If you’re looking for a way to improve the search engine performance of your WordPress site, it’s time to examine your SEO (search engine optimization) practices. Google takes into account a lot of different factors when determining your website’s position on its search engine results page (SERP) – everything is examined, from the coding of your site to the content you feature and links you build. While websites designed on WordPress software are natively search engine friendly, once you start adding in themes, plugins, and content, poor optimization practices can cause your site’s search engine performance to take a steep nosedive. As part of Blue Interactive Agency’s ongoing effort to provide the tips on search engine marketing Fort Lauderdale businesses are looking for, we’ve assembled a checklist of the best SEO practices for WordPress sites. We’ve even incorporated Google’s latest changes so it is up to date for 2015. Use this checklist to examine your website’s components so you can get its search engine performance back where it belongs!
Did you use an SEO Optimized WordPress Theme?
Whether you are designing your website yourself or relying on a website design firm to create your site, you should verify that your site uses an SEO Optimized WordPress Theme. SEO Optimized WordPress Themes are characterized by clean code that was built to the latest SEO best practices. Google Bots love the lightweight, clean code of WordPress SEO Optimized Themes; your visitors will love that your website loads quickly, without errors.
Are your permalinks search engine friendly?
The default setting in WordPress for permalinks (the web URLs of the content you publish on your site) will leave you with ugly links that contain question marks and strings of numbers. These cryptic permalinks can actually damage your search engine ranking by reducing inbound links, as they are confusing for users and make it difficult for them to share your content. Users may also cut off part of your URL when copying a link, thinking the extra characters are unnecessary. You can improve your website’s search performance by going to the Permalinks panel in Settings and selecting one of the other permalink formats that WordPress supports. Select one of the permalink formats that incorporate the post name into the URL for an easy to read, easy to share link. If you have incorporated relevant keywords into your page name, your page will get an extra boost that will help improve its search performance.
Are you posting the high quality content that Google rewards?
Now that content marketing has become one of the most popular and effective online marketing strategies, Google is assessing the quality of the content published on websites. High quality content will boost your search performance, while low quality content can draw a penalty that drops your site to the bottom of search results. The type of high quality content that Google likes includes:
- Topics that are related to your site
- Unique, helpful content that solves a problem or shares information
- How to guides, list posts, and tutorials
- Sharable content that users love to pass on
- Infographics, videos, and photos
Did you use the correct Heading Tags?
Using Heading tags correctly is an important part of SEO best practices, as Google relies on them to indicate which parts of your posts are the most important. Not sure which Heading to use where? Follow this simple guide:
- H1 tag: Use only once, for the Title of your post/page
- H2 tag: For sectional headings, can be used multiple times
- H3 – 4 tags: For sub-headings throughout your page
Have you used keywords naturally and in the correct density?
Keywords are at the heart of SEO optimization for your WordPress site. It is essential that your keywords should appear naturally, not in an artificial and forced manner. A good way to ensure this is to write your content copy first, then insert keywords rather than trying to write around the keywords. For the best search performance, try to incorporate your keywords into your headings and titles, photo descriptions and ALT tags, and your Meta Descriptions for each page. For the best search performance, be sure to:
- Mix up your keyword formats
- Use long tail keyword phrases
- Include keyword phrases that sound like verbal questions for mobile search performance
- Only use 3-4 keywords per page
- incorporate local terms to capture the top positions on SERPs
- Use keyword phrases that sound like verbal questions
Are all photos and images optimized for search?
The images you post on your site should all be optimized for search, because although Google Bots can’t actually see them, they will crawl the text associated with your images. Make sure your images are sized correctly (no monster-sized images that take forever to load) and include keywords in these critical places:
- ALT tag
Are your links and anchor text connected correctly?
Google takes into account the number of links that sites have when assigning SERP positions. Many sites have tried “black hat SEO tactics” in the past, using link purchasing and exchanges to artificially raise their search ranking. Google got wise to these scammers, however, and now penalizes sites that have links that don’t measure up. Make sure your site’s links make the grade:
Links to other sites: Are your outbound links connected to high authority websites that provide valuable content? Linking to sites with low quality content, spammy sites, or sites that Google has penalized for having too many low quality links can cause a downgrade in your own site’s search ranking.
Links to your site: Interlinking your posts to other pages in your site can improve their search performance and reduce bounce rates, as long as the links provide additional information that complements your posts. Make sure all interlinks are made for the purpose of improving users’ experience.
Anchor Text: If too many of your site’s inbound links contain the exact same anchor text, Google sees that as a sign that your links were not acquired naturally and you may get penalized. For the best SEO performance, link to a variety of keyword– and topic–specific anchor text.
While this guide to the best SEO practices for WordPress sites will get you started on the right path, Blue Interactive Agency can give you more tips on how to get the best search engine ranking for your website. As the leading content marketing agency Fort Lauderdale businesses turn to when they want to build their business, we have the expertise to create a comprehensive content marketing strategy for you that combines a custom SEO optimized WordPress site, expert SEO content creation services, and more.
Contact us at Blue Interactive Agency today at 954-779-2801 for more tips on SEO content marketing strategies along with the expert SEO content marketing services to get your Fort Lauderdale business noticed!