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The one constant we can depend on when it comes to SEO is things will change. And change again. That’s why I’ve created this list of timeless basics to help with WordPress SEO. These best practices are tried and true ways to boost your WordPress SEO, even in a world of constant change.
Publish content readers love
High quality, high-intent content can do wonders for your site’s search rankings. It’s a good SEO best practice to regularly assess your WordPress site for outdated or underperforming content. The right content mix is both well optimized with keywords that are aligned to the content and also highly engaging, readable, and current.
If you haven’t already, connect your site to Google Analytics to review page metrics like engagement, dwell time, and bounce rate. Pay close attention to content that is either outdated or that’s lost—or never gained—momentum. Review pages with a particularly low dwell time, which could be an indicator that viewers aren’t finding the content they expected or wanted to see.
Here are some tips for giving old or underperforming content a second wind :
- Check your page headers and make sure they’re well-structured and keyword-optimized
- Make the content easy to scan with content blocks, lists, tables, images, and/or videos
- Add a helpful FAQ section that provides useful answers
- Reconsider your keywords and make sure the search intent matches the content that’s on the page
Leverage an awesome and responsive theme
When it comes to ensuring that your site performs well across devices and browsers, your WordPress theme matters. While many of the newer free and premium WordPress themes have built-in responsiveness, there are some additional SEO best practices to consider for getting the most out of your theme’s responsive functionality:
- Choose a theme that supports all your content on mobile, like videos, image alt tags, and social cards. Your content needs to be visible and crawlable so both desktop and mobile versions can be indexed for organic search.
- Ensure that any metadata like page titles, meta descriptions, social metadata, and social tags are visible and equivalent on mobile.
- Check your site on all devices and browsers to compare cross-browser functionality. Older browsers like Internet Explorer won’t support newer plugins and may read more complex code or recent design features incorrectly
- Confirm that your theme is compatible with popular SEO plugins like the All in One SEO Pack (AIOSP), Yoast SEO, or SEOPress. SEO plugins are important for customizing SEO functions like XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, and others.
Improve site and page speeds
Over time, page weight and bloat can affect your site’s page load times and cause you to lose traction in the search results. As a WordPress SEO best practice, regularly check your site’s speed and efficiency. The site speed data in GA is a great place to start. Google tools like Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights are also useful to confirm your site is performing at its best.
Tip: You should regularly check the speed of pages on your website inside of Google Analytics. Go to Behavior > Site Speed in Google Analytics to access the report. From here, you’ll be able to see the page load times and PageSpeed scores.
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Promote on social media
A strong social media strategy can boost your site’s traffic and improve search results. How? Social shares build your brand’s online presence and can lead to new customers engaging with your products and services. These regular interactions further boost brand reputation and encourage new users to check out your site.
Here are some WordPress SEO tips for promoting your content on social media:
- Promote recently updated or new content
- Add social media buttons to your site
- Optimize images for social media
- Invest in a social presence: respond to comments and repost relevant industry content
Choose quality hosting
Google has told us that site speed is a ranking factor, so it’s safe to assume any measures you take to improve your site’s speed is time well spent. You can see if your website has speed opportunities by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or the Mobile Site Speed tool. These are excellent tools to check for speed.
If your website has speed opportunities, I recommend a second look at your web hosting. You may consider upgrading to a service that includes dedicated versus shared hosting, as shared hosting can lead to slower load times. Preferably, your web host will proactively notify you if there’s downtime or bandwidth issues. Keep in mind, you may need to turn on those notifications if they’re offered.
Another thing you might want to look into is a Content Delivery Network or CDN. CDN’s offer a cached copy of your content, which can usually result in better load times. Always read the fine print: some companies charge extra for these services, but some also bundle them into their service packages.
These WordPress SEO basics are timeless. Always go back to the basics when you’re looking for ways to improve your site’s SEO. You might want to check out our WordPress SEO checklist for some other SEO considerations or reach out to us to learn more about our SEO services.