WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms. It powers 25.4% of the entire internet, which equates to around 15,886,000 websites – pretty impressive. In 2016, the platform is able to host almost every type of website you could imagine, whether it be a blog, an e-commerce site, a directory, or an online community. It’s one of the most versatile content management systems out there and it’s great for SEO.
In fact, at Moove, we used WordPress to achieve a 37% increase in the number of enquiries for our client Qube Global Software. You can read our full project case study.
However, WordPress isn’t the ‘out-of-the-box’ SEO solution that some people think it is. There are still many best practices that as a business owner, you need to follow.
We’ve put together this WordPress SEO guide to help you navigate your way to better search engine rankings.
WordPress is a great platform for SEO, but…
It’s true, WordPress is great for SEO but it still requires the user to understand the basics of search engine optimisation. Here a few things to bear in mind when optimising your site with WordPress:
Your site still needs great content
SEO without great content to back it up won’t get you very far when it comes to increasing your online presence. First and foremost, you need to be writing about topics that your audience is searching for. Over and above this, your content needs to be original and engaging in order to encourage people to read and share it.
On-page SEO best practice still applies
In order to make the most of your SEO efforts, you need to know what on-page SEO elements to focus on in order to maximise the opportunity for your content to be found in search engines. Some of the elements that you should focus on include, but aren’t restricted to:
Internal anchor text
You need to set your permalink structure
WordPress’ default permalink structure uses a combination of letters and symbols to identify each URL on your website, like this:
However, it isn’t very search-engine friendly. Instead, you should consider changing your permalinks to ‘pretty URLs’, which are much easier for people to read, for example:
External links have to open in new window
By default, any links that you create on a WordPress page open in the same browser window, which causes readers to navigate off the page, on to another, or to a completely new website. This can negatively impact your SEO efforts as your bounce rate (the time users spend on your website) increases.
Therefore, make sure that any external links always open in new window.
What are the best SEO plugins for WordPress?
As of 2015, there were 41,878 plugins available for WordPress, so how do you know which ones are best for your site?
There are few things to consider when it comes to choosing a WordPress plugin for SEO, including:
How many people have downloaded the plugin to date? If the number is in the thousands, then you can pretty much rest assured that the plugin is effective and does what it’s supposed to. If the number is in single or double digits, you might want to do a bit more research into its functionality.
Its compatibility with your version of WordPress
As you upgrade your version of WordPress, some of the plugins that you currently use may present issues for your site if they’re not updated as new versions of the CMS are rolled out.
Similarly, older plugins that haven’t been updated in a few months may not work with newer versions of the platform, so you need to double check their compatibility.
The support offered by the developer
Every plugin that you can download has been created by a developer. In most cases, the wordpress developer will be on-hand to answer any queries or help you with any troubleshooting questions that you might have.
Some plugins, however, don’t come with this level of support, and instead, you may have to make do with support forums or your own intuition.
Some of our favourite SEO plugins for WordPress include:
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