5 Fast WordPress SEO Tips in Under 5 Minutes
SEO can seem rather confusing.
Google is known to update its ranking algorithm hundreds of times a year. Some practices that were rather effective in the past are now seen as questionable. Implementing them (e.g. excessive link building, keyword stuffing, etc.) could even get your site penalised in the search results or removed entirely.
It’s not surprising then that business owners remain completely clueless about SEO.
Regardless of what you may have heard elsewhere, SEO is still an effective strategy to drive targeted traffic and leads to your business. The digital landscape is incredibly competitive so it is no longer enough to have a site. You must have a strategy in place or you risk losing an advantage to your competitors.
The following are proven WordPress SEO tips that continue to work today.
WordPress is a powerful Content Management System (CMS) out of the box but it can be made even better with a few changes. Implementing each of these tips takes about 5 minutes (or longer depending on how many pages you have). Don’t underestimate them as they can go a long way towards improving your rankings in the search results.
1. Change Permalink Structure
Optimising on-page factors increases the relevance of your pages.
Start by changing the default settings of the permalink structure. In the grand scheme of things, the display URL won’t necessarily increase your rankings overnight. But optimising it makes sense from both a search engine and user point of view.
Currently the default permalink setting for new WordPress installations is http://website.com/?p=123. You can easily change it to be more search engine friendly by navigating to Settings and Permalinks. Click on the radio button next to Custom Structure and enter “/%category%/%postname%/” (without the quotes).
New posts will now appear as “http://website.com/services/glass-fence-installations”. Changing the permalink structure in this manner lets you use your target keywords in your display URL.
2. Install the WordPress SEO By Yoast Plugin
Content is the most important on-page factor.
So your pages need to be fully optimised to rank.
What makes WordPress such an excellent platform to build your business is the selection of plugins to choose. WordPress SEO by Yoast is a powerful plugin that makes it much easier to write and optimise your content. Adding new plugins is rather straightforward. Hover over Plugins on the left hand side and click Add New. Then search for “Yoast SEO” and click on the Install Now button.
Remember to active the plugin once it finishes installing.
3. Optimise Each Post For Your Keywords
Each post needs to be optimised for your target keywords. On-page factors from title tags to keyword usage have a strong impact on rankings. Optimise these factors for each post to increase their visibility in the search results.
The reason why the Yoast SEO plugin is so invaluable is that it actually tells you how you can better optimise your content. Here is what the Page Analysis tab looks like when you go in to create a new post:
Go through each of your posts and optimise the following areas:
- Title tags: Titles are incredibly important so be sure to add your target keywords here. Remember to keep your titles under 70 characters as Google will truncate your title if it is too long.
- Header tags: Headers are particularly useful as they improve readability and the overall relevance of a page. Use at least one H1 tag in your posts.
- Meta descriptions: These are short snippets of text that appear underneath the title in the search results. Write a short description of your page and include your target keywords here as well.
Keyword usage is important but do not stuff your content with irrelevant keywords as doing so sacrifices the quality of your conten and could even result in a ranking penalty. Focus on providing value to your target market and Google will reward your site with better rankings.
4. Optimise Your Images
Every little bit helps.
Write a relevant ALT tag for your images and rename them to generate traffic from image searches. You can add a title and ALT tag to your images when uploading them into your posts.
One aspect that often gets overlooked is the image size.
Images are rather resource intensive so it is a good idea to compress them. Otherwise your site will be slow to load when visitors land on your pages. Install the WP Smush plugin to automate this proces and reduce the file size of your images.
5. Submit a Sitemap
A sitemap is like the table of contents to your site, it includes links to all the pages on your site which aids in the crawling process. The Yoast SEO plugin automatically creates a site map for your site. Navigate to the SEO menu on the left hand side and click on XML Sitemaps to get a link to your sitemap.
Then login to your Google Webmaster Tools account. You will definitely want to create an account if you haven’t already as it provides valuable website information including keyword data to security issues and more. Click on Crawl and Sitemaps.
At the top, click the Add/Test Sitemap button and paste in the link to your sitemap. Adding your sitemap will help Google crawl and index new pages.
Each of these tips take only about 5 minutes to implement. But they can have a major impact in terms of your search engine rankings. The reality is that most businesses neglect their site so even implementing just one of these already gives your business a significant competitive advantage online.
Of course, you can expect much better results the more effort you put into your SEO. Start with these tips as outlined here and work on optimising more aspects of your site. Your pages will gradually increase in rankings and start attracting targeted traffic.