When higher search rankings are your goal, especially when those rankings will bring more hungry customers your way, it helps to have a few best practices to follow. Luckily, you are already using WordPress, which once downloaded will give you an instant boost in the search engine results pages or SERPs. WordPress is light, completely customizable and search engine-friendly. Here’s how to boost the SEO rankings of your WordPress site even more to bring all those new customers your way.
1. Provide a Better Visitor Experience Than Competitors
Search online for the keywords you wish to rank prominently for and start clicking-through to the websites, blogs and other elements that you come across in the SERPs. These are your direct competitors and you should find out what they have that your site doesn’t. Sites that are easy-to-navigate, have pleasing colors, simple designs and engaging media will usually perform better in the SERPs than sites that fail to deliver the goods. The reason is because the search engines are only interested in delivering the very best web experiences to their users. Adopt what you like and toss out the rest to give your WordPress site the polish and boost it needs.
2. Easy-to-Crawl and Remember URL Structure
Change your permalinks settings in the WordPress dashboard to establish a site URL structure that is easy for the search engines to crawl. For example, you might choose a structure that lists your website followed by the page name. This is opposed to the default setting, which lists your pages as a series of numbers after your primary domain. The search engines love well-designed URL structures, but so do your human visitors; as they are usually much easier to keep in mind.
3. Keep a Well-Written and Consistently Published Blog
The search engines love fresh content and they will typically reward websites and blogs that consistently publish pages and posts of value. As long as you can deliver the tips, teach the lessons and keep your audience informed with regularly published blog posts, you should get a big boost in the rankings. As an added tip, establish Google Authorship, so that your name, photo and Google+ information will show up with every one of your blog posts in the search results. Doing so can not only enhance visibility, but Google Authorship has also been shown to improve click-through conversions.
4. Use Buying Keywords with Low Keyword Density
Find those keywords that prospects and customers might type into the search engines to find your WordPress site and scatter them throughout your websites and blogs. Stick to a low keyword density, such as 1-3%. That means using your keyword in the title, the last paragraph and a few times throughout. Do this with every page and post, making sure that the keywords are relevant to the information being presented, and the search engines will reward you.
5. Consistent Menus, Tags and Categories
Use all the capabilities WordPress provides you with to add more keywords to your content. Your menus should use standard names, such as Home, About and Services, and your tags and categories should include all of those keywords that you wish to optimize for. Again, make sure the tags and categories being used coincide with the information being offered. The idea is to make your WordPress site and all of its content easily accessible by search engines and visitors alike. Appeasing both can improve rankings and the results you get from such a prominent boost.
6. Install an SEO Plugin & Write Metadata
Find a WordPress plugin that will enhance your site’s search engine optimization, such as the All in One. Once your plugin has been uploaded and installed, write metadata for every page and post. Your titles should be under 60 characters and should include keywords that are relevant to the page or post in question. Descriptions should be under 160 characters and should include a call-to-action to visit the page in question. Then insert the keywords for each page, which tells Google and the other search engines exactly where and how to rank you.
7. Submit Sitemap to Webmaster Tools
Visit XML Sitemaps and design a sitemap that tells the search engines exactly which links to crawl. You can then visit Google Webmaster Tools so that you can submit your sitemap directly to Google. This tells the search engine to crawl and index your site right away rather than later, and you might see a boost in rankings automatically. You are also encouraged to place your sitemap in your site’s footer to give visitors a step-by-step guide to all the links on your site.
8. Look for External & Internal Linking Opportunities
Find prominent websites, such as the Better Business Bureau, Dun & Bradstreet or the local Chamber of Commerce, and send messages asking those sites to link back to yours. This can not only give your website a boost in the search rankings, but it can lend your site extra credibility in the eyes of visitors who notice. Then go through your site to find relevant keywords that you can use for an internal linking strategy. Internal linking helps to make your site easier to navigate and it tells search engines which keywords are the most important to rank for.
9. Implement Optimized YouTube Videos
Uploading videos to YouTube is a great way to get on Google’s first page. They don’t have to be of the highest quality, but YouTube has a built-in editor if you are truly worried. The simple fact of uploading videos, as long as you use your keywords in the title and description and you embed your videos on your WordPress site, you will get all the benefits that come from such an act. Of course we are referring to higher rankings, more visits and improved conversions.
10. Social Sharing
Share your WordPress website and all of its individual pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social networks you may use in your content marketing strategy. Encourage your friends and followers to repost, retweet and repin your content. With all this sharing going on, the search engines will soon take notice and all those higher rankings you’ve been dreaming about will soon be yours.
With these ten tips put into place, your WordPress site will be all the rage, with search engine bots and visitors alike.