Oct 11 2019

You might think that aesthetic appeal and functionality are the only things you should consider in creating an effective website. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg! You need to make it stand out from the countless webpages so it will appear on Google’s top results. Good news is that with the right strategies, you can make this happen even without hiring a specialist.

To discover how to optimise your WordPress site for Google, keep reading below.

Select a reliable web host

When building a site, web hosting is probably the least of your priorities. However, this is one of the most crucial factors as your host keeps your website secure and up and running all the time. They are also responsible for your site’s loading speed which is a significant ranking factor.

Double check the credentials of a hosting provider before deciding to use their services. For WordPress, some of the top-performing hosts are Bluehost, SiteGround and HostGator.

Choose an SEO friendly theme

In WordPress, there are various themes to choose from. When picking one, it is crucial that you not only consider the layout, but also whether it can help boost SEO. After all, a theme is a vital part in building the structure of your website.

Generally, a website with an SEO friendly theme is responsive, compatible with most plugins and has fast loading speed. When Google recognises these features, there’s an excellent chance that your page will rank higher.

So, what makes a theme SEO friendly, you ask? First of all, you need to evaluate the codebase. It must be written according to the latest standards of coding. Also, it should be clean and simple to not make the page too heavy which can negatively affect your loading speed.

Aside from this, the theme should make fewer HTTP requests as possible. The ideal number of requests for a website is 20 and anything higher can significantly slow down your page.

Another thing to look at is if the theme has basic meta tags. This is an essential part of SEO and should never be overlooked as these make it easier for Google to identify what your content is all about. Inspect the source code to ensure that this feature is applied.

If you’ve never dealt with website development before, we understand that identifying an SEO friendly theme can get pretty technical. In this case, it might be wise to use the services of SEO and web development experts instead of trying to figure things out yourself.

Create a user-focused design

Because Google considers the amount of time a user stays on a website before going back to the search results, creating a design that’s built on user experience (UX) is a great way to boost your ranking.

From the layout to the content of your website, everything needs to be designed with the user in mind. Is your copy easy to read and understand? Is navigation straightforward? You should evaluate each area of your page to ensure that it is designed in the most engaging and convenient way as possible, especially for mobile.

With the mobile-first index in place, optimising the design of your website for mobile rather than desktop computers can positively impact your SEO. Make sure that your site is responsive, easy to navigate and the fonts are readable even on small screens.

Update your permalink settings

A permalink (or permanent link) is a URL that leads to online content. When creating one, it should be readable to both users and search engines. This means that you should structure it according to the content of your page or post.

Take this for example: https://example.com/?p=324. It doesn’t say much about where it leads to, right? Now, check this URL out: https://example.com/seo-techniques. You immediately think that the page is most probably about SEO techniques!  A descriptive link is not only easier to understand, but it is also highly readable to Google.

WordPress has several permalink structure options. You can view these by navigating to Settings then, Permalink. As much as possible, steer clear of the ‘Plain’ and ‘Numeric’ alternatives as these are more generic. Your best bet would be the ‘Post Name’ structure. It will automatically set the title of your content as the permalink, making your URL both user and SEO friendly.

Install an SEO plugin

An SEO plugin adds loads of features that can boost your site’s ranking. This usually includes keyword optimisation, faster indexing, content insights and so much more! Though there are countless SEO plugins for WordPress, you might want to look into Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack and The SEO Framework as they are proven to work efficiently.

Create a sitemap

A sitemap is a list that is designed to show each and every page of your website and present how they are related. This allows Google and users alike to conveniently find all your content in one place.

Adding a sitemap to your website will make it easier for crawlers to understand your content, so search engines can accurately index your pages. Though this is not a direct ranking factor, it does play a role in making your website as optimised as possible.

To create a sitemap, you can use plugins such as Google XML Sitemaps, WP Sitemap Page and even extensive SEO plugins like Yoast SEO. After that, you can then proceed to submit the file to Google Search Console.

Practise internal linking

You might have heard how backlinks help boost SEO as these signal that your site is authoritative and credible. Whilst they’re not as powerful as backlinks, internal links play a substantial role, too.

Internal links are those hyperlinks that lead to a page in the same domain. By using this strategy, Google can crawl and index your website better, increasing your chances of ranking higher. Aside from this, internal linking can also assist your users as they navigate through your site.

To make the most out of internal linking, add your targeted keywords as the anchor text of your links throughout your content. In this way, the text gives a sense of the topic that the link leads to. You can further take advantage of the opportunities for link building by keeping a blog and updating it regularly.

Use headings

Headings not only make your content easier to read, these also signal how organised the overall structure is. As crawlers use headings to understand a page better, chances are Google will recognise the value of your content and your page will be indexed appropriately.

In WordPress, there are six heading tags you can use: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6. H1 is typically used for titles. For section headings on your content, use H2. And if you have more specific points under each section, you can use H3, H4, H5 and H6 respectively. Doing this will allow you to structure your content in a way that is presentable to both Google and users.

Whilst aesthetic appeal and functionality are vital for users, you need to consider how to optimise your WordPress website for Google as well. After all, it will be difficult to reach your audience if it isn’t visible in the first place.

If you find that SEO is too complicated for you, FX Web Studio can assist you. We offer SEO-based digital marketing and website development throughout Sydney. To learn more about what we can help you with, give us a call at 1300 090 401 today.

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