Search engine optimization on a WordPress site, all you need to know

Search engine optimization on a WordPress site is generally easier to do than on other website building platforms.

WordPress gives users control over links and images and also provides powerful plugins to help you make sure that your content is as optimized as possible for your keywords.

The hard part is getting your keywords right because even the best optimized content in the world won’t bring in visitors if it’s optimized for the wrong keywords.

In this post I lay out why search engine optimization on a WordPress site is easier and better than other website building platforms.

Why is search engine optimization important?

Search engine optimization is a great, free way of getting people to your site. Search engine traffic is the highest quality kind of traffic because it’s deliberate.

What I mean by deliberate is that someone’s sat down somewhere and typed into Google the thing that they’re looking for. They want to know something there and then. If it’s a product or a service they’re looking for, then they’re probably ready to buy too.

If it’s info they’re looking for then if they land on your site and they find what they were looking for then it makes sense that they’ll come back and maybe even join your mailing list – if you have an opt-in in that post or page.

So optimizing your content for search engines should be one of your highest priorities when creating content and listing your products. and services.

Keywords, keywords, keywords

When it comes to SEO WordPress will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, but you need to make sure that your content is optimized for the right keywords.

It’s no good trying to rank for a keyword like Amazon. Amazon will have the monopoly on it and so they should.

But you might have a better chance to rank for a keyword phrase like cancel amazon prime trial.

So you’ve got to be smart and do your research when it comes to keywords. Getting your keywords right is half the battle.

Screenshot of the Google Adwords keyword research tool. [Search Engine Optimization on a WordPress Site]
The Google Adwords keyword research tool

Keyword research tools

There are 2 main tools that I use for keyword research – the Google Adwords keyword research tool and Neil Patel’s UberSuggest.

To use the Adwords tool you’ll need to set up an account and add card details. But you can set it up with a £1 and then stop the campaign it asks you to set up so you don’t end up actually spending any money. But I know that it can be off-putting having to put card details in.

You type the keyword phrase you’re thinking about using and it will tell you how often that keyword is searched for and how much competition there is to to rank for that phrase.

UberSuggest by Neil Patel is a great little tool that not only helps you find keyword phrases but it also tells you how likely you are to rank in the top 20 results for that keyword.

You type in the keyword you’re thinking about using and you’ll get keyword suggestions, how often they’re searched for, cost per click and how difficult it is to rank in paid for and organic (non-paid for) results for that keyword.

If you’re a bit squeamish about handing your card details over – UberSuggest is for you.

Screenshot of the UberSuggest keyword research tool. [Search Engine Optimization on a WordPress Site]
The UberSuggest keyword research tool

Search engine optimization on a WordPress site

The first thing I recommend you do is that you install a SEO plugin like Yoast.

What it does is add a SEO checklist to every post, page and product you add to your WordPress website. It doesn’t send anything to search engines to tell them that you’re targeting a specific keyphrase, it’s just a checklist to help you.

You’ll have a space to add the keyword phrase that you’re trying to optimize your content for and it will then assess your content against it’s checklist.

It uses a traffic light system and as your content checks off the items on it’s list it will turn to green.

Screenshot of the Yoast SEO plugin being used within a blog post. [Search Engine Optimization On A WordPress site]
Yoast SEO plugin

What do I need to do for my content to be search engine optimized?

Yoast assesses your content based on this criteria:

  • keyword density – 1-3% of your text should be your key phrase
  • keywords in your URL
  • keywords in the post title
  • keywords in the first paragraph of your content
  • keywords in headings
  • internal links – linking to your other content will keep people on your site for longer which is something Google looks for
  • external links – adding links to trustworthy sites gives credibility to your site
  • text length – minimum of 300 characters but the longer the better
  • meta description – this is the little description beneath the title of a link you get when you do a Google search. It should include your keyword phrase and Yoast gives you a space to add it
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So how does WordPress help you do SEO better than other platforms?

WordPress gives you much more control over your content than other platforms making it easier to get your keywords in the right places, which is SEO in a nutshell.

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URLs / permalinks

WordPress gives you total control over your URLs, so that you can keep your URLs short and make sure that your keywords appear as early as possible

SEO Plugins

I mentioned the Yoast plugin earlier but there are a load of different SEO plugins around including All in One SEO, which will give you a helping hand when it comes to optimizing your content for search engines.

Images

WordPress gives you total control over your images. So you can add keywords to your image file names and WordPress won’t change them once you’ve uploaded them to your site. You can also add alt descriptions to your images so you can get your keywords in there too.

Alt descriptions

Alt descriptions are there to provide visually impaired users who use screen readers a description of the images on screen.

So if you just add your keywords you’re not making your site as accessible as it could be. What I do is add a description to my image and then add my keyword phrase at the end in brackets/

SEO optimized themes

A high quality theme will make sure that the code generated by your site is clean and easily read by search engines.

Good themes will also have the knock on effect of keeping people on your site for longer which tells Google that your site is one worth ranking high.

Search engine optimization on a WordPress site – verdict

The level of control WordPress gives you over your own content means that is really easy to optimize your content for search engines.

You can choose ho your links are displayed, what your image file names are as well as the alt descriptions for your images.

SEO plugins like Yoast mean that you can be sure that your content is optimized for your chosen keywords, but you need to make sure your keywords are the right ones for your content.

Just remember that all they do are checklists, they don’t add anything extra that will increase your search engine visibility.

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