To start with, SEO is a massive area. There are at least 200 ranking factors, countless SEO techniques, link building strategies and so on. It is easy to get lost.
In this blog post, I will help you to focus on the main SEO areas for WordPress websites. Where should you concentrate the most efforts to get the best outcome with limited resources?
So, first of all, good job on choosing WordPress! Believe me, selecting WordPress among dozens of other website building options (Wix, Joomla, Webflow, Hubspot, custom frameworks (Laravel, React, Angular) and so on) is 50% of SEO job done.
Especially, if you don’t have a lot of experience in SEO or you are not tech-savvy – WordPress is a great choice.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
1. Good hosting
Same as with choosing WordPress, it is super important for good SEO results to choose a great hosting. It is another 10-15% of the job done!
The value of high-quality hosting can be huge.
Here are some common SEO problems, which can be solved right away with a nice hosting package.
- Site speed
- SSL certificate
- Caching system
Good hosting usually comes with all these options, which are super important for SEO performance. And much more:
- 99,9% uptime
- Staging environment
- Technical support team
Among the best options, there are WPEngine, Kinsta, Bluehost (cheaper, but still good).
2. High-quality WP theme
Bad WordPress theme can bring a lot of pain and also waste time and money. So, always stick with well-known options with good technical support and nice reviews.
Such, as Divi, Impreza, Genesis, to name a few.
Bad theme will make your site technically super slow performing, which obviously will reflect in SEO results. By the way, some hosting packages offer high-quality themes for free – WPEngine offers Genesis for example.
3. WordPress SEO plugins
You can spend a lot of time doing on-page SEO optimizations for all your blog posts and pages. Or you can do it with one click, using the Yoast SEO plugin. You can set up multiple SEO Titles, Metas for different types of content at once.
Also, with Yoast you can:
- Set focus keywords for each blog;
- Set multiple focus keywords (Premium version);
- Check the on-page SEO score;
- Check the readability score;
- Edit robots.txt
- Generate sitemap.xml
- Get internal links suggestions (Premium version)
Just think, if you would have to do all this stuff manually.
4. Check Page Speed
Page speed is a crucial ranking factor, also it is super important for UX, especially on mobile.
Just use Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom – free tools. You should aim at least for B in Pingdom and >80 scores in PageSpeed Insights.
These tools will show you a list of suggestions, what to improve. Some of them can be quite technical – e.g. minimizing JS& CSS scripts – maybe you can hire VA to do that.
In overall, if you have good hosting and theme (with CDN, caching, optimized images) – your scores should be ok.
So, now we are more or less finished with Tech SEO setup, let’s look into core SEO strategies to get your content up in ranking results.
5. Keyword research
Content creation process should start with a detailed keywords research. This is incredibly important.
A lot of content creators push content just based on their intuition, inspiration or gut feelings. Of course, you can do that.
But, if you expect to get Google traffic, there are plenty of keyword tools (both free and paid), which will provide you with exact keyword data:
- Number of monthly searches
- Keyword difficulty
- Trend (growing and downgrading)
Try to organize your topics around these keywords – then you have a much higher chance to get some Google traffic.
Always, I would suggest starting with “low hanging fruits”: long-tail, low volume, niche keywords with 30-200 monthly searches. Realistically, these are only keywords for which your new website can rank.
To get traffic for keywords with 1K+ monthly searches you should have a much stronger domain, at least 30+ Moz DA (domain authority). To get to that domain, it is about 6-12 months of active link building work or years with a less active approach.
Content is at utmost importance in 2019 and beyond. It is constantly recognized as one of the most important ranking factors, along with backlinks and rank brain.
In the previous tip, I have explained that it is a good idea to write your content, based on keywords – then it has much higher chances to rank in Google.
After RankBrain Google algorithm update, everything has become super complicated. In short, your content should give an answer to a search query – the better answer is the better is content. Everything else is secondary.
- Give a comprehensive and detailed answer to your keywords. The more details and facts – the better.
- Long-form content (1500-2200 words) tends to perform better in Google. Again, longevity of content is justified only if it gives a better answer to a search query. If all your 2000+ words are just “water” – it won’t help.
- Rich content is also great for users. Include embed elements – maps, videos, podcasts, embed tweets and so on.
Last, but by far not least.
It is probably the most confusing part of any SEO campaign. In my experience, if you find the key to building high-quality links – your content is almost certain to succeed.
If you don’t build links – your content (even of extreme quality) will either:
- Never bring any traffic
- Get some clicks, but plateau for years
- Will start bringing tangible traffic, but it will take years to get there
You don’t want any of these scenarios, so the only way out is to get high-quality backlinks. Note, only high-quality backlinks – not “1000 for $5 Fiverr backlinks”, which may ruin your domain profile forever.
- Content exchange
- Guest posts
- Participate in community
- PR campaigns
- Influencer outreach
- Competitors research to steal links
- Expert roundups
A lot of SEOs never ever start link building, because they consider it as spam. It is wrong. Link building can be on the edge with spam, but if you do it correctly – it has immense value.
To sum it up
So, these are the most important SEO areas you should focus on while building a WordPress site.
- Do a tech setup
- Research keywords
- Write killer content
- Build high-quality backlinks
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