WordPress has been one of the world’s most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) for some time now, and not only for its expandability through a seemingly infinite number of plug-ins and themes, but for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) too. The WordPress platform provides powerful tools to both novice and advanced users that can help improve their website’s SEO rankings.
So, what is SEO and why does it matter to your website? SEO refers to how well your website works with the algorithms that dictate what information gets shown within search engines like Google and Bing. For example, if your website on coffee mugs is well optimised for search engines then you should be one of the first sites to appear on Google when someone searches for “Coffee Mugs.” The better your SEO, the more likely it is that someone will find your site. But is it really that easy?
If you use WordPress as your CMS then there are some invaluable tools that you will want to take advantage of to bump your site up a few positions in Google. Here we’ll run through our top 5 WordPress tips and tricks to help boost your organic search rankings.
1. Simplify your permalink structure
Permalinks are the permanent addresses for all of your website content. Your posts, your galleries, your archives, everything has a permalink. By default, WordPress permalinks look something like this:
Not only is this hard to read for people, but Google’s website crawlers (also known as spiders) struggle with it too. This URL doesn’t tell us much about what we’ll find on the page and Google wants to know that just as much as we do.
WordPress gives you the ability to customise the permalink of each page based on a pre-defined structure. By navigating to the permalink section of the site options you can select from a range of pre-defined structures or even create your own.
Selecting the ‘post name’ option will give you the best results for both your visitors and Google’s crawlers. You will find that URLs will have changed from the string of numbers above to something far easier to read.
2. Use categories and tags for the best user experience
Using categories and tags wisely is a great way to boost your visibility. Proper use of these functions allows any of your visitors and crawlers, to navigate and understand your website quickly, which in turn will help you achieve a higher search ranking.
It’s important to remember that categories and tags are not interchangeable. Categories are your site’s table of contents, your way of organising your content. Tags are more like an index that helps search engines understand the subject of your content.
A well thought out tag and category structure will really aid Google when it comes to site indexing, so making sure you have all the subcategories and well-structured posts you need is a great idea when it comes to good SEO optimisation.
3. Keep it speedy
Google loves a fast loading, quick-running website. A good loading time helps towards a good quality score from Google and higher visibility in their results. Luckily WordPress provides a well-optimised and fast loading platform for you to build on.
WordPress also allows you to boost your site’s speed beyond the basics. WordPress optimisation plug-ins include such features as CSS and JS file compression and minifying which allow for the easy integration of Content Delivery Networks, letting you host content on an external server to take the load time strain off your main server. You can also edit data caching options and set up image compression. Code optimisation goes as far as you want to take it.
4. Make your images work too
There’s more to an image than a pretty picture when it comes to SEO.
WordPress makes it easy to add the required data to each and every image on your site. The addition of image titles and alt texts provide better visibility on Google and other image search engines.
5. Link to related content
Google crawlers are suckers for a link. If they see one, they can’t help but follow it. Using link building tools like CI Backlinks, makes internal linking simple. CI Backlinks automates the internal linking process and gives search engines a great path through your site, maximising your SEO strategy without adding to your workload. Developed in collaboration with Dr. Andy Williams of ezSEO, CI Backlinks has a proven success record. Check out Andy’s report on internal linking with CI Backlinks over on ezSEO.
Although WordPress can help support your SEO strategy, it’s not a quick fix. A huge part of SEO success comes down to your content and making sure your site is being found for the search terms that you want to be found for. We’ve been working with businesses of all sizes to help boost their website rankings and have even managed to get one B2C client to number 1 position on Google for very competitive keywords without ongoing activity.
Do you want to boost your SEO rankings? Contact Mark or Alice today on 0121 321 2828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.