Due to its ease of use and a plethora of available plugins that can enhance its functionality, WordPress is one of the most popular platforms to run a website on. Website owners typically want their websites to rank well in search engines, however, merely using WordPress does not equal good SEO results.
This article provides you with five ways to optimise your WordPress website for higher rankings in search engine results pages. The end result of improved SEO is that your content reaches more people and your website is more likely to achieve its goals.
1. Decrease Page Load Times
Page load speed has an important impact on search engine rankings. Luckily, a few tweaks in WordPress can go a long way to reducing page load times. First, you should get a plugin that eliminates unnecessary objects from having to load each time someone visits your web pages. There are several free plugins available that can scan all of your pages and configure your website to only load what is strictly necessary for the user to have a good browsing experience.
A second tweak you can do is set your WordPress website up with a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a distributed network of web servers around the world. When you use a CDN, your website’s visitors download your pages from a server nearest to their location, which reduces latency, and therefor leads to faster page loading times.
Performance optimisation comes with all of the WordPress Maintenance & Support Plans which we offer here at WP Gurus.
2. Use Image Alt Tags
Even though it is one of the oldest SEO hacks for any website, using image alt tags correctly can still greatly influence SEO results. Alt tags are particularly important for photo-heavy websites, such as food blogs or DIY websites.
A successful image alt tag should describe what is in your picture to someone who cannot see it. It is advisable to focus on keywords you want to rank for in your alt tags while also making sure that your tags precisely describe your images. WordPress makes it easy to add alt tags upon image uploads, so there is no excuse to neglect this important tip.
3. Eliminate Thin Content
An important pitfall to avoid is publishing thin content in the hope of improving your rankings. You’ll often find that when you begin to rank well for a particular post or topic, you want to publish more posts related to that topic. If you have a high number of posts centred around a certain topic, you decrease the chances for each individual post to rank well on the search engine results pages. When multiple posts on the same topic adversely affect rankings, it is known as keyword cannibalisation.
To eliminate thin content, consider combining several of your individual posts on a similar topic into one lengthy resource. With WordPress, this is as simple as copying and pasting everything into one post and deleting the thin content.
4. Use an SEO-Friendly Permalink Structure
WordPress comes with the ability to easily edit URLs for posts before you even publish them. It is crucial that you don’t miss the opportunity to optimise your website’s permalink structure. A permalink is simply a URL that you don’t intend to change in the future.
An SEO-friendly link structure features URLs that clearly describe what your website’s visitors (and search engine bots) can expect to see on each page. A good tip for WordPress is to use the “post name” option for your default URL structure because the title typically describes the article best. To get the post title as the URL structure for all your new articles, go to “Settings”, “Permalinks”, and then choose “post name”.
It’s important to note, you should be extremely careful when changing your permalink structure on a live website, as it could lead to broken pages (404 not found errors) if you don’t have proper redirection rules in place.
5. Don’t Neglect Internal Links
Smart internal linking makes it easier for Google bots and other search engine bots to crawl all of your web pages and index them. You might have several web pages that have not been indexed in search engines simply because the bots cannot find them – smart internal linking makes sure your entire website is more visible.
Furthermore, from a user experience perspective, internal linking makes your website easier to navigate. If you’re writing a blog post and you happen to touch on a topic which you have written about before, you can add an internal link to that post as well. This allows your audience to easily navigate related content throughout your website, increasing engagement and exposure for your content, just via smart internal linking.
SEO Recommendations come with all of the WordPress Maintenance & Support Plans which we offer here at WP Gurus.
If you optimise these 5 elements on your WordPress website, using the tips and advice given above, your website will be far greater optimised for better search engine rankings. Although optimising these 5 elements alone will not send your site shooting to the number one position in Google, it will make sure that your content has a better chance of being found and listed in a respectable position.
If you would like advice on how to get your website ranking at the top of the search engines, then contact us today and see how we can help you to achieve this with our WordPress Maintenance & Support Plans.