Your content strategy won’t accomplish jack without good search rankings that bring people into, you know, actually read and engage with your content.
As a CMS, WordPress hands you all the tools (out of the box, even) for effective SEO. But to use them to achieve great results is entirely up to you. So once you have a lightweight theme (quick loading = higher ranking and better UX) and enough cool content to draw a line to moon and back, it’s time to put some serious effort into driving traffic to your website.
This post tells you how to do that.
I am talking of 3 necessary elements, not the drop down menus or sidebar filters - those depend on your own website and niche anyway.
No, the three essentials of every good website (WordPress or otherwise) are Breadcrumbs, XML sitemaps, and HTML sitemaps.
Breadcrumbs, as the name signifies, is a navigation technique which outlines a visitor’s ‘trail’ across your website and displays it on the current page that the user is on. It’s a tiny little thing, but when you have a website with countless categories and subcategories (which is bad, try not to let it get out of hand!), a user would appreciate some context about where he/she is and how they came to be there. A familiar example would be Amazon, where a series of links show the users where they are.
XML sitemaps are similar, but they are for the search bots. They are made purely out of code with 'directions' for the bots to crawl the website. These can be used to keep certain pages from being indexed in the search engine.
Remember to add all three of these to your website via Yoast SEO plugin.
Responsive Web Design: Menu Vs. Sidebar
Titles and Tags
These can help both human and bot visitors.
Almost every good WordPress SEO plugin will let you optimize your posts’ titles and tags for best display on the search engine results page (SERP). Make sure to add a relevant keyword, stick to the point, and take note of character length for best results.
Also: Tell your post author/ copywriters to make these as attention-catching as possible.
SEO for Web Designer
Keeping visitors engaged to your content is huge plus. It increases your social sharing and engagement metrics, along with chances of conversion.
WordPress plugins like Yet Another Related Posts plugin and others will add this feature to your pages. The smarter the plugin, the better it can optimize the output based on individual user behavior on your website.
The chances of your posts being read depend entirely on how relevant and attractive your headlines are to visitors.
As part of content experiments, you can test the efficacy of your headlines to make sure visitors eyes don’t slide right past them. You can use Google Analytics tool (here’s a step-by-step guide to set it up in your WordPress website) to test your headlines. Individual plugins like Title Experiments (Free) is also a great way to split test your headlines.
Linking to external sources (you know, for exposition or as evidence to support your statement) is a great way to make your content authentic. Interlinking is a more…self-sufficient way of doing that.
Linking to your previously published posts (only the ones that are relevant) builds a ‘bridge’ for search bots to different pages that you linked to, spreading your website’s ranking power and making sure that the posts you are linking to get indexed easily and thoroughly.
WordPress version 4.5 has added the feature that enables you to select text from within the editor to link to your website’s previous posts, making internal linking quick and easy. If you haven’t updated yet, you can work around this with Better Internal Link Search plugin.
Note that doing this too much will annoy your visitors, especially the visually impaired ones who are using screen readers. Try to keep play nice with ARIA guidelines while interlinking.
These practices are listed here to ease you into better optimizing your content and website for SEO. Get acquainted with and master these simple (and highly effective) techniques before moving further up the SEO ladder.