Are you frustrated that your business is not getting the traffic and ranking in Google Search that it deserves? If so, then this blog post is for you. In this article, we will go through the top 6 things that WordPress website owners should be doing to make sure they are ranking on Google Search.
WordPress is a great Content Management System (CMS) and has hundreds of thousands of contributed plug-ins and themes that help you get your business off the ground. Creating and launching your website is a great first step, but if no one can find it then it won't do you much good. The good news is WordPress makes it easy for you to implement the SEO tactics you need to grow your traffic on search engines like Google and Bing.
Lets get started from the ground up.
Choose the Right WordPress Hosting Provider
It is crucial for you as a business owner to host your WordPress website with a reliable provider. Site speed, uptime, and security are three key reasons to do your research before moving forward here.
Site speed is one of the most important factors affecting your site’s SEO, so ensuring a speedy load time is crucial. Poor uptime and security vulnerabilities can also affect site quality, but don’t be tempted to go for the cheapest option—you will only get what you pay for in underperformance!
There are many good WordPress hosting providers out there ranging from BlueHost and SiteGround to WPEngine and Pantheon. If you are planning to grow and work with an agency, WPEngine and Pantheon are our top recommendations.
Choose the Right WordPress Theme
If you are going to use a pre-built theme in WordPress it is extremely important to do your homework. With so many options to choose from, this can be a daunting task. While many WordPress themes advertise being SEO-ready, it is not uncommon for those same themes to be bundled with scripts and plugins that you will never use.
Page building themes are notorious for this, and Divi is a great example of a theme that provides a top-notch user experience for page building, but really drops the ball on their site performance scores. While they have been making great strides to resolve these issues over the past 6 months, they still have some more work to do.
Building a custom theme without the use of page builders gives you the most control over your site performance. We recommend this for businesses that have access to technical resources internally or through an agency. With the release of the Gutenberg page builder, you are able to achieve a great authoring experience without the challenges of complex page builders. Many of these 3rd party tools are doing more harm than good.
Utilize Contributed WordPress Plugins for SEO Improvements
WordPress has a great marketplace of free and paid SEO plugins that can help your business be sure you are creating content that will improve your rankings. We want to make it clear that these plug-ins will not guarantee your rankings in Google, there is no magic bullet here, but they will make it easier for you to be successful.
Here are a few of our go-to Free plugins:
Yoast SEO (Free/Paid) - Yoast SEO is our go-to SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast SEO is a great tool that provides you with insights and optimizations for your posts and pages with their free version. Yoast SEO also makes it easy for you to configure and optimize your Page Title, Meta Description, and URL.
Google XML Sitemaps (Free) - The Google XML Sitemap plugin is an easy way to get a sitemap up and running without any hassle. This plugin creates an XML file which Google and other search engines use as a blueprint of your website which makes it easier to crawl.
Rank Math (Free) - The Rank Math plugin is considered to be one of the best free SEO plugins for WordPress. It helps website owners optimize their websites for both search and social media by integrating Google Schema Markup and Google Search Console.
Optimize Your WordPress Page URL Paths
Page URLs are important for site organization as well as user experience in your WordPress website. Setting up your site's URL structure will help you, your customers, and search engines like Google better understand how your site is organized and what the content is about. For example, if your organization offers both products and services, you should organize your URL paths around this.
URLs for Products could live under /products/product-name
URLs for Services could live under /services/service-name
URLs for Blogs could live under /blog/blog-title
These categorizations also help Google and other search engines understand the intent behind the pages and what type of content they include.
Perform Keyword Research for Your WordPress Content
As we talked about in our previous blog post about the importance of keyword research, we want to emphasize this is a critical step for any business that wants to rank higher in Google Search Results.
If you aren't performing keyword research before writing your content, you risk creating great content that will never be found by users. Understanding what users are searching for, and how they are talking about the products and services you offer is key to attracting new visitors to your website. Google wants to provide users what they are looking for and your content needs to be able to deliver the answers.
Aside from the free SEO tools that we mentioned in our previous post, here are a few paid tools that should be considered if you are serious about your Google Search Rankings:
- SEMRush Keyword Overview Tool.
- Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
Optimize Your WordPress Page Headings
Defining a page title that resonates with your audience is important. Your page title will also be your H1 heading on the page and it will need to be able to catch a user's eye when they are read in Google Search Results. This heading should also summarize what the user is going to get when they visit your page.
Beyond your page title/H1 heading, your content should also logically structure subheadings (H2-H6 headings) in order to make your content both readable and structurally organized. These headings help Google determine the structure of your page and what the most important information is. Page headings are an excellent place to mention your page’s main keyword and a few related variants but don’t overdo this or force the use of the words in places that they don't belong.
Now you are ready to Optimize your WordPress Website for Higher Search Rankings on Google
If you are already running your website on WordPress, you made a great choice. WordPress is one of the most SEO-friendly CMS's out there, and that explains why it's popular. Not only is it user-friendly, but it can easily be updated with a whole host of tactics using just a few plugins. By following the steps above, you are putting yourself in a great position to outrank your competition.
Have you found yourself stuck in marketing hell? You know, when your website just isn’t cutting it. If this sounds all too familiar, fear not! Our web development and SEO teams have the knowledge and expertise to create game-changing websites for businesses around the world. Let’s talk about your website today!