As a business driving organic traffic to your WordPress site can be really difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow some simple steps that anyone can do. Some business owners fail to learn early on that if your website doesn’t have the correct SEO practices then there is a high chance you will never see page one on Google.
Image alt tags, mobile optimised website and no SSL are some of the most common issues we find when auditing a clients website. These are small and easy to fix elements that can really impact your SEO ranking. If you don’t have a clue about anything I just said, then don’t worry as I’m going to explain everything to you in an easy to understand format!
So where do we start?
Why does SEO matter to my business?
Let’s say you’re a business that relies solely on leads and one summer all of your leads dry up for some reason. You’re now stuck with no work and you have to go out there and try and find ways to drive customers to your website. You can’t do that overnight unless you’re also doing Pay Per Click advertising on Facebook or Google. Remember SEO is not an overnight solution. It can take 6-12 months to rank high up on Google and a lot longer depending on hundreds of different factors like domain authority, backlinks, content and a lot more.
So you need to start thinking about SEO now so in the future, you have a constant stream of customers clicking on your website organically. If you get it right and manage to get to the top of the results page, you’ll have greater visibility and the best chance at an increase in traffic to your site.
By now you might be a little worried as you now understand how important SEO is to both small and large businesses. If you need help or you’re a busy business owner, please contact us here so we can give you a helping hand with the SEO on your website.
If you’re ready to take on the challenge and start optimising your website for the search results then lets jump right in.
6 Easy Ways to Improve the SEO on your WordPress website
1. Install an SEO friendly WordPress Theme
The code behind your site can be a very important factor when ranking on Google and while many free and premium themes like to say that they are SEO friendly, sometimes they are not.
We’ve worked with themes before that we have had to throw away and not use as it’s bundled with 1. poor code and 2. unnecessary plugins you will never need to use on your site.
If you’re getting a WordPress website custom built by a team of developers, discuss the option of having an SEO friendly theme built. Before you go ahead and install a theme, go to web.dev to get some important stats on performance, best practices, SEO and more.
It’s always worth checking before spending out on a premium theme.
2. Make sure you’re using a good hosting provider
Speed, uptime and security are all factors you should be looking at when picking out a new hosting provider. These are also important factors that Google look at when deciding where to place you on the search results page.
Site Speed. Users don’t want to wait around for your website to load, they like it to be fast and easy to use. A bad hosting provider can mean that they aren’t managing your website correctly and leaving you to deal with the… slow consequences. Ideally your site should load under 3 seconds and if not faster!
Up Time: Minimising the downtime on your site is very important when you’re a business. Having a site that has gone down can lead to users forgetting about your business and picking on another competitor on the search page. Most websites are lucky if they reach 99% uptime, but luckily Google won’t penalise you that much if you miss out a few days of the year.
Anything below 95% uptime and you might want to think about moving your hosting to a different provider!
Security: It’s important for your SEO but also your site as a whole. You wouldn’t want to lose all of your hard work because you decided to cheap out on your hosting…
Luckily we have created an article on how to keep your WordPress website secure. You can check it out here: 5 WordPress Tips to Keep Your Website Secure
3. Check your WordPress site’s visibility settings
There is a small chance that while creating your WordPress site you were told to disallow search engine visibility while testing your site on a live domain and that’s good practice! Some do forget to untick this check box and this can lead to a loss in a lot of traffic.
To check whether or not you have this ticked simply login to WordPress and enter the dashboard. From there select settings and then reading. There you will find a small checkbox right at the bottom of the page:
You’ll need to untick the box if it is already ticked to encourage search engines to index your website.
4. Install a Free SEO plugin
Before we get into the different plugins and how they can help you, we must say that these plugins are there to assist and advise you. They’re not a one-click SEO solution as that simply does not exist!
If you’re not sure on what keywords your page/site is targeting, then this is where plugins like Yoast SEO can really help you. We’re not going to go into the specifics but downloading an SEO plugin can really benefit you and make your life that bit easier when working on SEO.
Here are a couple SEO plugins for WordPress:
These are the 2 most popular SEO plugins. There are also plugins you can use alongside these such as Broken Link Checker, Google Analytics by MonsterInsights and W3 Total Cache. While these aren’t like Yoast and All in One they are very handy to have on your WordPress website and worth checking out.
Our plugin of choice is Yoast SEO as it’s helped us skyrocket some of our websites up the google search rankings.
5. Submit Your XML Sitemap and Verify Your Site with Google Search Console
Submitting your site to the Google Search Console is fairly easy and if you haven’t done so the following video will be of great benefit to you! It will run you from start to finish on how to set everything up.
Why do I need a sitemap if I have verified my site with Google Search Console?
Well a sitemap actually tells Google which pages and files you think are important in your site and also provides valuable information about these files. This is a crucial step in setting up the SEO on your site so make sure you get this done sooner rather than later.
6. Do Some Keyword Research
Not every keyword is going to be easy to rank for. Some local keywords may take a few months and others like global competition and short tail keywords can take 6+ months if not years.
For example, if you’re a bakery and you’re trying to rank for the keywords “cakes” you’re not just competing locally, you’re competing with the entire world and any site that wants to rank for that same keyword. This means the competition is going to be very hard.
Let’s say you try and rank for the keyword “birthday cakes in Bedfordshire”. Your competition is going to be far lower as you’re now only competing with anyone who is trying to rank for that keyword. As it’s local, there is a much higher chance of you now ranking higher on the search results as there aren’t going to be as many people.
Of course, this all depends on your business. If you’re not targeting local customers then there is no need to target local keywords which means the chances are that you’re going to need to target more competition heavy keywords.
A quick tip for Keyword Research in SEO would be to go to the Google search bar and start typing in a query. Google is going to suggest questions many people have asked before. Questions in here mean that enough people have typed it in so Google is going to recommend that question to you or anyone else that types the same phrase in.
Hopefully you have learnt something within our article and the best way to rank higher on Google is to actually get started! Even small steps can lead to great SEO success in the future!
If you need help or want professionals to manage your businesses SEO please contact us here on our contact form.
To learn more about our SEO service please check out our page on Search Engine Optimisation.