Having a blog is an essential part of any business and so is creating valuable content and publishing it on a regular basis.
However, your content creation efforts might not pay off if you don’t invest the time to promote your blog and help Google rank your site higher. As with most other websites, yours is probably built with WordPress – the best content management system out there that powers 30% of the Web and which is also free.
The question is what can you do, even if you’re a non-marketer, to make sure your pages can be found by the exact people who look for that information in search engines? The solution is SEO.
Search engine optimization is the process of increasing your traffic through organic search. The way you write content, the plugins you install on your WordPress site, and some third-party tools you can use are often all you need to boost your site’s performance and thus increase revenue.
We’ll now go through 8 practical tips WP users can implement to optimize their sites and increase organic traffic:
1. Alter the default permalinks structure
WordPress comes with a default permalinks structure that isn’t SEO-friendly. One of the first steps you should take is to pick a better structure. It’s important to do that before you start publishing articles as then you risk getting 404 pages once you change it, which will hurt your traffic and rankings.
Head to your WordPress dashboard and click Settings->Permalinks. Then choose ‘Day and Name’ or ‘Post Name’. This way you give search engines and visitors the only information they need (the keywords in your title and the date the article was published). The link is also easy to remember and doesn’t include any random symbols.
Alternatively, if you’ve already published pages on your site but want to change your permalink structure now, you can use a plugin like ‘Custom Permalinks’ that allows you to create a custom permalink for each post.
2. Nofollow untrusted and useless links
You don’t want Google to crawl all the links on your pages. You might include some to social media platforms, to sites that are relevant to the page but which don’t have a good reputation, or your affiliate links if you’re monetizing your WordPress site by recommending other people’s products.
In this case, you should add the rell=“nofollow” attribute to the link to make sure it doesn’t influence the ranking.
3. Use Yoast SEO plugin
One of the very first plugins you should install on your WordPress site in order to optimize it with little to no effort is the Yoast SEO plugin. It’s the all-in-one solution for WordPress users to boost their site’s rankings and make all pages search engine friendly.
Mario Peshev from Devrix says: “Yoast SEO is our most favorite SEO plugin. The premium version supports complex redirection rules and tracking multiple keywords per post, offers internal link building suggestions and covers the basics of meta and og tags as well as structured data markup.”
4. Use a CDN to boost your site’s performance
Visitors won’t stay long if your pages load slowly. That ruins the user experience and is a bad signal for search engines too. To make your platform more reliable and provide site visitors with a great experience, you should increase your WordPress site’s speed.
One easy way to do that is to use a CDN. Aside from having a good hosting provider, a content delivery network is a great addition to your blog and business as it provides high performance and maximum speed.
What a CDN does is deliver your pages to each user depending on where they are located. The servers are strategically placed across the globe to make sure each page from your site is available at any moment to whoever wants to access it.
5. Create a sitemap for your website
An XML sitemap is the roadmap Google needs to crawl all the pages on your WordPress site. It’s great for SEO and also lets search engines know when the page was last updated and which URLs should be prioritised.
Don’t forget to create one as soon as you publish your first and most important pages. If you don’t want to do that yourself or install yet another plugin, Yoast SEO already has an option. Through its settings, you can also submit it to search engines.
When you head to SEO->General->Features, you’ll see the option to enable your sitemap. Once you do that, the plugin will automatically generate that file for you and you can access it when you want to.
6. Use Google Analytics
If you want to make your WordPress site more popular and double your traffic, you need to set up Google Analytics and use it at least a few times a week.
Knowing your audience is key. You can explore your most visited pages and try to figure out how you can create similar content. You can see how long visitors tend to stay on your platform, where they come from, and what their demographics and interests are.
With all the features Google Analytics offers for free, you can gather valuable knowledge that you can use to boost SEO and make your site visitors happier.
7. Make your content shareable
People need a way to share your content. Install a plugin that does the job and make sure it doesn’t slow down the pages too much.
Sometimes people read a great article but aren’t encouraged to share it although they would gladly do it. Once you give them the tool to do that with one click, you’re more likely to gain new visitors.
8. Producing high-quality written content
SEO might be about keywords, site speed and following Google’s requirements. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to creating quality content that search engines will love due to its valuable information and big word count, and that people will like so much that they will check out other pages on your blog.
Your WordPress site can turn into the foundation of your business if you maximize its potential. Use the SEO tips above to make your site more search engine friendly and enjoy the benefits.
Author bio: Georgi Todorov is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called DigitalNovas. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment. Hit him up on Linkedin or Twitter under @GeorgiTodorovBG.