WordPress is the most popular website builder on the internet today, powering 33% of the entire internet.
You may be wondering:
How can I get my WordPress site to the front page of Google?
or What is SEO, and how do I add it onto my WordPress blog?
In this article, I cover the basics of WordPress Yoast SEO in this introduction on search engine optimization. If you are looking for more of a beginners guide, instead of this introduction to SEO, check out our Beginners Guide to SEO.
Be sure to visit our Ultimate Do It Yourself SEO WordPress Guide as well, to get an understanding of the 5 areas to prioritize your time.
What is SEO?
SEO giant, Moz.com defines SEO as “SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
What this means to you:
SEO is a combination of best practices that will get your site onto the first page of Google.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, has come a long way ever since Google became the dominant force in how Internet users access websites. While SEO strategies, like ‘The Middleman method‘, change based on how Google and other search engines index web pages—often through algorithm updates—it is always considered good practice for webmasters to utilize SEO to their advantage, whether they use platforms such as WordPress or build websites from scratch. But some strategies work better than others, and some methods can get a website penalized or even blacklisted by search engines in a worst-case scenario.
Many SEO strategies that were acceptable years ago are no longer advantageous. In years past, it was common for webmasters to use backhanded tactics like keyword stuffing, sneaky HTML code, and link farming to artificially boost their Google rankings.
Many SEO strategies that were acceptable 10 years ago are no longer advantageous. In years past, it was common for webmasters to use backhanded tactics like keyword stuffing, white text, sneaky HTML code, and link farming to artificially boost their Google rankings.
SEO that works usually involves relevant content, trial and error, solid website infrastructure, consistency, and time. What some high-priced SEO companies and services will never tell you is that unfortunately, no single strategy is guaranteed to work. If anyone makes claims about ensuring front-page Google results for your website in only a matter of days, it’s probably bogus.
That being said, there are things you can do to make your website’s exposure on the front-page of Google’s search results more likely.
As far as website infrastructure goes, WordPress is one of the best platforms to use in building a website, as many features of good SEO practices are more or less built into parts of the user interface. Canonical tags, meta tags, limiting the use of extraneous and excessive plugins, proper link management, easily navigable site maps, clean HTML code, and proper use of focus keywords are all backbones of robust SEO practices. The WordPress plugin Yoast SEO can assist you with all of these utilizations with very little effort.
Google and other search engines favor SSL certificates and secure connections. The price of SSL certificates varies, ranging from under $50 to well over $300 (Ours cost $59.99/year, and you can purchase them on our store). Some are even available for free if you have the knowledge to install them on your server manually.
While some webmasters and business owners might balk at the additional expense, purchasing an SSL certificate is well worth it, and not just from an SEO standpoint. Customers are more likely to do business with you if you offer a secure connection via HTTPS, and this is especially imperative if your website conducts any credit card or other monetary transactions.
Relevant, well-written content is key to any successful SEO strategy. Google algorithms these days give a ton of weight to content that is concise, readable, and free of errors. Content that doesn’t make sense or uses too many keywords is a huge red flag for spam, and this will hurt rankings even if the site infrastructure is solid.
Content should also be consistent and updated periodically, as Google and other search engines will knock down rankings of websites that are perceived to be functionally dead and lacking visitors.
Mobile vs. Desktop
It is important to optimize WordPress content and design for mobile and tablet users. In 2016, searches on phones and tablets surpassed those conducted on laptops and desktop computers. This trend doesn’t look like it’s going away in the near future, either; more people exclusively use mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet while laptop and desktop use continues to dwindle. By making the mobile version of your website more user-friendly, you are more likely to increase traffic to it.
Search engine optimization for WordPress is far from being an exact science. Although Google and other search engines update their algorithms on a daily basis, consistency in content, formatting, design, and site infrastructure will keep you miles ahead of everyone else.