Whether you are a budding web developer or an experienced one, you must very well be aware of the importance of your website reaching as many people as possible. By as many people, we mean to say the audience which is of your interest. Your goal might be to sell a product, attract readers to your blog, get people to fill the form on your website, or show them your services and the way you work. The main motto is to get the maximum possible amount of traffic.
To be visible on the search engine, your website needs to rank for those keywords whenever anyone searches something related to your business. But, the main question that arises here is how to begin? You do not have to worry at all. This blog will guide you step-by-step and explain all the critical points to consider to make your website, especially WordPress website SEO(Search Engine Optimization) friendly. In simple terms, SEO can be defined as a way to drive traffic to your website. We will explain it in more detail also. So, stay tuned.
A Brief About WordPress
WordPress is a very simple, easy-to-use, SEO-friendly website builder and CMS(Content Management System). It is open-source software, which was initially used widely as a blogging platform and later on as a CMS and then for website development. The vast majority of web developers prefer building WordPress websites, which has further increased its popularity. It is also a highly capable website builder with many plugins to enhance the web development experience.
What is SEO? and Why is it important?
Whenever you search anything on Google or any other search engine, the results shown to you are known as SERPs(Search Engine Results Pages). In order to make your website appear on top of these search results, you need to follow SEO best practices to make that happen. SEO is nothing but optimizing your website and its content using various tools and strategies to make it appear on top of search results displayed to the user. Thus, to make your website visible to your audience, you need to follow the points mentioned in the next section.
10 Simple ways to make your WordPress website SEO ready.
1. Select your Domain name & Host wisely: The very first and foremost step is selecting the domain name for your website that is relatable to your business. Make sure that you add a keyword to your website domain name, as more than 70% of websites that follow this best practice have higher chances of getting a better rank. Please do not use a hyphen or any special character symbol in the URL, as it makes it look spammy and hence less credible. Preferably, use .com, .net or .org kind of domain extensions.[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]A website host is a place where your website remains seated. From here, it is presented to the users who search for your website either through Google, Direct, Social, or any other platform. Ensure that the Host you choose for your website keeps it up and running and available every time. The most preferred website hosts are Hostgator, Bluehost, and Siteground. Also, take into consideration that to make your website appear successfully for all the searches, the WordPress support provided by your Host should be fair enough.
2. Choose a search engine optimized theme for your website: There are thousands of free and paid themes available for your WordPress website. You also have got the option to customize it according to your own business requirements. The major factors to be considered from a theme point of view for an SEO-friendly website are: Responsiveness i.e. the theme should be compatible with all screen sizes, either mobile or desktop. It should be lightweight i.e unnecessary third-party plugins that are included with certain themes lead to increased website load time. So, you need to check this before selecting the right theme for your website.
3. Focus on your website security: Website security also plays a crucial role in ranking on any search engine. Always purchase an SSL certificate for your website to make the data transfer between the user browser and server more safe and secure. You should backup your site regularly. Some hosting providers also provide you with an SSL certificate as a feature in their hosting plan. Do check this with them. Google favors mostly those sites that use SSL.
4. Install SEO plugin: If you want to add more features and more functionalities to your WordPress website, you can add plugins. In simple words, WordPress plugins are small software that you can install to make your website do almost anything. Here, we will talk particularly about making your site SEO-friendly. For that, you can add the Yoast SEO plugin to your website, which will give an option to add all the optimization stuff required to rank your website higher on any search engine, particularly Google.
5. Permalink structure and Sitemap creation: Permalink structure refers to the name which you assign to individual web pages. Always use the name which is directly related to the content of that page. Try to avoid using any numeric values. WordPress also provides various options to set a Permalink for a page. You can also change or customize it later.[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]A sitemap is a complete layout of your website that helps the crawlers to index your site better and faster. It provides a detailed hierarchy of your website and can help enhance SEO rankings. You can add a sitemap to your WordPress website with either of these plugins, Google XML Sitemaps, or through Yoast SEO.
6. Optimize Meta-title and Meta-description of the website: Apart from website URL, Meta-title and Meta-description also help users reach your website only if you have included the right and relevant keywords to match user searches. The ideal practice is to keep Meta-title around 60 characters in length and Meta-description to be within 160 characters. These help in getting your website a better rank and reach.
7. Image Alt Text: Image Alt text basically helps visually impaired people to comprehend the images better. Search engines give more weightage to those sites that use relatable Alt text for their images. Also, make sure to optimize the images using custom WordPress development services and thus rank your website better. So, the alt text or the alternate text helps screen reader users to understand the meaning and purpose of an image.
8. Internal linking: Using internal links in your website content helps search engines understand the flow of the content as well as the website's credibility. It helps readers/website visitors understand your content in a better way. Always use/point links towards relevant content on your website. How well your website is connected communicates to the search engines that the content used on your website is valuable.
9. Website speed: Search engines consider website page loading time to be an important factor in website ranking. If it takes more than 3 to 4 seconds for a website to load, most of the users usually bounce back, which negatively impacts your site ranking. So, pay special attention to your website loading time and optimize your website to minimize your bounce rate due to increased page loading time.
10. Heading tags: By using heading tags (mainly H1, H2, and H3) in your website content, you help better organize your content and provide better readability to the user. Search engine crawlers consider using these Heading tags as a best practice as it helps them better understand the content and further organize it. Never forget to use them in your website content.
SEO forms the backbone of website ranking on any search engine. It consists of using various strategies, on-page, off-page, and technical activities to make your website appear on top in search results. By following the ways mentioned above, you can undoubtedly make your website SEO friendly and get more visits to your website.