Simple Tips That Will Help Your WordPress Site’s Ranking
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a strategy that businesses use to get more traffic to their website by ranking higher in searches. When a potential customer does a Google search, the first sites to appear after the ads are the ones that rank highest from an SEO perspective.
There are two kinds of SEO – on-page and off-page:
- On-page looks at what a site is about. This can be configured or controlled on the website.
- Off-page looks at how authoritative and popular a site is – this comes from having links from other websites and high traffic numbers.
For this post we will be discussing on-page SEO because search engines like Google generally suggest having an effective website first before focusing on off-page SEO.
How do you help your site to be one of the higher ranked websites in a search?
Optimizing code and formatting can make your website easier for search engines to find and humans to use.
You can optimize code and formatting with:
- suitable page structure
- clear permalinks
- appropriately sized and descriptive images
- good performance (or speed)
- high keyword usage or density
Appropriate Page Structure
When designing a web page, page structure is the outline of the page. Instead of the Roman numerals or upper- and lower-case letters used in a traditional outline, heading tags are used to tell search engines how the content is structured by assigning importance to each heading. Headings are given heading tags that are numbered, i.e., H1, H2, and so on. So an H1 tag represents more important information on the page than H2 or H3 and so on.
Some people make the mistake of picking heading tags based on font size and how it looks on the page instead of following the outline heirarchy of H1, H2 and so on. Font size should not determine the assigned heading tag. It will just confuse search engines. Stick with importance as your basis for assigning heading tags and adjust your headline font size later. And never skip a tag, such as bypassing H3 and having an H4 come right after an H2.
A permalink is the URL that takes you to a specific page. It includes the website URL followed by a descriptor for each specific page, such as fresheggs.com/about/ for this site’s about page.
When naming a permalink, there are many options that include dates and categories of the website. However the best practice for people and search engines is using the post name because it is a brief description of the page so is much easier to understand.
Images are an important part of a web page. They add value and help get the point of the page across to users. When it comes to their role in website ranking, it’s important for each image to also have a clear description, otherwise known as alternate text. Alternate text is filled out in the media library when the website is built or images are added. The alternate text helps search engines and screen readers identify and understand what the image is and how it relates to the content on the website page.
Website performance is crucial to improving your site’s ranking. Google and other search engines use speed as a top ranking factor; the faster your site, the better a user’s experience and your ranking.
Compressing code and caching pages can help speed up your site. Caching means storing some of the page in memory so that the page doesn’t have to reload from scratch each time. There are a lot of caching and performance plugins available for WordPress that enhance a website’s speed. And some website host’s include their own with their hosting plans.
Images and videos can be the biggest culprits to a slow website. Images should be no bigger than their display size on the page. Images should first be resized to fit the space in a tool like Photoshop, and then compressed even further to help speed. There are a variety of plugins for WordPress that will compress images upon upload to a website.
A best practice for videos is upload to YouTube or Vimeo first, then embed the video onto the website page. This will result in faster loading than if you were instead to directly add the video to your site.
Another way to increase performance is to use a CDN. A CDN service stores a website’s pages around the world and serves them to viewers from the servers closest to their location.
A keyword is a word or group of words that an individual might type into a search. The more keywords that appear in your page content, alternative text and in descriptors, the higher your keyword density.
If you’re writing a blog, it’s usually pretty easy to include keywords. Copy on blog pages tends to be longer. Keywords can be included multiple times naturally in the blog content, as well as in the headline or title and subheads. It’s harder to maximize keyword usage on other pages where there is less copy.
You also want to include keywords in page meta descriptions. A meta description is a summary or description of your page that appears in search engine results. In WordPress you can use a plugin to designate keywords and meta descriptions on each page of a website.
SEO Isn’t a Game
SEO isn’t about tricking Google or gaming the system. It’s about knowing steps to take with your design and copy, such as optimizing code and formatting to improve your ranking.
I’m Holly Neumann, owner of Fresh Eggs. I design custom websites that make Google happy so it gives you a higher ranking. Higher rankings result in more visits for your page and can bring in more business. Contact me today for better SEO.