With the hundreds of WordPress SEO tips out there, how do you know which methods to implement?
It can be hard to tell. If you want your WordPress website to stand out from the competition, you don’t want to be gambling your time away on outdated SEO practices.
6 Ranking Factors to Focus on for Fast Rankings in Google
Every day that goes past where your competitors rank in a higher position on Google than your business is another day where you are losing potential customers. The best way to rectify this situation is to improve your Google rankings through both website design and SEO strategies.
Focusing primarily on the following six ranking factors will help you achieve this goal in the shortest time possible.
You can’t talk about ranking factors or SEO without talking about links as they remain the most important ranking factor of all. So, the fastest way to get good rankings in Google is to build links to your website from high-quality, authoritative, and well-known sources.
Mobile-Friendly Website Design
The importance of this ranking factor is the simplest to explain, as Google regards mobile search as being as important, if not more important, than desktop searches.
The equation is simple, too: if you want people using Google on a mobile device to find your website, your website must be mobile-friendly.
The content on your website needs to be as good as possible for you to get good rankings on Google quickly. There are several reasons for this, including the fact Google is getting better at identifying high-quality content.
Also, the overall standard of content on the internet is generally improving. Think about it: why would Google rank your website over a site that has better content? It wouldn’t as it makes more sense to rank the best content in the highest position.
So, you need to optimize the content on your website. This includes:
- Identifying keywords and using them strategically on your website’s pages
- Ensuring the content on your website is fresh and continuously kept up to date
- Ensuring you consider search intent when creating content and targeting keywords
- Making sure your content has enough depth in relation to things like length, quality, authenticity, and uniqueness (of ideas).
Adding a security certificate to your website is now considered an essential requirement for SEO rather than something that is optional. This means you need to switch your site to HTTPS to improve security for your website visitors.
When Google gives advice, information, or guidance on SEO topics, a common theme that comes through is the importance of user experience. It wants you to create the best possible experience for your users rather than doing things for SEO that potentially detract from the user experience.
Google gives this guidance because the user experience is an important ranking factor. Nobody really knows how Google judges user experience, but it is likely to be a combination of things like bounce rate, time spent on the page, signals from social media, and the actions that users take after they visit your website.
To explain more about the latter point above, let’s say a user clicks on your site after doing a Google search. They spend a short time on your site, then either close their web browser or click back to Google to do a completely different search. Google might analyze that as being a good user experience as it can assume the person got the information they were looking for on your website.
However, a bad user experience might be indicated by a user who goes back to Google after visiting your website to try another option on the search results page. In other words, Google might assume the user failed to get the information they needed on your site.
So, it’s important to optimize your site for user experience. Some things you need to consider include:
- On-page content
- Search intent
- Menus, navigation, and how easy it is for visitors to find the information they need
- User flow
- Website design, i.e. does the design distract users or get in the way?
- Style and tone
Page Load Speed
Google has been on a mission to make the internet quicker for some time now. That doesn’t just mean fast broadband connections, however. It also means encouraging website owners to make their websites load as fast as possible.
This point is connected to the previous one as a slow loading website results in poor user experience. The fact is: people don’t like slow-loading websites, and they don’t like waiting. More often than not, people will leave a website rather than wait for it to load.
WordPress SEO Tips
I don’t want you to waste your time searching for the SEO needle in a haystack — I want your website to rank. So today, I’m going to share with you my top 5 secret SEO tips that have helped me drive traffic for my clients and ranked dozens of sites and pages on the first page of Google.
1. Implement schema markup
This is one of my hottest secret SEO tips — if you really want your website to stand out in search results, then you should implement schema markup immediately.
Schema markup is what you see when search engine result pages (SERPs) show more than just the meta description of a site — highlighting ratings, prices, site menus, and sometimes even forms.
Check out this Google search to see the power of schema markup in action:
Notice how the second search result stands out from the competition by featuring rating stars and the company’s price range.
Schema markup can also help your website take up more physical space on the results page — increasing your visibility and driving more traffic to your site. An example of this is in the following search result:
To add schema markup to your WordPress site, you will need to visit Schema.org to get a custom code that you will use on your site. Or, if you find coding a little bit intimidating, use the Yoast SEO plugin, or any of these plugins, to implement schema markup today.
2. Add infographics or videos to increase session time
Search engines are constantly coming up with new ways to measure user experience (UX) when ranking websites. A few things which contribute to your site’s UX are:
- Dwell time (how long a reader stays on a site page)
- Click rate (how many of your site’s pages a reader clicks through)
- Bounce rate (how many people exit your site after reading only a single page)
Two fantastic SEO tips to increase dwell time and click rate, while also decreasing bounce rate, are to feature infographics and include videos in your content.
Infographics are the blending of information and graphics to easily communicate data to your audience. By using colorful and entertaining infographics, as is done in this blog post by DeveloMark, you can increase the time your readers spend on a page and also improve the chances of them sharing your page on social media.
