Search Engine Optimization, Especially For WordPress
Do you know SEO basics and how to employ them on your WordPress website? There are some “standard” practices that everyone, no matter the web platform, should utilize. WordPress also has its own plugins and nuances to know about that can really help with all of this.
Also, when was the last time you brushed up on your SEO knowledge? Back in the day, you could load your website with a smattering of keywords and locations without focusing too hard on the content. You used to also be able to purchase content that was written by an agency and then used across many websites. That time has long passed and Google does a lot more to ensure your content is valid, relevant, and original to your website.
The approach didn’t matter as much back then as long as Google was putting your website in front of a lot of people. It was all about “just getting traffic” and it wasn’t always about getting the “right traffic”. Essentially, any amount of website clicks you could get would boost your presence in search engine results.
Google has gotten far savvier and a lot pickier since then. Now, you have to have the right content, placed well that is unique to your website. Well, that and a number of other essential actions we’ll dive into more below.
Web Accessibility Is Important
Making your website and/or web application accessible to every person who could benefit from using it is very important. It is most important for the sake of any and all that use assistance to read and utilize your website. As a result, Google prioritizes websites that are accessible to all. Below, we’ll go over a few aspects of making your website ADA accessible. Always Use Internal Linking
Within your content, there should be links in the content to other pages of the website, other than the homepage. This serves a couple of purposes. First, you’re providing ease of use for your potential customer to click around your website, especially if they’re using a screenreader. Second, it helps show Google that your links are important and should be indexed appropriately just as highly as your homepage. That said, don’t overdo it. Adding one to two internal links within your content is enough. For example, “The services(linking to services page) we provide are available throughout the country. Our team(linking to about page) worked with a wide variety of clients and are well equipped to help businesses across all industries.”
To add internal links in WordPress, follow these steps:
- Select the word or words you wish to link to an internal page
- Select the link icon in the WYSIWYG
- A small pop up window will appear
- Enter the desired URL
- As it is an internal link you can add just the last portion of the URL
- ie: /about or /contact
- Once you have entered the internal link, select “Add Link”
SEO and Alt Image Tags
Alt image tags are particularly important as they help those who use screen readers or have any vision impairment. Alt image tags describe images and buttons to provide context so the site user can have a full experience. These should be accurate and creative whenever possible. For example, if you are writing a blog about different flowers and there is a picture of a rose that is taken in the sunset with a light rain misting, don’t call the alt image tag simply, “rose”. An appropriate image alt tag could be “vibrant red rose in front of a bright orange sunset getting lightly misted by rain”. Yes, your image alt tags can be that long, and that descriptive. You are not hurting anyone or anything by providing a full and dynamic description of an image. It is also appropriate, in other circumstances, to be short and sweet with your image alt tag. For example, if the image is of an arrow linking to read the next blog, the alt image tag can simply be “arrow to click into the next blog.”
Follow these steps to access and update Alt Image tags in WordPress:Select “media”
- Select the image you need to update with an alt image tag
- In the right column, locate the line entry labeled “Alternative Text”
- Enter your alt image content, here
- Click out of the line where you have entered the alt image text, this will trigger the update on the image to save
- Close out of the image, and you’re all set!
Use Google Tools To Support Your SEO
Set up Google Analytics so you are able to look at your website traffic. They have simplified a lot so you can see your website’s performance decently enough via the “overview”. If you see you’re not getting any traffic to certain pages, especially your booking or product sale pages, this indicates you need to update some aspects of your SEO. You will need to look at both the specifically less clicked pages, as well as on your homepage to ensure you’re encouraging users to click through to other important pages. Maybe the content isn’t using enough relevant keywords, maybe there aren’t clear instructions, are you using internal linking? etc.
Set up your “Google My Business Page” right away. When you search Google for a business to look up their reviews, find their hours, website, or a map to their location, the Google My Business Page presents it all. Once you’ve completed your Google My Business Page and it is live, it is strongly recommended that you reach out to your customer base to leave you reviews. Reviews help a potential customer trust you, and reviews also help your SEO as it’s another place to affiliate your name with important keywords. Again, anything you can do to show Google your relevance helps with your page rankings. It also aids in getting the right kind of customers to your website. Responding to your reviews through your Google My Business Page is also really good for your overall online health.
Use Call to Action Buttons
“Call to action” buttons are there to encourage your customers to take action, ie: contacting, making a purchase, or signing up for a newsletter. If you have bookable services, a call to action button could say “Book Here” or “Schedule Services” linking to your contact page or contact form. If you sell goods on your website, you could use expressions such as “Shop Here” or “Explore Our Store” that links to your online store. The point is to make the call to action text obvious. They need to be related to your goods and/or services and to spur movement around the website. In the end, this movement is to result in a conversion, such as a booking, sale, or form entry.
The call to action buttons are meant to provide users with easy access to becoming a paying customer, which adds to a good user experience. Good user experience affects SEO because “bounce rate” affects SEO. If someone comes to your website and can’t get what they need quickly enough, they’ll “bounce” off of your website. When Google sees that a website has a high bounce rate, that will negatively affect your page ranking.
Using a WordPress Plugin to Bolsters SEO: Yoast
Yoast is a (mostly) awesome plugin for WordPress that helps evaluate a number of important areas of your on-page SEO.
What’s Great About The WordPress Plug-in, Yoast
You can enter the title tag and meta description for your page here and Yoast will evaluate if they are properly SEO enhanced. This is also where you can enter a “focus keyphrase” to ensure you are hitting your strongest keyword phrase enough within your content. You can also explore related keywords and how they are ranked via this section of the tool. Further into the plugin, you can select “SEO Analysis” which looks over your content, keywords, and other SEO items such as internal linking. Which is to say, if you aren’t using your keyword phrase enough and have no internal linking set up, this is where you will see this pointed out.
When it comes to evaluating on-page SEO, your content is very important. Apart from reviewing your keywords and keyword phrases, your content has to be readable as well. Yoast also provides tools for strengthening your content. If you do not have enough headers (H1s/ H2s), or if your paragraphs and sentences are too long, Yoast will let you know. It also points out if you have too many consecutive sentences starting with the same word. This plugin even rates if your content is easy or difficult to read. All of this can affect bounce rate, which again, will have an influence on your SEO.
What’s Limited About Yoast
While all of those features sound great in Yoast, there are also some limitations. Yoast seems to be a bit subjective when judging the quality of content. For example, Yoast “dings” nearly all content as “too passive”. As a writer, I have personally had this tagged on the least passive sentences known to man. For instance, Yoast considers this sentence to be passive: “Your links need to have indicators that are not solely color-related.” Odd move, Yoast.
Just bear in mind that Yoast doesn’t seem to understand the “context” of the written content at times. Apart from some of the overly “picky” aspects of Yoast, it is a powerful tool.
SEO and WordPress Go Hand in Hand
These are some just basics that will help your website launch successfully. You got this! If you have any more questions about SEO, check out the rest of our SEO blog series below. Also, feel free to reach out to our team, we’d love to help.