To make a design business thrive, your website has to look as chic and savvy as you are. It also has to drive traffic. Consider these wordpress SEO tips.
If you’re reading up on WordPress SEO tips, congratulations – you’ve decided that you’re ready to take your site to the next level.
Which is important, since 74.6 million sites depend on WordPress.
Which means that you need to stand out from the crowd. SEO is what gets you there. Here are 7 tips to get you started.
1. Check Your Site Visibility
Let’s say your site sells bedroom furniture.
Well, lots of sites sell bedroom furniture. How do you even begin to stand out?
For starters, by making sure your site is visible to potential customers.
It sounds like one of those, “No duh,” WordPress SEO tips. Right up there with designing a beautiful site your users enjoy visiting.
You’d be amazed how many people make this mistake.
You see, WordPress is sneaky. It comes with a built-in option to hide your website from search engines. The idea here is that it gives you time to get your website presentable before it goes public – or keep your site all to yourself.
Great news if your site is your little digital diary.
Not so much if you’re running a business.
It’s an easy fix though. Just go to the admin area of your site, go to Settings and click on Reading. From there, you’ll see something that says “Search Engine Visibility”.
Make sure the box is unchecked.
2. Use Your Permalinks
First: what the heck is a permalink?
You know the URLs of your website pages and posts? Or, rather, the thing the user sees in the address bar at the top of the browser?
Those are permalinks.
WordPress uses ‘?p=[id]’ as a default for post permalinks.
Which is fine until you realize that search engines use keywords to crawl your site for relevant posts. And if you aren’t making use of your permalinks to slip in a valuable keyword, you’re making it even harder for them to find you.
Let’s say your keyword is “WordPress SEO tips”.
An SEO-friendly URL based on this keyword is something like:
What do you notice? The URL is easily readable to a human and a search engine alike – both will know what they’ll find on the page if they follow the URL.
3. Create and Use Sitemaps
Think of it like a treasure map, because that’s kind of what it is. Except for a search engine.
A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell search engines about the content on your site and how it’s organized.
Like all maps, this helps Google’s web crawlers figure out where to go on your site faster, which is good news for your SEO score.
It’s also pretty easy to set up (don’t you love when that happens?) WordPress has a plugin called Google XML Sitemaps that automatically generates a sitemap for you.
4. Google is Your Best Friend
Let’s get real. Google is a powerhouse. It owns 80% of the global search engine market share.
Love them, hate them, burn effigies of them. If you’re not on Google, you’re behind.
It’s worth your time to get familiar with Google’s full toolkit, but here are two to get you started.
Google Analytics is da bomb. As in your mind will be blown when you figure out how useful this thing is.
It lets you track your web traffic. Except it’s so much more. You can examine the behavior of your visitors, source your traffic, and a laundry list of webmaster chores you were definitely doing the hard way.
Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Because it’s totally free.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, aka Webmaster Tools, is sort of the counterpart to Analytics. If Analytics lets you look at people, Search Console lets you look at search engines.
It provides reports and data to help you understand how your site is appearing in search results, plus the search terms people are actually using to find your website.
Basically, it’s your go-to tool to understand what SEO is working on your site and what isn’t and where you should be directing your attention.
5. Be Smarter with Your NF Links
Also known as your nofollow links.
Let’s say you’ve got a hyperlink. And let’s say it has a rel=”nofollow” attribute.
This means that you’re telling search engine crawlers not to follow the link in question. This means the link doesn’t get PageRank points for the page it was posted on.
As a rule, you should make unrelated links or links that aren’t useful to search engines nofollow.
An easy example of this is a link to an advertiser website.
6. Need for Page Speed
Your website is not the place to be a hipster. Especially where page speed is concerned.
Why? Search engines rank fast sites better.
The easy way to solve this problem is with a caching plugin, which does two things for you:
- Make your website faster
- Reduce the load on your server
Which is the easiest way to make your website faster (don’t worry, there are plenty of others).
Try the W3 Total Cache plugin to get started.
7. Use Search Engine-Optimized Themes
Users want your website to be beautiful.
Search engines want your site to be readable.
You should be aiming for your website to meet in the middle.
An SEO-friendly theme has two advantages over other themes: speed and code. A well-written theme designed with SEO best practices in mind guarantees Google will have an easy time sorting through it.
Here are a few things to watch for:
- Correct use of the canonical URL meta tag
- Appropriate use of all meta tags
- Open graph meta tag incorporation
- A neat structure that uses valid HTML
Here are some of our favorite themes to peruse.
Make the Most of WordPress SEO Tips
If you’re ready to take your WordPress SEO tips out into the world, we’re ready to back you up.
We’d love to see the beautiful website you build. If you think your site design deserves recognition, submit to our WordPress gallery.
And if you’ve already made it into our gallery, show it off! Click here to download the WeLoveWP Website Award Ribbon.