The easiest way to embed a video on your WordPress page is to download a plugin, like this YouTube plugin by the EmbedPlus Team. Combining a well-placed video with killer writing will keep your audience on your page longer and will improve your click-through rate.
3. Create a navigation menu in your content for structure
Search engines, like people, crave structure. A well-curated menu will help Google’s crawlers decipher your content and will improve the user experience by helping visitors find exactly what they are looking for.
A great tip for organizing your site’s navigation menu is to get off the computer for a moment and plan out your menu with a pen and paper. This will help you visualize the pages on your site and how the menu structure flows. For example, if you run a skiing company, one thread in your site structure might look like:
Ski Resorts → Western US Resorts → Colorado Resorts → Aspen Ski Resort
Another thing to remember when planning your site’s navigation is that all the links in your top menu should be cohesive. Most menu structures start with Home and end with Contact, and whatever links you include in-between those two should flow naturally.
For example, DeveloMark’s main menu is organized in this order:
This menu has a logical flow. It would be a problem if the menu read:
About Us – Services – Video Production – Contact
In this case, Video Production should be nested under Services and is out of place being in the main menu.
One more secret WordPress SEO tip: when optimizing your navigation menu in WordPress, remember that less is more.
Having too many links in your menu and submenus can make your site more difficult for Google’s crawlers to read and will hurt your link value — the more links you have on a page, the less value those links transmit to the pages they are linking too.
Stuffing a ton of links into your menu can also damage your audience’s user experience by making your site difficult to navigate. Instead of distracting your readers by having every page featured in your navigation menu, use page links and sitemaps to naturally lead your audience to less important pages.
4. Create a click-worthy SEO title for higher CTR
The #1 thing that will drive traffic to a page or post is its title. This should be obvious, but for a lot of people, it’s the last thing they think about when writing a new piece of content — don’t be one of those people.
If you want prospects to land on your website and continue clicking through your content, then you need to craft click-worthy SEO titles that speak directly to their search query and also stand out from the competition.Here are three WordPress SEO tips to keep in mind next time you are typing out a post title:
- Write for search engines and people. Make sure that your title includes your target keywords. So if your keyword phrase is: “teriyaki restaurant,” put that as far left in the title as you can.
- Use numbers. People like numbers, so if your post is a list, or pertains to a specific year, throw the number in the title. For example: “Top 15 Teriyaki Spots in Connecticut.”
- Communicate value. Why should a prospect choose your site over someone else’s? Don’t wait for later — now is the time to wave your credentials! For example: “Best Teriyaki Spot in CT According To Meryl Streep.” Now there’s a post title I would click!
Here we can see these tips in action:
With this title, Connecticut Magazine is a) including their target keywords; b) using numbers, and c) communicating value — creating a much more click-worthy title than the result below it.
Beyond driving traffic to your site, if you replicate this process for each post you publish, then you will also see your CTR improve — your readers being funneled from one compelling post title to the next.
5. Answer commonly asked questions to make the search snippets
Get into the mind of your buyer personas. What kinds of questions are they asking? If you can accurately predict what they need, and you provide an SEO optimized answer, then you have a strong chance of getting your site ranked in search snippets.
As you can see from this screenshot, appearing in the search snippets (Google’s position zero) will vastly increase your organic traffic.
How do you get your website there? Every day, your personas are typing search queries being with:
- Why does…
- How do…
- What is…
- How to…
So to start, use a tool like Answer the Public to gain insight on what these questions are and then ask yourself, “Do I have top-ranking content that speaks to those questions?”
If you already have relevant content that is ranking in the top 10 search results, optimize it for search snippets. If you don’t, then you need to write new content that answers your audience’s queries.
Here are my SEO tips for optimizing your WordPress content for featured snippets:
- Do a Google search with your target keywords and see what kind of content is getting featured in the zero position. Is it a table, a list, or a paragraph? If it’s a list, make sure your content also includes a list.
- In your post, place the target question inside an H2 heading and write the answer directly below. For maximum effect, keep your answer around 54 words.
- Ensure that your heading and answer are as close to the top of the page as possible.
- Hit publish and monitor your content to ensure it reaches and stays in the top 10 search results. If you’ve SEO’d correctly, you should see your tailored answer showing up in the featured snippet within a few weeks.
Summing Up WordPress SEO Tips
Armed with the WordPress SEO tips we’ve shared with you today, you will be able to rank your website in 2019. But remember, converting your prospects into leads requires more than schema markup and clickable titles.
You need to invest in a quality content strategy if you want your SEO work to truly pay off.
Bonus secret SEO tip — this is why I highly recommend that you work with an expert SEO agency when creating your content strategy. Doing so will give you access to the tools and knowledgebase that are needed to help your website flourish in 2019.
If you implement these WordPress SEO tips today, you will be growing your rankings, driving more traffic, and generating new clients tomorrow.