With so much of SEO advice floating from all corners, it becomes really overwhelming, especially for new site owners. It’s difficult to figure out the best tips that will help you right away. It is understandable though. The primary search engines have not laid out any sort of rulebook for SEO. All we can do is get down to working on the most basic hacks that you could use to increase the efficiency and search-ability of your website.
..and that’s what we’re going to do today.
When it comes to SEO, it’s difficult to produce a definitive article. There are hundreds of things you can do to increase the overall rankings. The only idea here is to start off well and show you the way. If you’re just focusing on these techniques alone, you will definitely start on the right note. So, here I go with the 10 most important SEO tips that you need to know today.
# 1 Slow site – a strict no-no
There was a time that you could easily get away with a slow loading site. The number of websites and the competition was less and the visitors had to wait for a long time to get the information they wanted. Remember the early days of 90’s and even 00’s when we had to wait for 10-15 seconds for our favorite news page to load.
We are definitely past that stage.
A slow website could make things really difficult. To begin with, the first impression is not good and there is little incentive for the visitor to stay on and engage with your content. Note this; if there is a delay of one percent in loading time, it could lead to 7% loss in conversions.
On top of it, think about your brand! What is the point of spending dollars on marketing and advertising if the website is not doing well?
To solve this, remove all the slow loading elements on your website. It is very important for WordPress users to deactivate plugins that they don’t use. In short, go for a minimalistic approach and remove all the clutter that you could see. Trust me, less is more.
# 2 Track analytics from day 1
It is very important to track every development with analytics tools like Google analytics and Search console. You need to understand what is working and what’s not. Avoiding this step could only lead to pain and frustration at a later stage.
You see, it is not very difficult to start a new website on WordPress these days. Owners tend to jumpstart the whole procedure and don’t want to wait for the have analytics in place. In fact, your analytics software should be active right from the day one before you could send even your first visitor to the website. You can start with Google search console and then there are popular WordPress plugins that can help you with the site data. Explore them and take advantage early on.
# 3 Never use unreadable and meaningless URLs
Consider two URLs
Don’t you think the second URL is easy to understand both for search engines and for users? It’s important to pay attention to URL structure. You should make the URL’s easy to memorize. Use hyphens and don’t use capital letters. These are basic guidelines that you could follow with ease.
Nice, clutter free, short URLs are the sign of a quality website. Good for humans and good for search engines.
# 4 Using keywords in your images
It’s important to realize that keywords are at the center of every SEO tactic in the book. SEO primarily means placement of keywords. When users search for an image, they search with the help of a keyword. This means you should always choose the best keywords when you name the images.
I’m sure you’ve already heard of the alt attribute which works as an alternate text for the image (in case the image can’t be displayed.) This then becomes a source of alternative information which is very important if for some reason the user is not able to view the image. It’s also one of the more important SEO attributes for search engines as well.
# 5 Put more effort in local SEO
This is one of the most important points that even the most experienced WordPress website owners forget. Getting ranked in local SERP (Search engine results page) is far more important than getting ranked in regular or so-called international SERP. The fact is that local SEO will be more productive when people are searching for a product inside a specific region. There are certain steps that you need to take to improve the local SEO. You need to specify your business and location on the website. Getting listed on relevant local listing sites is also crucial. Even social media can be used as a tool. The local comments that specify your business as a link is a great boost for your relevance and rating. Invest your time and devise a strategy for local SEO.
# 6 Pick the WordPress theme which is already mobile responsive
Actually, it seems like more of a redundant advice now. The thing is, SEO is absolutely interrelated with responsiveness of your website. Since the first mobile update started floating around in 2010, Google has always highlighted the ever so important requirement of having a mobile responsive website. To be honest, it seems almost laughable to see a website which is not mobile responsive in 2017. Especially, when the number of visitors coming through portable devices is sometimes more than PC or laptop.
If by any chance, you’re working with a theme that is not mobile responsive, change it immediately. It is the starting point. We have a lot or responsive wordpress themes available for free if you are working with an online store, checkout our woocommerce themes here.
# 7 Find out the orphan pages and fix them
If the search crawlers are in action, the first thing they notice is when some of your pages are not linked to others on your website. This affects the overall structure and your search rankings. Trust me, as the site gets bigger, the number of orphan pages usually increase.
As this has a detrimental effect on your search rankings, ensure that you check the whole website through analytics tools and fix the problem. Your website should be a unified entity, not a scattered puzzle.
# 8 Creating an XML sitemap
Again, this is one of those lazy mistakes that most site owners are charged with. The sitemaps help search engines understand website structure and send more relevant data to Google.
Also, you could easily set the priority according to the most valuable pages on your site. This means you can tell the web crawlers about the most important pages according to you. That’s an advantage you should never miss. There are literally hundreds of plugins to get the automated XML sitemap for your site. If you’ve not done it for some reason, get on it right away.
# 9 Working with Robots.txt
Anytime you see a discussion related to XML sitemaps, you will immediately find a follow-up discourse to Robots.txt.
Robots.txt file helps you manage the part of the site that you don’t want to show to search engines. I’m sure there are some unimportant pages that you don’t want the search engines to check out. Once you’ve set the Robots.txt file, you’ve automatically set guidelines for all the pages that you don’t want to include.
Again, you can always download the plugin for this process. Although, there is a crucial a suggestion here. If you’re not really tech friendly, be careful because if done in a wrong way, you can make whole of your site unsearchable through this process. Also, if you ever decide to restructure your website, remember to update Robots.txt file.
# 10 Don’t use too much flash elements
Well, this one is for our designer friends. It’s about using flash (the software program that allows users to create animated works) on the website, in a limited way.
Not only is it distracting for the visitor, it affects your overall SEO efforts. In fact, it is difficult for search engines to rank your website when you end up using a lot of flash. It is often considered a waste for the website.
If for any reason, you have a very bright website and can’t ignore flash, use it sparingly and only when needed.
# 11 Get habitual to Internal Linking
You must make it a habit to link to your own posts. Not only this is good for SEO, but results in a decrease of bounce rate. Your visitors are tempted to read more content on your site and end up spending more time than they otherwise would.
# 12 Do not Buy Backlinks
As a new user, you may read everywhere that you need backlinks to rank high in google. Its true. But the backlinks should be from relevant and authority websites (i.e. Websites with Good Metrics). Don’t get scammed by purchasing backlinks from shady sites or in bulk. For Example 100 Backlinks for $5. Its not worth it and it is going to hurt your site in the long term.
# 13 Write Longer Blog Posts
Longer Blog posts with Greater amount of information tend to do very well in searches. My Recommendation is to try to write 1000 words of content in every blog post you create.
Well, with this we are done with some of the important, yet absolutely basic tips for WordPress site users. I recommend to work on all 10 of these points to create a search friendly, efficient and profitable website.
Here’s a tip: Start by making one simple change every day, and notice the after effects on your website. In 10 days, you’ll have a far superior site than you started. Just know that SEO is a journey which never ends. It’s all about taking small steps every day.