting content in the visual form. Thankfully, there is a WordPress plugin that can get it fixed. It’s called Smush, and it allows you to optimize the entire media library of your website, including compressing images so that their size in kilobytes reflects the resolution of the actual image as seen by users.
Secondly, you should carefully go through the basic settings in WordPress and make sure that all of the checkboxes related to SEO are correctly marked. This includes the visibility settings, particularly the checkbox, which can “discourage search engines from indexing this site.” It is listed in settings under the name “Search Engine Visibility,” and you need to uncheck it if you don’t want all of your optimization efforts to go to waste.
The final thing you can do in settings is changing the permalinks settings. These options pertain to your URLs and what they look like. Out of all the available options, you should go for “post-name” as it is the most natural-looking one and is favored by search engines.
There you have it – a basic introduction to optimizing your WordPress-built site. Naturally, the tips and tricks mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tinkering with your content to make it more SEO-friendly – you should take them into consideration at the beginning of your web development journey. As you gain more and more experience in web design and SEO rules, you should expand your knowledge (and plugin library) in order to stay up to date with algorithm updates and your competition.