WordPress SEO explained
As WordPress developers, we spend a great team of time optimising our client’s WordPress sites to rank more highly in Google. SEO is crucial, it’s about as far from being a black art as it gets, and we take it into account at every stage in the web design process. Here’s why WordPress SEO matters to your business and how to separate fact from fiction.
Search Engine Optimisation means optimising a website for search engines. WordPress SEO means doing so for a WordPress site. When you get it right, Google will know exactly when and where to surface your site. And your website will find itself in front of people who are using your keywords. If you don’t optimise your site, search engines have no way of knowing what your web pages are about and who will appreciate seeing them.
Back in the olden days, Google’s search algorithm was notoriously easy to fool. Say you were selling web design services. You could write a page containing multiple instances of the phrase ‘web design services’, throw together a few dodgy backlinks with exact match anchor text and voila, next time someone searched for web design services you popped up on page one of the search results.
Isn’t SEO still just clever tricks?
Black hat practices like that didn’t work for long. Google soon wised up and brought out algorithm updates. In recent years, the infamous Panda and Penguin update were designed to prevent people from taking unfair an advantage. Google wanted to stop the search results getting cluttered with poorly written, ‘thin’ rubbish. And the quality of the search results quickly improved.
There are no tricks to the process. An endless series of cheap links won’t make that much difference. Google wants to deliver the most relevant content. That means there has been a shift in recent years towards focussing on web owners publishing quality of your content. Fewer links, more quality. That’s the way it should be.
Content is always king
These days people are more likely to talk about quality content than SEO. But WordPress SEO still pays off. Search engines have got a whole lot better at identifying and suppressing poor quality content. It’s very tough to trick Google into ranking your website in a better position than it deserves. But if you don’t intelligently match keywords with web pages, search engine algorithms can’t classify your pages successfully.
It’s a written words thing. Google still use words to figure out what’s on a page and who wants to see it. They can’t – yet – read images, and there’s nothing else to give them the clues they need. As such, content remains at the core of any decent WordPress SEO strategy. Good quality content also delivers lower bounce rates and gives you more of an impact on social media. The same goes for poor content – crap is still crap. Search engines are better than ever at identifying it. The last thing you should do is stuff your content full of keywords. Google will slap you down for it. Write naturally, include keywords wisely and lightly, and you’ll find Google wants to rank your site well. It’s a common sense balancing act.
What about all those links?
How about backlinks? They still matter. But today you need to be even more selective about the links you generate. Google doesn’t like bought links, devaluing them whenever it manages to identify them. The idea is you naturally attract backlinks to your web pages through merit, through content marketing excellence, not through unfairly manipulating the algorithm.
It’s always a bad move to exchange links, and the most dangerous practice to use automated tools to generate them. If you get involved with guest blogging, you need to stay on topic and do the best possible job of it. And links that are unrelated to your website’s topic should be avoided at all costs. Last but not least, buying a link from a spammy site is a complete no-no. Links from cheap directories will more likely lower Google’s opinion of your site. Get the link thing wrong, and you might find your website gets penalised and loses its hard-won natural search rankings.
Can’t do code? No problem
If you want to go deeper into SEO, you’ll need to get familiar with the code and home your high-end technical skills. But there are programmes to help you and make things simpler, one of which is Yoast, the go-to WordPress SEO plugin for WordPress websites. Thanks to its simple interface you can carry out essential, good quality WordPress SEO that informs search engines of everything they need to know to do a good job on your behalf. It’s designed to take care of all the technical aspects of a WordPress SEO strategy.
If you want your site to naturally appear on page one of the search results for the keywords that are most relevant to your business, a long-term SEO strategy is crucial. Because WordPress SEO excellence is a journey, not a destination, you need to focus on every aspect of site optimisation to get the best results. SEO isn’t a quick fix solution. It’s a commitment. Good digital marketing practice, expert WordPress development and a strong commitment, are all you need.
WordPress SEO is all about partnership
There are no quick tricks. Links do not matter like they used to. Craft top class content for your website and partner with an expert web development team and you won’t go far wrong. Stay relevant and on topic, add fresh content regularly and focus on earning a good place in Google.
As WordPress developers and web designers, we take WordPress SEO into account at every stage in the website design and WordPress development process. You should expect nothing less from your web design agency. We’d love to talk to you and help you get started with WordPress SEO today.