WordPress SEO For Beginners, With Our SEO Expert Team!
In recent weeks and months the SEO expert team at Seek Social have walked you through two key SEO analytics tools – Google Analytics, and Google Search Console. However, what we never really got chance to talk about was the act of performing SEO itself.
That all changes today, and to make this week’s blog extra useful, we’ll be looking at performing SEO on one of the world’s most popular web platforms – WordPress! So sit back, relax, and join our SEO expert team as we explain the things that you, (Or your support staff) need to be doing to get your WordPress site to the top of the rankings…
Are you ready? Then let’s get started!
Step 1: The preliminary work
As Seek Social’s old Granddad used to say, ‘Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’, and that’s a maxim that our SEO expert team certainly hold to. We know that there are some site-wide tasks that need be taken care of before you can get down to the business of optimising individual pages and pieces of content, and we’ve outlined those tasks for you below:
Step 1.1: Visibility settings
Probably the very first thing you need to take care of are your visibility settings – as WordPress contains an option to stop search engines from indexing your site. If you’ve read our previous blogs on SEO, then you’ll know that your site not getting indexed is a VERY bad thing for SEO. So, as a matter of best practice when prepping a site for SEO, the first thing our SEO expert team will do is navigate to ‘Settings > Reading’ and make sure that the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ radio button is set correctly (i.e. deselected).
Step 1.2: www or non-www?
Our SEO expert team know that when it comes to optimising a site well, getting the right answer to this question is really important for your overall traffic. How do you know what the right answer is? You do what most people do these days and consult Google!
First, search for your domain name including the ‘www’ prefix (e.g. ‘www.seeksocial.co.uk) and note down the number in the top-left of the results page where it says ‘About [XYZ] results’. Next, search for your site without the ‘www’ prefix (so ‘seeksocial.co.uk’) and note down the number. Whichever format yielded the bigger number is the format you want to use.
From an SEO standpoint there are no real differences or advantages to choosing one format over the other, but as our SEO expert team knows, one will generally be more popular with people online. You want to be using the more popular format as it draws more traffic, so more people will see your well optimised pages than they would if you used the less-popular format.
The final step here is to tell WordPress which format you want to use. To do this, navigate to ‘Settings > General’ and input your URL in both the ‘WordPress Address (URL)’ and ‘Site Address (URL)’ fields.
Step 1.3: Choose an SEO-friendly permalink structure
This prep task is very important, as making changes to the permalink structure of a mature site – while it can certainly be done – can become a really complicated and time-consuming job. That being the case, best practice for our SEO expert team is to make the right choice while you’re still in the preparatory stage, allowing you to ‘set it and forget it’ moving forward.
In ‘Settings > Permalinks’, WordPress offers you six options for your permalink structure – five that can be managed by WordPress itself, and one ‘custom’ field. Of these six options, the one you want to be using is the ‘Post Name’ option. For one thing, this structure can be handled by WordPress so it’s less labour intensive for you – however, our SEO expert team also know that it has a significant advantage over the others in terms of SEO too. Because it uses full words rather than an incrementing sequence of numbers to identify your posts, it makes it easier for a search engine’s crawling software to understand what each page is about, as well as the site’s overall layout.
Step 1.4: Choose an SEO-friendly theme
Your theme dictates the physical appearance of your website, and our SEO expert team know that some themes are better than others for SEO. There are two main things that you’re looking for in an SEO-friendly WordPress theme – and those are:
Firstly – a low amount of plugins and other tools required to make the theme work. The more ‘stuff’ your theme needs to work properly, the slower your pages will load. Humans are impatient though, and the longer we have to wait the more likely we are to leave and try somewhere else. As our SEO expert team can tell you, having a user do that is bad for your SEO on two fronts. Firstly, it shows that your page speed is low and that you’re giving a bad user experience (more on that below), and secondly, it will also contribute to your ‘bounce rate’ – a key SEO metric that also influences where Google places you in it’s rankings.
You also want the theme to feature ‘Responsive Design’. Site themes that can do this are better for SEO because they will automatically resize and reposition things like images and buttons so that your site displays well no matter what kind of display is being used to view it. As a result, sites using responsive design usually give better user experience than sites that don’t use it.
Though they may not seem related to the more core SEO areas of keywords and content relevance – however, our SEO expert team knows that Google takes user experience into account when it calculates its rankings. And since that’s the case, it means that you do need to optimise page load speed and performance, and use responsive design if you want to rank well.
Step 2: Content Creation
Only once you’ve done all of that are you truly ready to start creating awesome content, putting it on pages and optimising those pages well. But even when you reach that point, our SEO expert team would advise against putting pen to paper straight away. Instead, preparation is again the order of the day.
Step 2.1: Research popular content
Having great content doesn’t help you if nobody wants to read it – and to find out what your audience wants, you need to do some research. When Seek Social do this, our SEO expert team will look at what other people in digital marketing and SEO are writing about this week, or what they’ve covered recently that’s done well, and that we have yet to touch upon. Once we find something fitting that description, we then have a good idea for the basic theme of our next piece of content. Our SEO expert team can then either choose to proceed with that idea and move to the next step, or keep looking for other options.
Step 2.2: Research & decide on your keyword
Once you know exactly what it is that you’re going to write about, our SEO expert team know the best thing to do is research your keyword. In our experience it’s always easier to know what you want to use as your keyword and then write with that in mind, than try to find a decent keyword in a text that was written without consideration for one, or retroactively ‘shoehorn’ a keyword into a pre-existing text. In short, good keyword density for quality keywords just doesn’t happen, unless you know what your keyword is going to be before you start the actual composition of the text.
Step 2.3: Write your content
Finally, it’s time for what our SEO expert team see as ‘the fun part’. Time to be creative and express ourselves a little bit. After all of that prep work, your next step is to compose a text that regularly includes your keyword. A top tip from our SEO expert team is to remember to break your text up with subheadings and paragraphs. Doing so means that you avoid presenting the dreaded ‘textwall’ which looks really unappetizing, and intimidates and drives people away.
Once you finish your text, it’s time to upload it via WordPress as a page or post. However, even once this is done there are still a number of tasks to complete before a page is optimised fully, or to a good standard.
What are these tasks? How do you complete them? How can an SEO expert team help you?
Join Seek Social next week, and all will be revealed as we cover what our SEO expert team see as ‘the REALLY fun part’! However, if you’d like some help or advice with any aspect of the Digital Marketing services that we provide – just get in touch via Social Media, Email, or by calling 0161 761 1800 and our experts will be glad to help! BACK TO BLOG